The ePilot

Vol. II, No. 22, November 20

Autumn Leaf


Viet Nam War plus 50

Jim Daniels speaks while Ron Mongeau and David Wilson look on

Recently the Port Hueneme Historical Society hosted a commemorative presentation on the 50th anniversary of the Viet Nam War featuring first hand accounts from five men who personally experienced different aspects of that war.

Capt. Bill Hodge was a combat pilot for the Navy.  “Most of us were asked to talk about ourselves,” he began, “I’m going to talk about Walter Sutton Wood…an aviator nonpareil.”

Wood had attended West Point, but loved carrier flying and so entered Navy Flight Training.  He and Hodge were roommates at Pensacola Naval Air Station where Wood finished second in the class.

“In Viet Nam you’d take what you were dealt, and the deal was lousy,” Hodge said.  He went on to describe a fateful bombing mission that had failed to achieve its objective of destroying a bridge. Wood had one more bomb left and decided to make a final pass.  “Pursuing the mission beyond the call of duty — obviously a suicide mission,” as Hodge recalled.

“I haven’t talked about this in thirty years.  I  ordered him not to go back, but he did anyway.” “He went above and beyond. Duty, Honor, Country — he was the personification.”

“God bless you, Walter.”

Capt. Bob Quinn was a SeaBee in charge of facilities in the northern part of the country.  Paying his respects to the aircraft pilots, he declared, “When the bad guys were shooting mortars into your camp it was nice to have some aviators taking care of it.”
When a base near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) suffered an attack that caused the ammunition to blow up “like the 4th of July for four days,”  the decision was made to move to Quang Tri “the farthest the North Vietnamese could shoot.”  Gen. Westmoreland gave the order and stated “I expect to be back in thirty days.”

The Seabees set to work clearing land so fast that the Marines couldn’t keep up with the barbed wire perimeter fencing.  When Gen. Westmoreland returned thirty days later, he was able to land on the new 7000′ runway that the Seabees had carved from the jungle.

Pictures from the Port Hueneme Veterans’ Wall

Master Chief Jim Daniels joined the Seabees in 1942 at the age of 16 because, as he put it, “I was never going into a coal mine.”   He celebrated his 17th birthday at Port Hueneme then shipped out for the Pacific.

His career spanned 26 years and 3 months encompassing WW II, Korea, and Viet Nam.  Both he and his son were deployed in country at the same time.  Daniels left the service because his son was “so torn up, I quit as Senior Chief to take care of him.”  In 2008, however, the Navy granted his promotion to Master Chief.

During his time in service, Daniels was named Chief of Training for five battalions. “I spent more time at Camp Pendleton than some Marines,” he said.

In civilian life, Daniels spent over 17 years with the Hueneme School District and was elected to the Port Hueneme City Council where he served as Mayor pro Tem.

Army Sgt. David Wilson graduated Ventura High School in 1966, and considered enlisting in the Navy.  The recruiter told him, “‘You need to be in LA at five o’clock in the morning.’ ‘How will I get there?’ ‘That’s your problem!'”  The Air Force recruiter told him the same thing.  However, the Army recruiter explained that he could get “an extra $150 for jumping out of airplanes” and besides, “there was a 5PM bus to LA.”  “Customer service got me into the Army,”  Wilson said.

The 101st Airborne was airlifted directly into Viet Nam in time for the Tet Offensive.  Wilson recalled that the SeaBees dug trenches for the Army’s tents.  “That was great until monsoon season,”  he wryly remarked. “I don’t remember even having a tooth brush the whole time I was there.”

Today Wilson is the pastor at Oxnard Bible Church, the President of the Viet Nam Veterans of Ventura County, and does numerous presentations on the war to local schools.

When people ask him what he would have done differently, he replies, “I would have got my lazy butt down to LA at 5 o’clock in the morning!”

Marine Cpl. Ron Mongeau, a machine gunner at Khe Sanh and the Rock Pile, describes himself as a “jungle grunt with the 4th Marines.”

At Khe Sanh he said “We were under fire. I never knew what war was like. As a kid you watch John Wayne movies. It was horrifying.”  Acknowledging the SeaBees, he said, “They kept us going.”

Mongeau recounted  the tactics of the war. A helicopter “would drop us there and tell us to fight our way out.” “I was dropped on a lot of hills,” he said. He described his time in Viet Nam as “One battle after another and a lot of bad memories along the way.”

During one battle he “got hit and woke up on the hospital ship Repose. I couldn’t take the Purple Heart because I needed to get back to my unit.” “The casualty rate was really high….I have fond memories of the guys I was with.”

“In the field I was asked if I wanted to re-up for another year,” Mongeau recounted. “My answer was very clear.”

The troops returning from Viet Nam arrived in a turbulent nation.  “When we got off the plane there were people yelling at us. It was so unfair,” he said with undimmed emotion.  “I’m glad to be an American — even though I was born in Canada!”

A video of the event is available at

David Wilson, Ron Mongeau, and Bob Quinn engage in discussion

Old Times at Point Mugu

History on display at Missile Park, Point Mugu

The Association of Old Crows is an organization of people dedicated to the advancement of electromagnetic warfare (EW) technologies.  The Old Crows were founded in 1964 but  EW operations at Point Mugu go all the way back to the end of WW II.

Gina Nichols, the Defense Initiatives Archivist at the Port Hueneme SeaBee Museum recently gave a presentation to the local chapter of the Old Crows on the history of the Navy at Point Mugu.

Mugu had been the site of a Chumash village, and in the early days of the 20th Century was used as a campsite for local fishermen.  In 1925 a hole was blasted through Mugu Rock opening up a land route south to Malibu.

