September 2016 Newsletter


SEPTEMBER9th – Freedom Friday Dove Hunters“Season Kick-Off”
10th – Army Echo Company Spiritual Retreat
11th – 328th Battalion Co Spiritual Retreat
23rd – Signal Battalion
23rd-24th Jimmy Nance Retreat

OCTOBER14th – Freedom Friday First annual Octoberfest
29th – Chaplain 50th Birthday Day

NOVEMBER11th – Freedom Friday Veterans Day –“Cigar Smoke Off”
12th – 13th Boy Scout retreat
24th – Thanksgiving

DECEMBER 3rd– E Co 536th BSB Camp Bullis
9th – Freedom Friday “Country Christmas Wine Tasting”
10th – 302nd Engineer Company Camp Bullis
24th – Christmas Eve
25th – Christmas Day

Cheerfully Built; Cheerfully Supported

Whether it’s a phone call from the Cancer Society, Girl Scout Cookies, or the passing of the offering plate at church, we have all been there.  That is, we have all been in situations where we feel obligated to give.  Obligation is not a stirring motivation for giving.  In fact, if a sense of obligation is the prevailing reason people are supporting a cause, its days are numbered!  The Bible reminds us that obligation is exactly the wrong reason to give! “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2Corinthians 9:7 ESV)

One of the great things about the SS American Memorial is that it was built by volunteers who cheerfully contributed their time, talents and money to bring a vision to reality.  They did this because they believed in the mission of helping Wounded Warriors recover and helping all types of Americans restore their priorities of God, Family and Country.

When we believe in something and we see it growing and expanding, we can get behind it with excitement.  We can cheerfully support the mission of the SS American Memorial because we can see it working in real people’s lives to make a difference for our future as Americans.  May the SS American Memorial always have a long line of cheerful supporters who give for no other reason than that they love being a part of something that is so positive and meaningful to so many.

Rev. Tom Masterson
Pastor, Hope Church San Antonio
Chaplain, SS American Memorial



The SS American Memorial Foundation minutes will show the first board director’s meeting was held at 8:30 am July 4, 2016, in the memorial building.  While the 4th of July Memorial service was not a fundraising event guests donated over $9000 towards the newly formed foundation stating, “keep up the good work helping people” – ONE AMERICAN AT A TIME!  In August your donations helped defer funeral costs for recent veteran suicide, financial assistance to Wounded Warrior, lunches for National Guard, entertainment for wounded warriors,  and donated to affiliate veteran foundation.


The Memorial outreach program linked up with the local VA Fisher House in August with VA Fisher House Program Manager Erik Zielinsk and his family taking some R&R time at the Lazy U Ranch.  Erik brought along local Wounded Warrior Ed Mateka and his family for a first visit to memorial and tour.  Their families enjoyed the day bbqing, swimming, and canoeing the river.

Later in the week SS American Memorial directors Craig Russell and Al Leyendecker visited the VA Fisher House for a grand tour of these amazing facilities for the Warrior families.  Hats off to Erik for the amazing leadership and passion he puts forth on a daily basis ensuring that these long-term stay families are taken care of as their loved ones heal in the VA hospital.

The VA Fisher House will be scheduling future retreats to the Lazy U Ranch, allowing their long-term veterans to stay families a chance to take in some fresh air outside of the VA Hospital and big-city environment.


It has been over 4 years since the Wounded Warrior’s of the Warrior Transition Battalion BAMC started using the ranch for R&R rehabilitation.  Today, since the troop draw down from the war front, we have little to none newly injured Wounded Warrior’s coming from the WTB.  Their physical wounds have healed for the most part and now they are retired veterans.  They have transitioned from a war fighter to a civilian and now they come to the ranch to act as mentors to the new COMBAT MEDIC trainees from Ft. Sam Houston.

Like the warrior, the ranch has transitioned as well and the wounded warrior veterans come out to tell their story to the trainee soldiers of the 264th Medical Battalion in training to become a COMBAT MEDIC – what better inspiration than to hear it first hand from a Wounded Warrior regarding how important the COMBAT MEDIC was in saving their lives.

Wounded Warrior’s Brandon Walden and Jake Van Hovel share their first-hand account of their combat missions and sustained injuries.  They tell the class, if not for the COMBAT MEDIC we would not be here today!


People have come from all over the U.S. to visit the nation’s only private ‘living” war memorial.  Many come from the weekly soldier visits as did a recent young Marine Captain on active duty stationed in Pearl Harbor. Captain Ryan Dean Rabe USMC ( 2011 USNA) recently paid a visit to the memorial while TDA (Temporary Duty Assignment) at BAMC.  During his recent tour of the SS American Memorial, while listening to the history regarding how the memorial was founded by submarine sailors of the cold war era USS Tunny SSN 682,  he realized he was hearing about his father’s boat and his father’s history for the first time.  Captain Rabe’s father William Rabe was shipmate to Craig Russell Founder of the SS American Memorial.  The two young sailors served together on the USS Tunny SSN 682 back in the early ’80s!  It has been over 25 years since these two Cold War submariners last saw each other – this day they came back together, while not in a physical sense, but one of blood heritage – the next generation!

Your FOUNDATION helps Louisiana flood victims click for full article


First annual Oktoberfest

$1.75 beer

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