Dear Patrons, Members and Subscribers,

Summer is in full swing in Balboa Park! The temperatures are hotter, and our beautiful park is filled those who come to take in one of the most culture-drenched areas of San Diego! We had a really wonderful month of May. Vietnam Veterans of America San Diego once again did a great job of putting on our annual Memorial Day Weekend observances and ceremony.  

New this month is that we had the pleasure to request membership in the San Diego Veterans Coalition. I am happy to announce that we were accepted for membership and will have access to 150+ member organizations to better provide resources to the San Diego military community. Big thank you to "Tony the Vet" for going "all the way" in creating this partnership!

We are so fortunate to have amazing community partners and one of those partners is Veterans Village of San Diego. Not only do they help with our large-scale events but they also host the annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down in Balboa Park. This year it is July 21-23 and I encourage you to help in any way possible as it takes hundreds of volunteers and service providers to make the event possible.

Last but not least, we'd like to say Happy Father's Day to all those Dads out there, especially our military and veteran Dads who may have given up time with their kids or family for time overseas in service. We salute you and all the fathers out there who are making the world a better place. 
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)
  • June 1-30: Exhibit: VMBP Weddings from Across the Ages (6:30 PM-8:30 PM)
  •  June 7, 14 & 21: Poetry for Veterans Workshop and Poetry Reading 
  • June 13 & 27: Digital Photography Workshop with Kevin Raquidan (6:30 PM) 
  • June 15: Health Education Series Event: "One Little Thing: Health Transformation for the Tortoise and the Hare"
  • June 17: Dancing With Heroes Fundraiser (6:30 PM-11 PM)
  •  June 18: Father's Day Concert by City Guard Band and Army 242nd BD Concert (2 PM)
  • June 30: PGK Dance Project and The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park present: Vets Break it Down with PKG Dance Project (7:30 PM-9 PM)
  • Save the Date:  July 21-23 - Homeless Veteran Stand Down
  • Save the Date: Aug. 13 - Spirit of '45 celebration
  • Save the Date: Oct. 28 - Military Women's Luncheon 
  • Save the Date: Nov. 4 - Operation Dress Code
  • Save the Date: Nov. 9 - San Diego County Veteran of the Year Luncheon
  • Save the Date: Nov. 11 - Veterans Day parade
This month 
Duncanson Wedding
The Veterans Museum Showcases Its Great Love Stories in Wedding Photo Exhibit (June 1-30) 

If you did not know, prior to being a museum full of military relics, we were a chapel. Most who walk into our Main Exhibit Hall can tell right away via the cathedral ceilings, large stained glass windows with depictions of Mary and the Christ Child. Built in 1945, it was the Chapel for the Naval Hospital right next door. Over the years, many a service member was wed in our Main Hall. In the 1980's, the old chapel was no longer being used, and was slated for tear-down. Service members from across the years spoke up, recounting their wedding memories, and asked the building be spared. In 1989 we resurrected the old chapel as The Veterans Museum. This month we will feature a photography exhibit of wedding photos from the museum through the years, spanning back all the way to right after World War II. Come join us this month as we take a walk down memory lane, brought to you by the love stories of service members! The exhibit will be available for viewing until June 30. 
Poetry workshop continues into June (June 7 & 14)
We have been very excited to have poet, Veteran and Veteran's advocate, Billiekai Boughton, as one of Artists in Residence for the month of May and now into June. Boughton has worked with attendees to understand the function and format of poetry, along with encouraging attendees to dig deep into themselves to create emotionally important 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. 

