Spring is here and you can see it in full bloom at your museum. The Balboa Park recreation grounds maintenance team has completed our massive landscaping project. There are updated irrigation systems and all the plants, trees and bushes surrounding the museum are now sustainable and will help to conserve water. Thank you to the Balboa Park team! 


We had a great turn out for our two-night event to rededicate the Women's History exhibit. We recognized and honored our female veterans through "Conversations across the Decades" and opening the updated exhibit. We received great media coverage which included interviews with some of our female veterans. 


And in April, there's no slowing down. We will be recognizing all of our museum volunteers at our annual luncheon, and will be hosting another great evening program honoring Vietnam Veterans.  We are honored to welcome Captain Paul Jacobs (USN, retired) as he and his fellow Vietnam veterans share first-hand accounts of USS Kirk rescuing South Vietnamese refugees.


I hope to see you at an upcoming event and please come by to view the new updated women's gallery and the wonderful landscaping.


Captain Sheldon Margolis 
USN (Retired) 
Executive Director 

What's going on at your museum? (Museum events or museum partners)
  • Apr. 12: Yoga for Vets (9 to 10 a.m.) - Free
  • Apr. 12: Free Tuesday admission to the museum for San Diego County residents
  • Apr. 12: Arts for All (2 to 4 p.m.) and Arts for Veterans (6 to 8 p.m.)
  • Apr. 12: Movie (11 am to 1 pm)
  • Apr. 19: Yoga for Vets (9 to 10 a.m.) - Free
  • Apr. 21: USS Kirk presentation (7 to 9 p.m.)
  • Apr 23: United Veterans Council meeting (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
  • Apr 23: San Diego County monthly veterans memorial service (noon)
  • Apr. 26: Yoga for Vets (9 to 10 a.m.) - Free
This month 
USS Kirk presentation 

Please join us Thursday, April 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. as we  remember the  fall of Saigon and the USS Kirk's heroic mission to transport and save thousands of Vietnamese refugees. 

USS Kirk with refugees in every available space and crowded on the decks. 

CAPT Paul Jacobs, USN/Ret, Commanding Officer during the rescue. 
On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese troops entered the deserted streets of Saigon. Tanks crashed through the gates of the presidential palace and soldiers hoisted the yellow and red flag of the Viet Cong. Just hours before, the last Americans had been evacuated, rescued and flown on Marine helicopters to U.S. Navy aircraft carriers waiting off the coast.

The Vietnam War was officially over. Now those Navy ships were steaming away from Vietnam. There was one exception. That night, the captain of a small destroyer escort, the USS Kirk, got a mysterious order to head back to Vietnam.
Please join us for an evening presentation which w ill include excerpts on the work done by the Navy and Marine Corps, the USS Midway and the USS Kirk. We will show a short documentary "Last Days of Saigon", with commentary from Paul Jacobs former Commanding Officer of the USS Kirk, Dan Lucero, the sailor who took the 8mm movies, and Vern Jumper, the Air Boss from the Midway.
 The event is FREE and open to the public!
Last month 
Women's History Month
We had a very successful rededication event for our Women's History Exhibit. Female veterans from every era and service visited our updated exhibit. We were fortunate to have five female veterans share their experiences during a panel and then answer questions from the audience. Board member and former Air Force nurse, Vicki Nenner was interviewed as a Vietnam-era veteran who recently donated artifacts to help update the exhibit.

In an effort to keep the exhibit fresh, the museum is in need of current era artifacts. To donate, please call (619)239-2300 to inquire about what is needed.  

Balboa Park finishes landscaping project

We cannot express enough appreciation to the Balboa Parks Park and Recreation Department,  Developed Regional Parks Division and  Balboa Park Grounds Maintenance Manager for their dedication and support of our museum. They did a wonderful job of making your museum even more beautiful and welcoming. 

Please come by to see it for yourself!
Museum News
Thursday Club Rummage Sale helped your museum

On March 12 and 13, the museum set up before sunrise to serve breakfast to eager rummage sale attendees. We raised over $2,000 in food, book, model and store sales during those two days. Big thank you to the volunteers who came out to help!

for the 116th Annual Memorial Day  at
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery 
Color Guard at Fort Rosecrans Ceremony 

World War II veteran Glen Silvers participates in a wreath laying ceremony
The Veterans Memorial Day Committee requests the pleasure of your company for this special day of remembrance.
An Old Town Trolley bus will be available to take you from the Veterans Museum to the Memorial Day Ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and back to the museum.  
Bus leaves the Veterans Museum at 8:30 a.m.
 For more information contact the museum at (619)239-2300.

