Head shot of Shadowdancer Ortega Melendez, Chumash native and U.S. veteran.

Today, hundreds of Native Americans representing many tribes and nations throughout California will converge on the State Capitol’s West Lawn to celebrate their heritage, cultures, and contributions. What began under Governor Culbert Olsen as “Indian Day” in 1939, became “California Indian Day” under Governor Ronald Reagan in 1968, is now “California Native American Day.” It […]

CalVet Logo with Air Force fighter planes.s

Happy 75th birthday to the United States Air Force!  The Air Force became its own branch of the U.S. military after President Truman signed the National Security Act on September 18, 1947. Aviation had been part of the U.S. military since the Civil War, and Allies relied on aircraft throughout both World Wars. The Navy […]

Photo of Cheryl Cardoza, Veterans Homes of California-Fresno

One afternoon late in June, Cheryl Cardoza noticed a plume of dust rising above the road as she drove along Avenue 12 in Madera County.  She was headed home from running some errands on her first day of vacation. Dust in the summer generally suggests that farmers are working in the almond, peach, or pistachio […]

Incarcerated veterans listen to benefits presentation at Mule Creek State Prison presentation.

Steven Smith scrolled through his emails one day a few months ago, and came across one that simply moved him. Smith, a United States Navy Veteran, is among the seven veterans claims analysts working directly with incarcerated veterans in California’s 35 state prisons through CalVet’s Justice Involved Veterans Initiative. The analysts help veterans—many imprisoned for […]

President Gerald Ford enters a waiting car.

Do a little digging, and connections are bound to surface. Today – September 5 – certainly supports that theory, and this time it involves former President Gerald R. Ford. How so? On September 5, 1945, an American-born woman of Japanese ancestry named Iva Toguri D’Aquino was arrested in Japan and soon after returned to the […]

CDCR prisoners walk down a road.

Mary Donovan, a veterans claims analyst with CalVet, talked benefits with about 30 veterans in the Sierra foothills community of Ione one recent morning. This wasn’t just any veterans’ group, though. All are inmates at Mule Creek State Prison, and among the more than 5,000 military veterans incarcerated in California’s 34 adult state prisons. Despite […]

Two old recruiting posters for the USMC Reserves.

With America’s impending involvement in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Appropriations Act on August 29, 1916. In doing so, he created the Marine Corps Reserve to join in the fighting on land, sea and in the air. Reserves flew with the British to attack enemy supply lines. They fought in major […]

Photo of a newspaper clipping "Senate defeats bonus, despite 10,000 veterans massed around Capitol.

A few weeks ago, with celebrity Jon Stewart giving an impassioned speech on their behalf, U.S. military veterans pleaded for Congress to pass the $280 billion PACT Act to help those suffering from toxic burn pit exposures and other service-related health threats. Using the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, 100 or so veterans staged a […]

A toddler wearing a yellow dress made from the fabric of a WWII parachute.

A yellow toddler’s dress might be the last thing you’d expect to find showcased at a veterans home. Photographs, medals, battlefield souvenirs, or old newspaper clippings? Sure. But a little yellow silk dress? Yet, there is displayed in the Hall of Honor deep inside the Veterans Homes of California-Redding, on loan from the family of […]

Perhaps, as you’ve motored down one of California’s major highways, you’ve noticed a sign that reads “Purple Heart Trail.”  Today is National Purple Heart Day, the day each year when we honor members of our military – whether killed in action or living veterans carrying the physical scars of war – who were wounded while […]