Each week attendees have presented their written work from a prompt, such as "kiss" or "cat" or "journey". The poems do not have to be about these things in particular, but should be used to spark an idea. Poems are "workshopped" by all other poets, which includes suggestions, questions and a technical review. Five classes have been  held in the museum's lower level, with the sixth gathering taking place at Verbatim Bookstore, where workshop goers will be given the opportunity to read their best works aloud.  June 7 will be the last day that anyone can attend the workshop and present poetry, June 14 is the culmination of the students' work, presented at Verbatim. If you attend the last session, June 7, we suggest you bring several printed copies of one poem to be shared and edited. 
Digital Photography Workshop Provides  Basics of Capturing a Novel Shot (June 13 & 27)

Photo by Kevin Raquidan

This month Kevin Raquidan will visit the museum again to continue his digital photography workshop. Digital Photography for Beginners: Basic Camera/Smartphone Settings and Composition will be on Tuesday, June 13 at 6:30 PM. Digital Photography/Intermediate: C amera/Smartphone Settings and Lighting/Color will be on June 27 at 6:30 PM. Both photography workshops will be on the Lower Level. 

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own cameras or smart phones to the workshops.  The price of the workshop is a suggested donation of $5, unless attendees help with the workshop; IE: help set up, tear down or assist presenter/teacher in any way. 
 A great big thanks to Kevin Raquidan for presenting a one-night workshop last month s well. Raquidan provided a short presentation on digital photo basics, such as how to use the rule-of-thirds or how to use leading lines to enhance a subject. After the presentation, attendees were encouraged try their hand at what they had learned. To learn more come out to the museum this month, commune with fellow photography enthusiasts and hopefully learn something new. 

Direct any and all questions to workshop teacher: 
Kevin Raquidan, Photo Journalist
Volunteer Artist in Residence 

Museum Hosts Nationally Acclaimed Author as part of Juice Plus' Health Education Series (June 15)
This month we will present yet another talk in our Juice Plus-sponsored Health Education Series. StaciJoy RN BSN HNC will present "One Little Thing: Health Transformation for the Tortoise and the Hare". StaciJoy is a nationally acclaimed author and certified holistic health practitioner. She will share how to embrace your health transformation, but at a pace that is appropriate for YOU! 

Doors open on June 15 at 6:30 PM at the museum. To learn more about health and wellness through whole food products, register online at this link:  REGISTER!

We hope to see all our health nuts out for this event! Summer is in full swing and being healthy is an important way to get the most of out it! 

Dancing With Heroes: Local Non-Profit Presents Military-Inspired Show (June 17) 

The museum is proud to host community partner, American History Theater,  for th eir annual Summer fundraiser. "Dancing With Heroes" is a fast-paced, patriotic, mili tary-inspired dance show, which embodies the fun, spirit and pride of our nation's  service members through the ages .
 This is the second year the museum has been the location for the fundraiser, which features a dance show, live band, food, wine bar and silent auction items. The floor will also be open at the end of the night for attendees to dance. 

American History Theater is a local non-profit that celebrates the role of tough women throughout history, with a consistent focus on our nation's military women. They also raise awareness around veterans' issues through special events and workshops. Proceeds from this event will help support the rest of American History Theater's season, which includes the classic Vietnam War play, "A Piece of My Heart", to be presented at the museum in December, along with a series of educational workshops. 

This event is open to the public, but seats are going fast! Help us support the arts and advocate for our fellow vets through community partners! To buy tickets go to GET TICKETS 

Father's Day Presentation by San Diego City Guard Band and Army 242nd BD Concert  (June 18)

Are you looking for a cool place to take Dad for Father's Day? Look no further! Go ahead and bring him out to the museum on June 18 at 2 PM for a special Father's Day Presentation by the San Diego City Guard Band and the Army 242nd BD Concert. 

We've been proud to host San Diego City Guard Band many times at our museum, but it is a special treat to have them perform with another big group of musicians! This is sure to be a great show indeed! Show Dad a grand ole' time by sharing the gift of music ! Our hats are off to our community's fathers! We appreciate what you do, especially those military dads who have had to leave their homes time and time again to train or to deploy to dangerous places. It's not easy to leave the family behind and it's not easy for a home to function with one of the parents gone. Big thanks to the sacrifice and strength of our military and veteran fathers out there and to ALL the Dads out there making life a better place! 

