|who were patients in the United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 54 located at Arrowhead
had been converted out of a building formerly used for other purposes. This particular building in
which the hospital was housed had been a well known hotel located on the side of the mountain
about seven miles from the city of San Bernardino. The name "Trench Rats" was adopted as it is
symbolic of the rats which the World War I veterans encountered in the trenches in France.
Some of the patients were members of the Los Angeles Chapter of the DAV. The hospital was
isolated and there were no activities for the patients to pass the time, the majority of whom were
ambulatory. A few members of this DAV Chapter conceived the idea of organizing a group of the
most active members as a secret, fraternal society and devised an initiation ceremony for fun and
amusement and invited for membership only those DAV members who were most active in the
Chapter. As a result of this, most of the patients became members of the DAV and its delegates to
the National Convention in Salt Lake City in 1924 were able to get the N.O.T.R. officially recognized
as an Auxiliary of the DAV.
The N.O.T.R. is a secret, fraternal and honor organization limiting its membership by selection only
to those who show their devotion and meritorious service to the DAV and the welfare of the
disabled veterans, his widow and orphans. As result of this limitation, non-members have been
encouraged to become more active in their Chapters and sign up new members in the DAV, this
being one of the qualifications for membership.
The Trench Rats were proud of this contributions to the DAV and the fact that many projects
adopted by Dugouts in their local communities have helped publicize and enhance the name and
prestige of our organization. The National and State Rendezvous of the Trench Rats have long
been recognized as the highlight of the entertainment programs of DAV conventions and have
contributed greatly to the attendance. In the early years of the DAV, when it was in financial trouble
and having a difficult time supporting and extending its Service Officer program, the N.O.T.R.
raised and contributed funds for this purpose. In recent years they have contributed to the
Disabled American Veterans Service Foundation to assist the Legislative Programs of the DAV and
to the Memorial Honor Roll of Beneficiaries of the Perpetual Rehabilitation Fund.
Much could be said about the difficulties the organization encountered in the early struggle to
survive. Recognition should be given not only to those who participated in its founding, but to all of
those members who worked so hard over the years helping build the N.O.T.R. to the high position it
now holds and to those who continue to sell its aims and purposes. Their names are legion, many
have passed away and even to mention a few would be unfair to all the others, but recognition
must be given to the responsible for it all and that is the founder, Volney P. Mooney, who was the
first Imperial Golden Rodent. He later became Commander of Chapter No. 5 in Los Angeles,
Department Commander of California, National Judge Advocate for eight years and was elected
National Commander of the DAV in 1934. To him and to all of those living and dead who
contributed over the sixty years of its existence, this history is dedicated. Their names are inscribed
in the archives of this Order, they were tried and found true to their trusts, to their obligations and
their own consciences.
We know that membership in this Organization inspired all of them with the incentives to further the
welfare of our disabled comrades and there will always remain in the minds of all members those
"Semper Idem Et Semper Fidelis"