November is always a busy month for us and we were honored to support veterans of San Diego County by hosting the Veteran of the Year Luncheon, Operation Dress Code news conference and Green Light a Vet kick off, in addition to weekly military ceremonies and events.

Bravo Zulu to the winners of this year's VOY awards: Mr. Ed Berger, Dr. Jon Nachison, American Legion District 22 and WAXIE Sanitary Supply. What you do for veterans and for the community is simply astounding and we appreciate the support. A special thank you to all the volunteers who made the luncheon a success. We had over 300 people in attendance and it could not have happened without you.

Looking into December and as we close out 2015, I am always interested in hearing what you want to see at YOUR museum. Please call or email me with suggestions for 2016. 

I hope to see you at an event or to tour the museum in 2016! Have a safe and happy holiday season.

                                                                                        Captain Sheldon Margolis 
                                                                                        USN (retired) 
                                                                                        Executive Director 

What's going on at your museum? (Museum events or museum partners)
  • Nov. 10-Dec. 16: Toys for Tots annual toy drive
  • Dec. 1: Giving Tuesday
  • Dec. 4: Museum is closed & parking is restricted after 1 p.m. for December Nights in Balboa Park
  • Dec. 5: Museum is closed all day & parking is restricted for December Nights in Balboa Park
  • Dec. 6: Museum is closed all day & parking is restricted until 1 p.m. for December Nights in Balboa Park
  • Dec. 6: Battle Day in North County (11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) 
  • Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
  • Dec. 7: National City War Memorial Re-dedication Ceremony (noon)
  • Dec. 8: Free Tuesday admission to the museum for San Diego County residents
  • Dec. 8: Arts for All (2 to 4 p.m.) and Arts for Veterans (6 to 8 p.m.)
  • Dec. 12: Wreaths Across America at Ft. Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries (9 a.m.)
  • Dec. 24:  Closing at 1 p.m. for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
  • Dec. 31:  Closing at 1 p.m. for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day
Last month 
Veteran of the Year Luncheon 

The San Diego County Veteran of the Year Luncheon was held at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley on November 6 .   Three hundred people attended the event where 18  San Diego veterans were nominated for Veteran of the Year, six veterans for the lifetime supporter, and seven companies and non-profit organizations for recognition for their support of veterans. Packages were submitted for veterans of every generation, service and type of volunteer contribution. 
  • Veteran of the Year: Ed Berger, US Navy Veteran
  • Will Hays Lifetime Support of Veterans: Dr. Jon Nachison, US Army Veteran
  • The Veterans Allegiance (Non-profit): American Legion District 22
  • Meritorious Support of Veterans (Corporate): WAXIE Sanitary Supply  
Ed Berger, San Diego County VOY
(L) Will Hays, Captain and (R) Dr. Jon Nachison, Lifetime Support of Veterans award recipient

(L) Will Hays, Captain and (R) Tony Stewart, American Legion District 22 Veterans Allegiance award recipient
(L) Darnisha Hunter, Veterans Advocate/Comunity Rep for City of SD and (R) WAXIE Sanitary Supply, Meritorious Support of Veterans award recipient

Green Light a Vet Campaign
The national campaign came to San Diego and the museum was honored to be part of the kick-off event.  Through its "Greenlight A Vet" initiative, Walmart is encouraging all Americans to show their support for our nation's veterans by volunteering, mentoring, raising awareness about veterans' issues or - as the name suggests - displaying a green light in their home or office. 

Walmart is committed to greenlighting veterans, including hiring 250,000 veterans by 2020 through its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed to donating $20 million though 2019 to support organizations that provide services to veterans, including local organizations like Armed Services YMCA, as well as zero8hundred and Workshop for Warriors.

Stop by after sunset and check out the light!

Native American Veteran Day at the museum 
The San Diego American Indian Health Center sponsored an event to honor Native American veterans. The celebration included an eagle staff followed by ceremonial all native color guard by American Indian Veterans Association, a blessing of the museum and victory song. Native veterans came to San Diego from Arizona, Northern California and as far away as Alaska. There were two Native royalty in attendance as well, Miss Kumeyaay 2015-2016 and Miss Quehan 2015-2016. The San Diego American Indian Health Center hopes to make this an annual event.

