March 18-24, 2013

SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has proclaimed Women Veterans History Week in California, March 18-24, 2013 to honor their courage and sacrifice in defense of our nation.

“Currently, women make up 14% of the active duty U.S. Armed Forces and 18% of the Guard and Reserves. Women also make up 8 percent of the total U.S. veterans population and 10 percent of the veterans population in California,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “Nationally and statewide, the women veteran population will continue to grow. Therefore, it is imperative that we remember to recognize and honor their service and contributions, as they often face unique challenges when transitioning out of the military and back into our communities.”

In honor of this week-long celebration, CalVet invites you to take a moment to reflect on the many positive contributions women have made to the history of our country and to the progress of our society. Women’s rights and equality benefit all of us, not just the female gender.

In honor of California’s Women’s Military History Week from March 18 – 24, CalVet especially asks that Californians remember and honor the contributions women have made to our Armed Forces and in defense of this country.

Women have bravely served in every major U.S. conflict and have been Prisoners of War and Purple Heart recipients revealing their dedication, patriotism and courage. They served in the American Revolution and in the U.S. Civil War, often dressed as men so that they would be allowed to fight.



Written by Ralph Benko

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America.

Add to this perplexing outré purchase of ammo, DHS now is showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation. As observed by “paramilblogger” Ken Jorgustin last September:

"The Department of Homeland Security is apparently taking delivery (apparently through the Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico VA, via the manufacturer – Navistar Defense LLC) of an undetermined number of the recently retrofitted 2,717 ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.”

These MRAP’s ARE BEING SEEN ON U.S. STREETS all across America by verified observers with photos, videos, and descriptions.”

Regardless of the...



Thanks to the efforts of the California County Veterans Service Officers (CVSOs), tens of thousands of California veterans are getting the federal benefits they’ve earned through their military service. In fact, during Fiscal Year 2011-2012, CVSOs set a new-veterans benefits record by garnering $346,727,459 in benefit payments which are paid directly to qualifying veterans. That accomplishment bests the previous fiscal year’s total by nearly 6%.

“The partnership between CalVet and the CVSOs is critical to the ability of each to effectively reach and assist California veterans and their families,” said Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “Besides improving the lives of families, the dollars veterans benefits bring into the State improve local communities as well. We appreciate the work the CVSOs do and congratulate them on their steadily increasing benefit payment numbers.”

State and federal veterans benefits, available to everyone honorably discharged from the U.S. military, include disability compensation and pension payments, healthcare, money for education and training, housing, home loans, and many others. Unlike Social Security, veterans’ benefits must be applied for individually. The CVSOs are trained, accredited professionals located in each county who help veterans and their families navigate the complex and often frustrating benefit application processes. By law, this service is provided at no cost to the veterans.

For a list of County Veterans Service Offices in California, go to and click on Contact Us.



The U.S. Department of Defense has signed an order eliminating most limits on women fighting for their country. Although women have been fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade, this new order opens many jobs to women that previously were closed to them.

“This is a momentous occasion for all women who have bravely served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Lindsey Sin, CalVet Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs. “To lift the combat exclusion policy means greater equality for women in the Armed Forces and formally recognizes the commitment and sacrifice they have made for this country.”

Women make up about 14 percent of the 1.4 million active U.S. military personnel.



The 2013-14 Governor’s Budget released today includes funding that will help the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) continue to serve California veterans and their families.

The proposed budget includes $27 million for the ongoing funding needed to open the Redding and Fresno Veterans Homes. These funds are in addition to the $9.4 million that was included for the current fiscal year to begin the hiring process for staff that will serve the veterans in the two new homes. Job examination list eligibility placement processes are currently underway, and hiring will take place this Spring. The plan calls for the first residents to be admitted to the Redding and Fresno Veterans Homes in the fall of this year.

The Budget also includes $96,000 for the Veterans Service Office Fund. That money will be used to maintain the annual licensing fees for the County Veteran Service Offices enterprise standard case management software—a statewide system that the counties and the Department have implemented.