The Museum partners with the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego to Honor WWII Veteran, Bert M. Tanaka

Meghan Kanegaye stands in front of her new exhibit on Bert Tanaka.

Meghan Kanegaye, a student at Francis Parker School, developed this exhibit and collected the artifacts to tell the story of Bert M. Tanaka, a Japanese American, who graduated from San Diego High School, returned to Hawaii in June 1941 and enlisted in the US Army. Bert was a member of the famous all Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and received a battlefield promotion from Sergeant to 2LT and was awarded the Silver Star.   
Learn about Bert's story at our museum and see the Congressional Gold Medal presented to the surviving members from that unit.
Yoga at your museum?   

We are always looking for ways to better utilize our spaces, support veterans and get our name out in the community. We are pleased to announce that we will host Yoga for Vets on Tuesday mornings in the museum.

A Navy veteran who has been instructing yoga at the VA hospital is donating her time to instruct yoga at our museum. Please join her from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays at the museum.

 The event is FREE and open to the public!
Arts for All and Arts for Veterans!
The second Tuesday of each month, also known as FREE Tuesday, Anthony "Tony The Vet" LoBue, Artist and Educator facilitates FREE creative arts activities for the public. Here is a description of the programs he offers:

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Arts for All (on upper level):
Activities for all ages regardless of skill level include Craft Kit giveaways, Children's Puppet Show and Make-A-Card for VA Patients.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Arts for Veterans (on lower level):
Activities for adults regardless of skill level. This month's Open Forum presents the "New Plays Production Program (NP3)" by A.A. LoBue and performance of a one-act. Actors, directors, playwrights and producers are welcome!

Also through our community partners:
Free Bronze Casting,  9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays through the  Veterans Art Project

Free  Theatre Tickets from  "Blithe Spirit" Comedy at  Clairemont Act One 
Free Dance Tickets for  Contemporary Dance through the  PGK Dance Project

For more information on the museums arts programs, contact Tony at (619) 806-2075 or via email at ArtDirector@veteranmuseum.org  

Stories from the Archives
Toni D'Amico Jackson enlisted as a PFC in 1980 and was a Sergeant First Class by 1989.
Toni D'Amico Jackson -  Army Medic  1980-2000 
Toni D'Amico Jackson was 34 years old and studying to be a Registered Nurse when she discovered the Army would help her become a Licensed Practical Nurse.  She completed her training and after six years in the Army, she was promoted to Staff Sergeant, a mother of seven and a grandmother of four.  She also had a physical training excellence award, a Leadership Award for the Career Counselor Course and an Expert Field Medical Badge, in addition to being a patient care specialist and battalion reenlistment non-commissioned officer for the 36th Medical Battalion.
SPC Toni Jackson in scrubs at Fort Devens, MA,       SFC Jackson in Saudi Arabia with the HQ, 
  c. 1983-1985.                                                                          HQ Detactment, 36th Medical Battalion,
Her first assignment was with the 7th Aviation Battalion at Ft. Ord, CA, followed by tours with the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt Germany, and then the 595th Medical Company and the 36th Medical Battalion at Ft. Devens, MA. She deployed to Southwest Asia in 1990 with the HQ, HQ detachment, 36th Medical Battalion in support of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the first gulf war. She remained there through operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She also served at Ft. Huachuca, AZ and served two tours in Korea with the 8th MP Brigade and then the 2nd Infantry Division's 1st Armored Brigade.
Master Sergeant Jackson finished her 20 years of Army service at Fort Sam Houston with ever increasing assignments of responsibility and leadership culminating as the Fort Sam Houston Installation Career Counselor. When she retired she had earned 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 7 Army Commendation Medals, 5 Army Achievement Medals, 6 Good Conduct Medals, and numerous additional campaign and service ribbons.
  Toni does the tourist thing in Gulf, 1990. 
Recent Donations to the Museum's Artifact Collection

