Vol. II, No. 20, October 2016
Friends Raise Funds for Library
Competing for the coveted “Best Hat” award
Norton Sound Memories
Norton Sound veteran Bill Stewart shares a laugh with Dr. Luskin and Mayor (Ret.) Orvene Carpenter
From Seaman to Chancellor
Ventura County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Bernard Luskin recounted his career as a Yeoman on the USS Norton Sound AVM-1 as part of the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum Distinguished Speakers Series.
With a history that began in the Pacific Theater of World War II, the Norton Sound was originally commissioned as a sea plane tender, became the first missile test ship, and finished her career as the Naval Defense Test Ship known as “The Galloping Ghost of the Hueneme Coast”.
Remarking on the number of Norton Sound veterans in attendance, Dr. Luskin said, “I can’t lie. Too many of you know the history.”
Reporting aboard in 1956, Seaman Luskin was asked if he knew how to type. An affirmative answer resulted in his being appointed the Captain’s Yeoman. Apart from being the “Captain’s major go-fer,” he recounted, “I was in charge of liberty chits — I was a big shot!”
In 1958 the Norton Sound set off for the South Atlantic on a mission that was so secretive that course was set around Cape Horn rather than through the Panama Canal. “Most of the crew had no idea what was going on,” Dr. Luskin recalled.
The Argus mission was to complete the first launch of a nuclear missile from a ship at sea “in the history of the world.” Although this has been described as “the most dangerous missile launch ever,” to the young Yeoman it just “looked like a giant video game.” “I thought it was just a game… I didn’t know it was dangerous ’till I started researching this talk!” he exclaimed.
Yeoman Luskin’s station during the launch was on the bridge of the Norton Sound wearing a headset and relaying communications from all of the Argus participants. While the official Navy film of the event “looked good, … I heard what was going on. They fired ’em and prayed. They didn’t know if they’d come back and hit us! Most of the officers went and hid,” he recalled.
Operation Argus led to the discovery of the Van Allen Radiation Belt. Dr. Luskin called it “one of the greatest nuclear experiments ever.” “The whole world changed in 1958 and the Norton Sound was right in the heart of it.”
Lamenting that the ship was sold for scrap after her service as a Test Ship, Dr. Luskin said, “The Navy is not too smart some times. They took this iconic ship and made it into soup cans. The Norton Sound should be sitting in this harbor like the Midway in San Diego. It’s as important as the Wright Brothers’ airplane.”
Marveling at his own career advancing from Seaman to Chancellor, Dr. Luskin credited an “arrogant Ensign” who berated him for his lack of education. “You ought to go to college,” he was told. Taking the advice, he enrolled at Ventura College and spent the next 15 years attending classes while working part time. “I never missed a semester,” he said. “I went to Ventura College and now I’m the Chancellor.”
With 48,000 veterans in Ventura County, Dr. Luskin is working to establish a Veterans’ Center in the Community College system. The “New GI Bill is changing the character of America,” he said.
Recognizing the efforts of his students, he remarked, “There are a lot of people like me, except I’m the Chancellor.” Appreciative of the success in his life he gave credit to his time in the Navy, “Being on the Norton Sound and the GI Bill changed my life.”
Knights Honor Judge
Judge Manuel Covarrubias addresses Knights of Columbus
“For the People We Serve”
Superior Court Judge Manuel Covarrubias was recently honored by the Oxnard Council 750 of the Knights of Columbus at their annual Civic Night.
Judge Covarrubias has served as a jusdicial officer for 22 years and was appointed to the Ventura County Superior Court in 2002 by Gov. Gray Davis.
The Oxnard native spoke of his humble beginings as the son of a carpenter with a 9th grade education and a mother who had only gone as far as third grade. His ties to the community have remained strong.
“Our court is here for the people we serve,” he stated, “Without you we would not succeed.”
Judge Covarrubias concluded by quoting Franklin Roosevelt, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
See You Next Summer!
The Port Hueneme Chamber of Commerce held its last Sunset Supper of the season at Hueneme Beach Park. We look forward to the trucks’ return next year.
History by the Minute
Beverly Merrill Kelley
Let’s face it, we’re all busy people. We’d love to learn more about our hometown but who has the time? This column will feature highlights that can be read in a minute or two. And rest assured, the information comes from the considerable resources of the Port Hueneme Historical Society. If your interest is piqued to learn more, visit the museum on Market Street or send your questions via email to Kelley@callutheran.edu.
