"Serving those who served"
The Eagle
 March 2015

Monthly Newsletter

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Women's History Month
Vietnam Exhibit Fundraiser
Pin-Ups on Tour
San Diego Ride for Vets
February Historical Presentation
Spirit of '45 Leadership Conference
New Artifacts
New & Returning Members
March Dates In History
Arts for All & Arts for Veterans
Quick Links
Current Exhibits
Our Sponsors

San Diego Economic Development & Tourism Support Program


Lynne C. Sanders Trust


CAPT & Mrs W. Hays


Legler Benbough Foundation


Int'l Assoc. of Machinists


San Diego Padres


Lockheed Martin



San Diego Gas & Electric

 a Sempra Energy Utility


Eagles Wings


San Diego Futures Foundation


Silverthorn Construction


The Thursday Club


The Thursday Club Juniors


Access Point Media Group




Vicki Nenner


Robert and Joyce Ettinger  


RDML & Mrs. R. C. Melendez


Mr. Dennis Schoville


Dr. Abe Shragge, Ph.D.


Dr. & Mrs. Tom Splitgerber


Homeland Magazine





Spirit of 45    

"A USA Veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "America" for an amount of up to and including his or her life."  Thank active duty, veterans and their families.

*   *   *   *   * 
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Sullivan donates $500 to our Museum with every sale from this ad.


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If you do not see the articles on the right, you need to see if your email system truncates the Eagle to accommodate your display. 

Look for this question on your display and allow your entire  Eagle to show!

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It is an exciting time at the Museum as we get ready to unveil a new Vietnam exhibit in late April. If you haven't been to the Museum recently, stop by and check out the progress. We will be moving the women's exhibit to the office spaces on the first floor and creating the Vietnam exhibit in the current women's room. 


Speaking of women, March is Military Women's History month and we will be hosting a diverse panel of military women to share their stories and answer audience questions. It will be held in the main chapel area on March 22 at 1:00 pm and is free to the public.

Please join us on the second Tuesday of the month, when the VMMC is free for San Diego residents.   On these Tuesdays, we often have special events, book signings, and children activities.


If you need to renew or want to become a new Museum Member, you can click below to get started. We invite you to become a sustaining member, contributing $5, $10 or more a month.


For $5 a month, we will thank you with a one-year individual membership, and for $10 or more a month, we will thank you with a one-year family membership, both for as long you continue your sustaining membership.


Your membership also entitles you a reciprocal membership on the USS Midway. It is good for the person listed on the membership. 



Hope to see you on your next visit to the Museum!


Sheldon L. Margolis

Executive Director

Upcoming Events! 



Here's what is coming to your Museum in the next 90 days:

  • Mar. 10 - Free Tuesday, Arts for All & Arts for Vets
  • Mar. 15 - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) family day in Balboa Park - look for our table.
  • Mar. 14 & 15 - The Thursday Club Rummage Sale - Stop by your Museum for refreshments
  • Mar. 22 - Women Veteran Panel
  • April - Opening of Vietnam exhibit (date TBD)
  • Apr. 24 & 25 - Pin-ups on Tour (8 pm)
  • May 9 - San Diego Ride for Vets and Veteran Art Fair
Women's History Month
 Panelists to share stories on March 22nd

The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center will host a special Women Veterans Discussion Panel. Enlisted and Officers from all branches of the military, combat veterans and many different eras will share their stories and answer audience questions.

  • When: Sunday, March 22nd

  • Time: 1:00 to 3:00 PM

  • Where: Veterans Museum Main Chapel

  • Cost: Free to the public

Light refreshments will be served.


This is also an excellent opportunity to tour your Museum and visit the women's exhibit.

VMMC raised $10,000 of our $20,000 first-year goal.

Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War, we are converting existing spaces into a new gallery. The exhibit will be dedicated to the men and women who served in this conflict and to tell the history and the stories of the San Diegans who were there.

Our project requires the complete renovation of the former space, as well as development of the exhibit itself. It will also include new display cases,  graphic design and posters, and additional facility upgrades.  

The total project will exceed $50,000 over the course of ten years. The fundraising campaign will help to underwrite the cost of this new exhibit.

We have raised over $10,000 to date and are well on our way to meeting our initial goal of $20,000. The initial funding is for the initial design, as well as demolition and construction of the new gallery.  

