Monday, February 23, 2009

Insignia for the Armed Forces

The American Insignia Co. manufactured
costume jewelry prior to WW ll.
In 1941, instead of ankle bracelets and lavalieres
they started producing Army, Navy, Marine
and Coast Guard Official Insignia.
The firm had a room full of stamping presses
and die makers to supply them with authentic
approved dies .
The jewelery line was phased out and I
found myself employed by the largest producer
of insignia in the US.
My job was to solder the joints,
(pins with a pivot base) catches ,
(Latches to hold the pins)
and posts ( gizmos that penetrated the
clothing and were secured by tiny spring locks)
to the backs of the insignia stampings which
were used for fastening to uniforms .
Soldering, required a torch, that used
illuminating gas and compressed air, to heat
the stampings and melt the silver solder
to secure the findings.(pins and catches)
I guess you now know where this post is heading ..
The soldering was done on Asbestos boards
8"X14" and one inch thick.
We placed the findings under the
flame of the torch with steel tweezers.
The tweezers we had, were ten inches
in length and used to locate the findings in
their proper place on the stampings.
We used our tweezers to keep time with
the music, that played on the Muzack, by
beating them on the asbestos board to
the tempo of the sound while we waited for
the silver solder to melt.
Plenty of asbestos was airborne, while
we hunched over the decaying board with the
air pressured flame, while we were
innocently breathing in the hot residue.

Here I am telling you, how lucky I am, that
after 4 years of doing this work, I am free of
mesothelioma, Asbestos Poisoning.

There are thousands of Navy personnel
that may not be so lucky.

The Navy used asbestos-containing products
as fire resistant compounds in their vessels for
many years, until 1970.
After that, less amounts of asbestos-containing
products were used on newer ships.
Many Servicemen serving aboard these
ships were in addditional peril of
Mesothelioma, asbestos poisoning. has a list of all naval vessels
that may have contained contaminants.
A Veteran must provide proof to the V.A. that
their disease is asbestos related, and that
exposure occured during military service.
in order to receive any benefits..
A Veteran unable to prove to the V.A. that
their asbestos exposure is limited and related
to service will be advised to seek
compensation from asbestos manufacturers. has a list of Naval vessels with
asbestos contaminants that may have
threatened your health.
Your best bet is to inquire of the
Veterans Administration
if you think you are at risk.

Friday, February 13, 2009

42nd Street inThe 40's

The summer of 1940 found me working
in a Whelan's Drug Store on 42nd St.
Diagonally across the street was
The Commodore Hotel ..
At my station behind the counter,
I could look uptown toward ,the east side
of Grand Central Station, emptying
into Lexington Ave.
It was a very busy place.
My friend Barney told me of a job
vacancy in the West 50's
When summer ended, I left Whelan's
and started at The American
Insignia Company.
AMICO, as it was known to us,
was closer to my High School,
Haaran High, on 59th and 9th Ave.
I was hired, part time, as an apprentice
With high school behind me I began
full time at Amico, as Senior Solderer.
I worked there until I left for
the US Army early in 1943 .
At the completion of my Service I returned
to Amico in 1946 by contractual agreement,
with a raise in salary.
Four months later I married Bea, in
Broadway Mansions with 50 couples
in attendance.
The cost of the Wedding was 400 Dollars
and my Salary, $34.00 a week.

Today 34 dollars would be,
cab fare to the Hall, 3 miles from
42nd Street.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Father Loves Me

On Feb. 14th 1995 I had an insight that
was quite remarkable to me.
After 52 years I came to realize that:
My Father Loved Me, ..Very Much.

I got out of bed at 2 am
wrote this on a legal pad, in pen and ink
longhand, sitting in my underwear.
I still own the pad today.

It was late afternoon in Oct. 1943 ..
I was in the Army, stationed in
Indiantown Gap, PA.
An Orderly came to tell me that my father
was on the base. The Orderly had
instructions to bring me to Battalion
Headquarters in his Jeep, because,
civilians had to be detained for Security reasons..
A uniformed Escort had to be provided
to accompany the visiting Civilians
on the base.
It was explained to me that my Visitor
was in the company Master Sgt.
Charles Hart, who was my 1st Sgt.
He was awaiting my arrival at the
Sargent's Office with the Officer of the Day.

