June was a big month for us. In addition to the regularly scheduled ceremonies and meetings, we hosted two evening presentations, participated in planning meetings for the upcoming San Diego GI Film Festival and the VMBP Board of Directors updated strategic plans and by-laws and elected new Officers.  

The evening presentations were well-supported, especially our recognition program for Veterans from the LGBTQ community. We were honored to have Council Member Todd Gloria open the event. In the weeks leading up to this event, there was some controversy surrounding it. As I continue to run the day to day operations of the museum, I am challenged to find unique presentations that will honor the service of ALL members of the Armed Services - no matter gender, race, sex, age, military affiliation, generation, era, etc... Times change with our military and if we don't ride the wave of change, we will find ourselves beneath it. Our recognition of Veterans and Active Duty members from the LGBTQ community was another step in honoring ALL who have served our country, and we will continue to welcome ALL Veterans into our family.

As we move into July, we shift our focus to Spirit of `45 Day, planning for the upcoming San Diego GI Film Festival and updating our Veteran of the Year nomination and ticket processes.

I welcome any and all feedback and hope to see you the next time you visit YOUR museum. 

Captain Sheldon Margolis 
USN (Retired) 
President and CEO

What's going on at your museum? (Museum events or museum partners)

  • July 5: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • July 5: Movie day at the museum - The Patriot (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • July 5: Arts for Veterans (2:30 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.)
  • July 12: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m to 10 a.m.)
  • July 12: Free Tuesday admission to the museum for San Diego County residents
  • July 12: Arts for All (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Arts for Veterans (2:30 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.)
  • July 12: Movie day at the museum - The Alamo (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • July 19: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • July 19: Arts for Veterans (2:30 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.) 
  • July 21: Movie day at the museum - How the West was Won (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • July 21: Walking the Shadows of August Wilson (6 p.m to 9 p.m)
  • July 22: Walking the Shadows of August Wilson (6 p.m to 9 p.m)
  • July 22-24: Homeless Veterans Stand Down (sponsored by Veterans Village of San Diego) at San Diego High School
  • July 23: United Veterans Council meeting (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
  • July 23: San Diego County monthly veterans memorial service (noon)
  • July 23: Walking the Shadows of August Wilson (1 p.m to 5 p.m)
  • July 24: Walking the Shadows of August Wilson (1 p.m to 5 p.m)
  • July 26: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m. to 10 a.m)
  • July 26: Arts for Veterans (2:30 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.) 
  • July 29: Laughs for Warriors (sponsored by US4Warriors Foundation) 6 p.m. at Marina Village Conference Center Bayview Room
This month 
Walking in the Shadows of August Wilson
4 day event -  July 21-24, evening and day showtimes
This month the museum is proud to welcome director, producer, actor, and teacher, Antonio TJ Thompson, to the museum as he presents his play " Walking the Shadows of August"

Thompson's play chronicles the life of Pulitzer winning playwright, August Wilson. Thompson feels that this production of playwright August Wilson's life has given him the opportunity to grow, not only in his field, but as a person. Through learning of August Wilson, an African American playwright who brought light to the experience of the African American in the 20th century, Thompson feels he was able to better define his journey as an actor and black man in America. Through the years, Thompson has not only acted in plays by Wilson, but taught acting classes and classes on diversity with Wilson as the primary theme. 

Thompson now works with service members with addiction issues through Alcoholics Anonymous and other programs. He has also lost brothers and uncles, veterans who served in Vietnam and Korea, to the issue of addiction. We, in partnership with the Cygnet Theater, are happy to bring this talented veterans' advocate to the museum. 

Free admission for all active duty military, Veterans, and their families. Non-military affiliated guests are welcome ($10 suggested donation to the museum). Space is limited, reservations strongly recommended.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact: Taylor M Wycoff at (619)574-0059 ext. 113 or taylor@cygnettheatre.com
Last month 
The Battle of Midway  
Capt. Marhall delivering the presentation

The museum was pleased to host Capt. Thomas J. Marshall, Jr., United States Navy (Ret.) on June 9, for his presentation, "The Battle of Midway". Marshall, a subject matter expert on military battles and ships, especially the Midway, served 24 years on active duty in the Navy, serving aboard four aircraft carriers, five amphibious assault ships and a submarine. Aside from the exclusive amount of time he has spent aboard Navy ships, his expertise is amplified by his Master's Degree in Military History. Since his military retirement he has become the Vice-Commander and Historian for the San Diego Chapter of The Military Order of the World Wars.

June marked the anniversary of one of WWII's most pivotal naval battles, the Battle of Midway. From June 3-5, 1942, Japan was on the offensive in the Pacific region, but after this particular battle, America was able to take the offensive and dictate the rest of the Pacific conflict. Marshall provided an enlightened account of the events leading to this historic two-day battle, and the spectacular sequence of events that played out during. 
Honoring and recognizing Veterans and service members from the LGBTQ community
Council Member Gloria delivering opening remarks

In continuing our programs to recognize and honor  those who have served our country, The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park presented its first military LGBT event, "Evolution of Change" , at the museum on June 22. The event featured active and retired military speakers from the San Diego LGBT community and from San Diego's city leaders.  Opening remarks were provided by the museum's president and CEO, Sheldon Margolis, and San Diego District Three City Council Member Todd Gloria.