Instead of adhering to the “dog-eat-dog” tenets of capitalism, they chose, instead, the “love thy neighbor” tenets known as the “Hueneme Spirit.” When one ran out of a staple like bread or milk, the other would not hesitate to supply what was needed from her own grocery store shelves. Can you imagine such unselfish cooperation between Ralphs and Vons?
Ted Moranda, in his book Me ‘n’ Paul and Old Hueneme, recalls an old-timer named Bill Paxton who spent years taking care of a bed-bound neighbor. “And he didn’t get a penny for it” Moranda wrote in his memoir, adding that while he had never seen Paxton in church, “he was a kind and considerate guy and we all knew it.”
The “Hueneme Spirit” is not a novel concept —doing unto others as you would have them do unto you — but given the hate-based rhetoric that seems to be the norm even on social media these days, it’s the only antidote to all the negativity that has made Port Hueneme anything but the “Friendly City by the Sea.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of present day positives to inspire each and every one of us, but they seem to get lost in the divisive din that demands our attention morning, noon, and night.
Take, for example, the thousand or so Hueneme residents who spend their precious time helping out in the classrooms, coaching on the playing fields, tutoring at the Homework Center, participating in church outreach programs, raising funds for the Prueter Library or Hueneme Beautiful, offering emergency aid with the Red Cross, or just pitching in whenever and wherever a need arises.
They volunteer, not to be recognized or rewarded in some tangible way, but because they want to make Port Hueneme a better place. And they have been doing so, not just for a few months prior to an election, but sometimes for decades.
When long-time residents visit the Museum, they often lament those things that no longer exist: the Lima Bean Picnic, various businesses on Market Street, a hometown newspaper, Dennis the Menace Playground, the Women’s Improvement Club, Harbor Days, and the Men’s Follies.
Yet there are still ample opportunities for community—even at this time of economic crisis for our city.
Communication with City Hall is now a two-way street—thanks in part to social media. You can also meet your neighbors (and their dogs) on walks to the Lighthouse or along Bubbling Springs park. You can enroll your family members in recreation classes for all ages or hear local experts simply by showing up at the Distinguished Speaker Series at the Museum.
When funding for the Junior Lifeguard program had to be cut, volunteers threw a fundraiser to raise scholarship money for those families who couldn’t afford to pay. And for those who lament the passing of the Hueneme Beach Festival, why not join other volunteers in planning an event that is self-sustaining instead of costing the taxpayers $50,000 a year.
Isn’t it time we brought back the Hueneme Spirit? I suspect we will all be the better for it.
Republican Civil War
It seems as of now highly doubtful that they’ll lose more than that. Very effective gerrymandering by GOP controlled statehouses have left enough Republicans in safe districts that can withstand even a severe drubbing of their presidential candidate and a big increase in Democratic voters. But the irony is that the Republicans in districts that are not safe veer to the more moderate side of the GOP, being that the districts they are in are not conservative enough to have elected a Tea Partier. Democrats will pick up those seats, leaving a GOP majority in the house that, though smaller, will be even more conservative than it is now.
Trump won’t win the White House, and a lot of Republican senators will be losing their seats because of Trump and likely losing the majority to the Democrats, but the House will be more Trumpified than it is now.
There has been a long running Republican trend since 1980 (maybe since 1978) where every election brings more hard line conservatives into the House than before. In 1994–seven elections after the Reagan landslide in 1980–Newt Gingrich took control of the House GOP and set it firmly to the right. Indeed to the right of Reagan, certainly to the right of George H.W. Bush. Clinton’s national health insurance plan was destroyed by the Gingrich revolution.
Fast forward ten more congressional elections and Paul Ryan–more Reagan than Reagan just four years ago–is now far too moderate for most conservatives in the House (and among Republican Party rank and file) and in all likelihood will not be Speaker in 2017. Just four years ago he was hardline conservative. Now he is a RINO.
Every Republican you see interviewed seems to see nothing but intra-party civil war and bloodletting. Meanwhile, the demographics in the general population run against them, and their base grows smaller and smaller.
Parties do disappear sometimes. The Federalists were gone by the 1820’s after being dominant in the first twenty years of the country. The Whigs elected presidents before the Civil War and were national and growing until they almost instantaneously disappeared in the late 1850’s.
