Author Archives: Jeff Jardine

OFF WE WENT INTO THE WILD BLUE YONDER OF HIGHER EDUCATION 67 YEARS AGO TODAY

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 […]

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: TWO WHO MADE HUGE IMPACTS ON YOUNTVILLE VETERANS HOME AND BEYOND

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 […]

VIETNAM VETERANS DAY: WHEN THE WALL IN DC WENT UP, OTHER WALLS BEGAN TO COME DOWN

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, […]

WOMEN’S HISTORY: AIR FORCE VETERAN CHOREOGRAPHING TRANSITIONS TO CIVILIAN LIFE

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” […]

RACISM KEPT CALIFORNIAN CARTER FROM RECEIVING MEDAL OF HONOR UNTIL 34 YEARS AFTER HIS PASSING

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 […]

‘THE GREAT ESCAPE’ 77 YEARS AGO TODAY MORE THAN JUST A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES

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 […]

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH AND CALVET HOME LOAN SUCCESS STORIES ALL ROLLED INTO ONE

During Women’s History Month each March, CalVet Connect tells the stories of some exceptional women veterans who live in the Golden State. This year, CalVet’s Home Loans program turns 100 years old, giving us opportunities to write about our veteran clients as well. Eboni Strader represents both. She’s a disabled U.S. Army veteran and single […]

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH BUILT ON FIRSTS, AND THESE TWO ARMY NURSES HELPED LEAD THE WAY

Women’s History Month traditionally highlights the groundbreakers, the glass-ceiling crashers, and the ones who went first. Count two U.S. Army nurses among them. On March 13, 1942, Major Julia O. Flikke, chief of the Army Nurses Corps, became the first female colonel in the history of the Army. Her second in command, Captain Florence A. […]

AIR FORCE VET USES RESTAURANT AS A VEHICLE FOR HELPING VETERANS DURING THE PANDEMIC

When Christy Hayes graduated from Morro Bay High in 2000, she received a bottle of perfume from her sister as a graduation gift. It contained the essence of her dreams. Chanel No. 5? Giorgio? J’adore? Nope. “WD-40 has always been my favorite scent,” said Hayes. A lifelong engine buff, Hayes went straight from “California’s only […]

FINALLY AND OFFICIALLY, ‘STAR-SPANGLED BANNER’ BECAME AMERICA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM 90 YEARS AGO TODAY

The overwhelming majority of living Americans cannot remember a time when the Star-Spangled Banner” was not our national anthem.  Francis Scott Key watched the British pound Maryland’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and then wrote about that moment in history in a poem originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” A newspaper in Baltimore published the work on September 14, 1814, and he later changed the name to […]