American Ex-Servicemen's Association
"All gave some; some gave all"
Our normal monthly meeting is now on the first Sunday of the month except December, January (holiday break) and July (BBQ) at Bentleigh RSL in East Bentleigh, starting at 1:15 PM. We may vary the Sunday if holidays or ceremonies conflict. We meet about midday for lunch before the meeting.
Our AGM is normally the August meeting.
We also celebrate a Thanksgiving Luncheon on the 4th Thursday in November. Contact the Sect'y for more information.
The Bentleigh RSL is located at:
- 538 Centre Rd
- Bentleigh VIC 3204
- Melways Ref: p77, F-1
- On Bus line 703 from the Middle Brighton train station then 1 block; or 500m from the Bentleigh train station
The American Ex-Servicemen's Association is a social organization formed for the purpose of promoting the welfare of American Ex-Servicemen and women in Australia and to secure better relations between Americans and the Australian Community. We join together to enjoy comradery and remember those who have served our home country. (more details on what we do)
We welcome new members who are interested in getting together on our social days and helping commemorate military remembrances in the Melbourne area. See our membership form to apply and for fees.
President: Warren Sapir - 0438 060 345
Senior Vice-President: John Thomas
Vice-President: Barry McDaniel
Secretary/Treasurer: Ed Bartosh - 0438 508 235
PO Box 190, Coldstream VIC 3770
The American Ex-Servicemen's Association was started in March 1946 by a group of American Service personnel who emigrated to Australia. Included in that first group were: Jimmy Fratturo, Mal Cooper, Bill Gray, and Betty Shergold. Mal provided a picture from a 1951 Sunday News article.
Also provided by Sylvia Dey was an article from the SUN, 22 December 1952.
Betty Jones provided two pictures of gatherings at the Windsor Hotel and Botanical Gardens - details would be appreciated.
Two of the Association's officers were contracted to write a booklet for Americans considering emmigrating to Australia. Paul Byers and Mike Bray wrote AUSTRALIA: A New Home? to guide potential new arrivals in how to prepare and what to expect. It was published in 1949 and is available in the State Library of Victoria as well as on our web site.
Another interesting find in the Victorian State Library - copies of "The GI": Official Publication of the American Ex-Servicemen's Association. The library has copies from March 1955 through 1975, although some issues are missing.
Honors to the Flag
If you have an old flag that is tattered, faded, or unservicable, please contact a member about proper disposal for it. We will dispose of it with proper honors. You may turn it in to any member or leave it at the Kew RSL or the American Consulate in Melbourne for a proper disposal. Please do not throw it out with your trash. For more information about our Flag, visit the American Legion "Flag Code" page.
A Choral version of the Star Spangled Banner from the US Army Band and Chorus as an mp3 file
- Washington's Birthday Party - Saturday, 17 February 2024 from 1:00pm on (contact Sect'y for details)
- Non-AESA event: Remembrance of the 1942 Bombing of Darwin by the Darwin Defenders Commemoration Committee, Monday, 19 February 2024 at 10:00am, Shrine of Remembrance.
- Non-AESA event: HMAS Perth/USS Houston Remembrance - Friday, 1 March 2024 at 11 am at the Shrine Sanctuary
You can watch the 2023 service on YouTube as posted by the Shrine and a few pictures from the service.
- Non-AESA event: National Vietnam War Veterans Day (US) - Friday, 29 March 2024. A date to remember the sacrifice of those who served in Vietnam for America, and their families. (See video)
- Non-AESA event: Melbourne ANZAC Day March - Thursday, 25 April 2024 more on last ANZAC Day
¤ Gather before 11am for step off at 11:40am (or so) from along side Flinders Station on Flinders Street West, behind the Commonwealth and Greek veterans.
¤ Call Secretary if you need vehicular transport to/from or during the parade
¤ See us march in 2005, 2006, 2013 and 2016, 17, and 22 or watch us in the 2012 march (WMV file format).
Please review the March Guidelines for participating in the parade. Dress appropriate to the sanctity of the event is required; business attire or Class A uniform preferred, with medals. No utility uniforms or sweatsuits, t-shirts, shorts or sandals. Also, no pictures of deceased relatives to be carried.
Note: Discount parking at Fed Square for veterans ($10 voucher at the parking office on the first floor) and free rail/tram/bus transport on the day - Wear medals to verify eligibility.
- Battle of the Coral Sea Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday, 5 May 2024, 12:00 noon at the Shrine of Remembrance
Muster at the forecourt in front of the Shrine at 11:30 hours (see invitation).
Sponsored by the Australian American Association (VIC), the Naval Commemoration Committee of Victoria and AESA
Also, an hour long podcast on the Battle of the Coral Sea by an historian from the Sea Power Centre - Australia.
