Dear Patrons, Members and Subscribers,

May is an important month for the museum. Not only do we have a lot of  wonderful things planned for our patrons, members and friends, but this month we honor those who have given their life in service to their nation. We hope you will join us on May 27, 28 and 29 to continue to breathe life into the legacy that is our fallen comrades. 

We had a great month during April, and if you were able to visit, then you maybe you were able to catch our kids' art exhibit in partnership with Arts for Learning San Diego and the free concert put on by the San Diego Children's Boy's Choir and Westwind Brass. We also had a very successful Second Annual Theatre Festival, which received rave reviews. A big thanks to our Arts Director, Anthony LoBue and Artist in Residence, Katie Turner, for making this event such a success. 

We'd also like to send out a giant congratulations to our community partner, Honor Flight San Diego. During their recent fundraiser, "Legends and Legacies", the organization was able to raise enough money for a flight in the fall to send WWII Veterans to their war memorials in Washington, DC. Just recently Honor Flight SD had to cancel a flight due to insufficient funds. With the help of the community they were able to raise the money for one flight, but they are on their way for a second flight too. We could not be more proud to be part of a community who steps up to bat for it's Veterans in this way. 

And last but not least, I would be remiss if I did not extend a gracious "Thanks" to all our tireless and dedicated volunteers. We could not do what we do without the time and sacrifice of those who want to help our mission grow and thrive.
We hope all our patrons, members and subscribers have a great month, and we'll see you at the museum! 

Captain Sheldon Margolis 
USN (Retired) 
President and CEO

What's going on at your museum? (Museum events or museum partners)
  • May 10, 17, 24, 31: Poetry For Veterans Workshop (6:30 PM-8:30 PM)
  •  May 12 & 13: Open Auditions for "A Piece of My Heart" (7-9 PM/12th & 1-3PM/13th)
  • May 20: Project Thor/ Collaborative Art (2 PM-4 PM)
  • May 27: La Jolla Playhouse Writing Workshop (11PM-5PM lower level and Main Hall)
  • May 27 & 28: Memorial Day Calling of the Names (8AM-5PM, 27th & 8AM-8PM, 28th)
  • May 29: Memorial Day Program (8-10:30 AM)
  • May 29: Patriotic Jazz Festival (1 PM-5 PM)
  •  SAVE THE DATE: Nov 9: Veteran of the Year Luncheon @ Scottish Rite Center
This month 
Workshop: Living Our Lives Out Loud, Poetry for Veterans  (May 10, 17, 24 and 30)

We are very excited to welcome poet, Veteran and Veteran's advocate, Billiekai Boughton, as one of Artists in Residence for the month of May and part of June! Boughton will work with attendees to understand the function and format of poetry and of course help others understand the power of prose.

Boughton is an US Army Veteran and the Chair of the SDVC Women's Network. Ms. Boughton is a graduate of USD (Go Toreros!), where she obtained her master's degree in Leadership. She received her Bachelor's Degree in English with an emphasis in 16th Century Literature, and Contemporary Poetry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Boughton was a Student Teacher Poet for June Jordan's Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley, has poems published in numerous anthologies, and has had two chapbooks published. She volunteers teaching poetry writing workshops, editing the veteran's section of the San Diego Poetry Annual, as a life coach, mentor, and as a veteran advocate. Because of Ms. Boughton's service to the veteran community, she was honored as UCSD's 2013 & 2010 Veteran of the Year and as the 2014 California District 79 Veteran of the Year.
It is $5 for the workshop unless you dedicate services to the workshop, to include set-up, assistance to the instructor and more. We look forward to seeing our community's budding poets join us at the museum for this 6-week, jam-packed workshop. (Only May dates are listed, workshop continues on June 7 & 14)

Open Auditions! Community Partner, Am erican History Theater, To Hold Auditions for Viet nam Play,  "A Piece of My Heart"
This December we are pleased to present the military theater classic, "A Pie ce of My Heart", about 6 women serving as nurses during the Vietnam War. If you are an actress or actor in the San Diego area, we encourage you to come out to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park on May 12 and 13 at 1 PM to audition for this incredible play.

