As a military historian and local author, I have taken a keen interest in military events pertaining to my mountain community of Tehachapi. We “Tehachapians” have a proud tradition of supporting the U.S. military in times of peace and war.

Over the decades, we have sent our sons (and, more recently, our daughters as well) to fight in foreign wars — to battlefields as far removed in time and space as North Africa, France and the South Pacific (1942-45) are from Afghanistan and Iraq (2001 to present).

One of our brave sons, West Point graduate Major Jason George, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in 2009, while on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Major George became the first veteran to be buried at Bakersfield National Cemetery.

In Major George’s honor, VFW Post 12114 was chartered in Tehachapi in October 2011 and has now completed its sixth year in operation. Over the years, the post has worked tirelessly to provide local veterans with the support they often cannot find anywhere else.

Post members escort veterans to VA hospitals and clinics, while providing financial and emotional support. Thanks to a major initiative of VFW Post 12114, representatives of the U.S. Veterans Administration now visit Tehachapi each month to provide counseling to Kern County veterans.

In addition to supporting local veterans, the post has also reached out to the Tehachapi community as a whole. Over the past three years, the post has raised more than $31,000 for pancreatic cancer research, and a fourth fundraiser is now in the planning stages. Post members also took part in the 2017 National August Night Out, providing guidance and direction to local children and teenagers.

To perform its admirable mission, Major Jason George VFW Post 12114 is always on the lookout for new members. If you are a veteran of a foreign war and would like to help this post continue to grow by becoming a member, please call 823-4551; or visit the post’s website at majorjasone

Dr. Craig Luther is a retired Air Force historian and Bear Valley Springs author who has written a half-dozen books on World War II.