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MAMF partners with One Community Auto

Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center Selects One Community Auto to Handle Vehicle Donations 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, November 15, 2020—The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center (MAMF)  announced today an affiliation with One Community Auto to increase the value of vehicles donated in support of the organization’s mission. MAMF will work with One Community Auto to promote the program to their supporters, detailing how the fast-track program works to bring in monies for their critical missions.

One Community Auto repairs and refurbishes the donated cars and other vehicles, then sells them in their monthly online auction. The online sales effort means quicker sales, getting the monies raised to specific charities to provide additional critical funding. 

“We are appreciative of the opportunity to be part of this program,” says MAMF Secretary/Public Affairs Dr. Allen Dale Olson. “One Community Auto is a veteran owned business and works hard to support military and veteran organizations in New Mexico. Even though One Community Auto is in Albuquerque, it can accept donations from anywhere in the US. We look forward to working with One Community Auto.”

The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center brings together people with shared experiences showcasing and honoring those who also served–America’s Military Families.

MAMF encourages its supporters to learn more about the opportunity to turn cars into cash to support its mission by visiting https://militaryfamilymuseum.org/donate/

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For Additional Information: Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director (505) 504-6830

Museum of the American Military Family.  546B State Highway 333  Tijeras, NM 87059

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Creative Gravy

I’m an Army brat and then was an Army wife for some years.  My Thanksgiving story is from the Army wife years…

I learned to bake wonderful stuff from my mom but wasn’t as talented with meal cooking in the early years….  the first Thanksgiving with my husband was at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, after he returned from Viet Nam. 

 Like my parents had always done, we invited some of my husband’s single friends to share Thanksgiving dinner at our quarters.  Things were going fine until it was time to make the turkey gravy.  Gravy wasn’t something I’d ever made before and I didn’t know to brown the butter and flour before adding the liquid… so we had some really anemic looking stuff.  

BUT, I had food coloring ( the basic red, blue, yellow, green) so I figured I could mix colors to get a nice brown.  It might have worked if I’d thought to mix the colors BEFORE adding them to the gravy… but hindsight is always perfect.  Instead, I served pasty white gravy with confetti spots of red, blue, and green floating around in it.  

Wish you could have seen the faces on all those guys!!!

Sue Johnson

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Ignorance in War

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I originally wrote this story about my brother Jim back in the early 80’s on Nov. 4, his birthday.

The day started no differently than any other that morning. I was getting ready for school, looking forward to all the things a 13-year old girl looks forward to. Little did I know that within the next 10 minutes my life would be dramatically changed. I remember telling my daddy goodbye as he left for work, and the lingering aroma of his after-shave. I remember my mother telling us kids to come to the table for breakfast. I remember a knock on the door. I remember someone opening it and my mother screaming-a loud, painful mourning wail.I may have been young but I knew why those men in their military uniforms were there with the chaplain, their military vehicle, and their somber faces. I ran! I didn’t want to listen to what they had to say, thinking in my childish mind that if I didn’t hear them say it then it wouldn’t be true. I beat frantically on Miss Rachel’s door. She was my mother’s best friend and right then I knew she needed one. I ran over to Mary Ann’s house. I needed a friend too. I finally went home after a while. Someone, I don’t remember who, was talking to Daddy on the phone. We found out later that in his pain and grief he ripped his phone completely out of the wall. My sister Connie, 15, was crying and my little brother Mike, 11, was motionless, in some kind of deep shock.

Daddy arrived and the full story unfolded. Jim Jr., a door gunner, was flying a mission that was shot down near OD lake. They were caught in a crossfire between two .51 caliber machine guns and took multiple hits. At low altitude the tail boom separated from the aircraft. The pilot lost control and the helicopter rolled at least partially inverted before striking the ground where it crashed and burned. He had not yet been found so they listed him as MIA (missing in action). Deep down we all knew better. The war had come home. I remember daddy telling someone later that during his military career he had had to deliver bad news to many wives, mothers, and fathers, but he never thought he would be the recipient of such news himself.

My God! He’s only 19 years old! Why him? Why us? He’s my brother, my idol. I want him home now! Safe! Alive! Well!

The next few days were a blur. I wouldn’t, couldn’t, eat or sleep. Jim’s faithful companion, his dog Winner, knew his master wasn’t coming home. He brought in his favorite toy, an old chewed-up football that he and Jim played with endlessly, and laid it at Mother’s feet as an offering of comfort. He never again left her side until his death many years ago.

People were in and out constantly over the next few days. There were friends, relatives, neighbors and schoolmates offering their comfort and prayers. Jim’s fiance’ Pat came and stayed with us. For days we walked in a fog. Mike still showed no emotion, living day by day as if nothing had changed. We worried about him. It took almost a year for him to come to terms with it, break down, and accept it.

Armed Forces day arrived!. Jim’s best friend, Larry Saltee, came and took Connie, Pat, and I to the festivities. Mother said we needed to get out. The waiting was taking its toll on us. Mike didn’t go. He worked Saturdays at the local barber shop there in Daleville shining shoes.

In spite of our pain we had a good time – until we drove up to the house. That military car was leaving. Mother and Grandma were sitting at the table with red-rimmed eyes, trying to be strong. She told us that Daddy had gone to get Mike from work. We knew something was wrong for he never came home early.

“He’s dead isn’t he?” Pat asked. Everyone began crying. The waiting was over. Now we knew. We would never see him again. Never again would we see that winning smile or hear his laugh. Never again would we be the victim of his unfailing charms and practical jokes. We were even robbed of the chance to look upon his face one last time for all they found were his dog tags.