The play will be presented at the museum on December 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16, & 17. Rehearsals begin in August. This play will be presented in conjunction with a series of educational and interactive workshops to discuss the women who served during in Vietnam, along with discussions about the evolution of women serving in combat zones. We are a proud supporter of the performing arts and hope to see our community's actors and actresses come out to show their skills. For more information, contact museum Public Relations and Marketing Director, Amber Robinson, at (315) 608-1860 or via email at 
Artist Micheal Giancristiano Brings Hammer of Thor to the Veterans Museum 
Join  us May 20, from 2 PM to 4 PM for PROJECT THOR, which is an interactive community based art project that strives to find common ground among a diverse cross section of the public. The goal is to create a work of art inspired by the moon using various size hammers to pound the surface of a plywood panel. By utilizing the combined kinetic energy of many people to create craters, THOR strives to convert negative energy into something collectively positive.

Throughout the duration of the residency I'm proposing monthly fun raising events that engage the public  ( and are heavily promoted )  revolving around the creation process, the signing of the  work  by participants and  an  art exhibition that will raise additional funds for VMPB  a rt projects t o  help Veterans cope with PTSD.  Donations to participate are encouraged but not necessary .

Banging plywood with a hammer to create moon craters speaks to our very basic human core. Anyone can do this without fear or ridicule and it brings people together. It's actually a lot of fun and people feel extremely positive afterwards. With very little effort we can all work to achieve something great, creating optimism that will bring the community together much like dreams of going to the Moon.

  Born in Los Angeles California, Michael  Giancristiano  is an accomplished  self-taught  artist with over 25 years of exhibitio n history.  Michael  has exhibited internationally as well as nationally, and can be found in many private and corporate collections. In addition, he has served on the Advisory Board of the  Orange Cou nty Center for Contemporary Art and c urrently sits on the Board of Directors of the Inglewood  California  based, "Van Hook Foundation".  
 La Jolla Playhouse Writing Workshop (May 27 from 11 AM to 5 PM)
la Jolla Playhouse
Join representatives from La Jolla Playhouse at The Veterans Museum
on May 27, starting at 11 AM in our lower level. We are honored to have this great theater come  share the ins and outs of script writing during this exclusive workshop. La Jolla Playhouse has a bravely stated mission  which  advances theatre as an art form and as a vital social, moral and political platform by providing unfettered creative opportunities for the leading artists of today and tomorrow. Their stage has become the starting point for many a theatrical movement in American theatre. We are honored to host their Memorial Day playwrighting workshop this month. The workshop will begin in our lower level but will move to our main hall for workshop attendees present their work and receive feedback and guidance. 

Memorial Day Weekend Perpetuates the Sacrifices of Our Fallen Heroes During "Calling of the Names" and Special Patriotic Jazz Concert 
This Memorial Day Weekend we are honored to once again honor those who have been lost during their time in service. Observances will be held all weekend at The Veterans Museum of Balboa Park at our Vietnam Peace Memorial. The "Calling of the Names" will begin at 8 AM on Saturday, May 27, by the Vietnam Veterans of America, San Diego. 

This time-honored tradition consists of members of the VVA reading the names of those who have been lost in the line of duty throughout San Diego.  Family members of those lost, community members and organizations can also request to read. The VVA will end the first day of observances with their annual candle light vigil. Calling of the Names will continue throughout May 28 from 8 AM to 8 PM, with all activities culminating on Monday, May 29, during our annual VVA Memorial Program. This year we are excited to add another element to this very important weekend of honor. We have partnered with The World Beats Center to present a special Patriotic Jazz Concert with Westwind Brass, which will begin at 1 PM. For those who will want to attend the Memorial Day Ceremony at Rosecrans Cemetery, the trolly will arrive at 9 AM to transport. Join us this year as we say thanks to those who have given their life in service to this great country. 

Last Month
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park Honors The Month of the Military Child With Concert by San Diego Children's Boys Choir and Westwind Brass and Student Art Show

We were proud to honor The Month of the Military Child at the museum last m onth as we hosted a stu dent art show in partnership with Arts for Learning San Diego, in partnership with DoDEA and a concert by San Diego Children's Boys Choir and Westwind Brass.

Most other children don't have to worry about their parents leaving for long deployments or about moving every several years. Military kids learn early to be independent and strong and April was all about honoring the strength and tenacity of our community's youth.

