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Colonel (Ret) Michael Mastrangelo (left) receiving the colors from outgoing Commander Colonel (Ret) Peyton Lumpkin (right) during the change of command ceremony.

July 12, 2010 – Katy, Texas  Colonel (Ret) Michael A. Mastrangelo assumed command of VFW Post 9182 from outgoing Commander Colonel (Ret) Peyton Lumpkin during ceremonies that marked the 4th of July observation at the VFW Post in old Katy. Commander Mastrangelo pledged to continue the VFW programs of support to our members and their families, service to the community, educating our young, and advocating the welfare of our military. “Katy is a great veteran town whose support to the VFW, from the City officials to the citizens, have been warm and close” said Mastrangelo.

Lumpkin, coming off of a very successful two years as the Commander, thanked his fellow veterans and dignitaries, to include the Mayor Donald Elder, for their support in making Katy “an All-American Post.” Lumpkin and Mastrangelo are two career military officers, who have worked closely together for the last three years, Lumpkin stressed that he views “Mike Mastrangelo as a close friend and will be eager to assist as the Post takes on major initiatives this upcoming year.”

Justin Perryman presided as Master of Ceremonies, keeping the ceremony professional and interesting for all in attendance. It was a tender moment during the ceremony when Dave Brasell, Senior Vice Commander, introduced surviving World War ll Prisoner Of War (POW) Warren Robertson. POW Robertson, also a Katy VFW member, found himself in the US Army in March of 1942 on the Island of Java when he was captured and held by the Japanese for 3 1/2 years. He was moved to various POW camps in the Japanese empire until he eventually found himself in a POW camp in the city of Nagasaki. He was moved out of this camp on August 3, 1945 and six days later, August 9,1945,the second atomic bomb was dropped on the city where he had been held a POW. The war’s end came six days later on August 15, 1945 and Robertson was liberated shortly thereafter. During his interment, he had been forced to slave labor for the Mitsubishi Corp, It was a moving moment for all those present to put a “face with a name” and hear the circumstances his survival.

At the conclusion of the story of Robertson’s sacrifices for freedom, the new Sr. Vice Commander asked another group of veterans to rise and be recognized. This was the post’s members from America’s Forgotten War – Korea. It was pointed out that these “young” men were preparing to go to War on this date sixty years ago, on July 4th, 1950. War with Korea had been declared nine days previously on June 25, 1950. This acknowledgment was followed by a presentation given by Benevolence Officer Mike Warren. He gave the details on the action of another great American Hero who recently passed away. This Korean and Vietnam veteran was Ed “Too Tall” Freeman. Mike Warren, who served in his unit in Vietnam, the 1st Air Cavalry, honored Freeman by remembering his heroic actions. Ed Freeman was a decorated Korean and Vietnam war veteran who fought as an infantry soldier and later became a helicopter pilot, On one of his greatest days of sacrifice, he defied heavy odds and led an amazing rescue of at least 30 soldiers. For his courageous actions, Freeman was awarded our nation’s highest honor – the Medal of Honor.

 A special tribute was also made to Pamela Murphy, the late wife of the most decorated World War ll hero and actor Audie Murphy. Mrs. Murphy died on April 8, 2010 and was known as the “guardian angel” to many soldiers at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration hospital. She treated EVERY veteran as a VIP. Her tireless efforts helped countless soldiers over her 35 year career as she would walk the halls making sure each veteran got to the specialist they needed – cutting through the well known VA “red tape”.

Some of the Distinguished Guests at the ceremony included Mayor Don Elder and Representative William Callegari, who represents Harris County, District 132. Representative Callegari stated that “I wish a 1,000 people could have experienced this.”

If you would like to know more about plans for upcoming VFW activities, have a family member who is a veteran who can benefit from the camaraderie, knowledge and services provided by post members please contact Colonel (Ret) Michael Mastrangelo OR if you are a teacher who would like the VFW to help present HISTORY to your classroom and/or have your class tour our museum, which is currently undergoing expansion, contact David Brasell, Senior Vice Commander at VFW Post 9182 at 281-391-8387. Post meetings are held at the VFW Hall on George Bush Drive in Katy on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.  Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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