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Friday, May 2, 2008


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membership letter - Burbank Legion Rifle Club - Nov. 30, 1944 - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg - 2008
With "surrender" not being part of the Japanese military codes, the American government fully expected the loss of hundreds of thousands of G.I.s in the invasion of that nation. Our military intelligence revealed that ordinary civilians and school children were being trained to resist allied troops to their deaths. Military planners expected massive numbers of wounded service personnel returning to the United States. The San Fernando Valley would be one of the major receiving hospital locations in the West.
Our national leaders also expected that Japan would likely make a last ditch attack on the American homeland for the sake of discouraging the USA and boosting Japanese morale. That attack could occur on military targets nearly anywhere on the West coast, including the San Fernando Valley. Word soon reached the civilian population of the Valley through family members who worked in the regions many defense plants.
Valley veterans of World War I, who were members of the American Legion, felt they had to be prepared to defend their homes and nation. The Burbank Legion Rifle Club was one such organization. The club was 20 years old in 1944, meaning that it came into existence in 1924. By 1944 the club had 249 members, doubling from the onset of the war.
We learn from this letter that the club's secretary spent "… much time in getting the War Department to allot us ammunition, and we have enjoyed ammunition allotments far in excess of what other clubs have received, even though we did not get as much as we liked. 40,000 rounds of .22 long rifle ammunition are on their way by railway express today.."
Jerry Fecht

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