17 JUNE 2016

Following the shoot we adjourned to the bar at Gregg's to hoist a glass in honor of the outgoing Officers and another to the new team taking over. The incoming President, Charlie Knowles, was at the Statehouse for the final day of the session so outgoing President, Jim Wheller, gave the gavel to the VP, Vinny Andriozzi, in hopes he would pass it to Charlie when he arrived. Which he did after some mock resistance. Jim earned our gratitude for all of the time and trouble that comes with the job. He now gets to sit back and enjoy the best job, Past-President!


17 JUNE 2016
We have been hearing about the new shooting range being built by our good friend and supporter, John Haxton, for quite awhile.  The Pine Ridge Indoor Range was finished in time for our June meeting, the time we would customarily meet at the Fogarty Range, which is presently closed for repair. So John invited us to visit his place and throw a few rounds downrange. The range is fabulous, 3 rooms with 5 lanes each, state-of-the-art ventilation system and ballistic panels all around. One room is equipped for SWAT teams training with dark/light capabilities and targets that move up and back at variable speeds and with shooter/civilian presentations that show at the last second.  There is a fully stocked sales room with shotguns, rifles and pistols as well as ammo and all the accessories one could want. After the shoot John gave us a presentation and we learned that John, the owner (who's name has escaped) and one other guy did the lions share of the build-out including installing all of the ballistic panels which are large and very heavy and cover most of the building. We recommend it to anyone who is looking for a range. They have hourly rates as well as yearly memberships. BTW, John thoughtfully mounted UBL targets for our shooting satisfaction.



30 MAY 2016
tentFor the first time in a very long time our Memorial Day formation took place in the rain. Luckily Jim Wheeler remembered the giant tent set up by the WWII monument for the Governor's Memorial Day Ceremony. As theirs was scheduled for the afternoon we could infil/exfil before anyone was the wiser. Some of us might be forgiven for thinking that we were playing a hip-hop version of the Star Spangled Banner as part of the formation's other changes but it was merely operator error.

After the formation we moved down the road to the Homestead Restaurant for a fabulous breakfast and a chance to socialize. 

19 April 2016
COL (R) Robert Dolan


Many of our chapter old timers have already heard of this through the grapevine, but it is my sad duty to inform the members of our chapter of the 4-15-16 passing of COL (Ret.) Robert Dolan.

Bob Dolan was a charter member of Chapter 48 and had a long history with the Rhode Island Special Forces community.  He was the commander of Co C /5th Bn, 20th SFG(A) when I first joined the unit in August of 1974 and he had already spent several years there well before that.  Thereafter he was the first XO of Command & Control Headquarters and the first XO of Troop Command.  He was then posted to State Headquarters and later was on extended active duty where he was promoted to Colonel.  He visited us at Chapter 48 often, but became an active member of Massachusetts’s Chapter 54 (of which he was the immediate past president – literally, his term expired at the beginning of this month)

At his request, there will be no funeral.  His wife will be making arrangements for the interment of his ashes at the Crematorium in Arlington MA.

There will be a moment of silence for Colonel Dolan at tomorrow night’s SFA meeting. As I knew him better than the chapter president, Jim was gracious enough to suggest I make this announcement.

Charlie Knowles

New State Sergeant Major                                                                                                                                                                    6 March 2016


CSM Moises Moniz is pinned by his wife Patti as the TAG looks on.

Another well deserved promotion.                                                                                            5 March 2016

SGM Blue
Quietly, so as not to step on the Change of Responsibility ceremony taking place the following day, Mo's replacement as Operations SGM at 56 Troop Command, Eric Blue, was pinned at a ceremony so low key that not even Mo knew about it. He and we found out the next day when we saw the shiny, new Sergeant Major at the COR. Congratulations, Bac Si!

In other astronomical news. Rich Keene observed that there was an almost unheard of constellation of SF SGMs at the COR. 10, both retired and still serving, Sergeants Major led by their Dean, CSM Bill MacNaughton, were finally corralled for a group shot by the President.

Fathers and Sons                                                                                                                                                                                    25 January 2016

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Rich Burmeister's dad, H. Frank Burmeister and Bobby Perry's son, Dennis Perry. Rich's dad lived in Florida and the funeral was held there last week. We are awaiting word about Bobby's son's funeral and calling hours. Check back here or in Taps.

Letter from the President


Special Forces Association
Chapter XLVIII
Rhode Island
P.O. Box 41283
Providence Rhode Island 02940

To all SFA Chapter 48 Members,

I would like to wish you and your families a Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

It’s hard to believe the year has passed by as quickly as it has and my time serving as president of the chapter is already three quarters of the way through. It has been very rewarding and when you’re busy, the time definitely passes quickly. I can’t say enough good things about the other chapter officers and the chapter members who never hesitate to step forward to help with whatever needs to be done.

I thought now at year’s end and the beginning of a new year is a good time to review the status of some of our current yearly activities.

1) Annual Steak Dinner (Formerly known as the Annual Varnum Steak Dinner)
    This event has always been popular especially when it was held at the Varnum Armory
     in East Greenwich. We encountered a problem with our ability to use the fireplace for
     cooking the steaks and had to cook outside. This proved to be a difficult task in the
     middle of the winter so we ended up changing the date and the venue to the Quonset /
     Davisville Yacht Club. This has worked out well thanks to the efforts of Vito Pezzillo
     as a member of the yacht club and a hard working group of our chapter members.

