Florida’s First Coast Chapter

7 December 2023


December meeting reminder


12:00 hrs

American Legion Post on San Juan Ave

Bring a reasonable contribution for your “free” lunch.


14 September 2023

Tuesday September 19


Mandarin Ale House, 11100 San Jose Blv

Bibical Battles:  Delta Force from Genesis 14 5-20,  and Command Ethics taken from1 Samuel 30 9-26

AAR presented by Robert Parks


28 December 2022


From St. Augustine to St. Mary’s we have traveled the roads of Clay, Duval, St. John’s, Nassau, and Putman counties to literally be the Cavalry of Florida’s First Coast.

Our meeting speakers have been Afghan vets, POW flame keepers, terrorist interrogators, and therapists.

But more importantly, we speak to each other in comradeship.  We are members of the Duval County Veterans Council and endorse the American Legion by memberships and support of the Auxiliary.

If you are reading this and live in the North Florida area, our contact information is included.  Think about it.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to meet a veteran from the 1st Cav’s Occupation of Japan?

Wouldn’t it be informative to learn the inside ropes of negotiating the VA system?  Come.  We have insights.  We even have an Air Force vet who attends just because he likes us.

4 November 2022

Florida’s First Coast Chapter

Our 1st CAVLRY November meeting is at the Hope Therapy Horse Ranch just south of Middleburg, yes Middleburg..

Tuesday November 15th at 14:00 hrs.  Yes 14:00 at the Ranch.

No lunch is expected on site.

Therefore eat in advance of approximately an hours drive in traffic from Jax, south on Blanding Blv (SR 218) to Middleburg.

Our brothers at the Legion Post on San Juan Ave. plan to eat and depart from there.  If you choose to join them at the Legion for lunch prior to departure, call so the kitchen staff can accomodate.


Now: directions:


FROM: Orange Park, Blanding Blv (SR 218)  go SOUTH towards Middleburg.

Go thru Middleburg till you see the CIRCLE K store on your left and a DUNKIN DONUT on your right.

Continue south for approximately 1/2 mile to NOLAN Road on your right. Bear/ angle right onto Nolan.  (Not a 90% turn per the map)

Go approximately 1/4 mile to BIG BRANCH Road.  Turn right on Big Branch.

Continue on Big Branch for approximately 1/2 mile till Big Branch turns 90% left.  Turn Left. staying on Big Branch.

At the end of Big Branch is the Horse Ranch.  Pull in, unsaddle.



21 September 2022






September-October Planning

Our September meeting on Tuesday the 20th will be at Ted’s Montana Grill, Blanding Blv, Orange Park, 12:00

Our speaker will be Rick Siber, a contracted Afghanistan investigator and retired Jax police veteran.

Plans are under way for an October Equine Therapy visit to Middleburg.  You may have seen several versions of how such therapy heals veteran traumas.

The National POW/MIA Memorial Museum is in Jacksonville FL.

We had a presentation of the present configuration and future plans at our August meeting.

In September we presented ourselves at the Museum and took the grand tour.

If you visit, look for our Memorial Brick embedded in the walkway.

The museum is south of I-10 at the Chaffee Rd. exit.  Go and see.


We had a presentation in July from a retired Marine SGM who is now a fitness instructor.

He gave us good advice on two fronts. 1.  In dealing with the VA, be patient – persistent – and prevail.  2. Any exercise is better than none.  Even rotating your arms is better than flopping them to your side.


If you are reading this and live in or north of St. Augustine or south of St. Mary’s, you are within driving distance of our meetings.

Contact information is printed above.  And long distance calls are free.  Notice our flag and uniforms in the picture.




27 June 2022






We continue as brothers alternating our monthly meetings between Westside and Southside of Jacksonville because of the geographic size of Duval County.

In June, our speaker, Joe Adcox, presented his personal story of his march to physical fitness after retiring as a Marine SGM.

Joe gave us two reminders.

1.With regard to VA claims, never give up, persist.  The VA is a vast bureaucracy and each voice when called or spoken to seems to pass to another voice.  Use the computer if possible.  You will eventually prevail.

2. Any activity is better than no activity with regard to your health.  Even rotating your arms is good.  Swimming works.  But again your persistence towards health is best.  Anything works more than nothing.

In July we will dedicate a 1st Cav Memorial brick on the walkway at the National POW/MIA Museum at Cecil Field in Jacksonville.  For those of you interested or on a trip to Florida, the Museum should be on your bucket list.  Take the Hwy 23 south exit off of I-10 to POW/MIA Parkway.  To add to your trip enjoyment, the Museum is next to the golf course.

Here also is a bit of philosophy for you and a picture of our last meeting.  Nice uniforms wouldn’t you say?


20 April 2022





Our comradeship continues.  We do not so much rehash the past as we do look to the future.

