Veteran’s Event Moving and Memorable

VIA SBINSIDER| November 15th, 2023 

November 11th at Mtn. View Ballroom,  six US Veterans shared their personal experiences in our military. A nearly full room of Veterans, families, and patriotic supporters where moved by their stories. 

Due to the emotionally charged nature of the topic, several of the speakers found it difficult to maintain their composure as they related the pain and some joy, that serving their country engendered. 

Mike Oberski, the first speaker and co-organizer with his wife Linda, kicked off the event with his story of being a so-so high school student and aimless as graduate. Joining the Army gave him an opportunity to get trained in the power generation field and that lead to a long career working for Defense Department contractors. He never saw combat, but nearly was killed by an errant poncho. 

Nancy Hendricks spoke on the great training she got in the Navy which provided her with a steadfast and rewarding financial career in defense industry. 

Mike Dunbar was inspired by his father, a Marine, to go the recruiting office after high school, (no money for college) and due to the firing by President Reagan of air traffic controllers, he landed a fast track training position to become an air traffic controller and to sweeten the deal he was out in 2 years. Mike also related how he did a flyover of 5 Veterans cemeteries one Veterans Day at the invitation of his commanding officer, including the cemetery where only 2 short week prior, they had laid to rest his beloved father. Semper Fi. 

John Reitz, 99 years young, spoke on his exciting ride on a troop ship bound for Cherbourg, France. Unfortunately, a German U-Boat fired a torpedo which impacted the stern, quickly flooding the lower 2 decks, drowning 800 soldiers as it quickly sank. He slid down the side of the ship into 48 degree water and was plucked by another US Ship. From there he fought his way across France into Germany and the ultimate triumph over Hitler’s misguided but powerful armies. 

 Paul Gaurnier related the tough training he undertook as an Army Ranger. He choose Ranger school to be able to fight alongside the best infantry that the Army could field. 

Alex Lopez,  was an e-3 Lance Corporal in the USMC. He served as a Scout-Sniper for  the 3rd Marine Division 1967-1968.  After his military tour he became a highway patrol officer in California for 30 years protecting and serving. 

Jesse Siglow discussed being U.S. Army Special Forces (ABN) 18 F (Intelligence Sergeant) MAC V SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Special Operations Command) (45 year member of Special Operations Association: The Quiet Professionals) and coming from a family legacy of serving military. 

As the audience filled into Mtn. View Ballroom, a slide presentation evoked many memories of America’s fighting forces throughout our history.  The event also had live patriot music provided by the SaddleBrooke Community Church Choir. 

The event was praised by the audience and many thanks were directed to Mike and Linda Oberski for taking the time and effort to make this a memorable day for SaddleBrooke residents.


Back Row: Linda Oberski, Jesse Siglow, Alex Lopex, Mike Oberski 

Front Row: Nancy Hendricks, John Reitz, Mike Dunbar, Paul Guarnier

Who are America’s veterans?

November 11, 2023, marked the 105th anniversary of Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I. In the decades since, the date has been set aside to honor people who have fought in America’s wars, with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower issuing the first Veterans Day Proclamation in 1954.

  • In 2022, 6.2% of the adult American population, or 16.2 million people, identified as veterans. This is down from 23.42 million in 2005.

  • Almost half of veterans (49.3%) were 65 or older, while 26.5% were over 75 or older. Eight and a half percent of veterans were younger than 35.

Read the article here. Then, dive into 10 new charts, including veterans by state and how much the government spends on them.



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