Author Archives: Jeff Jardine

Marine Cpl Jason Dunham with CalVet logo

GI FILM FESTIVAL’S ‘THE GIFT’ IS A STORY FOR THE AGES

A Marine – who gave his own life so others could live. A Marine – who not only saved lives in 2004 but continues to impact them today. A Marine – who became a gift to so many people and in so many ways. “The Gift” – among the most powerful of the 31 films […]

Members of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) conduct an honorable carry for the remains of unidentified U.S. service members.

MISSING IN ACTION BUT ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS: THE SEARCH CONTINUES

As Memorial Day approaches, families will plan to gather at consecrated grounds— such as Arlington National Military Cemetery in Virginia. In California, they will visit any one of the 14 national or military cemeteries up and down the state, including CalVet’s cemeteries at Igo, Yountville, and Seaside. It is the day each year where we […]

Navy veteran Don Windle in uniform and now.

MAY A MONTH OF REMEMBRANCE FOR THREE-WAR VET AT REDDING HOME

May is a month of remembrances for 96-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Don Windle. On May 5, 1944, the Navy launched his ship, the USS Aaron Ward (DM-34), a destroyer minelayer commissioned in October of that year. On May 3, 1945, two days shy of a year of its launching and during its first and only […]

WOMAN VETERAN DECAL IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR CALIFORNIA ‘HONORING VETERANS’ LICENSE PLATE

When President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law on June 12, 1948, women could finally serve as permanent, regular members of the four major branches of the American military. Up until 1948, women serving in the auxiliary branches performed duties in four categories: baking, clerical, driving, and medical. During WWII, the […]

GI Film Festival booth in San Diego.

GI FILM FESTIVAL SAN DIEGO BRINGS WAR, ITS AFTERMATH, AND VETERANS INTO FOCUS

Films that depict heroism and sacrifice. Films about tragedy, redemption, forgiveness, and understanding. Films that address the mental health issues many veterans face daily. Films about veterans, many made by veterans, and told through the words of veterans. The 2023 GI Film Festival San Diego will offer all of the above when it begins its […]

Photo of veteran Tom Parkinson with CalVet logo

VETERAN, VOLUNTEER, AND HALL OF FAMER AT YOUNTVILLE HOME

As we conclude Volunteer Recognition Week, here’s one with Hall of Fame credentials. They could hang a plaque honoring Tom Parkinson beyond the centerfield wall of Cleve Borman Field at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville, in the style of Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. After all, eight years ago, the recent Yountville Home Hall of Fame […]

Photo of Women Veterans writing workshop and CalVet logo

VOLUNTEER TEACHES VETERANS HOW TO BETTER TELL THEIR STORIES

Most veterans have a story to tell, from boot camp or base life, from deployments to discharge. Sometimes, they just need tips on how to tell it. Kristine Mietzner loves to help them. The former journalist, retired educator, and now a staff services manager in CalVet’s Veterans Homes division has spent more than a decade […]

Photo of James E. Swett and CalVet Logo

80 YEARS AGO, MARINE PILOT SHOT DOWN SEVEN JAPANESE PLANES IN ONE DAY, EARNED MEDAL OF HONOR

CalVet’s Medal of Honor Wall includes 177 names of soldiers, sailors, and Marines, either from California or with California ties, who received the nation’s highest honor for heroism and valor. Each recipient and the circumstances that led to awarding the honor is a story in its own right. This time, we tell the story of […]

Photo of Army Captain Tina Knutson in Iraq.

RETIRED ARMY MAJOR WANTS WOMEN VETERANS TO REMEMBER THEIR MILITARY-ACQUIRED SKILLS

As a U.S. Army Reservist serving in a psyops (psychological operations) unit in Iraq in 2021, Tina Knutson and her team got into the minds of Iraqi citizens while deployed to Baghdad. As a police officer and hostage negotiator during her 21-year career in law enforcement in the Alameda County city of Newark, she once […]

Magdalena Leones accepts the citation for the Silver Cross.

YES, TEACHER, GRANDMA REALLY WAS A SOLDIER, SPY, GUERILLA, AND SILVER STAR RECIPIENT

As the story goes, when Corporal Magdalena “Maggie” Leones’ granddaughter wrote a report about her grandma for a school assignment, the teacher simply didn’t believe it. Believe what? Or, was the girl simply a grandchild with an overactive imagination? Prove it, the teacher told her. Prove it, Maggie’s granddaughter did. She brought the Silver Star […]