Category History

ARMY LAWYER ENDED MCCARTHY’S REIGN OF FEAR, POWER IN 1954 WITH THESE WORDS: ‘HAVE YOU NO SENSE OF DECENCY, SIR?’

In the late 1940s and into the mid-1950s, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin ran an unsubstantiated and divisive campaign of deceit and distrust that shook the nation to its core. It came to a head 67 years ago this month, when McCarthy accused the United States Army of being infiltrated by communists, and ran […]

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne.

D-DAY INVASION PRODUCED 13 MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS, INCLUDING A CALIFORNIAN

The invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, began the final Allied forces’ push across Europe to destroy the Nazi regime and end the war in Europe. That battle alone led to 13 Americans ultimately receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest tribute to bravery in the face of the enemy. Army paratrooper Private […]

Photo of the USS Yorktown after it was hit by enemy fire.

BATTLE OF MIDWAY BEGAN 79 YEARS AGO TODAY, WITH USS YORKTOWN AMONG ITS MOST HALLOWED CASUALTIES

The USS Yorktown (CV5) rests beneath 16,650 feet of water in the Pacific Ocean, its name still, but barely, visible on the stern when famed oceanographer Robert Ballard located the wreckage in 1998. The carrier remains undisturbed as it has — and as it should — since sinking to the ocean floor three days after […]

PUTTING MEMORIAL DAY INTO FOCUS AMID THE BLUR OF A 3-DAY WEEKEND

When Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, it ultimately transformed three holidays and one day of remembrance – the latter being Memorial Day – into three-day weekends. The underlying reason? Travel, barbecues, picnics, and such all benefit the national, regional, and local economies. It became the unofficial start of the summer tourism […]

Fireworks

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY TO CALVET’S HOME LOAN PROGRAM!

As birthdays go, this is a big one: the 100th of the California Department of Veterans Affairs’ Home Loan Program. On May 30, 1921, the California Veterans Farm and Home Loan program was signed into law by Governor William Stephens to assist and reward the state’s military veterans. Beginning with the first loan that closed […]

A HALL OF FAME CAREER WITH TWO WARS IN BETWEEN: TED WILLIAMS ENLISTED IN THE NAVY 79 YEARS AGO TODAY

Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams, arguably baseball’s greatest hitter of all time, enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve 79 years ago today. Williams, born and raised in San Diego, eventually became one of 37 Baseball Hall of Famers to serve during World War II, while 27 others fought in World War I. Eleven […]

YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW: WOMEN AUXILIARY ARMY CORPS OFFICIALLY CREATED THIS DAY IN 1942

With Armed Forces Day in mind, here’s one element of how women became part of the U.S. Armed Forces. Six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts introduced a bill to create the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). Credit Rogers as a true agent of change for […]

HOW CINCO DE MAYO PLAYED A GRANDE ROLE IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

On May 5, 1862, a vastly outnumbered force of about 2,000 Mexican locals repelled and defeated 6,000 well-trained French troops in what became known as the Battle of Puebla. The victory is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo in Puebla, a city southeast of Mexico City. It’s also recognized in Veracruz, the port on the Gulf […]

Last helicopter at the Saigon Embassy, 1975.

THE LUCKY HAT THAT PROTECTED THREE MARINES, INCLUDING ONE OF THE LAST ONES TO EVACUATE SAIGON 46 YEARS AGO TODAY

When U.S. Marine Richard Paddock left for State Department security duty at the Saigon Embassy in August 1974, his Vietnam veteran father brought him a battle-tested going-away gift. “He came to San Francisco to see me off,” Paddock said. Just before boarding, dad – Hugh Paddock – handed him a beige-colored, floppy bush hat. “This […]

ARMY, CALIFORNIA GUARD STEPPED UP WHEN 1906 SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE, FIRE KNOCKED THE CITY DOWN

On the morning of April 18, 1906 – 115 years – the ground beneath San Francisco shook angrily and violently. Buildings fell. Fires broke out, fueled by severed gas lines, and allowed to spread by fractured water lines. The San Francisco earthquake, all 7.8 magnitude of it, sent a rude wakeup call to the mostly […]