Category History

Pioneer, Trailblazer: Virginia Mae Days was one of a kind as CalVet director

NOTE: This is the second in a periodical series of stories about CalVet, its history, and its programs. In a secluded hallway inside the California Department of Veterans Affairs building in Sacramento, rows of photographs reflect the succession of CalVet’s leadership, from its inception in 1946 to present. One portrait stands out, but not because […]

California Vietnam Veterans Memorial gets 20 additional names

Twenty new names will join the nearly 6,000 already inscribed on the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial during a ceremony this Sunday in Capitol Park. The event will begin at noon. More than 200 relatives and friends of those being remembered are expected to attend. It will include welcoming remarks by Master of Ceremonies Martin J. […]

Twenty names, including first woman, etched into California Vietnam Veterans Memorial

SACRAMENTO – Like so many others who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, U.S. Army Specialist 5 Adrienne Lee Schamp was exposed to Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used to defoliate forests and crops that provided cover for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. She worked in Army finance at Long Binh and […]

CalVet Women Veterans award winner Captain Elizabeth L. Hillman truly a trailblazer

In 2013, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee appointed former Air Force Captain Elizabeth L. Hillman, an expert on sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination in the military, to serve on a panel probing sexual assault in the military. The panel exposed how little progress had been made since the so-called “Tailhook” scandal of 1991, when […]

From sea to shining sea: United States Navy celebrating 244th birthday

Here’s a trivia question: Which is older – the United States Navy or the United States of America? If you guessed the Navy, you’d be correct. You might wonder, how did the creation of the Navy precede the formation of the nation? Why not? The Navy even preceded itself. In the summer of 1775, General […]

Yountville Home vet recalls World War II POW days, now exercises his freedoms daily

YOUNTVILLE – Most mornings, Albert Freitas climbs aboard his “buggy” and motors down to the bus stop in front of the Veterans Home of California-Yountville. The 98-year-old World War II veteran loads the electric chariot onto a bus and heads to a busy shopping center a few miles away in Napa. There, he sips a […]

United States Air Force celebrates 72 years of flying solo as a military branch

The U.S. Air Force celebrates its 72nd birthday today. But this birthday hardly represents the birth of aviation in the U.S. military. That actually began during the Civil War, when both sides used  hot air balloons for aerial reconnaissance. It instead recognizes the day the Air Force became its own branch, free of control of […]

Veteran at CalVet’s Redding Home puts heart, paint brushes to work for Carr fire victims

REDDING – As the Carr fire raged through Northern California in July 2018, residents of the Veterans Home of California-Redding began painting signs for the men and women fighting the conflagration. Vietnam-era veteran and artist Michael VanCleemput, was among those who was asked to contribute. “I agreed, but I needed an inspiration for an appropriate […]

Veterans faring well in California’s longest job growth streak in decades

Labor Day – the day America celebrates its workers – offers an opportunity to see how our military veterans are doing in the California labor market. The answer? Quite well, it seems. The number of unemployed veterans in California declined from 65,200 to 20,800 between October 2015 and October 2018. The labor force, whether for […]

August 14 celebrates Native Americans’ roles as “Code Talkers” during World War II

During World War II, Native Americans played a key role in the war against the Axis. They confounded the enemy by using the Navajo language to send secret information from the front lines. The enemy could hear the messages, which they couldn’t decipher because the Navajo language was unfamiliar to them. Consequently, these “code talkers,” […]