Guest speakers included Petty Officer Second Class Ann Foster, who formed the organization GLASS (Gay, Lesbian and Supporting Sailors), Caroline Bender, with Fleet and Family Support Services, who started the first LGBT military support group country-wide, and Master Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Kathleen Hansen, owner of
 Industrial Grind Coffee in San Diego.  Bender shared the history of the LGBT military community, through and after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.  Hansen followed
with her personal story of silently serving 21 years as a lesbian in the Navy. Lastly, Foster shared how she founded GLASS, an impressive 30-chapter command-sponsored support program for active duty LGBT members.

The event gave recognition to the LGBT members of the veteran community for their service since the earliest days of the Armed Forces. "Tonight, we are making history!" said Councilman Gloria, in his opening remarks. The Veterans Museum is honored to continue its long tradition of recognizing and paying homage to all who have served this great country, past and present. 
Museum News
VMBP Board of Directors 
making progress

Over the past few months, your Board of Directors have created a "Strategy of Honor" providing mission and goals and direction for the museum. Additionally they have revamped outdated by-laws and elected new Officers. The newly elected Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary will begin their term on July 1 for two years. 
Congratulations to:
Jack Harkins - Chairman
Jim Loh - Vice-Chairman
Dan DeMarco - Treasurer
Rod Melendez - Secretary   
Spirit of `45 Day at the Veterans Museum - Sunday, August 14
This year is the 71st Anniversary of "The Greatest Generation's Greatest Day" - August 14, 1945 - the day World War II ended. Please join us in this nationwide celebration that honors WWII veterans for their service and sacrifice and celebrates their achievements. 
In addition to a formal program and live music and dancing, veterans will be on deck to share their stories from WWII.  Last year we had 1,000 people attend this event including 100 WWII veterans!
To make this event a success, we are in need of volunteers and monetary and in-kind donations. Please contact Daniel DeMarco at (619) 569-6230 or via email: dan.demarco1@gmail.com with any questions.

For more information on Spirit of `45:  Click here!

Hot off the press - Veteran of the Year nominations are being accepted electronically!

Prior San Diego County VOY's congratulate newly-selected Ed Berger in November 2015
The website is open now to start submitting YOUR deserving Veteran for this recognition!

One of the best times each November is honoring all the military veterans, active duty and reservists throughout the U.S. during Veteran's Day events. In San Diego County we have have about 240,000 veterans and one will be chosen to be the next Veteran of the Year and another veteran will be selected as the Lifetime Supporter of Veterans.
The selection panel will also choose a San Diego County non-profit organization and for-profit organization of the year as well. Past attendance shows about 300 people will attend the luncheon and there are ranging opportunities to be a sponsor of the program.

The luncheon will be held on Friday, November 6 at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley and all four categories will be announced then.  To find the NEW and improved nomination form, Click Here!

The deadline to submit nominations is October 1. 
For more information, contact Will Hays, VOY committee chair at: chairman_vmmc@pacbell.net or (619)239-2300
FREE Creative Arts!! 
"A RTS for A LL " is a public, family-focused event:
Make-A-Card for VA Patients, Puppetry and Craft Kits
Location: Main Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Free Tuesday (July 12)
"A RTS for V ETERANS " is for active duty, veterans, military spouses and civilian allies located on the Lower Level of the museum every Tuesday from  2:30  p.m. to 4 p.m. is a forum then from  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. is a weekly workshop.
PURPOSE: Create, Maintain and Develop Partnerships, Projects and Proposals (Fundraising/Grants) to Engage, Educate, Entertain and Empower Veterans and Allies in the Creative Arts (Literary, Performance and Visual) for their Pleasure, Profit and Healing.
Featured Community Partners
Contact: AA "Tony the Vet" LoBue
Cell: 619-806-2075

  Show Times through July 17, 2016
Thursday 7:30pm, Friday 8pm, Saturday 4pm & 8pm, Sunday 2pm
Woody Guthrie's American Song Conceived and adapted by Peter Glazer, Director Ruff Yeager & Music Direction by Jon Lorenz
"A dazzling, dizzying explosion of Guthrie's genius" - Boston Globe
"An exuberant musical celebration of our nation, our history, and our shared humanity" - Seattle Times
Bound for Glory, Nine Hundred Miles, This Land Is Your Land. We all know them and we've sung them - songs about the open road, fighting for one's rights, and the beauty of nature. Now meet the man that brought them all to life. As he looked for work and his next meal, Woody sang the stories of a whole nation determined to survive the Great Depression. Pull up a chair and join with us in discovering and celebrating the great American who gave our country its voice.
The Horton Grand Theatre is located at 444 Fourth Ave (between Island & J St.) in downtown San Diego

