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Sept. 20, 2017
Military veterans from three eras share their experiences during Our Stories Speaker Series in October, November
Programs feature a Pearl Harbor survivor and decorated WWII pilot, a Vietnam Army combat nurse and a Blackhawk pilot with the Arizona Army National Guard.
Arizona National Guard Blackhawk pilot Rose MattieThree Our Stories Speaker Series presentations in October and November will feature military veterans sharing their experiences during three periods of conflict – World War II, Vietnam and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The three talks will be held Oct. 7, Oct. 28, and Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. to noon at two Chandler Public Library locations. Our Stories presentations are free, open to the public and presented by Chandler Museum, Chandler Public Library, Chandler Historical Society and Friends of the Chandler Public Library.

“These first-person stories from war-time veterans will captivate and inspire attendees,” says Jody Crago, Chandler Museum administrator. “Whether you are interested in war time stories or simply enjoy hearing about the riveting and unique experiences of others, the upcoming Our Stories talks are ones not to be missed.”

The Our Stories presentation on Saturday, Oct. 7, features World War II Navy veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor and Sun Lakes resident Jack Holder. During “Adrenaline, Excitement and Fear: A World War II Navy Veteran’s Story,” Holder will recount his military experiences from witnessing the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 to flying missions during the battles of Midway, Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands. He received numerous medals and commendations for his service during the war. This presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St.

Chandler native Maria Luisa Ayala Mellman, an Army Combat Nurse at the 12th Evacuation Hospital near Saigon shares her Vietnam War experience at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, also at the Downtown Library. Her talk, “From Chandler to the Vietnam War,” will include a discussion with historian Dr. Christine Marin, as they provide insight into the experiences of a Vietnam War nurse and how the war affected local towns and communities, including Chandler’s historic Mexican-American community.

Our Stories attendees at the Nov. 18 session will get an in-depth look at the 150-year history of the Arizona Army National Guard. This presentation will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive. “Always Ready, Always There: Stories from the Arizona Army National Guard,” will feature unique stories of Arizona National Guard members, from the late 1860s through today. East Valley resident and Blackhawk pilot Rose Mattie (pictured at right), alongside two historians, will share her story of two deployments to Iraq and her time in Afghanistan as a member of the National Guard.

These events are free for the public to attend. For more information, call 480-782-2751.