Happy New Year!  As we ring in 2016, we know that it will another exciting year with new events and exhibits coming to YOUR museum. We hope that 2016 will bring an increase in attendance numbers, donations, memberships and grants as we continue to honor veterans and preserve their legacy. 

As executive director, I am committed to our members, patrons, volunteers and employees, for without you the museum would not operate. If there is a particular exhibit or event that you believe would be interesting, please let me know.

As you come by the museum you may see some new faces. Our Events and Public Relations Director moved on to be the Military Liaison Officer at SDSU. We wish Holly well in her new job and are glad that she is staying on as a volunteer. We were fortunate to find to find two bright, educated, enthusiastic ladies who are passionate about serving veterans and will help take us to the next level. Please stop by and say hello to Sarah and Alayna as they tackle museum public relations and events. 

I hope the new year will bring you health, happiness and prosperity.

Captain Sheldon Margolis 
USN (Retired) 
Executive Director 

What's going on at your museum? (Museum events or museum partners)
  • Jan. 12: Free Tuesday admission to the museum for San Diego County residents
  • Jan. 12: Arts for All (2 to 4 p.m.) and Arts for Veterans (6 to 8 p.m.)
  • Jan. 12: Movie day at the museum - The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Jan. 12: War Dogs to Recovery Therapy Dogs (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Jan. 27: Movie day at the museum - Task Force (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Feb. 23: Move day at the museum - Alamo (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Last month   
Wreaths Across America
On  December 13, 2008, Congress unanimously voted for "Wreaths Across America Day". Today, it happens on the 2nd or 3rd Saturday of December each year at more than 1,000 locations in the U.S. and beyond. In total, donations are raised to place more than 700,000 wreaths on veterans graves in national cemeteries, including 226,525 at Arlington. 

In San Diego, ceremonies were held at Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries and for the first time at Greenwood Cemetery. A pproximately 8,500 wreaths were distributed, which wasn't enough to cover every headstone and honor every veteran. 
Our San Diego County Veteran of the Year, Mr. Ed Berger, was on hand at Miramar to place the 9/11 wreath to remember and honor the veterans who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

"We enjoy all these freedoms, not because someone says you're free, somebody had to do something. Who did it?" Berger gestured to the thousands of graves and said, "It was all these people. All these who are interred here. They stood up and said 'I'll take the job. It will be my job. I'll make the pledge to give up whatever I need to do to preserve the safety and freedoms of the country.'" 

To find out more about Wreaths Across America, how to donate wreaths or sign up your organization to volunteer, click:  Here!

All the wreaths that were laid in the cemeteries will need to be picked up mid-January and volunteers are needed.
Combat Military Nurse Support Project
Every year the museum raises money to support combat military nurses during the holidays.  The museum raises approximately $7,000 each year and enlists local volunteers to help deliver 45 boxes of gift baskets to combat nurses. In previous years boxes were sent to Afghanistan, Germany, and delivered to Camp Pendleton and Balboa Naval Hospital.

The Combat Military Nurse Support Project was established in 2008 by U.S. Army veteran Dennis Schoville, who served in the Vietnam War. He runs the project, collects donations and personally delivers gift baskets to the local area.  "I was injured during the Vietnam war and combat nurses took care of me," said Schoville. "We recognize the actions of our combat veterans, but I saw a need to thank the nurses who got us well enough to come home."

The nurses see the gift baskets being delivered and assume they are for the patients. When Denny tells them that the baskets are for them, they are overwhelmed and always thanks the Veterans Museum and Denny or their generosity. The gift baskets are assembled by a local award-winning small business owner and are filled with high quality treats to just say, "Thanks and we are thinking of you."

If you would like to donate to the program, you can click on the link:  Donate here! and then click on combat nurse project. If you would like to volunteer to help deliver gift baskets to Camp Pendleton or Balboa Naval Hospital, call the museum to inquire.
Museum News
We have new employees!
We would like to formally welcome Sarah Luken who is the new Director of Public Relations. Sarah graduated from SDSU  in May with 
Sarah displaying the front cover article about our San Diego County Veteran of the Year.
her degree in Journalism with an emphasis in public relations. In her first month at the museum Sarah did the PR for Operation Dress Code, Veteran of the Year Luncheon, designed the end of the fundraising campaign and wrote two articles for one of our media partners, Homeland Magazine. Her Veteran of the Year article landed on the cover of the magazine and this month's article is about Wreaths Across America. When she's not working, she volunteers her time working with animals.