- Non-AESA event: VE Day Commemoration Ceremony, 8 May 2024 11 am at the Shrine
- Memorial Day Ceremony - Sunday, 28 May 2023 at the Shrine of Remembrance
Muster at the Sanctuary within the Shrine at 1:45 pm
Service with wreath Laying at 2:00pm
View report of the 2016 event from the 173rd Abn Bde Assn Magazine SITREP, July 2016. You can watch the 2022 service on YouTube as posted by the Shrine 2021 or 2023.
- Non-AESA event: Bomber Command Commemoration Ceremony, 4 June 2023 at 1:00pm at the Shrine of Remembrance
- Non-AESA event: D-Day Remembrance Ceremony, 6 June 2023 at the Shrine at 11am and live-streamed.
- Independence Day Party - Sunday, 2 July 2023 - at Bartosh/Taylor home in Coldstream from 1pm.
- Non-AESA event: Korean Armistice Commemoration, 27 July 2023 at the Shrine at 11am
- Annual General Meeting - Sunday, 6 August 2023 to start at 1:15pm at the Caulfield RSL. Contact the Sect'y to register if not previously invited.
- Non-AESA event: Vietnam Veterans Day Commemoration Outer Eastern Melbourne SB, VVAA, 13 August 2023 10:30am at Healesville RSL in the Yarra Valley, US veterans of the Vietnam War are cordially invited.
- Non-AESA event: Yarra Valley Vietnam Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony, 13 August 2023 10:30 am at the Healesville RSL
- Non-AESA event: Maltese Operation Pedestal commemoration, 13 August 2023 12:00noon. US veterans are invited.
- Non-AESA event: Vietnam Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony, 18 August 2023 11 am at the Shrine
- Non-AESA event: VP Day Commemoration Ceremony, 15 August 2023 4:30 pm at the Shrine in conjunction with the Last Post Ceremony.
- Non-AESA event: Battle for Australia Day Service, Wednesday, 6 September 2023, 11:00am at the Shrine
- National POW/MIA Recognition Day - 15 September 2023
- Desert Storm - Forty-nine Americans were listed as POW/MIAs during Operation Desert Storm. DoD has accounted for all 49
- Vietnam - 1,702 Americans are still missing and unaccounted (Jan 2011)
- Korea - >8,000 Americans are still missing and unaccounted
- WW II - >74,000 Americans missing and unaccounted
- Non-AESA event: Battle of Britain Commemoration by the Royal Air Forces Association of Victoria, Sunday, 17 September 2023, 2:30pm at the Shrine of Remembrance
- Oktoberfest Party - Saturday, 7 October 2023 from 1:00pm on (contact Sect'y for details)
- Non-AESA event: State RSL Remembrance Day Service, 5 November 2023 at Springvale Botanical Cemetery - 1:00pm
- Thanksgiving Luncheon - Thursday, 23 November 2023 at the Sapir residence - from 1:00pm, RSVP essential
- Pearl Harbor Remembrance Service - Saturday, 9 December 2023 at 12:00 noon at the Shrine of Remembrance -
Watch tribute by the Shrine Guard from the web site at www.shrine.org.au.
You can watch the 2022 service on YouTube as posted by the Shrine and a few pictures from the service.
- Christmas Party - Sunday, 10 December 2023 from 1PM - at the Sapir home.
Other Past Activities
Dedication of a plaque and tree commemorating the service of American veterans at the Shrine on Friday, 7 December 2007 - started at 11:45am. The Premier of Victoria and the Consul General presided. See the Premier of Victoria's remarks and the RSL Vic MUFTI article.
Veterans Benefits Seminar - still pending more presentations in other locations around Victoria.
- Veterans Benefits Seminar - Thursday, 15 June 2006
We arranged for Consulate and DVA speakers for a seminar at the Kew RSL between 1 - 3 PM instead of our regular meeting. We have been invited to present more of these by the DVA. Keep posted for more info.
Honors to Our Veterans
We are proud to support the families of American Veterans in their hour of grief. The American military has a tradition of honoring its fallen with a ceremony where a special flag, used to drape the coffin of the deceased veteran, is presented to the veteran's next of kin. Normally, the flag is presented by two serving military personnel, but this is not always possible in Melbourne. The American Ex-Servicemen's Assoc. provides veterans and a service modelled after the RSL tribute to recognize the service and sacrifice made to protect freedom in the Armed Forces of the United States. Contact the Secretary or President at the numbers below to request assistance.
Burial and Memorial Benefits
(Most require "Honorable discharge" from the military service)
- Military Funeral Honors: Upon request, and in Australia subject to personnel availability, DoD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of "Taps." The American Ex-Servicemen's Association strives to provide this service when the DoD is not able to do so - however, we cannot provide this service beyond the general Melbourne area at present. Please provide a copy of the DD 214 or discharge at the time of the request, if possible. If you do not have a discharge document, the next of kin can apply for a copy using the Standard Form 180, available from the NARA web site or here.
- Burial Allowances: The VA will pay $300 burial and funeral allowances for Veterans who, at the time of "non-service connected" death, were entitled to receive a pension or compensation. See the VA Fact Sheet for more information. (May 2008)
In addition, the surviving spouse may be sligible for a one-tine funeral benefit from the Social Security Administration. The contact is in Manila +63 2 301 2000 option 9
- Burial at a National Cemetery: Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses and their dependents at no cost to the family. Transportation of the casket or cremains is the responsibility of the family - however, certified mail has been used for containers of ashes. Sending cremains into the US requires a Consular Mortuary Certificate as transport document. (Submit the Australian Death Certificate, Certificate of Cremation, and a Packing Certificate (or letter) from the crematorium certifying the contents of the container.) Also, if the family wishes to scatter ashes themselves, the National Cemetery Administration can arrange for a memorial service at a National Cemetery with a marker placed there for the veteran.
- Headstones and Markers: Families of eligible Veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990 may apply for an inscribed headstone or marker for their grave at any cemetery - public or private. Inscription will consist of the name of the deceased, branch of service, and year of birth and death. VA may otherwise "furnish, upon request, a medallion or other device of a design determined by the Secretary to signify the deceased's status as a veteran, to be attached to a headstone or marker furnished at private expense." Regardless of the date of death, VA will furnish, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. VA Form 40-1330 is needed for either a headstone or marker. VA Form 40-1330M is needed for a medallion.
- Presidential Memorial Certificate: This may be issued to honorably discharged military veterans by completing VA Form 40-0247 and submitting it with a copy of the Veteran's discharge.
- VA Death Pension for Widows/Widowers and Dependent Children: This pension is a "means tested" benefit paid to an unremarried surviving spouse, or an unmarried child of a deceased wartime veteran. The VA has a FAQ page on this benefit. If on a VA pension, the last month's payment received for the month of death (and any other checks received) should be sent back to the Department of Treasury with "Deceased" written on the envelop. It may speed things to call the VA (+1 800 827-1000) and report the death. They will reissue the last payment in the surviving spouse's name as a "month of death" payment. This office can also determine whether there is a VA Life Insurance policy in force and any other eligible benefits. If the veteran had a Veterans Group Life Insurance Policy in force, an application for benefits must be completed. The VA has a FAQ page on this benefit.
The US Consulate (or Embassy) will prepare some of the paperwork required for these benefits. For more information, contact your servicing organization. They will generally need to see the original death certificate, the honorable discharge (DD form 214 or other form), and the deceased veteran's US passport (for initial workup).
It also may speed things with SSA to call the Manila office to report the death (+63 2 5301-2000). They issue a one-time lump-sum payment to the spouse, and they can determine whether survivor's benefits are due. They will arrange for a telephone interview with the spouse to arrange for payment and apply for benefits, if eligible. Do not cash any Social Security Cheques in the deceased's name after their death. Cheques should be returned to the Social Security Office in Manila [Social Security Administration; US Embassy; 1201 Roxas Blvd, Ermita; Manila Phillipines 0930] with a note explaining about the death. Contact details of the widow/Next of Kin should be included, as well as a copy of the death certificate or Consular Report of the Death of an American Citizen Overseas.
If the veteran was on a DoD pension, there are other notification requirements and added forms to start any eligible Survivor's Benefit Plan payments.
If the veteran had a Veterans Group Life Insurance Policy in force, an application for benefits must be completed. The form is available from their web site at www.insurance.va.gov)
If the family wishes to return ashes to the US for interment, a Consular Mortuary Certificate is required. The Consulate will provide this, but they will need a copy of the Australian Death Certificate, a Certificate of Cremation, and a letter from the crematorium stating the package contains only the cremains of the deceased. They may also require flight details for the repatriation.
Documents and Files
- Flyer about AESA and our activities
- Letter to congress on GI Bill issues for Overseas Vets (11/17/21)
- Commonwealth DVA forms for Allied Service members
- Army Pam 600-5 Retiree Information (August 1993)
- Melbourne Consulate General American Citizens Services Information
- Flying Space A from RAAF Richmond (courtesy Scott Wright - Jan 2010::Updated December 2012 Rob Watson)
- International Direct Deposit Requests:
For direct deposit of your SS, Military or VA pension in your Australian bank account. Put the BSB in the 'bank code' space. I'm not sure you need the bank official to sign it.
- For SS, e-mail the form to firstname.lastname@example.org or call them in Manila at +63 2 301 2000 or e-mail your name, phone number, SSN and bank BSB+account number to email@example.com and they will call you back to arrange the transfer.. See more details
- For military pension, mail to: Defense Finance and Accounting Service, U.S. Military Retired Pay, P.O. Box 7130, London, KY 40742-7130 See details
- For VA pensions, Contact VA in Oklahoma at +1 918-781-7550 - option 2 between 7:30 and 4:30 CDT or you can e-mail for 1199i form (2005 version OK as of 2022) to firstname.lastname@example.org. See details
If you have comments or suggestions, please send them along to the webmaster.
Last updated in August 2023.