Our OriginsVFW Post 423 was name in honor of two men, Ernest Graf and Frank O'Hara.  Both were killed during World War I.

Ernest W. Graf was born March 17, 1894 in Karlsruhe, Germany. At an early age, his family immigrated to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As a teenager, Ernest was studying to be an electrician, but enlisted in the US Army at 19-years old on April 20, 1912. He served during the Mexican Border Wars with the Co. B, 29th Infantry he was discharged on April 19, 1915.

With the threat of WWI on the horizon, Ernest again enlisted in the US Army. He ultimately worked his way to the rank of Sergeant while serving with Co. E, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division.



Ernest was killed in action during the Mesue-Argonne Offensive in France October 4,1918. He is laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Frank (Frances) Dignan O'Hara, was born in Ann Arbor, September 1897. Frank was raised in Ann Arbor and attended St. Thomas High School.

He enlisted in The US Marine Corps on April 10, 1918, attending recruit training in Parris Island, SC. Frank was shortly stationed at Ft. Crockett, TX, before going overseas to France August 1918. He served with Co. G, 5th Marine Regiment.  Frank was wounded on November 5, 1918, with a gun shot wound to his right hand and was hospitalize November 5-8 that year. Upon release from the hospital, Frank was assigned to the 51st Co., 5th Marine Regiment, 2nd US Army Infantry Division. 


Frank was killed in action on November 11, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He died on the afternoon of the day the Armistice took affect at 11:00 am.

Frank D. O'Hara was laid to rest in St. Thomas Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Continuing a proud legacy: Medal of Honor Recipient Charles Kettles, Member of VFW Post 423
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles S. Kettles was born in Ypsilanti, Mich., Jan. 9, 1930. He was awarded
 the Congressional Medal of Honor in for heroism as a UH-1D helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War in May 1967. 
Under heavy fire, and no regard for personal safety, Kettles repeatedly returned to the battlefield to evacuate soldiers pinned down by enemy troops. While returning to base, Kettles was informed that 8 additional troops needed extraction and were unable to meet him earlier due to heavy enemy fire. He passed command of the extraction to another helicopter and returned to the battlefield without any additional support. Under heavy fire, damage to his helicopter and becoming a lone target for enemy troops, he was able to maintain control of the aircraft while extracting the last eight soldiers.

"We got the 44 out. None of those names appear on the wall in Washington. There's nothing more important than that.” – Retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles

"You couldn't make this up. It's like a bad Rambo movie.” – President Barack Obama

Charles Kettles was recognized with the award over 50 years later in July 2016 by President Barack Obama. Learn more about Charles and the details of his actions here.


Post News

Important Info for Post423 Members

VFW Post 423 member commissions in the Navy, becomes Mustang

VFW Post 423 member, William Matte, commissioned as a U.S. Navy Ensign Oct 20, 2023 at the Ann Arbor Post. He originally enlisted in the Navy in 2012, and transferred to the officer ranks this year.

VFW Post 423 Auxiliary honors past members with memorial brick

VFW Post 423 auxiliary members purchased a memorial brick to be displayed at the VFW National Home in honor of past auxiliary member Brett Horsch, and past VFW Post member Michael Horsch.

Statewide News

News & Info from your department

VFW members work to preserve Michigan Civil Battle Flag

Leadership from VFW Posts 4545 12082 have joined forces in raising funds to restore and preserve the piece of Michigan’s history that followed the 21st Infantry Regiment through eight Civil War battles.

State Adjutant shares in-person memory of 1982 DC Vietnam Memorial dedication

VFW Department of Michigan Adjutant & Quartermaster Barry Walter attended the Washington D.C. Vietnam Memorial Dedication on November 13, 1982. Now, 76, Barry recalls being a 35-year-old VFW service officer, witnessing history for his generation of warriors.

National News

Important info from National VFW

Thankful for the Life We Live

WASHINGTON - 'What are you thankful for?' is a common question this time of year. While most would prefer to get straight to the t...

Celebrating Those Who Have Worn the Nation's Uniform

WASHINGTON - For the members the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), as well as the millions of others who have worn the cloth of our ...