Category MyCalVet

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin photographed in spacesuits with moon backdrop.

‘… ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND’ GAVE U.S. THE LEAD IN THE SPACE RACE 52 YEARS AGO TODAY

Fifty-two years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, crossing the finish line first as the United States beat the Soviet Union in that particular heat of the space race. With over a billion people listening back on Planet Earth, Armstrong uttered the now-famous words, “That’s one small step […]

Boxer entering a ring, ready for a fight.

PASSION, DUTY, AND A LABOR OF LOVE: HELPING VETERANS AT CALVET IS ALL OF THE ABOVE

For those of us who work at the California Department of Veterans Affairs, however, every day is Veterans Day. It is our passion, our duty, and a labor of love to help veterans in all ways within our means. Many who work for CalVet are veterans themselves — veterans serving veterans. You, too, can make […]

THE NATION CALLED, AND CALIFORNIANS RESPONDED TO FIGHT IN THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR

On this day in 1898, President William McKinley issued a call for 125,000 volunteer troops to fight in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. When the explosion of the USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor left 268 U.S. sailors dead on February 15 of that year, media moguls including William Randolph Hearst blamed Spain – […]

OUR TWO CENTS (AN ACRE’S) WORTH: ‘SEWARD’S FOLLY’ TURNED OUT TO BE QUITE A BARGAIN, IN “DEED”

On April 9 in 1867, Congress ratified the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, or two cents per acre. The deal had been in the works since 1859, when Russian offered Alaska to the U.S. as a way of preventing the expansion of the British empire into the territory. However, the American Civil […]

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 […]

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 […]

FATEFUL FEBRUARY OF ‘42

In February 1942, less than three months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor – 79 years ago this weekend – the Japanese scored a decisive victory in one of the first actual sea battles in the Pacific, the Battle of Java Sea. Among the losses to the United States Asiatic Fleet, more than 2,000 sailors […]