An additional $153,000 in Federal Trust Funds have been proposed to pay for two positions and operating costs at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery and the Yountville Veterans Home Cemetery that will help maintain the perpetual memorials to the men and women who served honorably in the U.S. Military. The funding has been provided through a recent increase in burial allowances the State receives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This new budget shows the Governor’s continued commitment to California veterans and their families,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “We are proud to serve our military veterans statewide and thrilled that now we will be able to better serve those living in the Central Valley and North State.”


now there's nowhere to hide

Military technology has created some fearsome weapons, such as the 5,000 lb GBU-28 Deep Throat bunker buster, 15,000 lb BLU-82 Daisycutter, 15,650 lb Russian ATBIP (Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power), 22,000 lb Grand Slam earthquake bomb, and the 22,600 lb GBU-43 MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast), but if you were hiding under 50 meters of hardened concrete, none of them were going to bother you.

Not any more!

The U.S. Air Force..


Rating based on approximately $758 million State of California General Obligation Veterans Bonds and approximately $472 Million CalVet Home Purchase Revenue Bonds

For the third year in a row, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has secured a AA- rating from Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency. The 'AA-' rating reflects the above-average amount of retained earnings in the program which are equal to 12.7% of bonds outstanding and 13.5% of loans outstanding in FY 2012, which increased from 11.6% and 11.8%, respectively, in FY 2011. This is the third straight year of increases albeit due to decreasing bond and loan balances. CalVet is one of very few state agencies that can claim this high rating.

“I am very pleased that given the difficult economic times our nation is experiencing, CalVet has been able to hold on to its AA- rating from Fitch Ratings,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “The downturn in the housing market has greatly affected the CalVet Farm and Home Loan program, but thanks to the diligence of its staff, the program continues to be viable and secure.”

Although Fitch Ratings continues to project a negative outlook for the program, CalVet is confident that its Farm and Home Loan program will perform much better over the next few months given that the economy is showing signs of improving. As the housing market continues to rebound, CalVet is poised to provide qualified veterans with a much better option for purchasing a farm or home in California than in the private sector.


The beautiful Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles has many full-time positions available NOW!

West Los Angeles – The Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles has at least 20 full-time positions available now – and more positions are anticipated! The stunning, new state-of-the-art facility has the capability to care for 396 Veterans in two levels of care: a skilled nursing neighborhood with Memory Care; and an assisted living neighborhood.

“The California Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for men and women to give back to those heroes who have given so much for our country,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).

Working for the California Department of Veterans Affairs is very rewarding! The Department offers: A unique opportunity to serve those men and women who served their Country; a rewarding, civil service career path; excellent State of California health care, dental and vision benefits for the whole family; State of California retirement plans; 401K plans also available; a beautiful working environment; opportunities for advancement; training, and more.

Positions available immediately include:
Activity Coordinators Physical Therapist I
Certified Nursing Assistants Rehabilitation Therapist--State Facilities (Recreation)
Supervising Nurse III (Director of Nursing) Resident Care Unit Leader
Director of Dietetics RD Senior Psychologist Supervisor (Health Facility)
Licensed Vocational and Registered Nurses Speech Pathologist I
Nurse Instructor (Electronic Medical Records) Staff Psychiatrist
Occupational Therapist Supervising Rehabilitation (Recreation) Therapist.

Job seekers can apply for the examinations now at: Positions are being updated regularly and more job opportunities are expected. Job seekers are encouraged to log on to the website regularly for new and updated positions. Veterans and disabled Veterans are encouraged to apply, and will receive preference points on all State of California examinations!

Many positions are also available at the Barstow, Chula Vista, Fresno, Lancaster, Redding, Ventura and Yountville Veterans Homes of California! Apply for the examinations now! For more information about these exciting employment opportunities, visit or apply for the examinations
on-line at

California has the largest number of veterans in the nation with nearly 2 million veterans calling the Golden State home, making up about 10 percent of the nation’s total veteran population. For additional information regarding CalVet employment, veterans benefits, Veterans homes of California, educational resources, services, CalVet Home Loans, veterans license plates, and more, please log on to the CalVet’s website at


SACRAMENTO, CA – On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin R. Ebbert, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Petty Officer 1st Class Ebbert's family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.


Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin R. Ebbert, 32, of Arcata, CA, died November 24 while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit in Virginia Beach, VA. He was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.


