Here at the museum we are privileged to honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces each and every day. May is always a special month to remember those military members who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remembered them in our annual three-day ceremony for Memorial Day - THANK YOU  to Vietnam Veterans of America who capture the significance of this day each year.

As we move into June, we will host two evening presentations this month. The first is for the anniversary of The Battle of Midway during World War II. And the second event is a first for the museum. In an effort to find new and innovative ways to best use the museum and to cater to many diverse audiences, we will host our first-ever LGBTQ event at the museum. Please join us for the evening events which are free and open to the public.

Captain Sheldon Margolis 
USN (Retired) 
Executive Director 

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


  • June 7: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • June 9: The Battle of Midway evening presentation (6:30 p.m.)
  • June 14: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m to 10 a.m.)
  • June 14: Free Tuesday admission to the museum for San Diego County residents
  • June 14: Arts for All (2 to 4 p.m.) and Arts for Veterans (6 to 8 p.m.)
  • June 21: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • June 22: LGBTQ Pride evening event (6 p.m.)
  • June 25: United Veterans Council meeting (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
  • June 25: San Diego County monthly veterans memorial service (noon)
  • June 26: Movie day at the museum - Gettysburg (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • June 28: Yoga for Vets (9 a.m. to 10 a.m)


This month 
The Battle of Midway  
Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States defeated Japan in one of the most decisive naval battles of World War II. Thanks in part to major advances in code breaking, the United States was able to preempt and counter Japan's planned ambush of its few remaining aircraft carriers, inflicting permanent damage on the Japanese Navy. An important turning point in the Pacific campaign, the victory allowed the United States and its allies to move into an offensive position.

Please join Capt. Thomas J. Marshall, Jr. United States Navy (Ret) for his presentation of "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. In addition to the expansive 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.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, June 22 at 6 p.m.

We are proud to host our first ever Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual and Queer (LGBTQ) event at the museum. Special guests Kathleen Hansen, Caroline Bender and Ann Foster will speak on their personal military experiences, how they have overcome the LGBTQ stigma and prospered because of their diversity.
We are proud to highlight the evolution of civil rights of our nation's great military. Through this event we hope to educate, elevate and inspire our community as we proceed through this historic time. 

Please join us for this special evening presentation. It is free and open to the public.
Last month 
Kenny Kemp presented "The Road to the War in the Pacific"  

Author Kenny Kemp's stories are not the usual stories you hear about World War II. Although he has plenty of old war stories to tell about his father, a WWII fighter pilot, a large portion of what he speaks about is in what ways Japan instigated WWII. Kemp, author of "Flying With the Flak Pack:  A Pacific War Scrapbook", talks of Japan's tactical decisions prior to WWII in which they sought to conquer portions of China and other regions in the Pacific. As Kemp explains, America's disdain for Japan's military movements at the time, was only further agitated by the brutal and unethical way they sought to gain the upper hand against the Chinese. At the same time, Adolf Hitler began to emerge with his message of control and hate. What was brewing was a perfect storm.

Kemp also shared one of his own personal video interviews with an American veteran who was serving at Pearl Harbor on the day the Japanese attacked. In an endearingly candid exchange between Kemp and his 83-year old interview, he captures the emotion of a young Soldier embarking on the first steps of what would become America's last great war.  
Local 8th grader donated homemade  Poppies for Memorial Day  
Rod Melendez thanks Beret for her  donation of poppies
Beret Dernbach attends Roosevelt International Middle School and wanted to do something special to honor the men and women who lost their lives defending our country. Beret made 210 individual handmade felt poppies and presented them to the Veterans Museum in honor of Memorial Day.  

This project grew out of her 8th grade Imperial Beach Community project at at the middle school in which she and her classmates decorated patient waiting rooms at the Barnhard Cancer Center in Chula Vista.  