Patricia Baldwin of San Diego donated her mother's WWII/Korean era WAVES uniform, photo album, and documents  Valenteen M. Hagopian served from 1944 - 1953 and left the service as a Yeoman 1st class. 
Val and fellow boot camp mate at the Naval Training Station, Bronx, NY,June 1944.
WAVES in summer uniform, Val is kneeling in front row right, c. 1944.
NAS Quonset Point 1948, Val second from right.
Val is on the left in front row of WAVES lined up at Naval Station San Diego, c. 1951-53.
Pat Clancy of the Southern California Navy Nurse Corps Association donated a collection of artifacts from former Navy Nurse Betty Nimits.
Betsy Deloa of San Diego  donated a collection of military books, tapes and DVDs to the library.
Dave Frederick of San Diego  donated deactivated SEAL Special Operation's MK23 Mod O, .45 cal. SOCOM H&K pistol mounted on a presentation board.
Howard Gillins of San Diego  donated a collection of Navy Submarine Commissioning, Decommissioning, and Change of Command programs and documents.
Stan Gutowski of San Diego  donated a collection of 16mm movie films.
Scott Herrick of San Diego donated artifacts from his father, CAPT Harvey Scott Herrick, USN/Ret including two banners, a bronze star souvenir of the Tokyo Bay surrender signing from that may have come from the USS Stevenson (DD-645), books, photographs, and documents from his career. 
Banner for Attack Squadron VA-145, active from 1950-1993.  They flew A-1H Sky Raider and later A-6 Intruders. 
Unidentified banner, if you recognize it give us a call.  Colors are similar to Soviet Navy enlisted rating badge color.
" Bronze Star engraved "Tokyo Bay 1945" , It may have come from the USS Stevenson (DD-645) that was in the area at the time. 
Reverse side with inscription "H
.I.J.M.S. Asashio" and the name "H. S. Herrick" 
Patrick Murphy of Coronado donated a ships plaque from the USCG Cutter Midgett (WHEC-726).
Angelique Murray of San Diego  donated a collection of WAVES mounted photographs and a poster on the history of women in the military.
Carl Nelson of San Diego donated three cruise books from the USS Worden (CG-18) and documents and papers from the Vietnam War and the Warden's rescue of Vietnamese boat people. 

USS Worden (CG-18) .
Clarence Nelson of Oceanside donated his mother's WWII scrapbook, his own diary of his WWII service in the Marine Corps, and a collection of artifacts and military uniform items from that period.
Kim Peterson of San Diego donated a shirt with the logo: "My Daughter Served Proudly in the Gulf in Operation Desert Storm" presented by her mother, then SFC Toni D'Amico Jackson, US Army, to Toni's mother (Kim's Grandmother).
Natalie Slattery of San Diego donated her Seabee uniforms. 
Joanna Venckus of Oceanside donated her father's 1931-32 photo album of his service with the 4th Coast Artillery (AA) in Panama.  Additionally she donated his photographs and mementos from his service.  
The Three Musketeers.  Cpl. Joseph Venckus, center, and two buddies in 4th Coast Artillery (AA), Panama, 1932.
Joseph Venckus relaxes on the beach while stationed at Fort Amador, Panama, 1932.
New and Renewing Members
Shirley Brenon Family  Raymond A. Morse
Ira E. Nickerson   
                     * Life Member                           

Click here to Become a Museum Member
Current exhibits at your museum
The Military & Naval Hospital in Balboa Park
Women's Military History Exhibit
Vietnam Vientam
Vietnam Remembered Retrospective
  • Vietnam Remembered: A 50th Anniversary Retrospective
  • Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse: The Military in Balboa Park 1915 to 1945
  • "Hold at All Costs"  - The last battle of the Korean War
  • World War I
  • China Burma India
  • World War II
  • B-24 Gallery
  • Iraq
  • UDT-SEALS Operations Past & Present
  • San Diego's Medal of Honor Recipients 
  • Dennis Schoville Vietnam Veteran
  • USS Orleck (DD-886)
  • Adam Sustackek, U.S. Coast Guard - Search and Rescue
  • Women's Military History
  • 5 Murals by Richard DeRosset
  • USS Missouri & Japanese Surrender Ceremony - Sept. 2, 1945


Volunteer Spotlight

     LT Patrick Murphy, USCG, 1986
- Patrick Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard retired

The museum's newest curatorial volunteer is Patrick Murphy, who started volunteering at the museum in November 2015.  He brings extensive administrative and volunteer experience to the museum in addition to his experience in the Coast Guard.