Free TIX4VETS (for Veterans, Military, Spouses and Allies) Courtesy of INTREPID Theatre Company, please contact:
AA "Tony the Vet" LoBue
Cell: 619-806-2075
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!
Stories from the Archives
Barry LaFollett - Vietnam 1969-1970

Barry La Follett graduated high school and worked for two years before LaFollett he was drafted in 1969.  He attended boot camp at Fort Knox where they sent all the recruits over 6' to MP school at Fort Gordon, GA.  At boot camp he was offered the option of attending OCS or the Military Academy, but he turned them down due to the extra commitment.  If he had gone to West Point he would have missed Vietnam entirely.  
After MP training, Barry flew Tiger Airlines into Long Binh and was assigned to the 1st Platoon, 18th MP Brigade at Pleiku in the central highlands.  They manned a major checkpoint along highways 19 and 14 and provided armed convoys that moved equipment and supplies north to Kontum and Da Nang, and east to An Khe and Qui Nhon.  The convoys usually had an army maned gun truck in the center and the MPs provided the front and rear protection using V100 armored personnel carriers (APCs).  These convoys frequently took fire and were ambushed by the VC.  
The MPs were on a small compound with the PX, the dog handlers and some engineers; they lived in wooden barracks and a small NCO club.   However, the MPs preferred the Pleiku Air Base clubs because they had the best entertainment and food in the area. For his last three months in county Barry was transferred to An Khe where he worked in the NCO club and performed guard duty.
The 18th MP Brigade detachment was atypical in that they performed almost no conventional police duties; they did not investigate crime, drugs, or chase deserters, they focused on road and convoy protection.
Barry's 14 months in Vietnam and prior training time allowed him to be separated upon his return to CONUS. He used his GI bill to attend college and later designed exchanges for the Marine Corps.
  Barry (center) and two buddies, 1969 
A 18th Brigade check point with an armored Gun Truck and a V100 APC.  

  LaFollett LaFollett

18th Military Police Brigade  
18th MP Brigade detachment "Road Runners" NCO club at Pleiku. 
Volunteers needed for Homeless Veterans - 
Stand Down on  July 22-24   

In times of war exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative safety and security. Other rested units assumed the watch. Today, Stand Down refers to a time when our homeless veterans can remove themselves from the combat of the streets and allow VVSD and the community of San Diego to stand the watch so they can receive needed services and rest.

Stand Down's philosophy is a hand up, not a hand out. Stand Down is more than a place to get ... it is a place to belong, once again, to a community.

It takes nearly 4,500 volunteers to make this 3-day event a success. To learn more about Stand Down, to volunteer, donate clothing and hygiene items or to donate financially,  Click here!
Friday, July 29 at 6 p.m.

Join Veterans of Comedy for the US4Warriors annual Laughs4Warriors Dinner & Comedy Gala 2016! This year's event will be held at the scenic Marina Village Bayview Room and dinner will be provided from a local v eteran owned businesses.  

Guests will be entertained by a fantastic show from the most demanded veterans in comedy. There will also be u nique Live & Silent Auctions with thousands of dollars worth of exciting prizes - Win vacation packages, dinners with celebrities and many other assorted special offerings all to benefit active duty, veterans and military families!

There is limited VIP seating.  For VIPs, enjoy the full treatment with special gift bags, complimentary wine service, and other assorted specials.  Early Bird Discounts for Tickets for this event are available now until July 8th. For more information or to purchase tickets or sponsor a veteran, Click here!
2nd Annual San Diego GI Film Festival!
September 14-18, 2016

The GI Film Festival San Diego is back for a second year from Wednesday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. The annual GI Film Festival San Diego will feature a variety of films for, about, and by service men and women, preserving the stories of America's armed forces through cinema. Festival organizers say this year's selection of films depict incredible stories that have gone under the radar. Themes range from the experiences of prisoners of war to living with survivor's guilt. Major wars covered in the films span from World War II to the present day conflicts.
The film festival kicks off with the 2016 documentary, "USS Indianapolis: The Legacy." This thrilling retelling of the fate of the World War II heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis exclusively uses first-person accounts from more than 30 survivors of the devastating torpedo attack. The film took 10 years to make with more than 104 interviews completed. Local filmmakers, Sara Vladic and Melanie Capacia Johnson, are thrilled to have their film kick-off the GI Film Festival San Diego.
"Helping to keep the legacy of the USS Indianapolis alive has been one of the greatest honors of my life," said Vladic. "And having the support of the survivors, their families, and the families of those who were lost at sea has meant everything along this 15-year journey. Now, being able to share this incredible story with our home town, and doing so on the opening night of the festival, just makes it all the more special. It's an honor to be selected by the GI Film Festival San Diego to help us share the true story of the USS Indianapolis and her crew."
To learn more about all the films for this year's event, Click here! 

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The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, 2115 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
| (619)239-2300 | info@veteranmuseum.org | www.veteranmuseum.org