SACRAMENTO, CA – On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Spc. Daniel L. Carlson, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Spc. Carlson's family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.


The Veterans Home of California, Ventura recently received a grant to support veteran recreation programs at the Home. The $6,000 grant came from the Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL), a national charity which raises almost a million dollars annually to fund recreation and therapeutic programs and services for America’s veterans. The grant will be used to purchase supplies and equipment benefiting the 60 veteran residents who live at the Home.

“We’re enormously grateful for the generous donation,” said Robin Umberg, Undersecretary, Veterans Homes of California. “The elderly and disabled veterans at our Homes gave so much for this country. It’s great so see an organization like BVL give back in a way that touches them so directly.”

“We’re thrilled,” said Brenda Manke, Ventura Home Administrator. “The equipment and supplies purchases made possible by the donation have been on the residents’ wish lists for some time. The beautiful climate in Ventura invites outside activities, and the arbors that are being purchased will provide shade and shelter for resident activities.” The Home also plans to purchase a surround-sound entertainment system for the dining room which will enable residents to enjoy musical and educational events taking place at the Home.

“The sport of bowling, through the BVL, recognizes the tremendous sacrifice that our military veterans have made for our country,” said BVL Board Chair Darlene Baker. “Our bowling centers and league bowlers are committed to improving the quality of life for veterans. This gift in Ventura is just part of our on-going effort to boost the spirits of our veterans and to show them we care.”

The Ventura Veterans Home is one of six homes currently owned and operated by the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Beautiful, state-of-the-art Homes in Fresno and Redding will open to residents in the Fall of 2013. For more information, visit

New online tool to help vets navigate benefits launched

SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Brown continued the Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet (HAH-HAV) initiative with a job and resource fair in San Diego and Los Angeles today that brought together veterans seeking jobs, employers with openings to fill, and resource agencies offering a wide range of employment services.

More than 60 employers with jobs were on hand to talk to the 500-plus veterans who showed up at the Valley View Casino in San Diego and more than 90 employers with jobs were on hand to talk to the more than 500 veterans who showed up at the Proud Bird Convention Center in Los Angeles.

Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), said of the events: “One of the best ways to honor our veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice is to help them find meaningful careers in civilian life.”

“The Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet job fairs are springboards for our brave veterans who are coming home from serving overseas and seeking new lives as productive, employed members of society,” said Pam Harris, Director of the California Employment Development Department (EDD). “These exceptional men and women put their lives on the line for our freedoms. We owe it to them to help them transition from military life to civilian life. We are committed to matching these talented veterans with jobs that will open the way to a bright future.”

Now in its fifth year, the 2012 HAH-HAV fairs were held at 10 locations throughout the state. The fairs offer veterans one-stop access to career, training and education opportunities. Current data shows young veterans are particularly in need of assistance.

The 2011 California unemployment rate for veterans in the 20-24 year-old age group was 37.1 percent, which is more than double the 17.6 percent unemployment rate in the same age group who were not veterans.

The veterans’ fairs also saw the public launch of a new website for veterans called “Vets 101,” ( an interactive site of tools to help veterans understand and utilize the variety of benefits and supports available to them. The Employment tab provides veterans quick access to many job-related programs and benefits, along with tools they need for decision-making and achieving financial and professional success after their military service.

The new online tool will be used by veterans and their families, veteran service providers, EDD’s veterans’ services representatives and other One-Stop partners, and will be made available at future HAH-HAV job fairs. Vets 101 is operated by the World Institute on Disability and is supported and sponsored by the Governor’s Interagency Council on Veterans, including the CalVet, EDD, California Department of Rehabilitation, and the California Health Incentives, Improvement Project.

In its first four years, the Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet job fairs have linked 15,000 veterans with hundreds of employers and employment resource agencies. The fairs, funded this year by a $250,000 grant, provide public agencies and private companies not only the opportunity to demonstrate their support of the veterans’ community, but also to address their business needs by having access to a large pool of job-ready candidates.

The multi-agency initiative brings together CalVet, EDD, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Apprenticeship Standards, and California Community Colleges. An energetic outreach through television, radio, newspapers and social media has helped to double and even triple the participation in these fairs by employers, schools, apprenticeship programs and other providers.