2) The next event we have been holding on an annual basis is the SF Bowling Night which
     has been a fund raiser for the chapter’s Family Relief Fund. We run this along with the
     participation of the East Providence Police Department and it has been a decent event.
     The problem has been a lack of interest on the part of chapter members. This is probably
     due in part to the fact it is on a Friday night because of logistics with the bowling alley
     and maybe some of our members are hesitant to show off their lack of bowling skills.
     At any rate as of a little over a month ago it looks like this is no longer going to happen.
     The new management will no longer let us purchase pitchers of beer and their price for
     beer by the glass is almost half the price we were paying for a pitcher. They also insist on
     us buying the pizzas from them instead of being able to get them from Domino’s as we
     did in the past. The price they charge for the pizzas is also higher than we want to
     pay. Bob Paquette has recommended we consider not running this event under these

3)  Our Memorial Day ceremony at the Special Forces stone in the Rhode Island Veterans
     Cemetery, Exeter, RI is well attended by chapter members, family members and
     friends. Since the closing of The Corner Tavern we have gone back and forth between the
     Homestead Restaurant and Richard’s Pub. We are planning a return to the Homestead
     Restaurant for our breakfast following the 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony.

4)  The next event we’ve held is the Shootout/Cookout which is usually held as the June
     meeting. This is another case of having to change our venue due to the closing of the
     range facilities at Camp Fogarty. Myself, and other members talked to a few different
     shooting clubs and ranges before finding someone who would allow us to use the
     facilities for shooting and had the setup for a cookout. Larry Pezza suggested the Tri
     -Town Rod and Gun Club in Foster, RI. Charlie Knowles took the lead and along with
     the valuable and hard work of some of our members this was a great event. It was easily
     the best attended Shootout/Cookout we’ve had. Plans are to do a repeat of this in 2016.

5)  July/August brings about our involvement with the Rhode Island Army National Guard
     “Leapfest” International Parachute Competition. Steve Morin as been the primary
     workhorse as he and a very dedicated group of volunteers work a couple of different
     dates and times to represent our chapter by selling tee shirts. This has proven to be a
     great fund raiser for the chapter. We also usually end up seeing some people show up
     at the DZ location who we don’t normally see at the regular meetings. Steve with the
     help of some key individuals puts a lot into this effort and it has paid off in spades.

6)  The August meeting takes place in the form of the annual “Family Day” outing which
     is a picnic held at Walt and Phyllis May’s beautiful home and country setting in
     Foster, RI. This is also a very special event attended by more than a few of our brothers
     who we don’t always get to see but like to attend I suspect for a few different reasons.
     Needless to say we are very fortunate to have the hospitality extended to us by Walt
     and Phyllis.

7)  Our Veterans Day ceremony at the Special Forces stone in the Rhode Island Veterans
     Cemetery, Exeter, RI takes place on November 11th each year. Again this event is well
     attended even though it is not easy for some members to take the time off from work
     in the middle of the work week. We have run into the problem of trying to find a place to
     hold the breakfast but Richard’s Pub has worked out for us for the past two years.

8)  The last event of our chapter calendar year has been our “Christmas” get together.
     This has been a problem as we have gone from having it as a sit down dinner with music
     and dancing at the East Greenwich Veterans Fireman’s Hall to a cocktail party at the
     Varnum Armory back to a sit down buffet dinner at the Carriage Inn and Saloon the past
      two years. The chapter has paid part of the cost of this function each year to keep the
      cost down for our members and their guests but it appears it is not a popular event with
      many of our members.

I apologize for the length of this letter but I feel the importance of the content deserves to be
fully represented and explained.

Myself, as your president, the executive board and the past officers of our chapter fully realize the following facts and we must ask ourselves these questions:

1)  Do we stay on the current path and make some minor adjustments?

2)  Should we try something really new to enhance the organization?

3)  Do we try to continue doing what we’re doing using the same core group of individuals,
     which will only be a temporary solution?

4)  The overall membership is aging and seems to be losing interest in chapter activities so
      what action should we take?

5)  The younger guys (those under 40 years old) don’t seem to be interested in getting
      involved, or even joining the Special Forces Association, so what do we do?

As Brad Preston, one of our former chapter presidents has noted these are challenges most military and other long-standing groups seem to face – aging membership and a diminishing source of younger, new members.

We realize fathers become grandfathers and some of our members are great grandfathers.
Some of us have health or medical conditions preventing us from doing as many or the same things we used to do. As our Native American brothers believe only the rocks live forever.

We’re not the only ones dealing with these problems and in many ways we’re a lot better off than some other organizations. We need to address them and the time to do it is now!

 Some of the board members including Steve Morin met on Tuesday morning, December 22, 2015 to discuss some of these matters. We are all concerned (as I’m sure our members are) with keeping our activities interesting to everyone. As a follow up to our meeting our chapter vice president, Charlie Knowles has drafted and will be sending out a separate letter to explain some of the issues under consideration. Upon receipt, please read this letter and comment on the questions and issues requested. Please be advised we may follow up with a survey or two to help you with expressing your ideas or suggestions.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.


Jim Wheeler
SFA Chapter 48, Rhode Island

New Newsletter Format



I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but the newsletter has been severely late of late.  Originally the excuse was medical but apart from a few weeks I could have sat at the typewriter (did I just say typewriter) and banged something out. And that is the nub of it. I have been banging out the same newsletter for nearly 20 years and you can cut and paste the subjects from one year to the next. Judging from the lack of feedback (hey, asshole, where’s the newsletter) you are not missing my deathless prose either. So we’ll do what General Mills does (he’s a General after all) and try repackaging the contents. This format is called a blog post for some reason and I’m hoping to post more frequently about topics as they have happened rather than wait for a quarterly quarto. Lets try some content.