We are proud to not only support our military youth, but our community's youth. The talent, intelligence and creativity of our school-age kids continues to inspire us.

Honor flightHonor Flight San Diego Will Fly Again!( Sept 29 to Oct 1, 2017)

Recently,  Honor Flight San Diego had to cancel their spring "Tour of Honor" trip to Washington, DC, due to lack of funding. On April 9th, over 250 people gathered for Honor Flight's "Legends and Legacies" Fundraiser.   We are happy to announce that due to very generous donors, the event raised enough money to fund their fall trip for WWII veterans and is on their way for a second flight!
Going into the evening, Honor Flight San Diego had a matching donor, The Green Foundation, who had offered to match any funds up to $100,000 through April 30. The highlight of the night was when keynote speaker, RADM "Mac" McLaughlin, USN (ret.) President and CEO of the USS Midway Museum, announced that the USS Midway Foundation would donate half the cost of one trip - $125,000!!! There were WWII veterans at the fundraiser and the USS Midway's donation made it a reality that Honor Flight San Diego will fly again!
Photo credit: Tim Hardy. WWII veterans  (L-R) Sid Zimman, Gil Nadeau, Andre Chappaz, Tom Rice and Honor Flight San Diego volunteer Mel Taitano

There are currently 100+ Southern California WWII veterans on the waiting list and ready to go on "Tour of Honor". These funds came in time to ensure these heroes  will get to visit and reflect at the memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice. The three-day experience is at no cost to the veteran. 

Now with funding for fall, Honor Flight San Diego's next priority is to ensure they have reached out to all Southern California WWII veterans who are interested in the trip and to get them on the list to go. After Honor Flight San Diego has taken interested WWII veterans, then they will start with Korea and Vietnam era veterans. Priority is always given to terminally ill veterans and the most senio r veterans first. 

If you know a WWII veteran who would like to go on Honor Flight San Diego, please go to their website and complete a veteran application by  Clicking Here!  
Veterans and Civilians Collaborate to Present "Vets at Home: A Showcase of Short Plays" (April 21-23)
April 21-23 the museum  hosted its Second Annual Theater Festival, "Vets and Home: A Showcase of Short Plays". This showcase is a project created by VMBP Arts Director Anthony LoBue and Artist-in-Residence Katie Turner. LoBue, known to many simply as Tony the Vet, is a senior, disabled, wartime veteran, artist, and advocate who believes passionately that the fine arts are a pathway to community healing and personal growth. He initiated the Artist-in-Residence program at the VMBP in fall of 2016.
The plays were chosen from submissions that were collected from across San Diego and had to follow certain time and length guidelines. Twelve short, one-act plays were presented each day of the festival and  broached topics such as Veteran suicide, Post Traumatic Stress and learning to cope after losing a loved one at war.
One play shares the trials of a father left to raise his daughter alone after his wife was lost at war. The steps of growing from a girl into a woman can be confusing, and even more so if your guide is your dad. One play portrays the last phone call a war-wounded veteran makes to her priest before taking a lethal shot of drugs. From light-hearted to deep and emotional, this year's Theater Festival left audiences with a deeper understanding of veteran life
The plays were submitted by civilians and veterans alike and performed by both veterans and civilians.  While each participant had their own unique life experiences that led them to this project, what united them was a commitment to raising awareness of the complex array of challenges veterans face within their own communities.  
Stories from the Archives:
Benny Rodriguez, 35th Field Artillery  Vietnam

Pvt Benjamin Rodriguez, Fort Ord, 1967.
Benny, a San Diego native was drafted in 1967, attended boot camp at Fort Ord, and was sent to Artillery School at Fort Sill Oklahoma. In October 1967 he received orders to the 35th Field Artillery Regiment in Vietnam where he was attached to Battery A, 2/35th Artillery with the Second Field Force. He became a driver on a M-109 Self Propelled 155 mm Howitzer. Home based at Nui Dat, they provided artillery support for the 196th Infantry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade, 82nd & 101st Airborne Divisions, 1st Infantry & Americal Divisions, and the Australians and New Zealanders. The 155s howitzers could fire a shell 9 miles, and since they were mobile they would move along with the attack forces.   Accompanying engineering units would prepare new firing positions and revetments where ever they were positioned. They could operate as a mobile fire bases. 
In January 1968 his unit had moved up to An Loc, near the Cambodian border.   A Colonel thought he looked a little bit ragged and sent him down to Saigon to get a haircut. While walking around, Benny noticed that there were a lot of young guys in black pajamas with high and tight hair cuts (like the Marines) wandering around Saigon; Benny commented that they all looked like VC or NVA. A short time later after Benny got his hair cut and had left to return to his unit at An Loc the Tet Offensive erupted in Saigon.