She liked that project so much she wanted to do something for Memorial Day.  She knew about the poppy tradition since she was very little through her Canadian and Scottish heritage and discovered that the poppy is also used as a symbol in America. 
Beret hoped that her poppies would help people to understand their meaning and to provide an appreciation of what Memorial Day is all about.
Beret on her front porch cutting out poppies for Memorial Day.
Vietnam Veterans of America 
San Diego County's Vietnam War Casualties and Missing in Action
Local Veterans honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice

This year The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice during its Memorial Day Weekend observances hosted at the Vietnam War Peace Memorial on the East side of museum. This year the Vietnam Veterans of America San Diego Chapter 472 began "the reading of the names" on Saturday, May 28 and continued them into Sunday, May 30, reading the names of San Diego's Vietnam Killed and Missing in Action from early in the morning to early evening each day.

On Saturday evening they hosted a candlelight vigil for our lost veterans and on Monday, May 30, the museum hosted their official Memorial Day Ceremony, featuring comments by Mrs. Kim Dang, Vice President of the San Diego's Vietnamese Community, VVA Chapter 472 members and U.S. Navy Retired Command Master Chief Kathy Hansen.

Hansen shared her own personal story of a lost hero, that of her brother, and charged us with the task to "never forget" the sacrifices made during our nation's wars or even during the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11 in New York City.  We honor the legacy of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.  Our great nation was built upon the backs of military heroes and their carrying their legacy forward each Memorial Day is an honor for the museum.   
U.S. Navy Retired Command Master Chief Kathy Hansen
Your museum hosted the first-ever Veterans Theatre Film Festival  
We were very proud to host the Veterans Theatre Festival 2016 this past month. The festival was the museum's first very own performing arts event, presented by the Arts for Veterans Project and coordinated by the museum arts director, Anthony A. LoBue. The three-night event featured improvisation, performance art and original plays by local veterans and allies.

Participants Patrick Castaneda, Scott Hickey, Bob Levis and LoBue all presented productions. Castaneda presented an original work entitled "Letters from Nam", a play centered around the letters his mother sent while he served in Vietnam.
"Acting helped me to express what I feeling about my war experiences," said Castaneda, about how acting and screenwriting have helped him deal with the anger still with him from his time at war.

Using the arts in health and healing is a growing phenomenon that The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park is proud to explore and incorporate. The arts have been proven to benefit the community in a variety of ways, such as therapeutically, educationally and emotionally. Through the Arts for Veterans Project, the museum hopes to further our reach into the San Diego community. 
Museum News
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 (June 14)
"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
Veterans Art Project             
Free Bronze Casting
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays
The PGK Dance Project
Free Dance Tickets
Contemporary Dance
Contact: AA "Tony the Vet" LoBue
Cell: 619-806-2075
November 4th will be here before you know it! Save the date for the Veteran of the Year Luncheon t hink about nominations!  

Prior San Diego County VOY's congratulate newly-selected Ed Berger in November 2015
With summer quickly approaching, we know that fall will be right on the heels. In November each year San Diego County honors military veterans. One of the first events is the annual Veteran of the Year Luncheon where several awards are announced. There is an award for corporation of the year, nonprofit of the year and lifetime supporter of veterans as well as Veteran of the Year. It is never too early to start thinking about who you will nominate.

More information will be coming soon as we transition to an electronic invitation and RSVP system. 

For more information, contact Will Hays, VOY committee chair at: chairman_vmmc@pacbell.net or (619)239-2300
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 
Evelyn Coy
WAVES Communications Specialist who worked as a Cryptographer during WWII
Yeoman 3/c Evelyn Coy, c. 1943   
Evelyn Coy lived in Chicago and when the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor she itched to get into the fight. She wanted to be somewhere and do something of value. To join the WAVES she had to be 21, or at least 20 with their parents permission, easier said than done in Evelyn's case. As she neared 21 her mother hid her birth certificate which she needed to enlist, so Evelyn went to City Hall and bought a dupe and signed up . Her mother was furious. 

