9 Facts You May Not Know About the Navy on its 239th Birthday

Originally posted on The Official USO Blog:

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens cut a birthday cake with the most junior sailor in attendance to celebrate Navy's 239th birthday. Navy photo by  Peter D. Lawlor
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens cut a birthday cake with the most junior sailor in attendance to celebrate Navy’s 239th birthday. Navy photo by Peter D. Lawlor

Steadfast to the bitter end, Navy tradition isn’t all rum punch and pollywogs. On its 239th Birthday, here are nine things you may not know about the United States Navy:

1. Bravo Zulu means “well done”

Through World War II, sailors who did well were told “Tare Victor George,” which was code for “well done.” After the war, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed and it standardized communications. NATO created a system of B-flags for administrative communication. The last B-flag was BZ. The Allied Naval Signal Book created the phonetics for each letter and BZ became Bravo Zulu.

2. So explain gun salutes …

Sailors fire a 40 mm saluting cannon. Navy photo Sailors fire a 40…

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Peters Campaign Unveils New TV Ad: “Cares”

Ad Features Powerful Testimonial from Republican Veteran

The Scott Peters for Congress Campaign released its fourth TV ad, “Cares,” today. The ad tells the story of Michael Renstrom, a Republican and Vietnam War veteran, who spent decades trying to get his medical records from the VA before Rep. Peters finally got him the help he needed. The ad will air throughout California’s 52nd Congressional District on network and cable television as well as on line.

Renstrom, a San Diego resident and Air Force veteran, spent four decades trying without success to locate his military medical records, which had been misplaced by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. His previous congressmen had been unable to locate the records. But after taking office in 2012, Rep. Peters’ office tracked down the long-missing file, so Renstrom could finally apply for the medical coverage he had earned.

“I was a sergeant in the United States Air Force,” Renstrom says as the ad opens. “I fought in the Vietnam War.”

Renstrom’s narration continues: “Entering the VA system, we found out I probably had a traumatic brain injury. Those medical records had never caught up with my file. I’ve been dealing with this for 43 long years. Seemed like it was never going to happen.”

As Renstrom explains in the ad, Rep. Peters stepped in, “cut through the red tape” and “got me the help I needed.”

“I’m a Republican but I’m for Scott Peters,” Renstrom says as the ad concludes.

“Michael Renstrom’s story is a powerful testimonial and a first-hand account of Rep. Scott Peters’ effectiveness and service to his constituents. Scott Peters will make sure our nation honors its promises to our veterans,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign.

Halloween Scare: DeMaio’s Proposed Cuts to Veterans’ Benefits

PFCLetterheadlogoIf you want a real Halloween scare this season, consider Carl DeMaio’s horrifying plan to cut benefits for California’s military veterans.

DeMaio’s plan – which included kicking veterans off Medi-Cal and shutting down a historic veterans hospital — is further evidence that his Tea Party approach is too extreme for San Diego.

DeMaio proposed these cuts in his so-called “Citizen’s Budget,” which he crafted in 2003 while working for the Reason Foundation, an extremist think-tank backed by the notorious, far-right Koch Brothers.

His proposed state budget for 2003-2005 calls for kicking all California veterans off Medi-Cal, regardless of their medical needs; closing down a historic veterans hospital that provides crucial medical services to vulnerable veterans; and imposing massive cuts on nursing homes that serve veterans.

“These are people who have served our nation and DeMaio wants to thank them by slashing their medical care,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign.  “Absolutely outrageous.”

DeMaio’s ties to the Reason Foundation run deep. Since 2013 he’s been paid at least $240,000 in consulting fees from Reason, the exact same group for which he authored this frightening budget.

By contrast, Rep. Scott Peters has co-sponsored the Veterans Pension Protection Act, the Veterans Employment Transition Act, the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act and the Veterans Education Equity Act.

These are some of the reasons why Jack Harkin, a Republican and former chair of the United Veterans Council of San Diego County, stood next to other veterans at a recent press conference, praised Peters’ “honesty and fairness” and stated, “We must have Scott Peters kept in our Congress.”

- from Scott Peters’ Campaign
Alex Roth (619) 228-3253

Oct 18 – The Three Wise Men Tribute

midway_frontImagine a Saturday afternoon at an iconic San Diego location — the USS Midway Museum. Include music, food, and good company all benefiting a good cause and you have the Three Wise Men Tribute.

Our community is coming together on Saturday, October 18th to raise awareness and raise funds to support our returning veterans. A ticket to attend the event is only $25 per person.

The event will feature some of the world’s top crossfit athletes competing in an exciting athletic tribute on the deck of the USS Midway. It promises to be an exciting afternoon and all the proceeds go to supporting our returning veterans. However, space is limited so please buy your ticket today.

The gates to the Midway open at 8am and the tribute events begin at 9am. The tribute will conclude around 1:30pm and then you can then enjoy the rest of the day aboard the USS Midway.

Click here to purchase a spectator ticket.

Can’t attend? You can donate here.

We hope you will join us in support of this cause and that you will help spread the word as well.

Semper Fi,

Nathan Fletcher

P.S. Who are the Three Wise Men? Find out here.