Benny holds a 155mm round, 1968 

PFC Benny Rodriguez talking with a Red cross Donut Dolly in front of his M-109 self propelled 155 howitzer at a firebase near An Loc, c. 1968.

Recent Donations to the Museum-April 2017 

Sam McGovern of Lemon Grove donated two  rom the Naval Training School at 32nd Street.

James Bonner of San Diego donated the book: Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron by Ronald D. Utt.

David Chamberlin of San Diego donated a WWII pronouncing Diction for the library.

Peter L. Kramer of San Diego donated four military books to the military history research library.

Two of the books donated by Peter Kramer.

Charles Mowery of San Diego
donated a Zippo Lighter, USS Shiloh (CG-67).

Mary Mann of Wilmington, NC donated a Scrap Book of John Carpenter, Spanish American War Veteran, with newspaper clippings from the Spanish American War, 1898-1899.

Kyle Poolman of Baudett, MN, donated a photo of NTC/SD recruit graduation Company 140, dated 23 April 1946.

San Diego Veterans Affairs Regional Office transferred from their collection two books, 8 photographs, 38 framed posters and prints, and a collection of British and US Army and Navy artifacts dating from the 1920s though the 1990s including POW artifacts originally donated by Frank Berger, and other artifacts donated by Adrian Newkirk, John J. McCann, and Len Dillenbeck.

A WWII era disk of matches donated by Doris M. Henseler.

Trench Art: A sail boat with inscription: "New Guinea 1944" made from .50 Cal. shell casing.

Shadow box made by Frank Berger with his 15th AAF and AAF patch, gunner's wings and custom POW wings made from lead found in cans in Luftwaffa POW camp.   Right: British patches & chevrons collected by John J. McCann.

British Army & RAF patches.

San Diego Warrant Officer's Association
donated a bound volume of "Our Navy" Magazine from March 1941 to November 1942,, in a binder. Two newspapers, the San Francisco Examiner, November 11, 1918. (Germany Surrenders), and the New York Times, February 13, 1945 (Yalta Conference). Additionally they provided some individual members oral histories and documents.

The USS Midway Museum of San Diego transferred from their collection a pastel drawing of Naval Aviator LTJG William A. Stames done in 1943 on the occasion of his wedding.

LTJG William Stames, USN by artist Joseph Zappler of Miami Beach Florida, c. 1943

Vincent P. O'Hara of San Diego
donated three books on the US Navy in WWII: The German Fleet at War - 1939-1945, The Struggle for the Middle Sea - 1940-1945, and The U.S. Navy Against the Axis, Surface Combat 1941-1945.


Reed Wiesehan of San Diego
donated a USS Tarawa (LHA-1) ship's galley crew apron with USS Tarawa (LHA-1) logo.

Glenn Wilson of Punta Gorda, FL  donated Six photos in Balboa Park from their wedding at the Navy Chapel in 1968.

Winterthur Museum and Library of Delaware transferred from their collection a large collection of later nineteenth and early twentieth century print ephemera including Newspapers, magazines, booklets pamphlets, and recruiting brochures about the military, veterans, and the Spanish American War, WWI, and WWII eras.

Drawing by Pvt. C. LeRoy Balchidge from his pamphlet of sketches on the Western Front.

52nd Infantry Regiment brochure c. 1917

Post WWI Army Recruiting pamphlet, c. 1926.

Richard Zimmer of San Marcos
donated three cruise books from the hospital ship USS Sanctuary, '67, '68, and '69, from his time aboard as a Hospital Corpsman.
Become a Part of Our Growing Arts Program! Open to the Public! FREE! INSPIRING! 