The Vietnam Exhibit $100 Challenge was initiated by Paul Fusco as the first person to contribute to this campaign.  You can contribute to the challenge with a matching donation online, by mail, or in person during your next visit to our Museum. For your $100 or more donation, we will thank you with a one-year membership or extension of your existing membership.


Please send your check to:
Veterans Museum and Memorial Center
Attn: Vietnam Exhibit Challenge 
2115 Park Blvd. 
San Diego, CA 92101 



All donations are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged by a letter from our Museum and you will be listed on our new gallery's website as a supporter.   Thank You!
PIN-UPS ON TOUR - A night like no other!     April 24th & 25th - 8 PM

From the moment guests enter the event, they will be treated to something special. Our goal is to recreate the magic of the Hollywood Canteen that operated during the 1940's as a club offering dancing, drinks and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas. The evening will feature dancing Pin-Ups, Comedy, Variety Acts, Soulful Lounge singers, raffle-ticket selling beauties and more than a few surprises! With entertainment & atmosphere around every turn, guests will feel like they stepped into the 1940's.

This show is free for Veterans & Active Duty personnel to attend and $25 for civilians.

And the best part?  Proceeds from the event go to benefit hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops!

Pin-ups For Vets was founded by the vivacious Gina Elise and raises funds to help veterans. The organization has been able to donate over $50,000 in rehabilitation equipment to VA Hospitals across the U.S.
Pin-ups needs to raise $3,000 cash or in-kind sponsorships to help cover the costs of the two performances in San Diego. These costs include the stipends and housing for seven performers, venue rentals, and production costs. As a 501(c)3 organization, all donations to their nonprofit is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. 
Or contact Diane Schmidt at the Veterans Museum: diane.schmidt@veteranmuseum.org or (619) 239-2300.
San Diego Ride for Vets
May 9, 2015

The Veterans Museum will be a stop on the San Diego Ride for Vets and will host the Veteran Art Vendor Fair throughout the entire day.

Over 250 motorcycle riders will be participating in a run from the Leatherneck Aviation Museum to Mount Soledad, the Veterans Museum and end at San Diego Harley.

A Veteran Art Vendor Fair will take place in the Memorial Garden, 10 am to 4 pm.

To register for the ride, visit www.loveamazinglyproductions.com.


Your Museum had a good turn-out for Rear Admiral Rod Melendez's presentation on the history of the military and Naval Hospital in Balboa Park on February 19th. The military and the Hospital both helped shaped the park and spanned World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

In attendance were Deborah (Alkire) Creedon and Gene Rague, who both contributed personal photos and stories for this presentation.

Alkire 1916 
Left: 5 years old Elizabeth Alkire in Balboa Park, c.1916. Right: WAVE LCDR Elizabeth Alkire and her future husband, chaplain LT George Vanderpoel, CHC.  They had offices directly across the passageway from each other at Naval Hospital San Diego in WWII, c.1944.

Rago-1 Ragu-2
Gene Rague attended Hospital Corps School in Balboa Park and then went off to fight malaria mosquitoes in Guam in from 1945-1946.

Deborah Creedon 's mother, Elizabeth Alkire, grew up in San Diego, went away to college and joined the WAVES in 1943.  She returned to work at the Naval Hospital helping those facing medical discharge prepare for their return to civilian life.  


Gene Rague was in the last class to graduate from the Camp Kidd Hospital Corps School before the end of WWII.  He served for a time at the Naval Hospital and was then send to Guam.   The audience had the opportunity to ask them questions and learn more of their personal stories. 


Although the Naval Hospital was relocated to Florida Canyon in 1988, its impact on the park is still felt in 2015. We are fortunate to have its chapel as our Museum today.
San Diego is the major hub for planning the National 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.  

In February, Leaders from many States met in our Museum to share successful experience and generate new ideas to finalize marketing and media strategies for events honoring the contributions of America's air power, ground forces, seaborne services and Home Front during WWII.

Spirit of '45 is happening in over 1000 cities and towns in our USA from Aug. 9, Spirit of '45 Day, a National Day of Remembrance which started here at the Museum and then on Saturday 9-15 on the USS Midway. For more information, visit:
or just call Daniel DeMarco, (619) 569-6230

USS Proteus Photo of the USS Proteus & 12 US Submarines in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese Surrender. Two ex-Japanese submarines, I-400 & I-14, are above the Proteus in the background.  Photo donated by Paul Castle of Imperial Beach, CA.