The War on Veteran Suicide Starts at Home

War on Veteran SuicideEach day, 22 veterans from the U.S. Armed Services take their own lives. Think about that – between now and the time you wake up tomorrow morning, nearly two dozen American military servicemembers will have died from suicide. That’s not just a problem; it’s an epidemic. Thirteen years after September 11, veterans today have the highest suicide rate of any population in America. As a veteran of the Iraq war myself, I can no longer stand by and watch this happen to my fellow service members. I started a petition calling on the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide veterans with access to full-time health clinics – particularly at community colleges – where they can receive support. Will you sign my petition? Many veterans coming home suffer from PTSD, military sexual assault trauma, survivor’s guilt, or a host of other mental or physical ailments – all of which are fueling rates of veteran suicide. But we can turn the tables on this epidemic. We know from research that access to mental health care is critical for curbing the veteran suicide rate, and those services need to be easy for veterans to access. Community colleges are among the most popular re-entry points for veterans returning from war, and looking to further their education and career goals after their service. But most veterans have zero access to full-time clinics at their community colleges. That’s hundreds of thousands of veterans and active duty troops nationwide. If our government sends men and women into war, they also need to commit to taking care of them when they return home. Please click here to sign my petition calling on the Department of Veteran Affairs to fight the epidemic of veteran suicide, by making sure veterans have health care resources at America’s community colleges. I’m lucky enough to attend a community college in California – the City College of San Francisco – that provides a full-time health clinic for veterans like myself, so I’ve seen this work first hand. Together we can send the message that the lives of veterans need to be a priority, and help end the high rates of U.S. veteran suicide. Thank you, Dan Choi San Francisco, CA Sign Dan’s Petition Petitioning Sec. of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald This petition will be delivered to: Sec. of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald and Gov. Jerry Brown

Show Your Support to Nurses Organizing at the San Diego VA Hospital


Update: Thanks to the hard work of the nurses and the support of the community there is a union representation election set for October 8th and 9th. But the struggle is not over. Unfortunately management is using some tactics out of a union busters manual to intimidate the nurses from having representation. So the nurses are having a rally on October 2nd, at 12noon at the San Diego VA, 3350 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92161

Nurses at the San Diego Veterans Administration Hospital are organizing and they need our support.

“The duty of registered nurses within the VA healthcare system is to provide high quality care and to advocate for the men and women who put their lives and health at risk defending our nation,” said Carla Melgun, an intensive care RN at the San Diego VA.

“We believe that the San Diego VA can improve its delivery of health care to our veterans, can improve it in a way similar to the entire VA system. We don’t need to replace the system, but we do need to hire more nurses and bedside caregivers. More nurses will ensure that our veterans get the safest, most focused, and most effective care that they have earned and deserve,” Melgun said.

Organizing would cover some 500 RNs at VA San Diego Hospital which is located adjacent to the Thornton campus of the University of California San Diego Medical Center. UC San Diego RNs are already represented by CNA, which represents more than 85,000 California RNs, including nearly 6,000 in San Diego County. NNU, the fastest growing union in the U.S., currently represents RNs at 22 VA hospitals across the U.S., part of a 185,000 member organization nationally.

Katie Phelan is encouraging us to send letters (or emails) of support to the VA. Here are two samples for you to download or copy/paste, as well as the addresses and contact details for you to send your letters of support for the nurses.

Community Support Letter (plain text and .docx formats)

Veterans Support Letter (plain text and .docx formats)

Addresses and contact details:

Robert McDonald
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont NW
Washington DC
Email: Robert.McDonald@va.gov

Jeffrey T. Gering
VA San Diego Health Care System
3350 La Jolla Village Dr.
San Diego, CA 92161

Sandra Solem
Associate Director, Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive
VA San Diego Health Care System
3350 La Jolla Village Dr.
San Diego, CA 92161

If possible also send Katie a copy of your emails and/or letters that you send in support with your name and/or title so that the nurses get to see them as well. Sometimes they are so intent on doing their jobs as nurses they don’t realized the service they are providing to the Veterans and their communities.

Katie Phelan, NNU
Katie Phelan, NNU

Katie Phelan
National Nurses Organizing Committee
National Nurses United
813-418-1936 (cell)


Health care is a right…not a privilege.

Support Single-Payer Universal Healthcare.

More information:
RNs, Veterans Call for Action to Improve Patient Care
San Diego Veterans Administration Nurses File for Election to Join Largest RN Union


Sep 21 – Sing-A-Long H.M.S. Pinafore – Pt Loma Concert to Benefit Veterans Valor Fund


If you like to sing-a-long to Gilbert and Sullivan get along to Pt Loma on Sunday 21. All proceeds benefit the Veterans Valor Fund.

Originally posted on POINT LOMA DEMS:


Sing-A-Long with a star-studded local cast of San Diego favorites as Bodhi Tree Concerts presents Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.

It is time to dust off those scores and get ready for ‘I am the Monarch of the Sea’, ‘Poor Little Buttercup’, and ‘We Sail the Ocean Blue’ – just to name a few.

Returning cast members will include Chad Frisque, Martha Howe and Walter DuMelle. More details here.

100% of profits will benefit Veterans Valor Fund, which was founded to address the unique employment issues facing military service members and veterans as they transition out of the military.

September 21, 2014 4PM​​

All Souls’ Episcopal Church
1475 Catalina Boulevard
Point Loma, San Diego

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