President of the Mess, Col Don McMahon USANG (Ret)

The National Anthem by Voices of Glory and the
Pledge led by Molly Renshaw.

St Louis Service Women's Post 404 posted the Colors.

After "America's White Table", the candles are lit and
our absent guests introduced.

Maj Gen Angela Salinas and Ms Willauer, a WWII Marine, cut the USMC Birthday Cake.

The oldest, serves the youngest Marine as each Marine received a piece of birthday cake.

Dinner entertainment included a duet and dance between Dalena and Gala guest, former Vietnam POW Col Norm McDaniel.

Members of the cast of Wartime Romance, took us
back to the 40's with song and dance.

Toasts for the Armed Forces branches, friends lost, and those that waited are always a part of the evening.

Just part of the group of women veterans
that attended the Gala.

They chose to celebrate their 55th
Wedding Anniversary at the Gala.

Even the fireworks are red white and blue.


One of two awards presented during the Gala.
Don and Diane Shipley


POW NETWORK presents dual awards

More than 300 veterans, friends and family joined the P.O.W. NETWORK on Friday evening for the 17th Annual Military Gala & Banquet held at the elegant Chateau on the Lake in Branson. 

The event’s Master of Ceremonies was LCDR Michael Jones USN (Ret), the President of the Mess was Col Don McMahon, USANG(Ret) and the Chaplain was Col Paul Vicalvi, USA (Ret) .   The P.O.W. Network’s Chairman, Mary Schantag, shared the stage to introduce the VIPs, sponsors and to present annual awards. Colors were presented by the St. Louis Service Women's Post 404. The National Anthem was led Voices of Glory who also closed the GALA. Ms Molly Renshaw led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The evening included a candlelight POW/MIA service which incorporated a special version of the children's story America's White Table,  a salute to Military Families and Women Veterans, outdoor fireworks, a USMC birthday cake, entertainment by Delena and cast members of Wartime Romance,  and dancing with music provided by the Moonlighters. 

Steve and Sharon Robinson of Forsyth, MO and  Don and Diane Shipley of Chesapeake, VA,  received the P.O.W. Network’s prestigious “Captain John Koutrakos Patriotism Award” for their work over the last decade exposing bogus Navy SEALs.  It was the first time dual awards were presented.

Remarks referenced  former Navy Seal Robinson having pioneered the methods used today to expose the lies told by some, noting at times that dozens of reports of false claims were arriving daily when real SEALs made the news - killing Osama Bin Laden, or rescuing hostages.  

At the time, the Robinon's were part of a very small community with access to the private data base information on real SEALs, allowing them to do the research, and put forth concise answers when claims arose.

Sharon, a former Branson entertainer saw the effort envelop their daily lives.  Press interviews, calls   from the women the frauds abused, or the daily need to answer emails begging for the truth from the children or a new widow became a substitute for her "girl's night out,"  or summer vacations. 

Don Shipley took over the work of verifying SEAL claims when Steve Robinson retired after 13 yrs of daily efforts on the problem of false SEAL claims, passing the torch several years ago to Shipley, a retired Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer.  Shipley appeared by SKYPE from Virginia during the GALA.

Shipley's wide younger audience offered a chance to spread the word by "social media" - a method unknown when the POW NETWORK began exposing  false claims in 1998.