This is a recurring column that highlights new VFW Post 3063 members. Comrade Joseph Mesa joined the post in February 2019. Comrade Mesa is also the post’s new service officer.
What motivated you to join the VFW? My motivation to join the VFW was not entirely wanting to be affiliated with any veterans group. It just so happened I was walking by the post and decided to drop in. Harold happened to be in the office and I struck up a conversation with him. During our conversation, I stated I was in need of submitting a service connected disability primarily a PTSD claim. I had been struggling with memories of my Vietnam combat experience. He recommended I contact Leo Potts who was the Service Officer and so I did. Leo was extremely open and encouraged me to not only apply but to also register as Vietnam Veteran with VA as well as seeking mental counseling available with VA. Our discussions led to my interest in assisting other Veterans in any way I could and he informed me that the post would need a Service Officer soon since he was leaving in September. I could go on about our extended conversation regarding my decision to take on the responsibility of the Post’s Service Officer but I’ll do that at a later date if anyone is interested.
What is your military background? My military career began in October 1965 just 3 months after I graduated from high school. Basic Training was in Ft. Polk, medic training at Ft. Sam Houston, and airborne training at Ft. Benning. After my completion of airborne training, I was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade and was in-country April 1966. I was involved in multiple combat operations during my tour of which has affected me mentally many decades later. I guess the most famous combat operation I was involved in was Operation Junction City, which was the first and only combat airborne jump of the Vietnam conflict. I have been awarded the Parachutist Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, and Marksman Badge.
Civilian job, education, family, hobbies, or anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself? My ancestral lineage is primarily from the Pacific Island of Guam. My father served with the Navy during WWII and Korea. After my military service, I continued my upper education at Long Beach City College with an AA degree in Business and the University of Southern California with a Business Major emphasizing in Accounting. I am the proud father of 2 sons and 3 daughters all of whom are college graduates. Also, I am the proud grandfather of 4 grandsons and 3 granddaughters ranging in ages 0 to 9.
What do you hope to achieve being a member of the VFW? My goal as the Post’s Service Officer is to continue the excellent foundation Leo has established and building on that foundation so as to provide knowledgeable, informative, and accurate information that will assist and aid all veterans and their families.