In August 1942 Evelyn departed to be a member of the first class of WAVES. Everything was so new, that uniforms were not yet available, but they were issued official shoes which were so distinctive that they used them identify themselves as WAVES and get into USO dances.  After boot camp in New York she attended Yeoman School in Oklahoma and received orders to Washington D.C.

WAVES were considered an official part of the Navy, receiving the same rank and pay as men. Women worked in a wide variety of jobs, but Evelyn ended up as a cryptologist. Her new rating badge had a diamond with the letter "Q" in the center, which indicted the communications field. She was assigned to Washington DC and learned to crack coded messages using floor-to-ceiling Cryptanalytic Bombe computers. She worked long hours and around the clock on both Japanese and German messages. They worked behind 12-foot electrified fences, had top secret clearances, and were prohibited from going into any office except their own. Secrecy was paramount, they could not talk to anybody about their job and even her parents never knew what she did in the Navy.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the President's wife, had been a big supporter of establishing women's branches in the armed forces and had pushed the establishment of the WAVES and WACs. She would invite service women to the White House every week for tea and conversation . Evelyn was part of a group of four women invited to attended one of the teas, Mrs. Roosevelt discussed women's subjects and was a big promoter of women's abilities and potential.   Evelyn left with the message taken to heart and spent three years in the service and left as a Communications Specialist (Cryptographer) First Class. Evelyn married a navy man she met at a USO dance, moved to San Diego and worked in the San Diego City Planning Dept. for 26 years.
Women volunteers are sworn into the WAVES at the Bronx NY training center, 1943.
The N-530 Cryptanalytic Bombe, Washington DC, c. 1945.
N-530 Cryptanalytic Bombe used to help crack the German and Japanese codes.

Evelyn's rating badge had a "Q" for Specialist, Communications.
Recent Donations to the Museum's Artifact Collection
Ann Burt of Morgan Hill, CA donated a collection of artifacts from her father, Capt. Weldon L. Brubaker, AAF, including newspaper clippings, pamphlets on flying, two army base newspapers from 1943 & 44, two unit yearbooks from his pilot training in WWII, and assorted additional photos and memorabilia. 
Aviation Cadet Weldon completes his first level of Aviation Training, Sequoia Field, Class 44B, Sept 30, 1944.  
1st Lt Weldon Brubaker (front row, left) with crew of the B-17 Mah Ideal, 324th BS, 91st BG, 8th Air Force, RAF Bassingbourn England, c. 1945, donated by Ann Burt.
JoAnn Castor of Saint George UT donated 4 books, 2 uniform jackets and ribbons and medals from WWII belonging to John Eric Woods, T/Sgt, Army Air Corps, who served with a B-26 Squadron in the 391st BG, 9th AF in Europe. 
Wppds.9th AF
Close up of the bullion embroidered wings and 9th Air Force Patches worn by Technical Sargent John Woods who flew in B-26 bombers, 391st BG in England, donated by JoAnn Castor. 
Harry Kaplan of La Jolla donated a video oral history of his experiences during WWII with the Army Air Force in the China-Burma-India theater where he flew the "Hump" into China on the Curtis Commando (C-46) aircraft.
Robert Dingeman of San Diego donated Japanese Silk flag removed from a downed Japanese plane shot down during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 and an autographed photo of Chester Nimitz signing the surrender document in Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945 presented to his father and signed: "to Colonel Ray E. Dingleman, USA - with best wishes and great affection of your contributions to the war effort which made possible the above scene. C. W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral, U. S. Navy" 
  AEF WWI German WWI
Portrait of Pvt Harry Erlich who served in POW Enclosure/Escort Company 2018 with the AEF (left), and two unidentified German soldiers (right) c. 1918-1919, donated by Beth Meyer.  
Beth Meyer of San Diego donated the artifacts of Harry Erlich, who served in the Prisoner of War Enclosure/Escort Company 2018, during WWI, including ID Discs on a cloth cord; His Pay Book; Six photographs of Harry Erlich in uniform and photographs of German Soldiers in 1918 and possible relatives/friends in Poland, 1919; and documents from his service in the Army. 
  USS Kitty Hawk
Security reminder passed to crew when Soviet ships were observed picking up the Kitty Hawk's garbage, 1979. 
USS Kitty Hawk
Crew Patch documenting their 1979-1980 deployment., donated by Linda Miller. 
Linda Miller of San Diego donated yearbooks from the USS Kitty Hawk, USS Independence and USS Ticonderoga and documents and photographs from the same eras.
Log Entry 01-01-80
Navy tradition dictates that the first entry of the year in the ship's log should be done in verse form by the Officer of the Deck (OOD).  Ensign Kuriger  made this entry on the Kitty Hawk in 1980.  Donated by Linda Miller. 
Davon Ramos of Los Angeles  donated a copy of his documentary, "Baker Boy's, Inside the Surge," an Award winning documentary about American Soldiers of Baker Company, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. 4 hours in length.
Arvilla Rodgers of San Diego donated the artifacts of Lt. Richard E. Miller, USA, 86th Division, WWII, including a Foot Locker, uniforms, two Arizona newspapers from 1941, and a collection of Official Souvenirs of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on San Francisco Bay. 

