Category History

ASIAN AMERICAN/PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH: CAMPAIGN TO HONOR CHINESE AMERICAN WORLD WAR II VETS WITH CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL CONTINUES

During an 18-month stretch of World War II, three brothers of a Chinese American family from Los Angeles all joined the United States Military. Herbert Tom went into the U.S. Army in January 1943, serving in the Army Air Corps’ 9th Air Force in Europe until after the war’s end. The eldest brother, George W. […]

MEMORIAL DAY TOOK SOME INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGY TO COMMEMORATE HOLIDAY IN VETERANS HOMES DURING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

If necessity is, indeed, the mother of all invention, and desperate times require desperate measures, then add this new adage to the mix: COVID-19 demands innovation and imagination to maintain our traditions. Indeed, Zoom feeds replace crowded graduation ceremonies. Well-wishers now drive by to offer socially distanced birthday greetings to the recipient out on his […]

MAIL CALL GIVES EMOTIONAL BOOST TO VETERANS AT CALVET HOME IN CHULA VISTA AS COVID-19 PROHIBITS VISITATION

“Mail call!” Two of the sweetest words any service member could ever hear. It meant hearing from a friend or family member, someone who was encouraging and could lift your spirits. It meant receiving a “care package” of items unavailable wherever you were, or your favorite home-baked cookies for which you savored for days and […]

FORMER CALVET UNDERSECRETARY UMBERG HELPED MAKE HISTORY AS ARMY’S CULTURE INVOLVING WOMEN BEGAN TO CHANGE IN 1970’s

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) can look in its own storied history to find women who have made great contributions in the military, and to the agency itself. Retired Brigadier General Robin Umberg is one of them. She broke ground for other women in the […]

AWARD-WINNING VETERANS CEMETERY AT SEASIDE BREAKING GROUND ON EXPANSION THAT WILL OFFER IN-GROUND BURIALS

SEASIDE – Since the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery opened in 2016, only the columbaria for cremains has been available at the 79-acre property that once was part of the Fort Ord Army base. That will change in 2021, when Phase II is completed and in-ground burials can begin at the cemetery operated by the […]

COLD NIGHT IN FRANCE BEGAN MEDICAL, MILITARY MARCH ACROSS EUROPE IN WWII FOR ARMY NURSE, NOW 100

FRESNO – In the fall of 1944, just a few months after the Normandy invasion, Jane Boote endured a night she’s never forgotten. “That first night in France was the coldest night of my life,” the 100-year-old Army veteran and career nurse recalled. “The GIs thought they were doing us a favor by giving us […]

HOSPITAL AT CALIFORNIA ARMY BASE HONORS ONLY WOMAN TO RECEIVE MEDAL OF HONOR

At Fort Irwin, in California’s Mojave Desert, the Dr. Mary E. Walker Center is an administrative building that is part of the Weed Army Community Hospital system. The hospital system serves a military and civilian population of nearly 10,000. One day each December, hundreds of soldiers from Fort Irwin’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment march up […]

PIONEER, TRAILBLAZER: VIRGINIA MAE DAYS WAS ONE OF A KIND AS CALVET DIRECTOR

NOTE: As we honor women veterans during Women’s History Month, CalVet remembers one of its own. The late Virginia Mae Days served as CalVet’s director from 1975-81, retiring more than a decade before CalVet became a cabinet level department headed by a secretary. Her story, published on CalVet Connect last fall, bears repeating. In a […]

THE CHALLENGE OF UNDERSTANDING CHALLENGE COINS

Appreciation comes in many forms: plaques, letters, gifts, or handshakes, to name a few. However, the military adheres to a different, but unofficial way of honoring their members with proof of affiliation: the challenge coin. Although there are many versions of the challenge coin’s history, the apparent truth is they are passed from a ranking […]

COLONEL IRMA COOPER DEFIED THE ODDS

A leader throughout her long and distinguished military career, CalVet turns to Irma Hagans Cooper Colonel (retired) to take us across the bridge from Black History Month to Women’s History Month. The Los Angeles resident spent 30 years in the Army, much of it running medical facilities and commanding companies that went on to serve […]