California is home to nearly two million veterans, the largest number in the nation. The EDD Workforce Services Offices play a key role in providing veterans with on-going job search services and case management. Veterans bring with them unique work skills and character traits valued by employers. Ninety-five percent of California veterans have high school diplomas and almost half have associate degrees or higher. Many of them have mastered high-tech skills in the military.


The CalVet Veterans Day 2012 Events Calendar is now available online. To access the calendar, go to and click on the button at the bottom of the page.

Please continue to send us your events for inclusion in this calendar. The last update will be on Friday, November 9. Please submit the:
1. Name of the event
2. Time
3. Location, and
4. Contact name and email and/or telephone number.

Submit your events to


The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has begun recruiting to fill hundreds of positions at the Veterans Homes of California in Redding and Fresno. Throughout 2013, CalVet will work to fill positions in nursing, medicine, pharmacy, mental health, social services, speech and physical therapy, dietetics and food service, sanitation and janitorial, plant operations, grounds keeping, security, accounting, human resources, medical billing, contracts, clerical, health care analysis and IT management.

“Caring for elderly and disabled veterans at our beautiful state-of-the-art Veterans Homes of California isn’t a job, it’s a privilege,” said Robin Umberg, Undersecretary, Veterans Homes of California. “These men and women who served our country have sacrificed so much. We’re looking for caring, compassionate, and talented staff to help ensure that the veterans in our Homes live the highest quality of life with dignity and honor.”

CalVet is currently scheduling the examinations necessary to create employment eligibility lists and is posting job announcement bulletins for open positions. To find current Veterans Homes and other CalVet job and examination announcements, go to

In January, CalVet will host recruitment fairs at the Redding and Fresno Homes. The fairs will offer information about positions available at each Home, the State of California testing and job application process, and the mandatory background check required for certain types of Homes employees. More information about these fairs will be made public as the events draw near.


It is with great sadness that the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) joins the families of Alexander J. Griffith and Bobby R. Price in mourning their passing. Griffith died on October 20, 2012 and Price died on November 2, 2012.

“On behalf of the Department, I offer my sincere condolences and prayers to the families and friends of Al Griffith and Bobby Price,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “Al was a great supporter of his fellow veterans and served diligently on the VetFund Foundation Board as a leader in the veterans’ community.”

“Bobby was also was a great friend of veterans and a strong leader for the veteran of California,” said Gravett. “He served on the VetFund Foundation Board, was Chairman of the Chula Vista Veterans Home Support Foundation and was immediate past State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Department of California.”

Griffith, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot and VetFund Foundation Secretary, served much of his career as a helicopter pilot in Air Rescue Reserve. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Air Medal. Griffith retired from military service in 1987. After military retirement, he taught mathematics at Center Junior High School for a number of years. He remained active in the VFW in various capacities at the local, state and national levels, including their excellent Voice of America program.

Price retired as a Lieutenant from the U.S. Navy after serving more than 24 years and then worked for many years as a defense contractor. He joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1990 and served in several important positions, including achieving All American Post Commander status. Price earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Phoenix in 2008.

“We are saddened by the passing of these great men, but are thankful for their service to our Nation,” added Gravett. “Both Al and Bobby will be greatly missed by their colleagues and friends. May they forever rest in peace.”


November the AARP Drivers Safety Class will be for Veterans Only. This offer runs for the entire month of November, 2012. The AARP Driver Safety Classroom course is FREE! All Veterans are eligible regardless of age. This includes individuals who serve or have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard/Reserves, or Coast Guard. In addition, veterans’ spouses, domestic partners, dependents, children, and widows and widowers, regardless of age may participate. AARP along with Host centers appreciate your dedication and service to our country, We want to thank you for your service to our country. This is a great opportunity, usually the AARP classes are for drivers 50+ and cost $12.00 for AARP Members or $14 for Non AARP Members. The other benefit for taking the course is getting a discount on your auto insurance (with participating insurances). So how can Veteran participants take advantage of this great offer. Ready to sign up? To Locate a classroom course near you, call 866-238-0294 or visit or you can check with your local Senior Centers, they have coupons available. If your unable to participate in a classroom setting you can sign up for the online course, visit and enter the promo code “VETERANS” when prompted during checkout. Online courses are 50% OFF to veterans and family members. Participants will have 60 days to complete the online course and must register by November 30, 2012. Veterans living in Fillmore/Piru Area, call the Fillmore Senior Center at 524-4533 to get your coupon and sigh up. Dates for the Veterans Drivers Safety Class will be on Monday, Nov. 5th. & Thursday, Nov. 8th. From 9:00 Am- 1:00pm. In order to get your completion certificate, you must attend both parts.


