- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2005

Dear Sarge:

The alumni and the current members of Chi Gamma Iota, the XGI fraternity of Penn State Harrisburg, are most appreciative of your successful efforts in spearheading our project to rename the Newville, Pa., post office after Medal of Honor recipient Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart.

Rep. Bill Shuster, Republican, sponsored HR 2062, which renames the Newville post office after this distinguished American hero. HR 2062 has the support of all 19 members in the Pennsylvania House, plus U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen Jr., Democrat, from Maryland’s 8th District. Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republicans, are expected to support the legislation when it is referred to the Senate.

On Oct. 3, 1993, while serving as a sniper team member, U.S. Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Rangers in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sgt. Shughart distinguished himself by his actions above and beyond the call of duty and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. This year, as we approach the 12th anniversary of this American hero’s sacrifice, wouldn’t it be appropriate to finalize the Randall Shughart post office in Newville?

Thank you for your efforts in making this renaming possible and thank you for your continued support of America’s veterans.

Richard Smith

Silver Spring

Dear Smitty:

I have recently contacted the House Government Reform Committee, and its spokesman Robert White stated: “We will try to move this bill to the House floor as quickly as possible once Congress returns from recess.”

Shaft notes

• Congratulations to the Tampa, Fla., chapter of the Military Officers Association of America for recently winning $10,000 in a national contest. The chapter is putting the money right back into helping families of the active-duty wounded or injured who are being treated at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Tampa. These service members suffered combat injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The $10,000 Newman’s Own Award was sponsored by the Paul Newman Foundation, the Military Times newspapers and the Fisher House Foundation, which has temporary lodging facilities for families near military and veterans’ hospitals.

The Tampa chapter competed against more than 177 other organizations for the top prize and won for its work with combat-injured veterans in the Tampa area.

• I have mixed emotions about the imminent departure from his beloved Marine Corps of good friend Gen. William L. “Spider” Nyland, assistant commandant of the Corps. I am happy for his retirement, but I am less than happy that the Marine Corps will lose an outstanding leader.

Gen. Nyland was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps under the NROTC program upon graduation from the University of New Mexico in 1968. In addition to attaining a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, his formal military education includes Amphibious Warfare School (1975), Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) (1977), College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval War College (1981), and Air War College (1988).

After being assigned to VMFA-531, Gen. Nyland was ordered to Vietnam, where he flew 122 combat missions. Other tours included aviation safety officer and congressional liaison/budget officer, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, and operations officer, Marine, 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade. He commanded VMFA-232, the Marine Corps’ oldest and most decorated fighter squadron, from July 1985 to July 1987.

Gen. Nyland subsequently served as section chief for the Central Command section, European Command/Central Command Branch. He was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 1, 1994, and was assigned as assistant wing commander, 2nd MAW, serving in that billet until Dec. 1, 1995. He was advanced to general in September 2002.

• Hats off to Ralph de Toledano, 89, the veteran recently sworn in as commander of the National Press Club American Legion Post 20. Ralph succeeded Commander Emeritus John P. Cosgrove.

The post was chartered in 1919 at the suggestion of Gen. John J. “Blackjack” Pershing and now has 92 members. Among many notable members were Theodore Roosevelt, Sarah McClendon (twice post commander), and Pierre Salinger. In 1921, French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, supreme commander of Allied forces in World War I, visited the post.

Commander de Toledano was sworn in by the American Legion National Commander Tom Cadmus at the National Press Club.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail [email protected]

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