The Red, White and Blue Veterans of Bastrop County’s Banquet was started by a few Bastrop private citizens who wanted to honor local Veterans with a special evening.  The first two annual events were a Red, White and Blue Ball in 2004 and 2005.  Local entertainers the Native Sons and the Lawmen played for those Balls with an additional program by the Reflections Choir from the Ft. Worth in 2006.  These events were held in the Bastrop High School Commons

In 2006, the program was changed to a Banquet at the American Legion in Smithville where Steve McGraw, Director of Homeland Security for Texas, spoke. The years 2007 and 2008 found the event in Elgin at the VFW and the format was changed again to allow several local veterans to give their personal experiences in their particular wars/military action.  Some of the speakers had served in more than one war.

In 2009 we moved the event to the new Bastrop High School Cafetorium with Lt. Col. (R) Brian Birdwell who was injured in the September 11, 2001 attack of the Pentagon.  Lt. Col. Birdwell shared his personal emotional and physical battles to recover from those injuries.  We had displays from Camps Mabry and Swift.  World-renowned violinist, LaDonna Taylor, played at the Banquet.  The garrison flag from Ft. Hood hung behind the speaker and was quite an impressive sight.  This same flag hung behind President Obama when he visited Ft. Hood a few months later.

In 2010 we were honored to have as our Keynote Speaker, Jay Kimbrough, Special Advisor to the Board of Regents, Texas A &M University System and who held numerous positions serving under the Office of the State of Texas Governor. Kimbrough was also instrumental in the development of the Vietnam War Museum.

In 2011 the Speaker for the Veterans Banquet was Sergeant Major (SGM) William “Billy” Waugh (US Army-Ret.) who was born December 1, 1929 here in Bastrop and is a highly decorated American Special Forces soldier and a Central Intelligence Agency Paramilitary Operations Officer who served in the United States military and CIA special operations for more than fifty years. SGM Waugh served in the U.S. Army’s elite Green Berets and the CIA’s famed Special Activities Division.

In 2012 our speaker at the banquet was retired Drug Enforcement Administration Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Timothy Sellers, one of the most highly decorated agents in the history of the US DEA and now is a leading figure on the speaking circuit. Tim Sellers Is The Author of the Book The Last Cowboy. We continued to have wonderful displays and exhibits for the guests as well.

Our 2013 Speaker, JAMES D. HORNFISCHER spoke about the American heroes of the USS Houston. He is a naval historian and the author of three well-received books on World War II. His most recent book, Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal was a New York Times bestseller and a selection of the Chief of Naval Operations Reading List.

Our 2014 speaker was Rear Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service & Assistant Surgeon General Epifanio (Epi) Elizondo, PhD, PA-C. As Regional Health Administrator (RHA) in Region VI, RADM Elizondo serves as senior federal public health official and scientist in the region. He performs essential functions for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in three major areas: prevention, public health preparedness, and agency-wide coordination.

Jerry Yellin, Captain, Army Air Corps, WWII was our speaker for 2015 participated in the first land based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945, and also has the unique distinction of having flown the final combat mission of World War II on August 14, 1945 – the day the war ended. On that mission, his wing-man (Phillip Schlamberg) was the last man killed in a combat mission in WWII.

Our 2016 speaker, COL, Albert J. Nahas, US Army, Retired, was born into an Army family, Albert Nahas, from his earliest recollection, was drawn to join the company of soldiers. He joined the Army in June 1967 as a Lieutenant from West Point and found his way to Vietnam in July 1968. Wounded soon after in the A Shau Valley at what a year later would be called Hamburger Hill, he worked his way back from a hospital in Japan to his same platoon in C Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He spent eighteen months with that battalion until Feb 1970 as a platoon leader, reconnaissance platoon leader, company executive officer and company commander.

While several people have chaired the event and the committee has changed over the years, the intent and focus of the event remains today — honor our veterans.  RWB Banquet proceeds support Veterans organizations in Bastrop County to assist the individual needs of Veterans in the community, and to assist Bastrop and Elgin Navy Junior ROTC.

The goals of the Committee are to engage the support of the community to honor our Veterans, serve local Veterans with a special night and provide support to local Veterans agencies with financial aid to assist Veterans in need.