Joseph Santos, 21, died after a mortar attack on an American airfield near the Demilitarized Zone. Ernie Santos said an eyewitness told him that his brother and two other soldiers rushed out from a bunker to save a Jeep that had overturned from a mortar explosion. A second round of mortar fire killed the three soldiers instantly, but the Jeep driver survived.
Brian Landsberg was just 26 years old when he checked into a Holiday Inn in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 50 years ago. His job: enforcing the nation’s newly signed Civil Rights Act, a piece of legislation strongly resented in the South, where the civil rights struggle had been marked by murders and violence.
With little notice or fanfare, the California State Military Museum in Old Sacramento shut its doors in March, amid a turf war between the nonprofit foundation that operates it and the California Military Department that oversees it. The conflict, in addition to state budget constraints, left the museum unable to stay afloat.
Seventy summers ago, not long after D-Day, Ray Haagen and his unit landed at Normandy, fought through France and then Germany – and saved a bottle of wine to be opened one day at a reunion. Haagen, 93, just got the bottle.
Military service was for decades a common bond among American men, and military families were commonplace. In 1970, U.S. Census figures show, roughly half of the Sacramento region’s civilian male adults had served in the military. That share had dropped to one in six by 2012.