On April 11 in 1944, German-born actress Marlene Dietrich staged the first of her many performances for United States troops serving overseas in a campaign that ultimately led the USO to call her “… one of the Most Patriotic Women in World War II.” Dietrich, who once publicly called Adolf Hitler an “idiot,” refused to […]

On April 9 in 1867, Congress ratified the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, or two cents per acre. The deal had been in the works since 1859, when Russian offered Alaska to the U.S. as a way of preventing the expansion of the British empire into the territory. However, the American Civil […]

To say William Henry Harrison experienced a very distinct presidency would constitute something of an understatement. At 68 years, 23 days, he became America’s oldest president when sworn in on March 4, 1841. That record lasted until Donald Trump took office at 70, 220 days in in January 2017, followed by Joe Biden at 78 […]

With the stroke of his pen on this day in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the United States Air Force Academy into existence. Plans for the Academy in essence began the moment the Air Force officially became its own branch of the service as part of the National Security Act of 1947. The Army […]

CalVet closes Women’s History Month by remembering Mary Dunaway and Virginia Mae Days. These two women made tremendously positive impacts on the Veterans Home of California-Yountville, impacts that are felt throughout all of CalVet’s eight veterans homes today. In October 1945, Dunaway toured the Yountville Home campus and came away with two ideas: to build […]

When U.S. Army soldier Stan Leighton flew back from Vietnam in 1970, he landed in Seattle and then boarded the first available flight home to California. Like so many others who fought in that war, he returned to a nation embroiled in deep social and political turmoil over the war. “I was fortunate,” said Leighton, […]

Carolann Wunderlin can say without hesitation that she danced her way through her time in the United States Air Force. While serving at Elmendorf Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska in 1979, she entered and won base and command-wide talent contests. She went on to become a finalist in the branch’s worldwide “Tops in Blue” […]

On March 23, 1945, Army Private Edward A. Carter Jr. and three others in his tank squad came under attack by German forces as they neared Speyer, Germany. Their tank ablaze, the four soldiers ran toward cover across the field. Two died, another was wounded. Carter knocked out two enemy machine gun nests and engaged […]

On this day in 1944, 76 Allied prisoners of war escaped from the German camp Stalag Luft III. Their story would be told 19 years later in the American-made film, “The Great Escape,” which starred Steve McQueen and, by many accounts, embellished the role of the camp’s American POWs while still managing to stick to […]

The WAC and her U.S. Army Hubby.

By Les Goldberg / Special to CalVet Connect After a few less-than-memorable dates in high school and college, the last place Les Goldberg expected to find his future bride was in the Army – especially right at the start of the Vietnam War. But, believe it or not, that is exactly what happened. Just a […]