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1276Wreaths Across America

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council
    Dec 8, 2012

      Ahoy Members and Friends,
      Our council holiday luncheon December 11 is not the only thing going on in San Francisco. Below is some recent E-mail correspondence pertaining to the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio San Francisco, December 15.
      We thank member CDR Kurt Birkhahn for answering the call to represent the US Merchant Marine at the wreath laying ceremony at the Presidio.
      We also thank the Arkansas Division Sea Cadets for their assistance distributing the wreaths and otherwise assisting.
      May I encourage all of you to attend the ceremony at a National Cemetery near you? You can find the details on each by visiting http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. Photos and a report appreciated.
      It is not too late to individually donate funds for a wreath as well. The council donated wreaths this year to the Presidio Cemetery.
      Wreaths Sponsorship
                                                                                        Selected Location: CAPNSF - San Francisco National Cemetery at Presidio San Francisco
                                                                                      In Memory Of... American Merchant Marine Veterans
      Past, present, and future - the Pacific Merchant Marine Council is engaged in maritime activities. 
      See many of you at the luncheon on the 11th!
      Heave Ho,
      Phelps Hobart, President
      Pacific Merchant Marine Council
      Navy League of the United States
      (916) 739-6949

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2012 8:47 AM
      Subject: Re: Wreath Across America - assistance

      Kurt: Thank you for taking the time to represent the US Merchant Marine and Navy Services. Know they appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule. 
      BZ Kurt. 

      RADM Frank Johnston,USMS
      Vice President/Commissioner
      Board of Pilot Commissioners for
      the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun

      On Dec 7, 2012, at 23:58, Frank Opelski wrote:

      CDR Kurt Birkhahn:
      Thank you for responding to the short notice request for a representative of the U.S. Merchant Marine to participate in the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at the San Francisco National Cemetery on Saturday, 15 December 2012, rain or shine. Your support to honor the veterans is appreciated and I am looking forward to meeting you. Please forward a copy of your biography to me at your earliest convenience.
      To avoid congestion on the cemetery roads, we plan to direct as much traffic as possible to the parking lot for the chapel located adjacent to the cemetery. Since you are part of the official party, drive through the cemetery gate and ask one of the personnel directing traffic where to park. I recommend arriving at the cemetery by 0800, then ask for me, Tim Albert or Edgar Deleon for further instructions. In the pavilion to the right of the memorial, refreshments will be available at no charge.
      There will be representatives for the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine and the POWs/MIAs. The seven service representatives will be introduced and place the ceremonial wreath for their service branch at a designated point during the ceremony.
      Following is an overview of the ceremony plan. This year, the Band of the Golden West from Travis AFB is joining the WAA ceremony for the first time. At 0830, The band will begin playing for approximately 30 minutes. At 0900, the actual ceremony will start, There will be a short parade on the concrete walkway to the monument where the podium is located and the service representatives will take their seats to the right of the podium until called upon to place their ceremonial wreath. The parade will be led by a SFPD bagpiper, followed by the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard and the Navy Sea Cadet Color Guard, and then the service representatives.
      After welcoming remarks by the master of ceremonies and the invocation by the chaplain, the keynote speaker will be introduced. Following the keynote speaker, the service representatives will be introduced and they will place the ceremonial wreath for their service. Afterwards the public will lay wreaths at the graves.
      FYI, following are several links to videos of the ceremony held last year.
      This first video shows Chuck Kohler who is a Pearl Harbor Survivor and was the keynote speaker. The Warriors Watch provided a motorcycle escort for him and his family from Concord where he resides to the cemetery and for his return to Concord.
      This second video was taken from the Huey flyover during the ceremony. The Huey will return this year; the flyover is scheduled at 0930 and it will make several passes.
      This third video shows the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery held in a prior year. It is a powerful video and it was broadcast by one of the national television networks.
      Additional information is available at wreathsacrossamerica.org and more WAA videos are available at YouTube.com
      Thank you for joining us to remember and honor the departed veterans.
      Frank Opelski, Lt Col, CAP
      WAA Project Officer
      44th Composite Sqdn, CAWG

      In a message dated 12/7/2012 9:28:12 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, Kurt Birkhahn writes:

      It would be an honor to be present and unless otherwise directed, in dress blues with white gloves I will be ready to lay the wreath.

      Standing by for any further detail (muster time, specific meet location, protocol instructions)

      Thank you

      Sincerely & Respectfully,

      Kurt Birkhahn
      MARAD Pacific (MAR617) Safety & Security
      Marine Engineer & Surveyor, GTS Admiral Callaghan / MV Cape Orlando
      USDOT Maritime Administration
      201 Mission Street, STE 1800
      San Francisco CA 94105
      Desk 415-744-2589
      Fax 415-744-2576
      Cell 415-740-9887

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Pacific Merchant Marine Council
      Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 4:32 PM
      To: RADM Brooks, CDR Birkhahn, CAPT Gedney, CAPT Grippi, RADM Johnston, CAPT Korwatch; CAPT Moloney, CAPT O'Brien, and CAPT Shafer,Cc; Karen Lynne Freitas
      Subject: Wreath Across America - assistance
      Importance: High

      RADM Brooks, CDR Birkhahn, CAPT Gedney, CAPT Grippi, RADM Johnston, CAPT Korwatch; CAPT Moloney, CAPT O'Brien, and CAPT Shafer,

      Ahoy All,

      You are all members of our Pacific Merchant Marine Council and you all have a background as an officer within the US Merchant Marine.

      We have received a call to action for one volunteer to represent the US Merchant Marine Saturday morning, 0900 December 15, to lay a ceremonial wreath at the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio, San Francisco.

      It would be great to have several of you there but one is needed, preferably in uniform, to do the honors. Your name will be printed in the program.

      Please get back to me asap by reply E-mail if you can take the assignment on. Or if you can't.

      Our Arkansas Division Sea Cadets will be engaged as well.

      Heave Ho,

      Phelps Hobart, President
      Pacific Merchant Marine Council
      Navy League of the United States


      San Francisco National Cemetery at Presidio San Francisco - CAPNSF

      Sponsor A Wreath

      State: California
      Location Address: 1 Lincoln Blvd The Presidio San Francisco CA 94129
      Location Graves: 30000 Location
      Veteran Graves: 27000+
      Accepting Sponsorship Wreaths: Yes

      Volunteer Location Leader: Frank Opelski
      Telephone: 925-216-9850

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Karen Freitas
      To: Phelps Hobart
      Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 1:43 PM
      Subject: Wreath Across America - assistance

      Hello Phelps,
      The "Wreaths Across America" needs a person from the Merchant Marines to be apart of the wreath laying on Saturday December 15 - Presideo at the 0900 service. Suggested you or perhaps you have someone you can suggest to have this honor?
      They would place the wreath in honor of the Merchant Marines  - would be great if they were in uniform however not necessary for the Merchant Marines - all other service organizations are being represented.

      They can contact me directly for additional information.

      Cheers- INST Freitas

      Would need an answer so that their name can appear in the program.

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