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About VFW Post 1525

In the summer of 1985, members of the Pleasant Hill VFW Post 3059 canvassed the Clayton area to enlist eligible veterans to join the VFW.  Some success was obtained, but the local Clayton veterans wanted to have their own Post.  With the help of ther comrades of Post 3059, bulletins were distributed in the surrounding areas of Clayton.  It did not take long to gather the required 50 new members. Since half of the members resided in the outlying area of Clayton, the new charter members changed the Post name from Clayton to Clayton Valley.  A change which would soon benefit Post 1525's future.  Again with the guidance of Post 3059, a charter
application was sent to Department of California and within 60 days it was approved by the VFW Commander in chief.  We became Post 1525, Clayton Valley, California.

On the third Thursday of February, 1986, Commander Jaurie Welsh banged the gavel, gave the VFW opening statement and initiated the first meeting of VFW Post 1525, Clayton Valley, California.

The Post immediately became active with the mutual support of local citizens and businesses. The Post constructed the Veterans Memorial Flag Pole Monument in downtown Clayton and this location is designated as the initial starting point for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veterans Day Ceremony activities.  It is Post 1525's honor guard that usually leads all parades in these events. Post member Pete Laurence, a member of a Vietnam Green Beret combat unit recommended, we rename the post to honor a local Clayton resident who gave his life during combat in Vietnam.  The suggestion was enthuastically endorsed by the Post and approved by Department Commander and the Commander in Chief. We were now the "Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lt. Jerry Novakovich Post 1525."

Who was Lt. Jerry Novakovich?

Jerry was born on February 9, 1946, the only child of William and Phyllis Novakovich. The family moved to Clayton in 1959 when Jerry was in 7th grade. Called "The Novak" he was known for his playful attitude.  He could fake an epileptic fit on the school quad for laughs, yet he had a seriousness that could knuckle down for grades when required.  He loved the '49ers, and played baseball and football for Clayton Valley High School's Ugly Eagles.  He loved fast cars, especially the Impala.  He enjoyed hiking the hills surrounding Clayton and exploring the caves located in nearby Nortonville.  Jerry entered College and continued his education for three years.  The Vietnam War was now in full action.  As an only child, Jerry did not have to serve in the military, however feeling that he should do his part for his country, he enlisted.  Graduating from Officer Candidate School, as a Second Lieutenant he was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Six months later he received orders for duty in Vietnam.

Now a Second Lieutenant and Platoon Leader in the 4th Infantry Division he led his men during numerous jungle skirmishes. Jerry wrote to a local college requesting college girls write pen-pal letters to the men in his platoon. He wrote of the beauty of Vietnam, of Monsoon rains, the "C" rations, and of the hot & cold LZs.  He told of his platoon's helping and medically treating villagers and of sadness at the loss of his fellow soldiers during combat.

Jerry's dedication showed again in his last journal entry the day before he was killed.  "Today is our 30th consecutive day in the field. I am almost ready to go in for a few days.  The only reason I want to go in is because tomorrow will be my 22nd birthday, but I guess that's not too important so I will wait a few more days." We know about the next day's operation from Jerry's Bronze Star citation. His unit was patrolling in the dense jungle west of Hoi An when a large NVA force hit them with recoilless rifles, mortars and automatic weapon fire.  Jerry deployed his men in a defensive perimeter. Then during the battle he made repeated trips under fire outside the perimeter to bring in his exposed and wounded men. Finally on one such trip Jerry himself was killed.  On that date, February 9, 1968, his 22nd birthday, Jerry died.

A letter from Jerry's Company commander stated: "Novakovich was an outstanding officer and a gentleman. He was well liked and highly respected by his fellow officers as well as the men with whom he served. Jerry served in a manner which brought honor to himself, his family, the United States Army, and the people of America".

Our Mission

The Lt. Jerry Novakovich, Clayton Valley Post 1525, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nationally chartered fraternal organization by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The Post takes an active part in providing financial and volunteer support for local, state and national veteran organizations whose activities benefit America's veterans, their orphans and their families. In addition, the Post works with America's youth by sponsoring educational programs, i.e. Voice of Democracy, Patriot Pen essay contests and the Americanism programs; we assist Boy, Girl, and Sea Scout programs.

The Post serves its members by providing an environment of fellowship as well as assistance for member in need of Veterans Administration aid.



Commander                      Mark Steinberg              925 389 0057            coachsteiny@msn.com
Senior Vice Commander   Matthew Johnson           253 661 0653            JohnsonM@chevron.com
Junior Vice Commander    Ernest Strongman           925 687 2627            knighternestkathy@gmail.com
Quartermaster                   Brent Austin                   925 258 9693            brent.austin62@outlook.com
Chaplain                            Thomas A Gutshall        925 400-5552            revthomasg@hotmail.com
1 Year Trustee                   Leonard Ramirez          415 517 5143             leonard.c.ramirez@gmail.com
2 Year Trustee                   Malcolm Mailey            925 798 8262            mdmailey@sbcglobal.net
3 Year Trustee                   David Wheelihan           925 676 3847            Dwheels1947@gmail.com
Adjutant                             Brent Austin                  925 258-9693            brent.austin62@outlook.com
Service Officer                   Mark Steinberg             925 389 0057            coachsteiny@msn.com
Judge Advocate                 Richard Loechner          925 255 3449            rp141s@yahoo.com
Surgeon                             Leonard Ramirez           415 517 5143            leonard.c.ramirez@gmail.com


Members who have need for the membership roster should contact the Commander.