Vets Break It Down with PGK Dance Project: Veteran Artists and Contemporary Dancers  Combine Talents For Unique Show (June 30)

Join us at the end of this month for a very special and unique colla boration  between Peter Kalivas. Artistic Director of The PGK Dance Project, and his dancers, m us ic i an Barry Toombs and the Westwind Brass, Anthony "Tony the Vet" LoBue (spoken word), and Improvisational Watercolorist, Brian Meyer. This program is the culmina tion of a grant with the C alifornia Arts Council funded Veterans Initiative in the Arts. 

The show will kick off with work by the Nannette Brodie Dance Theater, who is also the recipient of the Veterans Arts Initiative grant from the California Arts Council performs. They will perform  "Report for Duty at 08hundred".   The  Westwind Brass Ensemble  will accompany The PGK Dance Project in  "Break it Down"  featuring the music of famed drummer Buddy Rich.  AA "Tony the Vet" LoBue  will recite "Live", a spoken word script for a new dance work by Kalivas, which addresses Veteran Suicide and transitioning back to civilian life.   Brian Meyer , will organically and "in the moment" create a Watercolor art show inspired by and reflecting the evening's events, which will then become the backdrop for this incredible show. 

Additional, guest performances will include; The Del Mar Ballet and Anna Brown, Musicians: Molly Mapes, Tea' Carpenter and Barbara Schoenhofer with Rayme Sciaroni and Peter Kalivas

Get to the show a little early and enjoy some of our pre-show activities, to include a "demo" with instruments by Westwind Brass Ensemble, c ard-making for military being cared for at the Veterans Hospital, or c reate your own watercolor art to take home.
To purchase tickets go to>>> TICKETS: VETS BREAK IT DOWN W PGK DANCE

Last Month
Project Thor: An Art Collaborative with a Hammer!
(this project is ongoing into the month of June) 

We were excite to bring yet another fun and eclectic art project to the museum in the way of "PROJECT THOR", an interactive community based art project that sought to find common ground among a diverse cross section of the public. The goal was to create a work of art inspired by the moon using various size ham mers to pound the surface of a plywood panel. Attendees wielded hammers of all sizes, putting all their energy into beating a piece of special plywood into submission. Artist Michael Giancristiano is the mastermind behind THOR and hopes through this project to convert negative energy into something collectively positive. 

Giancristiano will now take the battered pieces of wood and turn them into a work of art, resembling the ethereal surface of the moon. He will be back at the museum again this month, for those who would like to participate in this unique project. You can have your chance to get out pent up frustrations and/or anger on June 11, from 1-4 PM  near B24 Liberator Sculpture. 

To learn more about Project Thor and to learn more about Giancrisianto's art, which has been shown all over the world, see his website here>>>

Vietnam Veterans of America San Diego Puts On Annual Memorial Day Weekend Candlelight Vigil and Ceremony 
We were proud to once again have Vietnam Veterans of America San Diego host our Memorial Day Weekend observances this year. Each year, this group of men and women come together honor our nation's and our community's fallen service members. Each year begins with the solemn "Calling of the Names" in which members of VVA read the names of those lost from Vietnam, mainly, with additional names of service members lost from the San Diego community . Community members are encouraged to come forward and take turns reading names as well. The first day of observance is ended with a solemn, yet beautiful, candle light vigil. The names continue to be called all weekend, from morning to the evening. On Monday, May 29, Memorial Day, VVA executed their official ceremony in partnership with The Vietnamese Community of San Diego. This year we were proud to add one more element to the observance, a Patriotic Jazz Concert put on by The World Beats Center's Westwind Brass. 

We proudly perpetuate the service of all our nation's warriors. Men and women from all services and all eras are recognized and honored through our beautiful museum. We have a special place in our hearts for those who are no longer with us. Our nation is built upon the sacrifices of our nation's service members. For some, that sacrifice was their life. Their is no greater love than that of one who lays down their life for another. It is for that reason that we hold the memories of our service-lost so close. We hope our patrons, members and subscribers were able to have a meaningful and memorable Memorial Day Weekend. 