During the ride, I had the most agonizing
thoughts trying to understand the reason
for this unexpected, and unusual
circumstance of allowing personal visitors,
who were only permitted on weekends
for enlisted men.......but the ride was short
and when we arrived, we were told ,that
my First Sargent had taken my Father to
the Mess Hall, and we were to meet them there.
\As I turned to look toward the Mess Hall,
from where I stood, I could see the enlisted men
in the Chow line, most in green fatigues
about 100 feet away .
Outstanding was the dark blue outfit
among the olive drab, restlessly waiting.

The blue figure with the brown fedora had a posture
that identified this entity as my Pop....
and I ran toward him.. He turned to see where
all the shouting was coming from...
and saw me running...he left the waiting line
and ran in my direction..

When we met there was an awkward moment,
of no embrace, no hugging or kisses...
just some very Macho back slapping and
hand shaking ...and I remember that
wonderful smile on his face that announced to me
that he was not the bearer of bad news.

The thing of it is, that, for over Fifty Years,
until this particular night,
I had never made sense out of the look in his eyes.

They saw me with sparkling admiration
and good humor, a tearful trace of concern and
a careful appraisal from head to toe....And
with what I understand now, AS MUCH LOVE !

The kind of love I hope my children can
see and apprise, when they notice
me looking at them, NOW.

The kind of look I had seen in my Mother's eyes
many times and knew, what that look of
adoration was all about.

Strangely, I never equated that thought
with my Father until this moment.
My Father Loved Me.

Evidently, we do get wise, as we age.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Veterans and Their Families

This is really an old story of mine
posted in a previous Blog.
The chaos created to the Families
of caught up National Guardsmen
and Army ,Navy and Marine
Service men by the nature of the Iraqi
War was devastating and swift.
Combined with the threatening
economic turn down and the
deplorable Housing situation
for them is despicable.
Now ,they are being asked to
pay taxes on the pensions they receive

There are as many as 20 wounded
for every man or woman lost
in action or Illness.
They say we have 35 to 40 thousand
wounded and over 5 thousand mortally
wounded and dead.
I am inclined to say,it is more like
What about the many thousands
who are denied treatment
and consideration for
open wounds that don't bleed.
Think of the returning Viet Nam
Veterans inflicted with Agent
Orange who were not recognized
with a service connected disability
until almost 10 years later.
Those wounded will never be
included in the final count taken
after 1978.
They will be added with an Asterisk

Our National Guardsmen are
Volunteers who enlisted to protect
The United States and its shores
from Terrorists.
What about the state of mind
of these wonderful men and women
who find themselves, thrust into war
to find non-existing weapons in
a country, Thousands of Miles
From Their Families, for a "tour
of duty" of 1 to 3 years.
Think of the anguish of this personnel
and their Wives,Children,Mothers,
Fathers, Siblings, (yes the caps are mine
because that's how important
THEY are to me) extended family
members and neighbors and friends
relating to this occurrence
The Guardsmen,with desire,
to defend America from Terrorists,
are shocked when
they are sent on what
turns out to be an exercise in frustration.
Don't you think that will affect the
Services with supreme stress and traumatic
conditions, in addition, to Worry
of a roadside explosion that kills
without selectivity ?
I do!
You have to think that , after a while, we
should abhor the horror of armed conflict
because there really is no winner.
At the conclusion of a battle, we are
supposed to be elated when the enemy
has a huge body count compared to
a smaller loss on our side.
Factually, the lesser loss, is magnified
by the Multitude that Mourn The Loss..
That is what war is!
I have earned the Right to Say So !

Will They Never Learn!

Let not them, without child to serve in war,
Beckon, our Sons to go.

Let them commit, their Sons,
Then, our children will follow.

To submit a comment please click on
"Publish" at the very bottom of the
dialogue box.
Sorry ...It should really say "Submit"

Many people have asked me about
their comment and were disappointed
to find out I never received one.
They told me they saw the word
publish, but were reluctant to make
any changes to my blog.
Let them rest assured,
The box, Publish, will be moderated
by me and added to the comments.
It will not affect the Blog at all.