Also new to the museum is Alayna Stoner who is the new Director of Events. Alayna also graduated from SDSU in May with her degree in
Alayna saluting smartly and reporting for duty
in Hospitality, Tourism and Management with an emphasis in event planning. Alayna is an experienced event planner who has worked with military families, active duty and in the catering business. Her husband serves on active duty and in her free time she enjoys volunteering for veteran causes. She just started a few days ago and is looking forward to helping you plan your 2016 event at the museum!

Please stop by and welcome these two ladies to the museum!

Do you know about FREE Tuesday in Balboa Park and all the activities at the Veterans Museum? 
Balboa Park is a wonderful place to visit each month, especially every Tuesday! Every month more than 16 Balboa Park museums and cottages offer FREE admission to San Diego residents and active duty military. 

To find out which museum is offering free admission, click: Here!

So what do we do at the Veterans Museum? Our FREE Tuesday is always the second Tuesday of the month. We have Fleet and Family Support Services with an information table, we show a movie, have art classes and puppet shows and have therapy dogs at the museum!

Our most recent partnership is with  Aztec Doberman Pinscher Club of San Diego who does a program called, "War Dogs to Recovery." The display and information describes the history of how dogs have helped our soldiers, from the first platoons of Dobermans used officially in WWII to how we use dogs in war today. This program also explains how dogs are helping in the recovery effort after war. Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs play such an important part in recovery. Come meet some of these dogs in person, every second Tuesday of the month!

To find more information on Aztec Doberman Pinscher Club of San Diego, click: Here!

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!
Every 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 play by Patrick Castaneda (Vietnam combat veteran). Actors, directors, playwrights and producers are welcome!

The museum's arts program has been recognized by San Diego Mayor Faulconer's office. In December Mayor Kevin Faulconer proclaimed December 7, 2015 as "Arts for Veterans Project Day". Big thank you to our Arts Program Chairman for all he does to promote arts in the veteran community.

(Left)Darnisha Hunter, Community Representative and Veterans Advocate to the Mayor's office (Right) Tony the Vet, Chairman of Veterans Museum Arts program 

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

Recent Donations to the Museum's Artifact Collection
Bill Amavisca, Jr. of San Ysidro CA  donated 101st Airborne/Airmobile, Vietnam 69 yearbook.
Jerry Couchman of Irvine CA  donated four books to our Military History Research Library: Emergency Use of the Parachutes, 1954 ed; The Jungle and Survival Handbook S&D Bn. FMF PAC; Handbook for U.S. Forces in Vietnam, 1966 ed.; and a 1944 edition Japanese Phrase Book.
Chuck Cropper of El Cajon donated his father's helmet with the bullet holes he sustained during the attack on the Rhine River with Patton's 3rd Army, 87th ID, 345th Inf. Rgmt.  He received two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star for combat action in Europe. 

Frank Cropper stateside before being sent to Europe, c. 1944 
Frank Cropper saved his helmet after taking a round during a battle for the Rhine River.  The bullet missed his head but he took shrapnel wounds and was patched up and sent back to his unit and back into the fighting, c. March 24, 1945. 
Allan Miliefsky of Irvine CA donated four framed photos and two garrison caps.
Alan Muroi of San Diego  donated a collection of military history magazines and twenty-five books to our Military History Research Library.
  US Navy photo of  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) c.
Polished 5" shell fuse cap from USS Los Angeles, one of a set of four donated by Robert Rogers

WWII Imperial Japanese Navy Sub-Lieutenant's (corresponds to the US Navy's Lieutenant Junior Grade) hat and shoulder boards donated by Robert Rogers.
Robert Rogers of Alta Loma, CA  donated a WWII Imperial Japanese Navy Jacket, Insignia, Hat on a Mannikin, and related photos, artifacts and information related to IJN Sub-Lieutenant Tadashi Oda Yoshinari, c. 1943 who served in the WWII and was killed on Tinian Island in the pacific.  Additionally, Rodgers also donated a manual on the Norden bomb sight, a collection of US Armed forces uniform items, insignia and artifacts including four polished 5" projectile fuse caps and a large collection of compartment and passageway identification plates from the cruiser USS Los Angeles (CL-135).   
Typical Navy passageway and hatches
   Compartment and hatch identification plates from the  USS
   Los Angeles (CA-135), part of a large collection of plaques,
   signs, and labels donated by Robert Rogers.
  Richard Wiernik of San Diego  donated a collection of Navy Unit patches and stickers, four books, and assorted Navy artifacts including a navy boatswain's pipe. 
  Janice Williams of Poway  donated a framed Navy recruiting poster, her Shellback Certificate earned when crossing the line on a Navy ship, and a shadow box with career highlights and mementos.
New and Renewing Members
Frank Grabaritis
James Helt
Elvira T. Moon*
Patrick Murphy*
Marc Poland
Hank Schanstra
Gordon Shurtleff Family

                                                            * 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!
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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