Museum News!
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park is a member of the San Diego Veterans Coalition 

On Friday, June 2nd, your Veterans Museum became part of the San Diego Veterans Coalition. The SDVC was started in 2009, and now has a membership of over 150. The concept is based on leveraging relationships with other Veteran Service organizations, so that we may provide Veterans with complete services. Many of the organizations that belong to SDVC specialize in one field (education, housing, employment, healthcare). Knowing what services each other provides, they can offer comprehensive support to our local Veteran community. They are proud to work alongside a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as governmental agencies and civic minded individuals.

Way to go "Tony the Vet" for doing a great presentation to the membership to showcase all the amazing programs and support we offer the San Diego military community. 

To find out more about the SDVC or how to become a member,  Click here!
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!  
Become a Part of Our Growing Arts Program! Open to the Public! FREE! INSPIRING! 

3-5PM FORUM: Arts Programs
Lower Level 

6-9 PM 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


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

Billiekai Boughton, Poetry Workshop
"Living Our Lives Out Loud" 
June 7  at 6:30 PM (last day to attend) 
Lower Level

Kevin Raquidan, Photography Workshop
Digital Photography for Beginners: basic camera/smart phone settings and composition
Tuesday, 13 June, 6-7:30 PM  
Digital Photography/Intermediate: camera/smart phone settings and lighting/color
Tuesday, 27 June, 6-7:30 PM 
Lower Level 

PROJECT THOR with Michael Giancristiano   
"Bang-the-Board!" Plywood Artwork 
Sunday, 11 June, 1-4 PM 
Michael Giancristiano, Artist
Outside near B24 Liberator Sculpture 

$5 Donation suggested for participation in any and all workshops and projects! Come help support the rapidly growing Veteran Art Scene! 

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:
Stories from the Archives:
Maj. Ronald Rykowski, Infantry  

After watching WWII newsreels, Ronald Rykowski decided that he wanted to be in the Army.  He was large for his age and when he was 14, he took his uncle's ID and enlisted in
the Army.  He completed boot camp and two-years later was ordered to Korea where he was wounded in action.  When his next of kin were notified, and his mother found out, his enlistment unraveled; he was only 16 years old.  He was sent back to the states and honorably discharged.  He returned to high school and promptly enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard while in high school.  He rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, applied for OCS and was commissioned a 2d Lt.  Several years later he was called to active duty as  and eventually found himself in Vietnam as a company commander of C Company, 2nd Bn, 35th Infantry, 25 Division. 
Charlie Company, was famous for leaving the Ace of Spaces with VC and NVA casualties and littered them about the jungle wherever they went; they ordered the cards by the case.  Even if the cards did not deter the enemy, they raised the morale of the Americans and it became known as an Anti-Peace sign was worn by Army and Marine troops in their helmet bands.
Rick completed four tours in Vietnam and went on to become a member of the Special Forces and Delta Force at Fort Bragg.  He went from private to Major and served in both the Regular Army and National Guard before he retired and moved to California.  
The Ace of Spades, the Death Card, made famous by Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry.    

Recent Donations to the Museum
May 2017 

Gerald Beaman of San Diego donated ten plaques, a collection of Vulcan 20mm linked shell casings, and an Army Air Corps Training manual from 1943.

William Dall of San Jacinto, CA donated a collection of artifacts of Robert George Dall including documents, photos, pamphlets, medals, ribbons, ration books, a WWI Manual for Army Bakers, canvas leggings, and a German Navy Rating Badge.

The book tells you how to set up field ovens, bake bread and transport it pre-WWI.

John Dolan of San Diego  donated 55 hard back and 37 soft cover books on military history to our Military History Reference Library.

Charles Farnham of San Diego donated a 1877 Dutch Beaumont-Vitali rifle with bayonet, a framed painting/watercolor of Valentine Cates, 9th Iowa Infantry 1861-1864 and a printed history of the 9th Iowa Infantry Regiment, and two books for our Military History Reference Library.


Cynthia Keltner of San Diego donated a collection of artifacts from her father Russell H. Keltner who served in the Navy from 1937 to 1945, with duty on the USS West Virginia and aboard the submarines SS-18 and USS Narwhal.