For more information about the center, Click here Or contact Chamese Dempsey at (619)234-1521 or chamese.dempsey@SDAIHC.com

Operation Dress Code
The museum was host to the news conference to kick off Operation Dress Code, an effort to get business clothes for transitioning military women. The museum was a collection point for hundreds of pieces of clothing...so much that it took three car loads to transport it to Ashford University!

Military women signed up to "shop" at the boutique (Ashford University) and many went home with clothing, accessories and shoes to help them transition from active duty to civilian life. The event was sponsored by CAL-VET and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, click on: Operation Dress Code
This month 
Toys for Tots Collection Site
November 10 to December 16
The Veterans Museum will host a donation box to collect Toys for Tots for the Marine Corps Reserve annual holiday drive.  Stop by and drop off a new unwrapped toy for a boy or girl - the box is inside the front door.
USMC Bear     Toys4Tots
For more information contact the museum at (619)239-2300 or email  info@veteranmuseum.org
Battle  Day - 1846 Battle of Pasqual
December 6 (11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) 
California State Parks and the San Pasqual Battlefield Volunteer Association proudly presents  Battle Day. This is an annual, family friendly, North County event focusing on the interpretation and commemoration of the 1846 Battle of Pasqual, the bloodiest battle fought in California during the U.S. - Mexican War.  This year the event will have enhanced living history activities that will transport visitors to the battlefield 169 years ago.
Visitors will have the opportunity to:
  • View the canon crew fire a twelve pound Mountain Howitzer.   
  • Watch re-enactors, in period, attire, on horseback, demonstrate the 19th century military drills.
  • Listen to the "Battle Story" told through eyes of a Dragoon and a Californio. 
  • Experience life as a new recruit, as participants go through a 19th century military enlistment station.
  • Smell the aroma of period food as the camp cook prepares salt pork and beans for the hungry troops.
  • Walk through the encampment area and witness life among the soldiers. 
Location: San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park,  15808 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido CA.  (1.5 Miles East of the Wild Animal Park on State Highway 78)
Free event parking located at the San Diego Archeology Center upper field
Information: 760-737-2201 or  www.parks.ca.gov

Pearl Harbor Ceremony
December 7 at 9 a.m.

Monday, December 7 marks the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor. The USS MIDWAY will hold a ceremony to remember those who were lost that day. The ceremony is free and open to the public.   
Ceremony will include:
  • A Wreath dedication by the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association
  • A Wreath dedication by the San Diego Maritime Museum from the swiftboat alongside the USS Midway 
  • Guest speaker, CDR Judd Krier Commanding Officer of USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52)
  • Color Guard, from USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52)  

National City War Memorial Rededication Ceremony 
December 7 at 12:00 p.m.

The City of National City will rededicate its War Memorial on Monday, Dec. 7. The memorial is located at the corner of 12th and D Avenue and underwent major reconstruction. The memorial plaques for the World War II, Korea and Vietnam wars have been refurbished and will be reinstalled, and the existing tall wall will now be clad in black granite and repainted. Other improvements include new concrete seat walls, improved landscaping, new flag poles, new public safety cameras, street and decorative lighting, and sidewalks. 

The four legs of the intersection will also be improved and a roundabout constructed to include landscaping and the installation of five seals to depict the five military branches of the Armed Forces. 

For more information:  Click Here!

Wreaths Across America
December 12 at 9:00 a.m.

Volunteers will be placing holiday wreaths on graves in National Cemeteries on Saturday, December 12. In San Diego, ceremonies will be held at Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries then wreaths will be placed.

Wreaths Across America relies on donations for the wreaths and is responsible for 700,000 graves nationwide. This year they are short 30,000 wreaths for cemeteries here in San Diego and at Arlington. You can find more information, purchase a wreath for your home or give as a gift by logging on to:  Wreaths Across America
Museum News
Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1st
How will you give this Tuesday? Will you give your time, will you donate your service artifacts and uniforms, will you renew your museum membership or will you give financially? 
With many worthy organizations, why the Veterans Museum? The museum is doing its best to support and honor veterans and their families of San Diego County. Many programs and exhibits are sponsored through the museum. To keep the programs going and to keep exhibits new in 2016, please consider giving to the museum.
The museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and therefore your donations are tax-deductible.  
To make a donation: Click to give to the museum
Thank you!!