  Wittman-2Ribbons, pins and medals worn by Col. Richard c. Wittman, Infantry, in WWII, donated by Karin Wittman of Rochester, MN. 


Paul Castle of Imperial Beach donated a Scrapbook with the history of the USS Proteus (AS-19) and associated artifacts from the ship including a Knot Board and map with the last cruise of the Proteus.

Deborah Creedon of San Diego donated a copy of her mother's scrapbook, LCDR Elizabeth Alkire, who was a WAVE in WWII and served at Naval Hospital San Diego.

Ronnie Palazzolo of San Diego donated three Navy plaques from her father's service including Joint Task Force 8 that was involved with the Bikini Island Atomic Test in 1962.

Gene Ragu of San Diego donated copies of his photos and artifacts from Hospital Corps School Class 52-4, July 1945 and from his tour in Guam in 1945-46.

Constantine Stiny of San Diego donated a Cruise Book from the US Coast Academy c. 1946 to the military history library.

Karin Wittman of Rochester MN donated Col Richard C. Wittman's WWII era dress army uniforms,and cape, three DVDs with oral histories, a shadowbox with his medals and foreign awards, photographs and documents.  Col. Wittman received his second Legion of Merit for his work in the repatriation of 4 million Japanese and 300,000 Koreans to their homelands from China, Manchuria, Formosa, French Indo-China and Hainan Island at the end of WWII.  

Joyce Wright of San Diego donated 40 books from her husband's collection to the Military History Library. 



Donald Brown, Jr.*
John Leap*
Robert Quimby
Wes Short*
Donald L. Sweet*


* Life Member 


Your annual membership dues support our Museum and provide a tangible way for San Diegans to say thank you to Veterans for their service.  


Members receive:  

  • free access to our Museum and participating partner museums (USS Midway Museum)
  • access to our Military History Reference Library 
  • discounts for special events & the gift shop
  • invitations to special receptions
  • exhibit openings & activities  
Life Members Benefit

Are you 80 years old... or more?  Congratulations!  Celebrate your service and patriotism and become a Life Member! This includes Honor Flight Veterans!  Call us now to get your Complimentary Life Membership.


Become a Member easily online at our website, in person at the Museum, or just call our office.


Click on Membership Application or call (619) 239-2300. 

March 2, 1965  
Vietnam, Operation Rolling Thunder begins.
March 3, 1931  

Star Spangled Banner Adopted as U.S. National Anthem.

March 5, 1942
The Term "Seabees" became official, along with their emblem.
March 8, 1965
Marines landed in Danang Vietnam.
March 16, 1911
Hull of former USS Maine sunk at sea, with military honors.
March 17
National "Paralyzed Veterans of America" Day.
March 19, 2003
Operation Iraqi Freedom began.
March 20, 1945

Allies capture Mandalay, Burma from Japanese occupation.

March 26, 1945

U.S. Forces complete capture of Iwo Jima with over 28,000 American casualties.

March 31, 1854

Commodore Perry signed treaty with Japan that  opened relations with Japan.

ARTS FOR ALL & ARTS FOR VETERANS                                
The second Tuesday of every month, Tony the Vet holds two free sessions. From 2-4 pm, children and families are invited to make cards for veterans and view a free puppet show.
From 6-8 pm, our Museum hosts free creative art classes (literary, performing and visual arts) or veterans. These classes are facilitated by Tony LoBue, Veteran, artist, and teacher of the creative arts and will include guest artists and speakers.

To register, contact Tony at (619) 806-2075 or email: tony@tonythevet.org. 

San Diego County is home to the largest concentration of military activity in the world with 137,000 active duty military personnel, 230,000 veteran residents.  Additionally, we have the largest discharged Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veteran population in this Nation with about 38,000 recent war veterans (9% of discharged recent warriors). Moreover, there are 110,000 OIF/OEF veterans currently calling the State of California their home. 


Your Veterans Museum honors the men and women who served in the US Armed Forces (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard) and Wartime Merchant Marine with exhibits and displays, ceremonies, educational programs, a Veterans Oral History Project, and a Military History Research Library.  We preserve the Veteran's contributions and experiences for future generations!    



Holly Shaffner

Dan DeMarco & Rod Melendez
Technicial Advisory Board    
Kathy Tinsley and Diane Schmidt
Editorial Board