Russ Keltner c. 1939

Motor Machinist Right Sleeve Rating Badges, program from USS West Virginia Christmas Dinner, and Theater tickets to Submarine Base Theater in Pearl Harbor.

  Russ served aboard the USS Narwhal SS-167.  Above are from his Submarine Qualification Log that details all the functions of the Submarine for his test.

The Lemon Grove Historical Society  donated a DVD with a discussion of the Korean War by veterans Lt. Col Jean White and Sgt. Harold Ward conducted on April 6, 2017 at the H. Lee House as part of the Lemon Grove Historical Society's "History Alive" series.

Sheldon Margolis of La Jolla donated five DVD sets, The Last Days of Vietnam, and the Great War 1914-1918, Crusade in the Pacific, Big Battles of WWII, and Vietnam Jungle Warfare to our Military History Reference Library.

Judy Moreshell of Santee donated a captured WWII Japanese flag with signatures from brought back by Richard James Neibaur, and a WWII Imperial Japanese Navy Enlisted hat band with the name: Yokosuka Naval Station, from her father Herbert H. Moerschell.

Captured Japanese flag with Japanese signatures brought home by James Neibaur and WWII Imperial Japanese Navy enlisted sailor hat band fromYokusuka Naval Station.

Greg Palazzolo of Spring Valley
donated a book, 1776: America and Britain at War, by David McCollough to our Military History Reference Library.

Theodore Price of Encinitas donated two framed WWII posters, Attack, Attack, Attack..., Buy War Bonds by Ferdinand Warren and United, United Nations Fight for Freedom by Leslie Ragan.

Carol Roberts of Escondido donated a photo album of Ernest Thea Lamb, a US Navy Dentist \, with photos from Guam and the Philippines (1928), China (1936-7), WWII, and Newport RI (1944).

LTJG Lamb c1936 (left) & an unidentified Dental Chief & Mrs. Lamb (right) in China, c. 1936.
Dr. Lamb (left) and dental techs and hospital corpsman on front porch of clinic, c1936
A Doc and his Dental Tech, Olongapo Clinic, c. 1928.

Arvilla Rodgers of San Diego donated a collection of her Grandmother's letters from WWII and 13 S&H and Blue Chip Savings Stamp books.

Rosemary Rykowski of Hemet, CA donated Vietnam War artifacts from Maj. Ronald B. Rykowski, USA, who served with Co. C, 2d Bn, 35th Infantry, 25th Inf. Division in Vietnam (1966-1967), now on display in our Vietnam Exhibit.

Abe Schragge, Ph.D., of Soul Korea , donated three oral histories and a copy of a panel discussion on Designing and Manufacturing the B-24.

Terry Truitt of Escondido donated the book: Hero of The Empire, Winston Churchill to our Military History Reference Library.  
New and Renewing Members: Thanks for Your Support!
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San Diego Stand Down - A time to help homeless veterans (July 21-23)

VVSD organized the nation's first Stand Down in 1988. Since then, the program has been widely replicated nationwide. Today, more than 200 Stand Downs take place across the country every year.

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.

In a recent report by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, they reported there are over 1,000 homeless veterans in San Diego County and almost half are unsheltered, meaning living on the streets.

VVSD needs your help to help our homeless veterans. You can assist by volunteering time, services, clothing or making a monetary donation. Volunteers are needed days prior to the event to help set up tents and day and night throughout the event and afterwards to tear down facilities. VVSD will be holding a drive-thru clothing drive on Friday, June 9 from 6 am to 2 pm at 4141 Pacific Highway.

To learn more about Stand Down or to sign up to volunteer, Click here!
Courage to Call to host food distribution 
Saturday, June 10 and 24 (10 am to 1 pm)

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

This month's info:
June 10 - 9951 Business Park Ave, San Diego
June 24 - 9465 Farnham St, San Diego

To RSVP or to sign up to volunteer, email:

For more information about Courage to Call and their services go>>>>> 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 | |