Holiday shopping through Amazon Smile is a perfect way to support the museum
Did you know that you can support the Veterans Museum every time you shop online at Amazon.com by signing up with AmazonSmile?  It is a simple and automatic way for you to support the Veterans Museum  at no cost to you. By signing up and shopping at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same low prices with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the Veterans Museum.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device with your existing Amazon.com account or create a new account.  You will need select the charity of you choice and we encourage you to type in and select the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center.  Amazon will remember your selection and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to our museum.

You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.


Search our Museum Library Catalog 
Working on a project?  You can explore our Military History Reference Library catalog to see what is in our library.  
Did you know that the museum has a military history reference library with over 10,000 volumes including multimedia available to our members and researchers?  You must be a museum member to access the library.  It is not a lending library, but a resource to be used and explored.
Click on this  link or enter this address: 
Arts for All and Arts for Veterans - New for December!
The second Tuesday of every month, Tony the Vet holds two free sessions. From 2 to 4 p.m., children and families are invited to make cards for veterans and view a free puppet show.
From 6 to 8 p.m., our museum hosts free creative art classes (literary, performing and visual arts) for veterans. These classes are facilitated by Tony LoBue, Veteran, artist, and teacher of the creative arts and will include guest artists and speakers.

(Left)Linda Litteral, Guest Artist (Middle) Patric Stillman, Gallery Owner (Right) Tony the Vet, Facilitator

In December there will be a FREE 1-Hour Workshop titled "Expressive Drawing" followed by a FREE 1-Hour Art Field Trip to "The Studio Door" Gallery in North Park for an "Art Scholarship Program for Art Making & Art Marketing Workshop" Forum.

An art scholarship costs approx. $195 and art materials cost approx. $75.  If you would like to donate to the Arts for All program or Art Scholarship Program, click on:  Donate to Arts for All

T o register, contact Tony at (619) 806-2075 or via email at Tony@tonythevet.org  

Max Gurney in Italy c. 1944
(Submitted by Rick Appleton, Oral Historian)
Max Gurney - World War II Army veteran and event planner? 

The United States Army returned to Normandy in June 1994.  Most men in the unit were in their seventies, a few in their early eighties, but all were fit and trim considering the five decades since they first parachuted into Europe. They were all in their twenties on those eventful days in early June 1944.  Not all had been in the Normandy campaign, but they all had experienced parachute landings with various Army Air Corps units in Europe during World War II.  And they eagerly trained for the 50th Anniversary of the "Return to Normandy."
Max Gurney, a Signals Intelligence veteran of the North Africa and Italian campaigns, organized the group, arranged practice jumps in east county San Diego, used his connections with Pan American Airlines for air transportation, and staged one of the highlights of the 50th Anniversary festivities commemorating Normandy Invasion in June of 1944.  

When Max was on active duty, he deployed to North Africa in 1942 interrogating captured German and Italian prisoners while part of the 7th Army Headquarters Squadron.  As American forces moved into Italy, Max participated in the major battles there...the capture of Sicily, Monte Cassino, Naples and Rome.
Max recalled one memorable part of his service in Italy. "We were camped maybe about ten miles south of Rome, on June 3rd, 1944, and on the morning of June 4th my friend and I decided to go into Rome.  We were in Rome just ahead of our own troops.  It was the 36th Division that came in afterwards.  Because of our resources we were able to be received by the best restaurant in Rome.  They were closed, but we knocked on the door.  They hadn't seen any Americans yet, but we were welcomed.  So we had a very, very wonderful meal."  It turned out that Max and his buddy were a two-man invasion force that 'captured' Rome single handedly before the main invasion force arrived the next day.
The Return to Normandy Airborne brigade in the 1994
50th Anniversary Parachute Jump

Max in 2008
If you want to read Max's entire story, you are invited to visit the museum library where nearly 100 oral histories are on the shelves, about half of the archive of military stories collected by the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.  More are being added each month.

To have your oral history recorded or to make an appointment for a veteran in your life, contact the museum at (619)239-2300.

Recent Donations to the Museum's Artifact Collection
    XmasDinner 1915 Dinner Menu
Christmas dinner program and menu Post Card from Company K, 14th Cavalry,
Fort McIntosh TX, 1913.  The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park Collection, anonymous donor.

