Tag Archives: WWII

A TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOT, MARLENE DIETRICH’S FIRST USO SHOW HAPPENED 77 YEARS AGO TODAY

On April 11 in 1944, German-born actress Marlene Dietrich staged the first of her many performances for United States troops serving overseas in a campaign that ultimately led the USO to call her “… one of the Most Patriotic Women in World War II.” Dietrich, who once publicly called Adolf Hitler an “idiot,” refused to […]

‘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 […]

HAPPY NEW YEAR, WITH A LOOK BACK AT HISTORIC EVENTS HAPPENING ON THAT DAY

We tend to think of New Year’s Day as one of parades, college football games, replacing last year’s wall calendar, and for those who reveled too much the night before a day of aspirin and ice packs. However, some very significant events happened on New Year’s day throughout American history. Here is a sampling to […]

SHINING LIGHT ON CALIFORNIA’S TWO JEWISH MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS AS HANUKKAH BEGINS

With eight days of Hanukkah – the Jewish Festival of Lights – beginning tonight, CalVet would like to salute the memories of the 18 known Jewish Medal of Honor recipients, two of whom were from California.  Their names grace the Medal of Honor Wall at CalVet Headquarters in downtown Sacramento, and their stories are worth […]

79 YEARS AGO TODAY – AND SIX WEEKS BEFORE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK – FDR PUT COAST GUARD UNDER NAVY CONTROL

Six weeks before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a not-so-subtle message indicating the United States was ramping up for war. On November 1, 1941 – 79 years ago today – he signed Executive Order 8929, which put the U.S. Coast Guard under the Navy’s control, a moved usually restricted to […]

HOW SEPTEMBER 2, 1945, BECAME ONE OF THE MOST MONUMENTAL DAYS IN HISTORY

Certainly, September 2, 1945, stands as one of the most monumental days in modern times, as judged by the number of monuments that followed. On this day 75 years ago, Japanese officials boarded the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, and signed the documents of surrender that ended World War II. Later that same day, […]

PATTON TOOK MESSINA 77 YEARS AGO TODAY, BUT FILM GOT IT WRONG: NO SMIRK, NO MONTGOMERY

It is one of the most memorable scenes of the 1970 Oscar-winning film “Patton.” British Field Marshall Bernard “Monty” Montgomery rolls into the Sicilian town of Messina, expecting to bask in the glory of the moment. Instead, he finds a smug U.S. General George S. Patton waiting to see the look on his face, having […]

NAVAJO CODE TALKERS DAY REMEMBERS THOSE WHO SAVED LIVES, VITAL TO WINNING WWII IN PACIFIC

In 1982, when President Reagan declared August 14 of each year Navajo Code Talkers Day, the recognition was long overdue. Not until 2000 did President Clinton sign the bill awarding the original 29 Code Talkers the Congressional Gold medals that President George W. Bush presented in July 2001. In total, there were 400 Navajo Code […]

SPIRIT OF ’45 DAY CELEBRATIONS – IN SPIRIT ONLY

Each of the past several years, the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park in San Diego honored the area’s World War II veterans on its “Spirit of ’45 Day.” In 2010, Congress designated the second Sunday of August as a day to pay tribute to the men and women who comprised the “Greatest Generation” of Americans. […]

BLANCHFIELD A TRAILBLAZER FOR ALL WOMEN OFFICERS

More than 40,000 women currently serve as officers in the United States military, and they have Florence A. Blanchfield to thank for that. Why? Because 73 years ago today – and shortly after Congress passed the Army-Navy Nurses Act of 1947 she worked so hard to create – Blanchfield became the first permanent woman officer […]