3-5PM FORUM: Arts Programs
Lower Level 

6-9PM Workshop: Visual Arts
Lower Level
Free! Public! All ages! All skill levels! Drop-ins OK! Make It/Take It!
2-D: Art Cards, Collage, Coloring, Drawing, Make-A-Card for VA Patients...And more!
3-D: Masks, Puppets & Sculptures 
Tony LoBue a.k.a. Tony The Vet
Arts Director

6-9PM Workshop: Bronze Casting
Lower Level
[Free: Only for Veterans, Military and Spouses]
Veterans Art Project

NOTES: Quick and easy Alginate face or hand casting.  This is the first step in completing the lost wax process.  All participantts will complete their own hot pour bronze mask sculpture.  The foundry is located in Fallbrook Ca. 


11AM-1PM Activity: FAMILY FUN!
Main Hall
Collage, Coloring, Craft Kits, Make-A-Card for VA Patients, Puppetry, Scavenger Hunts, Storytelling...and more!
Valerie Broesch, Storyteller 
Volunteer Artist in Residence 
Dave Gilmore, Craft Specialist

"Buddy Holly" Musical
Horton Grand Theatre
May 18 thru May 21

Call for Interns & Volunteers!
  Assistant Arts Director,  Ambassadors (Make-A-Card for VA Hospital Patients Program )
Artists in Residence (Literary, Performance and Visual),  Promotion,  Public Relations
AA "Tony the Vet" LoBue,  Arts Director
Contact: (cell) 619-806-2075 or via email at:
New and Renewing Members: Thanks for Your Support!

Jennifer & Gardiner Champlin Family
Robert B. Johnson

Robert J. Lawrence
Martha S. Lepore
Jack Lyon

Nino Martinez*

David Moran

John A. Plough

Gordon Shurtleff Family

                                               (* Life Member  ** Dual Life Member)

                                            Click here  to b ecome a M u seum Member.
The San Diego Enforcers play their last home game on June 3rd! 
Did you know that we have a semi-pro football team right here in San Diego? They are the San Diego Enforcers and the team is comprised of first responders, law enforcement and military who play full contact football and raise money for charity. They are also reigning National Champions and have a dance team who has performed internationally!
This season's military charity is Honor Flight San Diego and by coming to the game or the golf tournament, you will help them to raise money for Honor Flight. 

The Enforcers will be hosting a golf tournament on Friday, May 26 at Rancho Bernardo Inn. As part of the live auction, there will be an opportunity to bid on being a Guardian for a WWII veteran on an upcoming flight with Honor Flight!

To find out more about the Enforcers, their game schedule or the golf tournament, 

Courage to Call to host food distribution 
Saturday, May 13 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Courage to Call in conjunction with Feeding America is doing a Food Distribution for all active duty, veterans, guard, reservists and their families. 

This month's info:
May 13  - 9465 Farnham St, San Diego from 10 am to 1 pm

To RSVP or to sign up to volunteer, email:

For more information about Courage to Call and their services click here >>>  Learn More!


Call All WWII Veterans to Be Special Guests at USS Midway Museum's Flag Day

The USS Midway is seeking 25 World War II Veterans to be special guests at their Flag Day Celebration on Saturday, June 10. The USS Midway Museum, along  with The Veterans Museum, is a hub for our community's WWII veterans, and enjoy highlighting their servic e at every opportunity. Guests will be recognized during the Midway's 7th Annual Flag Day celebration, which will also feature music by Lake Arrowhead Mountain Fifes and Drums Band and speakers from Daughters of the American Revolution, Children of the American Revolution, and Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. If you are a WWII veteran, or know someone who is, please contact Amber Robinson at 
SAVE THE DATE! Spirit of '45 Is Just Around the Corner! Get Ready to Celebrate the End of WWII and Embrace Its Heroes! 

Here we are again! Get ready to embrace the Spirit of "45! This August 13th, from 10 AM to 4 PM, the museum will once again be transformed with re-enactments, music and dancers who embody the energy of the end of World War II. The year was 1945 and the Japanese had just surrendered. The streets were filled with Americans reveling in the patriotism and tenacity of this era, with our WWII military heroes at it's helm! Come celebrate this era and those who lived it! Our WWII Veterans are a rapidly fading group. Come hear their stories, celebrate our nation's history and give these wonderful men and women the honor they deserve!  
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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 | |