Angela Anderson of Chula Vista donated her 1990s era Army Class A uniform with all its ribbons, pins and unit devices from the CA National Guard 40th Division.
Linda Gillett of San Diego donated a portrait of RADM Robert M. Gillett, MC, USN, the first flag officer to command Naval Hospital San Diego, and his pre-WWII full dress shoulder boards and Cocked Hat in their metal box.
Mission Gallery of San Diego donated a framed Union Tribune newspaper, dated August 15, 1945, announcing the end of the WWII.
Stan Silver of National City  donated a 5-inch MK 5 .38 caliber shell case made into an ashtray, a WWII .50 caliber bullet and shell case (fired) picked up on the beach at Wake Island in 1965, and a collection of WWII era paper money from Japan, and Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, China and the Dutch East Indies. 
Gia Strang of San Diego donated  two women's Air Force Uniforms, one a service dress uniform and the other is a battle dress uniform. 
Kevinn Tomlinson of Washington State donated photographs from his mother, Hazel Aland,  who served in the WAVES as a Pharmacist Mate.  She enlisted with four other women from Idaho Falls, ID in 1944 and they went off to boot camp in New York together.  She was later stationed at Farrigutt, ID and Ft. Lawton, WA.  By the end of the war she was trained as a Dental Technician. 

Hazel & Doris Alexander in NYC, Jan 1945 
  Hazel and 4 Idaho Falls women who enlisted together

Hazel surrounded by six Pharmacist Mates. 

WAVES relaxing before hitting the rack in the barracks 
Hazel made Pharmacist Mate 3/c and was trained as a
Dental Technician at the end of the war

USS Midway Museum of San Diego donated a WWII Japanese Battle Flag and the personal narratives written by Richard J. Berg.
Janet Watson of Carlsbad donated a composite photograph of the 247th AAA Search Light (Semi-mobile) battalion dated September 1943 with Arthur Sinclair in a group photo  

247th AAA Search Light(Semi) Battalion, September 1943  

New and Renewing Members 

CAPT Ted O. Atwood, Jr.
Bruce S. Bailey
Barbara Beeby Edward J. Berger
Kathleen Brigham David L. Buller
Kimberly J. Coronado William Craw
Benjamin Dillingham III Family Duane Dubke
Ms. Shirley Ann Ferrill Bonifacio Gonzales, Jr.
Charles M. Hansen Thomas L Hitchcock
Gem Holcomb Family
Charlie Idyk Family
James M. Jones, Jr. Dr. Morton Jorgensen, M.D.
Patricia Langston Sandra Luhnow
Terry Magee Robert F. Muth
Revecca Noz Manuel Otero, JR
Greg Palazzolo Family Fatima Payton
Darryl Peralta Family Carol Pirro
Raynaldo Rio Michael Sloan Family
Charles Schroeder*
Dr. Sarah Young 
Randall Treadway

                                                            * 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


Support Honor Flight San Diego by ordering the San Diego UT! 

Union-Tribune San Diego has made a gracious pledge to Honor Flight San Diego. Buy a Sunday-only paper for one year for $20 and the San Diego Union-Tribune  will donate $19.99 to Honor Flight San Diego. HFSD's mission is to h onor  WWII Veterans by taking them to  Washington, DC to visit THEIR memorial. To date over 900 veterans have made the trip and hundreds are still on the waiting list. For some it is their first time to visit their memorial and for some, it is their last trip.
To give the gift of The San Diego Union-Tribune, c all:  (844) 449-9520 and mention  promo Code 9001.

To find out more about Honor Flight San Diego:  Click here!
Just one month left!
SeaWorld Waves of Honor: Free admission for veteran and three guests

SeaWorld® San Diego is honoring the men and women who have previously served as members of the U.S. armed services with a special admissions program.  The park is offering complimentary admission to military veterans and up to three additional guests.

Veterans must register online at www.WavesofHonor.com in advance, and verify their proof of service through the ID.me qualification process.  SeaWorld is working with ID.me to provide an online verification of former military personnel in a secure and privacy-enhancing manner.


Once veterans and their guests have registered online, they can bring their e-tickets directly to the park's entrance turnstiles. Tickets must be obtained and redeemed by Dec. 31, 2015.


To register for your free tickets on their website, Click here!


Know someone who would like to see this email?
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