Patrick is a Coronado native and a United States Coast Guard retiree.  He graduated from Coronado High School and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a collegiate swimming scholarship graduating in 1978. Patrick attended the Coast Guard Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an Ensign in 1980.   Back to back sea duty assignments followed on high endurance cutters USCGC MUNRO (WHEC 724) out of Honolulu and USCGC MIDGETT (WHEC 726) out of San Francisco. From 1980 to 1983 LCDR Murphy completed nine Alaskan high seas fisheries patrols, resulting in the seizure of several foreign trawlers for violations of the Conservation Act.
Designated as a "naval engineer," LCDR Murphy was assigned to Base San Juan in Puerto Rico as the Industrial Manager from 1983 to 1985 and also served as a deck watch officer on several cutters completing drug/migrant interdiction operations throughout the Caribbean.   He then was assigned as Seventh District Patrol Boat Section Chief and oversaw naval engineering support to fifteen 82-foot to 110-foot patrol boats and over fifty small boats under 75-feet in length.  LCDR Murphy then returned to sea duty as chief engineer aboard USCGC VENTUROUS (WMEC 725) completing twelve west coast fisheries/drug interdiction patrols, assisted in the EXXON VALDEZ oil spill clean-up operations, and participation in America's Cup 1988.
In 1990 LCDR Murphy was then assigned as chief engineer to U.S. Coast Guard Greater Antilles Section and oversaw all civil, naval, and electronic engineering activities in the Caribbean.  Additional assignments followed including coordination for Grand Colon Regatta 1992 celebrating discovery of the new world by Christopher Columbus in 1492, where a fleet of tall ships from around the world participated, providing engineering technical support to the west coast fleet of icebreakers, high/medium endurance cutters, buoy tenders, and small boats. 

  Maj. Donald Murphy (father) and LT Patrick Murphy attend a ball together, c. 1984.

Finally, in 1996 LCDR Murphy was assigned to the Coast Guard High Latitude Icebreaker Resident Construction Office in New Orleans, where he served as technical agent, production engineer, and test/trials coordinator for the first icebreaker built in over 30 years USCGC HEALY (WAGB 20).

LCDR Murphy retired from the Coast Guard in 2000 and then served as the Dive Safety Officer for the North Carolina Aquariums on the Outer Banks from 2000 to 2015, before returning permanently to his home in Coronado, California. 

We are so very fortunate to have Patrick on the museum team!!

May 1 from 1:30 to 3 p.m
 The Jewish Federation of San Diego County will host the 2016 Community Holocaust Commemoration at the D avid and Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. The event is FREE and open to the public.

To learn more about the event,  Click here!

Honor Flight San Diego to send WWII veterans to Washington, DC - April 29, 30 and May 1

The spring Tour of Honor is right around the corner. Did you know that we have a local Honor Flight hub here in San Diego? The non-profit organization is dedicated to sending veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials. Priority is given to the most senior veterans, currently World War II and terminally ill veterans. For some it is their first visit to Washington and for some, it is their last. The trip costs about $2,000 per veteran which the veteran does not pay. For Honor Flight it is a small token of appreciation to say, "thank you." 

These 3-day trips can be live-changing events for the veterans, guardians, volunteers and family members. One of the best parts of the trip is when they return to San Diego. Twice a year, Tour of Honor veterans are greeted with a heroes' welcome.  Hundreds of people pack the terminal, clapping, holding up signs, and waving American flags as the returning veterans make their way through the airport. If you've never been to a homecoming event, we encourage you to come. It's completely free and open to the public, and is an unforgettable experience.
The next homecoming is Sunday, May 1st at 2 p.m.

Honor Flight San Diego is able to operate through volunteers, supporters and donors. To learn more about Honor Flight San Diego or how to purchase gear, pictures or donate,  Click here!
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To donate to the museum:
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, 2115 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
| (619)239-2300 | info@veteranmuseum.org | www.veteranmuseum.org