Front and back of a 1938 USMC Recruiting brochure that Lt. Miller picked up at the USMC exhibit at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA.  Donated by Arvilla Rodgers. 
William Sargent of Denver CO donated four photographs of his father, 1LT William Rueckert, AAF who was killed on his first bombing mission in May 1944, and three photos of the B24 wreckage. Additionally he donated 4 DVDs and one CD on the history of the B24, the 93rd BG and Japanese American Ben Kuroki who served with the Army Air Force in Europe and the Pacific Theater. He also included copies of two articles on his father and his mother that ran in local newspapers and in the Ladies Home Journal during WWII. 
Eastern Daily Press article on 1st Lt. William Rueckert's first and last mission on 1 May 1944. 
Ladies' Home Journal article on Mrs. William Rueckert, January 1945. 
Joanne Sinet Reese of Santee donated a Navy Service Dress Blue Uniform of Robert Wayne Reese, CWO-4 (Yeoman), with ribbons and pins, photos of USS Blueridge (LCC-19) in Sidney Austrailia; USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) at sea, c. 1959; and Seaplane Tender Salisbury Sound (AV-13) in Hong Kong Harbor, and Cruise Books for the: The Keel, USNTC Great Lakes, Co. 998, 1951; USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), 1959-1960; USS Blue Ridge WESTPAC Vol 1 1972; USS Blue Ridge WESTPAC Vol 2 1973; and USS Blue Ridge WESTPAC Vol 3.   
Hai Tran, Vietnam Navy Veterans Association of San Diego, donated a plaque from Vietnam Navy River Assault Group 33, now on display in our Vietnam Exhibit. 
  VNN Plaque
Vietnam Navy River Assault Group 33 (PBRs) plaque donated by the Vietnam Navy Veterans Association.

Mr. Hai Tran presents VNN River Assault Group 33 Plaque to Sheldon Margolis on Memorial Day 
New and Renewing Members
Jim & Ann Elliott Family  Robert Johnson Family 
Robert J. Lawrence   Bernard Revak*
Steve Schweitzer*   
                     * 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


July 21-24, 2016
At your museum - Cygnet Theatre Presents Walking in the Shadows of August Wilson. The one-man show features Craig Noel Award Winner Antonio TJ Johnson and is directed by Joe Powers.

The show depicts the impact of renowned playwright August Wilson on the life of local actor and Vietnam Veteran Antonio TJ Johnson. The relationship and characters create acompelling and entertaining journey as the stories blend and crossover into TJ's own narrative as a young athlete, activist, soldier, and African American. The
story defines the influences resulting from having been introduced to the words
of this great playwright, and aims to give audiences the same opportunity to
connect and reimagine their own experiences through the words of one of
the greatest American storytellers the world has known.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact:
Taylor M Wycoff at 619-574-0059 x 113 or taylor@cygnettheatre.com
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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