The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) learned today that Military Warriors Support Foundation is currently accepting applications online from combat-wounded veterans and unmarried Gold Star Spouses of OIF/OEF for newly-renovated, 100% mortgage-free homes in Bakersfield, Crescent City, Riverbank, Sacramento and Stockton, California.

Applicants must be honorably retired or separated from the military and must not currently have a mortgage. Active service members with compelling situations, who are less than 90 days from retirement or separation, may be considered.

The homes are donated by the Military Warriors Support Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting our heroes as they transition to civilian life. Besides the homes donation program, the Foundation’s programs include employment assistance and outdoor recreational activities.

“We are so glad that the Military Warriors Support Foundation is making mortgage-free homes available in California to our deserving disabled veterans and Gold Star Spouses,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs. “I encourage qualifying OEF/OIF veterans and Gold Star spouses to take advantage of this opportunity. Imagine getting the title to your home after only three years of ownership!”

The homes donation program, Homes4WoundedHeroes, has awarded more than 150 mortgage-free homes across the continental U.S. since its inception in late 2010. The homes come with a free 3-year financial and family mentorship that helps the families understand the fundamentals of home ownership.

For more information about Military Warriors Support Foundation and to learn about the homes currently available (new homes are added frequently), go to www.

If you don’t see a home you are interested in, fill out an Open Application at Specify up to four locations in which you would like to live. The Foundation will contact you when a home within 50 miles of your location becomes available.

The Ventura County Concert Band Pays Tribute To The Defenders of Our Flag in a special free VETERAN'S DAY concert

November 11, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. on the Ventura High School auditorium stage.

"A Salute to Veterans"
Every generation produces a handful of rare individuals with unwavering courage and patriotism to save and serve the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and the integrity of our national symbol the STARS AND STRIPES.

It is to these superior men and women that we proudly present a concert of all American Music. Sousa marches, Patriotic sing alongs, and the best of Broadway show tunes will relive their popularity as played by YOUR OWN, "Best in the West", the Ventura County Concert Band.

Come welcome our new director, Ms. Julie Judd, as we perform the greatest band music on the planet for your afternoon of toe tapping enjoyment.

Volunteers needed at Redding, Bakersfield, and San Diego libraries

The California Department of Veterans Affairs and the California State Library are joining forces to help California veterans get connected to the benefits and services they’ve earned through military service. This year-long pilot program will create a Veterans Resource Center staffed by trained volunteers in the Redding Library, the Point Loma/Hervey Branch Library in San Diego, and the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield.

Volunteers will undergo an intensive one-day training provided by CalVet which will include information about veterans benefits and services, veteran reintegration challenges, listening and problem-solving skills, and meaningful information and referral techniques. This training will prepare volunteers to answer basic benefits-related questions for veterans and their families, to offer CalVet and other appropriate veterans benefits resources, and to provide a checklist of documents and information needed when applying for benefits through the County Veterans Service Office. If successful, the pilot program could be replicated in public libraries statewide.

“Veterans are often unaware of the services available to them, confused about the benefits they are entitled to, and unsure about how to take advantage of them,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “We’re very excited about this program and grateful to the State Library for helping us reach and assist California veterans and their families. We’re confident this program will be effective and look forward to taking it statewide.”

Volunteers are sought who have an interest in serving veterans and their families, who can work a minimum of one two-hour shift per week in one of the partner libraries, and who will make a one-year commitment to the program. To view the full Veteran Resource Center volunteer position description and complete an application, go to

This project is supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian."