VFP Chapter 46 History

Veterans For Peace was originally started in 1967 by returning Vietnam veterans. They were active in demonstrations against the war. But then VFP was abandoned in the mid 1970’s when the war ended.

On July 8, 1985 Veterans For Peace was revitalized and incorporated in Maine by Jerry Genesio as a 501c3, non-profit, national veterans organization. Much of VFP early focus was on US involvement in Central America in the 1980’s.

Shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait in the late summer of 1990 many of VFP’s 40+ chapters started actively protesting the coming war. The closest VFP chapter was Chapter 11 in Santa Cruz some 45 miles north of Monterey. In late 1990, combat troops from the 7th Light Infantry Division at Fort Ord began flying C-141 cargo planes out of the Monterey municipal airport. As a result local peace groups started protesting in Monterey. Then eight men, led by Gordon Smith, a VFP member from the Santa Cruz chapter, decided to start chapter 46 in Monterey.

Original founding members on July 8, 1991 were Gordon Smith, Phil Butler, True Boardman, Rolland Fletcher, Jerry Eppler, Sam Karas, Ed Leeper, and Bill Stewart.

Smith served as the first chapter president for two years. Butler took over as president for 5 years, followed by Rolland Fletcher and Victor Henry as co-presidents for a year, Winston Elstob for a year, Butler again for 5 years, Bill Dallmann for 2 years and Butler for 12 years ending in 2018. Butler served 22 years as Chapter 46 president.

Butler also served on the VFP national board for 5 years, including chair for 3 of those years. Phil Butler established “VFP Life Membership” while chair of the national board and has the honor of being VFP Life Member Number One.

In March of 1999, Chapter 46 members organized a protest of U.S. Marine Corps “Urban Warrior Exercise” on the beaches of Monterey. The Marine Corps had planned a mock amphibious invasion of Monterey beaches, along with amphibious landing ships, troops, helicopters and military aircraft. The planned military exercise was stopped and never even allowed to begin as a result of chapter 46 organizing hundreds of community members and students for street protests.

In 1997 the City of Monterey began running a WW II tank down Alvarado Street in its July 4th parade. Members of chapter 46 notified the Monterey City Council that this show of warfare was not appropriate for hundreds of children along the sidewalks and that the City should cease this practice. The next year the City repeated with the tank. So president Butler notified the City that chapter members would block and stop the tank if repeated again. Then on July 4th, 1999, five members of chapter 46 sat down in front of the tank, thereby stopping it and the parade. Four members were arrested and held temporarily in the City jail. The next and all following years there were no tanks in the parade.

December of 1998 marked the death of John Steinbeck IV, Vietnam War veteran and son of the famous writer. Then in 1970 Chapter 46 voted to honor his memory by adding his name to the chapter. Thus the official chapter name became “John Steinbeck IV Chapter 46 Veterans For Peace.”

Throughout its history, VFP chapter 46 has been actively involved in teaching peace, social justice and the costs of war. Chapter members have held and organized dozens of public demonstrations, parades and marches. Members have published dozens of articles, commentaries and letters to editors. Chapter 46 has sponsored and presented dozens of presentations and panel discussions, radio and TV broadcasts featuring chapter members, well-known scholars, community leaders, and famous individuals. Chapter members have given dozens of classes at schools, universities and military institutions.

John Steinbeck IV Chapter 46 Veterans For Peace has been an active force for peace and social justice in our community. It is one of approximately 120 chapters of an international organization composed of military veterans, military family members, and allies.

Our purpose is:

  1. To increase public awareness of the causes and costs of war
  2. To restrain our governments from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
  3. To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
  4. To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
  5. To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.

We members of VFP chapter 46 are dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war.