At the Veterans Breakfast Club,

Stories Unite Us.

Check out our online & in-person veterans storytelling programs and see our full event schedule below. All are welcome to join us!

Buzz Bissinger, “The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II” – Wednesday, April 12 @ 6:30pm

Date: April 12, 2023
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222)
All Events | In-Person Events | Online Events

The Veterans Breakfast Club and Heinz History Center welcome Pulitzer Prize winning author Buzz Bissingerwho will discuss his new book that John Grisham says is “destined to become a classic,” The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II. Live in-person and streaming at the Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222) on Wednesday, April 12 @ 6:30pm. Book talk followed by signing.
  • General Admission: $10 (in-person)
  • History Center members: $5 (in-person)
  • Veterans Breakfast Club members: $5 (in-person)

Livestream is free.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, college football was at the height of its popularity. As the nation geared up for war, one branch of the service dominated the aspirations of college football stars: the United States Marine Corps.

Which is why, on Christmas Eve of 1944, when the 4th and 29th Marine regiments found themselves in the middle of the Pacific Ocean training for what would be the bloodiest battle of the war – the invasion of Okinawa—their ranks included one of the greatest pools of football talent ever assembled: Former All Americans, captains from Wisconsin and Brown and Notre Dame, and nearly twenty men who were either drafted or would ultimately play in the NFL.

When the arguments between the 4th and 29th over who had the better football team reached a fever pitch, it was decided: The two regiments would play each other in a football game as close to the real thing as you could get in the dirt and coral of Guadalcanal on Christmas Eve, 1944. The bruising and bloody game that followed became known as “The Mosquito Bowl.”

Within a matter of months, fifteen of the 64 the players in “The Mosquito Bowl” would be killed at Okinawa, by far the largest number of American athletes ever to die in a single battle. The Mosquito Bowl is the story of these brave young men, those who survived and those who did not. It is the story of the families and the landscape that shaped them. It is a story of a far more innocent time in both college athletics and the life of the country. And of the loss of that innocence.

Writing with the style and rigor that won him a Pulitzer Prize and have made his books modern classics, Buzz Bissinger takes us from the playing fields of America’s campuses where boys played at being Marines, to the final time they were allowed to still be boys on that field of dirt and coral, to the darkest and deadliest days that followed at Okinawa.

IN-PERSON Veterans Breakfast Club Penn Hills, Beulah Presbyterian Church | April 14, 2023

Date: April 14, 2023
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Beulah Presbyterian Church (2500 McCrady Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235)
All Events | In-Person Events

Our first Penn Hills breakfast was back in 2009, and it’s been a lively location ever since with an unusual number of World War II veterans still attending regularly. Take 99-year-old Mike Scuro, above left, for example. The WWII veteran leads us in the National Anthem every event and always offer a little war story, such as the one about going AWOL during Basic Training to sneak back home for his mother’s cooking. Or Dominick Carchidi, above right, who joined the Navy at age 16 and become a Navy Diver on submarine rescue in the North Atlantic aboard the USS Falcon (ASR-2) and USS Penguin (ASR-12). Dominic has told stories of his dives and rescues and also of the first thing he did after the war, which was to buy a Model A Ford for $80 and drive it cross country to California at 25 mph.

Join us in Penn Hills and perhaps meet Mike and Dominick at our next event there on April 14 at 10:00am.

It’s a new location and also a new format. This will be our first event atBeulah Presbyterian Church (2500 McCrady Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235) right off the Parkway in Churchill.

Instead of an early breakfast, we’re doing light refreshments–coffee and Danish–at no charge. The event begins at 10:00am with food service and socializing, and then we’ll start our program at 10:30am and continue the storytelling to 12:00pm noon.

As always, everyone is welcome, and you don’t need to be a veteran to attend.

RSVP by calling 412-623-9029 or emailing And let us know if you have any questions!

Please consider sponsoring this event!

Evacuating US Allies from Iraq and Afghanistan on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, April 17 @ 7pm ET

Date: April 17, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom App, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

If you watched the State of the Union Speech on February 7, you might have noticed an Afghan man, Shams Rahmani, seated in the balcony. Shams was site manager for a Defense Department contractor in Afghanistan and had spent a year hiding from the Taliban, which wanted to kill him.

Tonight, on VBC Happy Hour, we talk with Iraqi Interpreter (now US Marine) Mike Azad, Iraq War veteran and Marine Corps infantry officer Jeff Phaneuf, and interpreter advocate Mike Mitchell. All are leaders of No One Left Behind (NOLB), the veterans-founded nonprofit that got Shams and his family out of Afghanistan last December.