Lying on the table were photographs taken a week earlier. They were taken on Mother’s Day of a family that a young boy would never see again, for at the time we were laughing and hamming it up for the cameras, Jim had met his death. My God! He was only 19.

Today is Jim’s birthday. He would have been 70 years old. It’s hard to believe that he would have been that age. Sometimes, most times, it seems like only yesterday. The pain is still there. Now though he is remembered through wonderful memories, but he is sorely missed. His passing took its toll and destroyed a once-happy family unit. We love you and miss you PFC James E. Isaac Jr.

Brenda Isaac Riley


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Museum of the American Military Family has many podcasts and blogs

The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center, located in Tijeras, NM, just east of Albuquerque collects  stories in a variety of formats. Check us out, and if you’re interested, send us a story…or two…or three! We will accept short video or audio files, as well as written posts for our blogs. Query us or send a written story  to: mamfwriter@gmail.com

 Our Podcast site is at


Audio Podcasts: Together We Serve: “Service” stories from Brats, Vets, Spouses & Others, Schooling With Uncle Sam: Teachers & Students talk about their DOD school stories, America Remembers ‘Nam: Veterans and their families share their thoughts on Vietnam, Brat Time Stories: Can’t sleep? Check out our middle-of-the-night bedtime stories, written by, about and for the insomniac Brat

Video Podcasts:  One Takes: Like the name implies, people share their stories in a short, unedited format, Kitchen Table Convos: The best conversations happen around the kitchen table,  At Ease!  Arts, Entertainment, Literature & Travel-there’s a little something for everyone…

Our Blogs:

At Ease: Books & More for Brats and their families, We Served Too

Passports & Pedagogy: Schooling with Uncle Sam; The American Military Family

Letters Home, America Remembers ‘Nam, MAMF Projects


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Faith during COVID-19

By Sue Pearson

Sue is the museum’s treasurer and is an Air Force wife. Her husband is a Vietnam veteran.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an emotional toll on our nation. People have fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and disbelief. They’ve lost hope, and some people do not believe God even exists because of His allowing this pandemic to happen. People are asking, “Where is God during this time of pandemic?”

God’s mercy will allow trials for individuals and our nation to get our attention to draw us closer to Him.   God has a plan and purpose for our lives, and we must let go of the fear and trust God’s plan for us.

As a military family, we’ve had very difficult at times, not knowing the unknown when our military member was deployed.  Military members leave their families on short notice and are deployed for several weeks or months without family knowing where they are deployed or when they will return home.  We did not have cell phones or email back in the day during the Vietnam War, which was difficult for family members, not knowing if our loved one was alive or dead. Thus, we had to learn to trust in God and have faith in Him.

In the Bible it expresses that Gods’ people are to not worry or have fear!  We are to be brave and courageous. In a word, have “faith” in Him.

Now, that can be difficult to do when we, as humans, do not trust or believe in God’s word or even understand it–not that everyone knows all!

Hebrews 11:1 expresses that ‘Faith’ is having the fortitude of things hoped for and believing in things not seen that whatever it is can and will happen in a safe and practical mode. (Paraphrased)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says we must “Rejoice always, pray continually, Give thanks in all Circumstances.”(Paraphrased)

COVID 19 has tested one’s faith to the extreme! It is because people have fear of the unknown and they are worrying. I have even heard people say, “it is not fair.”  Life is not fair and God did not proclaim life to be fair. He (God) expressed only that it is ‘just.’

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LTC Jennings

It was during the winter months of 1968-69. I was 16 years old and had gone to the 7am mass at St Ignatius Chapel on Ft Leavenworth. Snow had begun falling early that morning and by the time mass ended there was a thick blanket of white covering the ground and hanging onto the trees.
As I started the 6-block walk home, LTC Jennings, also coming from mass, asked if he could join me. His family lived on the street behind ours and he and my father had been colleagues in Korea before both being reassigned to Leavenworth. We chatted easily about all manner of topics, although to this day I cannot remember a single one. What I do remember and what struck me even at that moment, was how special he made me feel. With genuine interest he asked about my life and listened keenly to my answers and thoughts.
For a teenager consumed with self-doubt, anxiety and fear, it was an encounter that literally blew a breath of hope and encouragement into my heart. In the spring of 1969 my father received orders for Bangkok. LTC Jenning’s orders were for Vietnam – an assignment he requested.
My father and I were both devastated when we heard the news of his death in January of 1970. He left behind a wife and seven children. I have thought of them often through the years and have always prayed that sweet memories of their father have provided them with comfort and enabled them to smile when their thoughts turn to him. Please share widely in hopes that this story reaches those to whom it would mean the most – his children! Thank you!
Kathleen Walker
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Break Glass in Time of War

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A Message from the Governor of New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services

 Michelle Lujan Grisham


 Judy M. Griego

Cabinet Secretary

 “As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to take a moment to recognize our Vietnam War veterans today: March 29…National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

March 29 is the day our nation recognizes the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home from their service in Vietnam.

Today many in our nation may debate the merits of that war. However, in issuing a state proclamation declaring today as “National Vietnam War Veterans Day” in New Mexico, I think there should be no debate about recognizing and thanking the men and women who served in Vietnam—and thanking their families—for their sacrifices made when answering the call for military service.

To our Vietnam War veterans, “Welcome Home.” Attached is an official Governor’s Proclamation declaring March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day throughout the state.”

Very Respectfully,
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham


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Did you live on Scott AFB?