I want to thank all you Bloggers
for Your Submissions

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Table of Organization

The Table of Organization, for those
of you who do not know, is the way
a business, a Corporation
or a military service unit is set up.
The idea being, to hand down orders,
advice, or criticism or accolades,
as the Head of the Organization, who
is the superior decider ,to the level
below you and then in turn to
prevail on the lowest member of this
team to provide the desired effect
for the entity for which you are responsible.
The United States Army is such an
My Company was part of the
army with a T.O. made up of a
Captain who was in charge of our Company
and responsible to the Major and a
Colonel in Battalion Headquarters.
The Captain has 2 silver bars as insignia.
to indicate his Rank.
He has a First Lieutenant,(one silver bar)
and 2 Second Lieutenants (1 brass bar)
The "Brass" is worn on the Epaulets
and/or the collar of the Officers uniform
The Lieutenants were each in
charge of one of the three Platoons.
Our Platoons had on average
55 personnel , a non-com, a Staff Sgt.,
who had his designated Rank which was
displayed on both sleeves of his uniform.
(a non-commissioned officer with
three inverted V stripes atop
one rocker joining the ends of the
inverted Vs, cup like, at the ends.
Three Buck Sgts.,( three stripes,
no rockers) each in control of one
of the three Sections of a Platoon .
A Section would have 17 or more men
including the Sgt, his Corporal.
and 15 Privates First Class, (a single Stripe)
and Buck Privates ...No Stripes.
Each Section can be broken down
into Squads of 4 or more men
with a Corporal (two stripes) Leader.
There is also a Service Platoon
with the job of taking on all kinds
of details that require skills
to make the Company more efficient.
Don't ask me what else they do.
I don't know.
They came out for Roll Call
every morning.
Never saw them again.
My Loss.
I was a Sgt.,with three years of service
and never knew what the Service
Platoon ever did.
Now to the T.O. ,which gave the rank and
job responsibility of the individual.
There is a Corporal Rank, a two striper,
whose job was to run the paperwork
and a T.O. of Company Clerk.
There was not one single issue of Company
business that did not go through the Corporal's
hands. Every order, every change of personnel,
every Court Martial, (military trial)
every promotion in Rank,
every time the upper echelon Officers or
Non-Commissioned Officers need advice
or a Jeep to goon a non sanctioned rendezvous,
all the intricate personal ventures by those
responsible for the survival of the Company
was an open book,To The COMPANY CLERK.
No wonder that EVERYONE was beholden
to him.
So there goes your T.O., down the drain.
The Corporal was the only one in Charge.
Remember "Mash"? How funny that was?
This Little Guy?
Ran the office and the
No Joke!
Patton Didn't Win The War.
His Company Clerk did, Bless him.

I am very glad that you came by again.
Thank you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Greater Generation Joins Bloggers!

Wow !
Hardly at a loss for words..
Got so many I don't know where
to begin this special day.
The Article," The Greatest Generation
Remembers" published in the
Feb. 2nd Republican American
generated a flow of traffic to my Blog
that made me re-read what was
so impressive.
Holy Smoke!
My stuff is great!
I got chills reading about the
landings... and who was this
guy that wrote this?
Couldn't believe it.
It was I.
My passion overpowered my hand
and the words are a part of my soul.
My expression is stronger
than I can imagine but the results
are right to the point.
My post tonight is to thank
every person who has ever read
my Blog and encouraged me to continue.
Encouragement that made me look inward
and overcome the jeopardy of identity
exposure, and allowing me to find
peace with my thoughts.
I know there are a lot of you out there.
Get it off your Chest!
Just another day ?
Nah...just one of the best.

Beside being cathartic, my blog
has put me on the verge of Celebrity.
My special thanks to
Julie Shoemacher of the
Middlebury Public Library,
Matthew O'Rouke,Reporter
and Jim Shannon, Photographer,
of the Republican American.
These are some of many,
who made this day possible.