But we’ve had two dominant parties since the Civil War, it’s hard to imagine one disintegrating completely. Yet that is what seems to be happening. A surreal time. Perhaps it is just a phase and the GOP will re-emerge. Perhaps it will split into multiple parties. The liberal Democrat in me snickers. The historian in me looks on in astonishment.
To think I lived to see this day.
No Drone Zone
Airshow organizers say unmanned vehicles not welcome.
USS Zumwalt Commissioned
Latest DDG 1000 “next generation” warship named for famous admiral.
Patriots in the Baltics?
NATO mulls deployment of defensive missile system.
At the Museum
November 5, 2016 “50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War”
11:00AM-12:30PM at the Museum (220 Market St.)
Sharing their very personal memories of Vietnam will be:
Captain Bill Hodge, a combat pilot conducting bombing missions over Hanoi and Haiphong.
Captain Bob Quinn, Seabee officer and Purple Heart recipient who supervised construction at I Corps .
Master Chief Jim Daniels, who led Seabee construction work near the Rock Pile and who lost his son Bill Daniels to the Vietnam War in 1973 (death attributed to Agent Orange).
USMC Corporal Ron Mongeau, a machine gunner at Khe Sanh & the Rock Pile as well as a self-described “jungle grunt with the First Marines.”
November 11, 2016 “2016 Veteran’s Day Celebration” 9:00AM-10:30AM at City Hall (250 North Ventura Rd. Port Hueneme, CA). Celebration Program Speakers include: Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long, Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Sharkey and Retired Master Chief Jim Daniels (Veteran of WW II, Korea, and Vietnam).
Port Hueneme’s very first Veterans Day Celebration is being sponsored by the City of Port Hueneme Historical Museum, VFW Post 3935, Navy League, Sea Cadets, and Chamber of Commerce.
The program will include:
The Presentation of Colors by the Hueneme High Naval Junior ROTC; Pledge of Allegiance by the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corp Ben Moreell Battalion; “God Bless America” by the Boys and Girls Club of Port Hueneme & Oxnard; Reading of Hueneme Purple Heart names from WWII, Korea and Vietnam by Captain Bob Quinn, Korea and Vietnam Veteran; and Reading of Hueneme KIA names by VFW Wonnie Wood Post Commander Clay Cowgill, Iraq Veteran.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 805 488-0363
Will Berg will return on Saturday October 29, 2016 at 11:00 AM to “Review where the Port is now and Where it’s headed.”
“Earlier this year,” according to Berg, “the Port of Hueneme closed the books on yet another consecutive year of growth. Jobs have been added, cargo volumes are up, new customers are using the Port. A 2013 economic impact report identified 191 jobs for local residents. An updated study completed this year shows 413 Hueneme residents directly employed as a result of Port activities. The Port depends on these hard working citizens and by any measuring stick, this employment rate is a good thing.”
A third generation Oxnard native, Berg has called Port Hueneme home for the past 16 years. He holds an MA degree in Comparative & International Politics from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Conversant in Mandarin Chinese, he also studied at the National Political Science University in Taiwan and is a graduate of California State University at Chico.
Berg has lectured aboard cruise ships calling on Asian destinations along the Pacific Rim and spent 15 years as a shore excursion specialist with some of the world’s most prestigious cruise lines. He has a deep knowledge of the Port’s operations, intrinsic value, and fascinating history that he is excited to share with a wider audience.
Are You Prepared for the Next Earthquake?
Here are some reminders for earthquake preparedness:
- Identify the risk in your area. Go here to find out if you live in an earthquake prone zone.
- Consider strengthening or retrofitting your home if it is not structurally sound. The California Brace and Bolt program can assist in strengthening your home.
- Plan and practice with your family what to do in an earthquake.
- Remove, relocate, or secure anything that could fall and hurt someone, block an exit, or start a fire.
- Assemble a disaster preparedness kit with first aid supplies, canned food and a can opener, water, blanket, battery-operated radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
I always appreciate hearing from you, so please feel free to stay in touch by email, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson State Senator, 19th Senate District
2015 AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA OVERALL CHAMPION PETER SAGAN SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS HIS TITLE AS WORLD CHAMPION
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To find out more and to get information on auditions and requirements, go to bands.af.mil/careers .
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Port Hueneme, California 93041
J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher