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July 2005

The Commander’s Thoughts

     As usual, Judy and I had a blast at the Texas State Convention in Temple. I have given many details of the convention later in this newsletter. Judy and I arrived at the La Quinta Inn just after noon. We rested and then got ready for the Friday night Social Gathering at the Mayborn Convention Center. It was good to see old friends again.

     Many things were discussed including the expected “walk-out” of all but two of the Divisional officers on Saturday morning. That “walk-out” never happened. At one time a Severe Tornado Watch had all of us rushing for the hallway but nothing happened.

     Saturday morning seemed to arrive just as soon as I went to bed. Tension was high and the air was thick with anger over what had happened at the National Special Convention. I’ll not go into detail because I have already done that later in this newsletter. The whole day was an energy and emotional draining affair. The business was over at about 4:30 so each brigade went into their rooms for the meeting. We also had to elect Brigade officers. This did not take more than just under an hour. But now we had to get back to our room to get ready for the Saturday night Banquet.

     The banquet started promptly at 7:00 p.m. and the night was full of entertaining things. First of all Judy and I bid for a few things at the Silent Auction. We both got something. Earlier that day Judy had bought me a Robert E. Lee Bowie Knife. It is just a show knife to hang on the wall. Because she got this for me the thing I bided on was for her.

     The Chicken meal was real good and the string beans were the best part. The beans were not cooked until they were soft but only enough to leave them crunchy. The carrots mixed in with them were cooked soft though.

     The following Saturday we held our monthly camp meeting. Brigade Commander Henry Seale visited us to discuss camp membership and member participation. Past Commander Don Smart of the Beaumont camp was also there.

     The next morning (Sunday) Judy and I got up early to make the four hour drive home. First I wanted to stop by the Hilton Hotel where the Texas Divisional Executive Council was to meet at 8:00 a.m.. After getting there we found out that the meeting had been moved to 9:00. No problem except that we were pressed for time. The meeting was to be only an hour long. Newly elected Divisional Commander Ron Strybos started the meeting at about 9:15 already cutting into the hour.

     In the Divisional Executive Council meeting were twenty men and two women. Commander-in-Chief Denney Sweeney spoke for a bit over an hour. He told us where he stood on many issues and made sure that we knew that he was governing the SCV in the open, something that the “Old Bulls” which started the coup a few months back would not do.

     The Old Bulls, as many of us call the coup leaders, wanted audits of some of the things that CiC Sweeney was involved in but he quickly reminded us that he and the entire SCV is audited each and every year. On the other hand he wanted to know why that, while the Old Bulls was in power, one of them spent $1700.00 of YOUR money on one single meal. Now I do not know about you but that upsets me a bit. But do not worry. CiC Sweeney plans to have them audited soon. After all, it is our money, not theirs.

     After CiC Sweeney spoke he had to leave under a loud applause that surely woke someone. After we all sit back down Commander Strybos mentioned a few ideas he has. One of these was getting pictures of Texans’ ancestors and putting them on a disk. This disk would be sold to make some money for the division and given to schools and libraries as an educational tool. I think this is a great idea and am looking to hear more about it soon. When I get the information then I will pass it one to you.

     The Executive Council meeting was still going on when I had to leave, two hours after it started. The following Saturday we held our monthly camp meeting. Brigade Commander Henry Seale visited us to discuss camp membership and member’s participation. Past Commander Don Smart of the Beaumont camp was also there. We discussed many things which I will talk over with Sam. These ideas will be his decision since he will take command of the Swamp Angels camp at the July meeting.

     In the fourth picture above you can see the original Spaight’s Battalion flag. It is in bad shape but the Sam Houston Research Center and library has done a great job in preserving it. Many historical things are preserved there in a climate controlled room. If you ask to see them they might show some of them. However, remember that that they may not be able to show you everything as some of the things are best moved around as little as possible.

     Some new information came in that has changed mine and Judy’s plans. Because of this we will not be moving until next year around August. Because of this, and the fact that Sam is still working two jobs, I will be remaining as Camp Commander a little longer. I am sorry that I have confused many of you but I am sure that you understand that plans change. Actually, I am glad. I am not looking forward to leaving this camp. But still, around August of 2006 we will probably still have to leave.

     I will also continue as the Editor of our camp’s newsletter, The Angels Dispatch. Remember that, if you can get on the internet then type in your search area, to get to the web site. Look at the top of the page and click newsletters. Then scroll down to the page to the monthly newsletter you wish to read. They are listed as the month and year they were written. If you have any problems getting to the web site then just let me know.

     Because Judy and I are staying a bit longer, G. C. Brigade Commander Seale has talked to me about being one of his Aide-de-Camps. I would be acting as a liaison between the Brigade Adjutant and the Swamp Angels, Conroe, Kountze, Woodville, and Wallisville camps for a brigade newsletter. I excepted the job. The Brigade Adjutant will be organizing this newsletter soon.

     Our Brigade 2nd. Lieutenant Commander had to resign his office for personal reasons. Texas Divisional Commander Strybos has appointed Wayne Prouse to that position. I am sure that most of you know Wayne as he has visited our camp many times. Congratulations 2nd. Lieutenant Commander Prouse.

Commander Vernon Gillen

The Adjutant’s Minutes

     The meeting started with prayer and the pledges. Commander Gillen mentioned the three visitors we had, Brigade Commander Seale, Divisional Adjutant C. D. Dodgen, and Past Commander of the Beaumont camp Don Smart. We toasted our ancestors with the usual sacramental wine (grape Juice) and Commander Gillen got right into business. He turned the meeting over to our newly elected Brigade Commander Seale.

     For over an hour we discussed recruiting and membership retention. Many ideas were laid out, most having be already tried. One idea was to contact the local NAACP to see if there was something that our camp could work with them on something of mutual interest. Some SCV camp in our country have tried this with great results.

     Commander Gillen knows of a man that has over 2000 medal cots that he is giving away to Boy Scouts in the Houston area. He will be talking to the man about a donation of these cots to our camp. We would in turn pass them out to local Boy Scouts with the media there. This will help show the public what we are all about. This is important.

     The meeting closed at about 12:30 p.m. and we left. The camp treated Commander Seale to a lunch at a local Mexican Restaurant. At that lunching Commander Gillen and Commander Seale discussed even more ideas. In all it was a great day.

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff


The Front Line

Report on the 2005 Texas State Convention

     As always, the state convention was great. The first half of the day was wasted with the usual reports. Then we broke for lunch around 11:30. After we had eaten the midday meal some awards and medals were passed out. First were the Gold Cross Medals and then the Silver Cross medals. As a man’s name was called out he went up front to get his medal and certificate. Then they named off the men being presented with the Bronze Cross. As I waited I heard my own name called out. What a shock that was. I was presented the Divisional Bronze Cross for meritorious service to the Texas Division as recognition for my hard work, dedication and devotion in my camp.

     Then it was back to work. Many things were mention and talked about before we got into voting on things.. The (National) Judge Advocate-in-Chief had already ruled that only delegates could vote. In other words; our camp gets two votes but, only if both delegates are there. I would no longer be able to vote for any of our camp delegates that did not show up. I was the only one there from our camp so our camp would have only one vote because of that.

     This would have saved us from very large and powerful camps from taking over. However, the divisional Judge Advocate did not agree and went against the Judge Advocate-in-Chief. Therefore, I voted as two men. Do not depend on this in the future because this will change. The National Constitution is very clear; no proxy voting.

     The expected “Walk Out” of the divisional officers never happened. This shows how convincing some rumors can be. And yet, they are still just rumors. Still, all but two of the divisional officers were replaced. The Texas members of the SCV did not appreciate their not standing up for us a few months back and our voices were heard by our votes. 1st. Lieutenant Commander Ron Strybos was elected as Divisional Commander. 2nd. Lieutenant Commander Greg Manning was elected as 1st. Lieutenant Commander. Ron Sandidge of the George Overton Stone Camp #1000 in Victoria was elected as 2nd. Lieutenant Commander. Mister Ray James was elected as 3rd. Lieutenant Commander.

     Then we went to the four amendments. We voted on them in this order.

Amendment #2:

     Any man that does not pay his dues by the deadline (November 1st) will be automatically suspended. After that he may pay his dues plus the late fee.

Amendment #4:

     Divisional and Brigade officers will now be elected for a 2 year term starting with this election. During the off years more business can be taken care off and even some classes can be set up for camp officers.

     Both Amendments #2 and #4 passed by 100% with every man saying “I”.

Amendment #3.

     Passing this would mean that men not having Confederate ancestors could still join the SCV. I stood and said that I am proud of my ancestor and my ability to join the SCV because I had a Confederate ancestor. Then I asked what was next; “Women? - children?” This amendment failed. The requirements for joining the SCV remains the same. A man must have a Confederate ancestor to join the SCV.


     This amendment limit’s the number of Past Commanders on the Texas Divisional Executive Council to only three. This would stop any attempted take-over like what happened at the National level. I voted YES but many did not see it like I did. The votes were 98 - yes and 133 - No. It failed.

     All of the business was over by around 4:30 Saturday evening. This was surprisingly quick. It also gave us plenty of time for our brigade meetings. Each brigade filed into different rooms.