Mike Azad

Getting interpreter allies out of Afghanistan and Iraq is a priority for many of the US veterans who served with these indispensable partners on the ground in war. Much like in Vietnam, when the Fall of Saigon meant the incarceration — or worse — of the South Vietnamese who supported the US war effort, our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan face retribution in their home countries as a result of their service.

Jeff Phaneuf

For Shams to escape the Taliban, he needed a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), which normally involves a long and complicated bureaucratic  process. Just before the Fall of Kabul in 2021, there were still over 10,000 waiting for approval for SIVs.

The process has been sped up and simplified in order to bring Afghan interpreters and their families to US shores. No One Left Behind was instrumental in advocating for these changes and in helping evacuate deserving SIV applicants to safety. The organization also provides resettlement assistance to help them start new lives as Americans.

NOLB has served thousands in their ongoing escape from danger in Afghanistan and has served thousands in the US who are now our neighbors across the country. Learn about what NOLB does, from facilitating escape to advocating for interpreters in Washington.

Mike Mitchell is Executive Director of No One Left Behind. Mike Azad is NOLB Ambassador serving SIVs in California. Jeff Phaneuf is recent Advocacy Director of NOLB.

Join us for a conversation about what we owe our allies in our military efforts around the world.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Veterans Breakfast Club in New Castle, PA – Saturday, April 22 @ 9am-11am

Date: April 22, 2023
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Location: The Villa Banquet Center Medure's Catering 2500 New Butler Road, New Castle, PA 16101
All Events | In-Person Events

Veterans Breakfast Club Announces First Event in New Castle Sponsored by The New Castle Rotary Club

Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) will hold its first in-person veterans storytelling breakfast in New Castle on Saturday, April 22, 2023 from 9am-11am. The event will be held at The Villa Banquet Center Medure’s Catering 2500 New Butler Road, New Castle, PA 16101. The event is sponsored by the New Castle Rotary Club and is free of charge and open to the general public.

The event will provide veterans and members of the public the opportunity to listen and share their one-of-a-kind stories, while engaging with other local veterans. There is no cost to attend.

Since 2008, VBC has served the local veteran community in the greater Pittsburgh area, hosting weekly local gatherings for veterans. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, VBC transitioned to virtual programming and announced a national expansion of the organization, opening its programs to veterans around the country and world.

“Our community grew so much during the pandemic, providing a space for more veterans from around the country and world to share their stories and connect with each other,” said Todd DePastino, founder and executive director of VBC.  “While we will continue to host virtual programs, we are also thrilled to return to in-person events here in Western Pennsylvania. All veterans have a story to share, and we are honored to offer a platform for our veterans to connect, heal and inspire each other.”

In addition to hosting two in-person events per month, VBC also holds a weekly program online, VBC Happy Hour, and publishes the quarterly VBC Magazine, the weekly VBC Bulletin e-newsletter, and a weekly podcast on military culture, The Scuttlebutt.

RSVPs are required. Please make your reservation by emailing VBC Administrator Betty Karleski at

 About Veterans Breakfast Club

Founded in 2008, Veterans Breakfast Club is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to creating communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten. VBC believes that through their work, people will be connected, educated, healed and inspired. Through weekly virtual programming, VBC offers a one-of-a-kind community that brings together veterans, their families and civilians to share, celebrate and preserve veterans’ stories. To learn more and join our community, visit

99-Year-Old WWII Navy Veteran Bob Miller on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, April 24 @ 7pm ET

Date: April 24, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour


Bob Miller served on 11 Ships in 6 Years during World War II

99-year-old Bob Miller joined the Jr. Naval Reserve in 1936 age 13, went to Boot Camp at Newport, Rhode Island, in early 1941, and served on 11 ships in World War II, rising to Petty Officer, Aviation Machinist Mate 3/c. Join host Glenn Flickinger in a wide-ranging conversation with Bob as he takes us from his first ship, the 1854 sailing vessel USS Constellation, through the Battle of the North Atlantic, Operation Torch (the invasion of North Africa), Guadalcanal, the Invasion of Southern France, and a series of Pacific invasions, including Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Ryukus, and Okinawa. Along the way, Bob spent time in the Brig, sunk a German u-Boat, was attacked by Kamikazes, and flew into the eye of a hurricane own a B-17.

Bob Miller’s 11 Navy ships:

Sponsored by  Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

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