VBC Happy Hour

Every Monday night at 7pm ET on Zoom and simulcast to Facebook and YouTube. Veterans stories, open conversations, special topics and guests.

Memorial Day Open Conversation on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, May 29 @ 7pm

Date: May 29, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
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We mark Memorial Day with Open Conversation with America’s veterans about the meaning of the day and the memories, feelings, and thoughts it stirs. Please join us for this evening of reflection and storytelling about those who served and never returned home.


We’ll also welcome Jennifer McCreight from Albuquerque to tell us about her nonprofit, Standing In The Gap, that helps guide 18-25 year-olds to responsible adulthood. Chris Jacobson with Operation Enduring Warrior will introduce his organization’s mission to honor, empower, and motivate our nation’s wounded military and law enforcement veterans through physical, mental, and emotional rehabilitation. And we will celebrate the publication of VBC members William and Carole Wagoner’s book of Vietnam War letters, The Hardest Year.


The photo above is of Austin Williams visiting the gravesite of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher C. Campbell in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016. Campbell was one of 30 Americans killed when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, with the call sign Extortion 17, crashed in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery/released)

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

How Tin Can Sailors Saved D-Day on VBC Greatest Generation Live I Monday, June 5 @ 7pm ET

Date: June 5, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
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For the 79th anniversary of D-Day, Glenn Flickinger hosts a conversation about Operation Neptune, the naval component of Overlord, the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944. While images of soldiers struggling on the beaches are familiar to most of us, lesser understood is the role of the sailors aboard thousands of ships which delivered and supported the beach landings.

In truth, without the improvised daring of about a dozen destroyers and their Tin Can Sailor crews, the landings at Omaha Beach would have failed on D-Day, and so might have the entire Operation Overlord.

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In the early morning hours of D-Day above Omaha Beach, the landscape exploded with the ferocious assault by US Air Force and Navy bombardment.

Army General Omar Bradley had promised just such a scene while reviewing troops preparing for the cross-Channel operation.

“You men should consider yourself lucky. You are going to have ringside seats for the greatest show on earth,” he said.

It may have been a great show, but the bombardment did little to damage German defenses.

Though hundreds of Eighth Air Force B-24s swarmed the skies and battleships USS Arkansas (BB-33) and USS Texas (BB-35) pummeled the shoreline, few shells hit the fortified bunkers, pillboxes, trenches and tunnels Germans had carved into the bluffs overlooking the beaches. Instead, they fell either too far inland or short of their targets.

The consequences of this failure became apparent as GIs disembarked from landing craft only to crumple under withering enemy fire from the positions above Omaha. Survivors darted from steel beam hedgehogs and other beach obstacles only to huddle at sea walls and sand dunes while fire poured from the bluffs overhead. If you’ve seen the opening minutes of Saving Private Ryan, you have some idea what these troops from the 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions experienced.

By 0830, the landings at Omaha Beach had stalled. General Bradley came close to aborting the operation.

“What saved the day for the Allies was a handful of British and American destroyers,” argues naval historian Craig Symonds.

The destroyers were far offshore screening the invasion force from sea attack. They saw the disaster unfolding on the beach and took action.

Abandoning their positions and, in the first minutes, violating orders, a dozen ships broke full speed toward Omaha Beach, smoking pouring from their stacks. Then, as they approached within 1,000 yards of shore, they turned broadside and began pounding German gun emplacements at point blank range.

This is not how it was supposed to work. These Gleaves-class destroyers got too close—way too close—to grounding on the rising seabed. If that happened, they’d be sitting ducks, virtual practice targets for German gun crews. The ships were so close that German soldiers took aim with their Mauser rifles trying to pick off sailors one-by-one.

By the destroyers kept up their fire, even as they scraped bottom. Even as their guns glowed red and had to be cooled with water from shipdeck fire hydrants. They got so close, crews were able to fire light AAA guns and hit targets.

Meanwhile, the ships kept moving in short bursts of speed in order to avoid return fire.

Each of the ships claimed its own victories at its own points along Omaha, from Colleville Sur-Mar to the east to Pointe du Hoc to the west. Taken together, these destroyers–Emmons (DD-457), Carmick (DD-493), McCook (DD-496), Doyle (DD-494), Baldwin (DD-624), Harding (DD-625), Frankford (DD-497), Thompson (DD-627), Satterlee (DD-626), Ellyson (DD-454), Herndon (DD-638), Butler (DD-636)—allowed landing craft to make it ashore, preparing the way for the hard fighting ground troops to move inland.

Join us on June 5 at 7pm as we remember this lesser-known story of how Tin Can Sailors saved D-Day.

Image above: The destroyer USS Emmons (DD-457 ) bombarding enemy positions at Omaha Beach, on D-Day. She fired for 90 minutes and expended about 2,000 rounds of ammunition. (Watercolor by Dwight Shepler, 1944, National Archives)

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

Women Veterans Day Screening and Discussion of “Lioness” on VBC Happy Hour

Date: June 12, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: Zoom
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Lioness – Trailer from ROCO Films on Vimeo.

Join us on Women Veterans Day June 12 for a screening of the documentary Lioness about the first women sent into combat with US forces in 2003-2004.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, filmmakers Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers tracked a group of Army soldiers who became known as Team Lioness. They fought alongside the Marines in some of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war.

We’ll screen the film and then talk with Daria about what she learned in making it. The screening coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, which enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces. Prior to 1948, most women only served in times of war.

There for the action. Missing from history

Lioness presents the untold story of the first group of women in U.S. history to be sent into direct ground combat, in violation of official policy. Told through intimate accounts, journal excerpts, archival footage, as well as interviews with military commanders, the film follows five women who served together for a year in Iraq.

Their candid narratives of fighting in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles form a portrait of the emotional and psychological effects of war from a female point of view. Lioness is the first film to bridge the gap between the perception and the reality of the role military women are playing in Iraq.

Sign up free for VetStreamTV and then register for the Zoom Premiere!

Memories of Elvis in the Army on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, June 19 @ 7pm ET

Date: June 19, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
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Join us for a conversation with Johnny Lang, who served with Elvis Presley in the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor, 3d Armored Division, at Ray Barracks, Germany, in 1958-1960. Johnny’s new book,  My Army Days with Elvis: Friendship, Football & Follies, tells of hijinks and warm friendship with The King of Rock n’ Roll as the Cold War heated up in Europe. Johnny can tell you what Elvis was really like, in private, and we’ll discuss the impact of Elvis’s induction and service on his career and popular music.

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101-Year-Old WWII Army Veteran Phil Horowitz on VBC Happy Hour

Date: June 26, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
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Join us for a conversation with the remarkable, soon-to-be 102-year-old, Phil Horowitz, a lively and charismatic voice of history. Born and raised in the Bronx, before moving to New Jersey chicken farm, Phil was drafted into the Army and served as an MP in Company C, 202nd Engineer Combat Battalion. He was eye-witness to the World War II in New York, North African, Italy, France, and Germany. In New York, he investigated possible German sabotage of the SS Normandie and patrolled hydroelectric lines on the St. Lawrence River. Overseas, his company landed in North Africa, then followed the infantry and set up military governments in liberated villages. He participated in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, of Salerno in southern Italy in September 1943, and in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France, on August 15, 1944. He was part of the Seventh Army under General Alexander Patch. When they reached Nancy, France, Phil joined General Patton’s Third Army. Along the way, Phil saluted President Franklin Roosevelt, saw Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower, enjoyed an inspiring speech by General George Patton, and escorted lots of happy German and Italian POWs heading to peace and safety in POW camps.

Come hear about WWII from a man who lived it.

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