CA-3 continues to hold well-attended monthly meetings. The October meeting, hosted by Loyal Escort Sarah Rivera and her daughter, Deanna May, celebrated Halloween. All attendees wore Halloween themed attire, with several coming in costume. The November meeting was hosted by Vice President/Treasurer Kathy Wright and celebrated the Marine Corps’ 242nd Birthday. The annual message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps was read, the POW/MIA table was set up, and CA-3 held the Birthday Celebration, with our oldest Marine present, Barbara Naas, passing the first piece of birthday cake to our youngest Marine present – Bonnie Dabalos-Castro.
In addition, CA-3 also collected Toys for Connie’s Kids, in memory of Connie Guaraglia and her avid interest in this event. More than an entire box of toys were collected and donated. In December, the meeting hosted by Scholarship Chair Lily Brockmeier celebrated Christmas. Christmas gifts were exchanged among all who attended – CA-3 members, Loyal Escorts, and their families.
We also helped to celebrate Loyal Escort Sarah Rivera’s son’s birthday. Joseph turned 16 in December. In keeping with our newly formed tradition – CA-3 wanted to help out someone who needed help this Christmas season. Last year we helped a woman Marine veteran and her family have a brighter Christmas. This year we decided to help one of our own members who needed help. A collection was taken up, and Loyal Escort Cheryl Christensen received the funds to help her in this time of need.
CA-3 members continue to be busy. CA-3 Vice President/Treasurer Kathleen Wright, Loyal Escort Angie Fredekind and Paula Paterno (Angie’s sister visiting from Germany) spent the Saturday of Fleet Week aboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien sailing around San Francisco Bay. They sailed under both the Golden Gate and the San Francisco Bay bridges and the weather was absolutely perfect. After touring the bay, the ship took up a position on the bay where they could watch a 3 hour air show featuring our own Blue Angels. The food was provided by Boudin Bakery which is located at the entrance to Pier 45 where the ship is anchored. It is one of only two WWII Liberty Ships still in service. On November 4, the Bay Area WAVES (BAW) sponsored their 31st All Service Women Veteran’s Luncheon at His Lordships Restaurant in Berkeley Marina. CA-3 Vice President/Treasurer Kathleen Wright and BAW Ginger Jacobson attended this annual event representing the South Bay. The Veteran’s Home at Yountville brought down a bus full of women veterans to include several women Marines. Unfortunately, attendance has dropped each year as the older veterans pass or become unable to get around. In spite of that, everyone had a great time. Amador Valley Quilters presented patriotic quilts to six of the veterans in attendance and the ladies really appreciated getting them. The guest speaker was Kaela Joseph, Ph.D., who is a Staff Psychologist and Women Veterans Program Manager with the San Francisco VA Healthcare System. While at this luncheon, they ran into Marge Waggoner who was a long time member of the BAW detachment in San Jose. She now lives in Sacramento but managed to come down for this event.
Also in November, Loyal Escort and Marine veteran Vern Smith was interviewed by ABC concerning the petition to have a warship named after local WWII combat correspondent Joe Rosenthal. Vern also attended the 27th Annual Marine Corps Birthday Cruise sponsored by The National Marine Corps Business Network. About 200 were in attendance. After gathering at the Benicia Yacht Club, an outstanding SOS breakfast was served. All in attendance introduced themselves and gave a brief description of their Marine duties. Afterwards, everyone boarded one of eight yachts that sailed off for the Vallejo Yacht Club. Once there, a fantastic lunch was served, along with a cake cutting ceremony. One of the highlights this year was falling into formation with a female DI drilling everyone! It was such fun to watch old Marines trying to troop and stomp. No one remembered how to “about face!” Afterwards, all re-boarded the yachts and returned to Benicia.
During this time period, as a member of the combined American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard, CA-3 President Susan Johnston participated in five memorial/funeral services and a graduation ceremony. Susan also participated in a Veterans Day event at a two local schools – New Jerusalem Elementary, and Delta Charter School. Susan and Joe Perez, representing the American Legion, participated in a flag folding ceremony, and, along with several other members of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts, spoke to every class in both schools about their military service, and answered a multitude of questions from the students. Susan also participated in the local Veterans Day ceremony for the City of Tracy, consisting of several guest speakers, the firing of a gun salute, and the reading of all the names of Tracy service members who paid the ultimate price in service to their country from World War I to the present.