We alternate our meetings Southside to Westside in Jacksonville at locations convenient to St.Augustine, Palatka, Yulee, Mayport and Macclenny.

Call the listed number for which BBQ joint we will visit next.

In March our presentation was from Chris Miller, a staff member of our Congressman, John Rutherford, and candidate for local office in his own right.

Chris spoke to us on the state of the city, Jacksonville, and his vision for the same.

In April, Ron Hasty, the Veteran Outreach Coordinator for the University of Florida Health System, presented his program that addresses TBI.

His wellness and recovery programs have other locations throughout the USA.  They accept referrals for evaluation and treatment at 904-244-3289.

All veterans are eligible to apply for this TBI program.

We continue to be represented at veterans conferences where our distinctive gold and black Cav shirts and hats distinguish us.

If you would like to order uniforms for your own Chapter, call Lou Urso at 516-987-2898 for routing to the vendor.


22 February 2022








February was travel month for us as we accepted Jeff Lay’s request to visit St. Augustine FL.

If not already in your home town, it’s coming, that is a cafeteria at a car dealership.

We tip our hat to Bozard Ford just off I 95 at SR 16 in St. Augustine.  Jeff is second from the right and in proper uniform.

A week later we traveled all the way to downtown Jacksonville to attend the Vets4Vets conference.

All in uniform, we attracted attention and our secretary, Ray Skipper signed up four new applicant vets that saw us and hastened to apply.

Ray is second from the left in the picture.  And, we found two speakers for our next meetings.

Thanks Johnny Michael for showing our flag, literally.  Johnny is third from the right.

Unfortunately, by the time you are reading this, time will have slipped into the future as the song was once sung.

So, if you live in Palatka, Bostwick, Yulee, Maclenny, Vilano or even Hastings, call the above number to get onto the meeting notification list.




16 December 2021







Greetings for the New Year from north of St. Augustine and south of St. Marys, the land of no state income tax.


In October 2021, we heard from Jon Singleton (USN of all things) who told us of how he toiled to extract his interpreter from Afghanistan.

In November we listened to Col.(ret) John Porter’s AAR tales of command including finding and redirecting the lost convoy.

Our December meeting featured double thick buffalo or beef burgers from Ted’s Montana Grill in Orange Park.

January will see city councilman at large, Matt Carlucchi, speak to us at our return to Southside and Miller’s Ale House.


St. Augustine, Palatka, Palm Valley, Crescent Beach and Hastings wake up.  We are headed your way in February to Ford’s Restaurant near the outlet mall exit off of I95.

Watch your emails or call 904 534 8899.


Correction to the last report:  Leigh Ware was reported to be in his 90’s.  He is only 89.  He is still, however, our hero from the Occupation of Japan days.

And here we all are including Jeff Lay, sporting his winter beard, who drives up from St. Johns County.  That’s Lou Urso out of uniform without his cap.

We thank Johnny Michael for the construction of our chapter flag.


18 November 2021



Tuesday the 14th at 12:00

Ted’s Montana Grill, Just south of I 295 on Blanding Blv, Orange Park

Family gathering.  Wives, and others of importance to you are invited.
It would be good to let Doc Skipper know in advance of you and others attending for the appropriate reservation number.
904 573 0134






June 2021

On Memorial Day, we had a representative at the Jacksonville National Cemetery for the proceedings there.
One of our own will soon take the Honor Flight from here to Washington.  Honor Flight does just that, honors vets with a day at the Memorials in D. C.

At our June meeting, we had two presentations which should be of interest to other Chapters.

1. Operation Barnabas: a group that finds, houses, rehabs, veterans in need or other distresses.
Contact person is Raylan Heck 904 401 2972.

2. U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps: a group of vets that supplements first responders in times of local emergencies.
Contact person is Carl Lay 904 679 2155.

We urge other Chapters to consider these two groups in your support planning.


April 2021




We made it to the Vets 4 Vets convention at the Jacksonville Arena as you can see.  How about our Chapter caps?  Pretty snazzy and ordered by Lou Urso our Treasurer.  And what about our own Chapter Flag in the background? 1st Class operation we say.  Sam Berninger is our VP, Ray Skipper our Secretary and Johnny Michael our Sgt at Arms.

Because of the geographic size of Jacksonville, we alternate meetings between Southside and Westside.

You will get this Saber just in time to make our June 15th meeting at Ted’s Montana Grill on San Jose Blvd.  Stay tuned or get on the mailing list for more details.

Our only problem with the Arena meeting was that the next table over won the 50/50 door prize.  We were one ticket away from having to report to the IRS.   But we did add two more names to the email notification list.  Feel left out?  See contact info above.

We regret the passing of James Murphy.  He was a great guy, and we keep his memory with us.