El Cajon, CA
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Articles by J. S. Anderson, USMC Ret.

There is an axiom about military service that goes, “All gave some, some gave all.” Long after taking off the uniforms of their nation, some return to continue giving. Army veteran Lorenzo Lizarraga, Marine Corps veteran Ken Brassell, and Army veteran Tom Shaff are three such individuals. 

Continuing to give to active duty members, fellow veterans, and their families, for them, patriotism is integral to being a military veteran.   

As parts of the Midwest suffered spring blizzard conditions, the sky above Gillespie Field was a brilliant blue, making it a near perfect background for the flights of two World War II aircraft. 

The Gillespie Field hanger housing Air Group One in El Cajon was a fitting location to hear from Nelson Robinson, who was the invited speaker at the monthly BBQ.  He shared a mixture of personal experiences with, and the lore and history of, the Tuskegee Airmen.  During an interview prior to his comments to the general group, a linkage to San Diego State University came up. 

A legend is defined as, “a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.”  It is often overused in todays self-absorbed world, where anything or anyone seem to be characterized as legendary in some quarters, almost to the point of the word being useless in describing and defining an individual.  But on this Saturday afternoon at the Elks Lodge 1812 in El Cajon, people came out to celebrate the life of an authentic local legend, Charles “Chuck” Holenda.  Particularly for east county

While much of the nation contended with intemperate winter weather, folks were in shirt sleeves and the doors were wide open at Hanger 6, Gillespie Field, home of Air Group One, Commemorative Air Force this sunny Saturday morning. The Commemorative Air Force was established to preserve aircraft from World War II and now has more than 170 aircraft nationwide, according to Air Group One Wing Leader Doug English. 

It was a spectacularly sunny morning.  Maybe a bit on the cool side by local standards, for motorcyclists it promised to be a perfect day for hitting the local back roads.  A small group of riders from the El Cajon Harley Owners Group (HOG) met up at El Cajon Harley-Davidson with the plan of rolling along some of those roads.

Arguably, perhaps, some might attribute the increased recognition accorded our active duty military personnel and veterans to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The common “thank you for your service” is definitely a far cry from that experienced by our military and veterans during the Vietnam era.  Whatever the reason, thanking someone for serving our nation, currently or in the past, is certainly a kindness appreciated by most members of the military and veterans.  In offering thanks for military service, one volunteer organization goes above a

Even with more than 110,000 active duty military personnel in San Diego County, the unique lifestyles of and demands upon our men and women in uniform and their families are largely unknown to the general population. With less than one-half of one percent of the nation currently serving on in the military and roughly seven percent military veterans, this lack of awareness is not surprising.

Midday this Thursday, the bikers began gathering at the designated staging site, the distinctive rumble of their motorcycles filling the air. They come together often, like on the previous Friday, when many of them rolled out to honor Marine Corps Sergeant Chad Jenson and support his family. Laid rest at Miramar National Cemetery, Sergeant Jenson was one of the 16 who perished when a Marine Corps KC-130 crashed during a routine flight on 10 July.

The Marine Corps veteran who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) described his anger at the enemy, how “they were able to get me” with a mortar round. “I could take it face-to-face,” he explained. But being hit by a mortar round “wasn’t fighting man-to-man, “he said.