Gina Nichols addresses the Old Crows

In 1942 the Navy was looking for a deepwater harbor to support the war effort in the Pacific.  According to Ms. Nichols, the locale had “a railroad and a lot of unused land” making it an attractive site for Advanced Base Depot, Port Hueneme. 

By 1943 the Acorn Training Detachment at the Hueneme base was running out of room.  The Point Mugu site was acquired from local landowners with the promise that at the end of the War, the Navy would “give everybody back their land,” Ms. Nichols said.

When the SeaBees were sent out to construct the new facility “it was a marsh” infested with mosquitos. “It was torture to be sent out to Mugu,” Ms. Nichols recounted.

A 2500′ runway was constructed that would be extended to 4500′ by the end of the war.  By 1943 there were 1500 men on base engaged in repairing damaged aircraft that were brought in by ferry.

The Loon on Display

In 1945 a training camp was opened on San Nicolas Island and testing began on the Loon missile which was based on the German V-1.  Twelve German engineers were brought in to work on the program.  The runway was now 5500′ long.

When the Navy looked for a site for its missile test center, Point Mugu ranked #1 out of 20 possible sites.

Things really began to take off during the 1950’s. The Laboratory Evaluation Department supported the nascent space program.  Numerous aircraft systems were operationally tested. Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica was supported from Point Mugu. In 1958 the Pacific Missile Range was established. By 1960 the runway was extended to 11,000′. 

In 2000 Point Mugu was merged with the SeaBee base at Port Hueneme to form Naval Base Ventura County.  Today NBVC is home to over 80 different commands engaged in a wide range of activities from testing, to development, to operations.  The California Air National Guard occupies a portion of the base, while the US Coast Guard is the newest tenant.

The old fish camp has become one of the most valuable assets in the Navy.

— Ed.
A BAT. One of the items on display at the Missile Museum

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

A funny thing happened on the way to the Sixth Annual Hueneme Sand Sculpture Contest in 2016.  It just didn’t happen.
In years past, we could count on the temperature remaining a balmy 69 degrees during the third weekend in August.  That’s a big draw with hundreds of cash-spending day-trippers who are sweltering inland.   Who wouldn’t be persuaded to brave the freeway and find their way to Hueneme Beach Park to beat the heat? 
So, in addition to visitors chowing down on roasted corn and funnel cakes at the Beach Fest, planners knew they could count on folks lining the pier to watch as dozens of amateur teams sculpted sandcastles.  In fact, after seeing a demonstration sculpture by Ojai artist Dennis Shives on the first day, several families were able to pluck up the courage to enter the contest on the spur of the moment. 


Brick Wahl

The Electoral College

The electoral college is all about congressional representation. Every state has a base of three–for the two senators and minimum one congressional seat.

By themselves, a small state–there are seven states with one district–have little electoral influence. But as a bloc they have electoral clout.  Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas have 12 electoral votes among them that go GOP almost without fail, as many electoral votes as Washington state yet with less than half the population. But this isn’t as important as it used to be — there are two 3 vote states–Delaware and Vermont–that are solidly Democrat. And when you add up the populations of the GOP’s 4 electoral vote states in the Rockies and Plains, they equal in electoral votes states and population states like Pennsylvania. And a lot of states in the west–Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado–have begun turning regularly blue.

It’s in the bigger states that the Democrats get burned. Were California’s electoral votes allocated on the same population basis as Wyoming’s (plus two for the senators), we would have 202 instead of 55. Texas would have 142. Florida would have 105. New York would have 103. Illinois 68. The problem is that urban and suburban congressional districts tend to be more densely populated than rural districts. The more urban the state, the less the congressional representation.

There are thirteen states with an average district size of over 600K people (California’s is over 700K) and only three of those have been reliably red in presidential elections (though at least two of those states, Texas and Georgia, will be purple battleground states within ten years, and probably blue in twenty). And of the 13 states with average congressional delegation size of less than 400K, eight have been reliably red.

Democrats as a rule have the underrepresented districts, Republicans the overrepresented. To make things worse, the GOP has gerrymandered a lot of Democrats in some states into huge districts, and themselves into many smaller districts. Ohio’s majority Republican congressional delegation in a majority Democratic state is the most flagrant example — and though it has nothing to do with the electoral college, all those Republican congressmen running for office in their tidy white districts is one of the reasons Trump captured the state this year.

This disparity in congressional district population has been the only thing that has kept the GOP in the presidential game at all. Without it the Democrats would have an overwhelming electoral college majority. Even Trump flipping four reliably blue states this goofy year stills leaves him down by well over a million, maybe even two, in the popular vote. Were congressional districts allocated fairly, the Democrats would gain dramatically in the House of Representatives, and in the electoral college, and the GOP would shrink. Shrink a whole lot.

Even so, inevitably, the tide is turning, as rural populations thin out and urban populations expand with kids moving in from the country and immigrants arriving and having 3 to 4 kids instead of the white’s 1 or 2 (or none at all). The white population of conservative suburban districts is aging and dying out  (and will be leaving ghostly tracts of four and five bedroom houses too big for modern families) and is not being replaced by equal numbers of their own–indeed replaced by immigrants (think Orange County).

The GOP has been overwhelmingly a baby boomer party–we have been the most conservative generation, by far, since the 1920’s–but we boomers failed to have enough kids to keep the ratio going. In another decade or so the GOP will cave in and become strictly regional, much as the original conservatives, the Federalists did. They elected the first two presidents but were gone by the 1820’s, swamped by the immigrants they hated.

The GOP too is pretending that only their demographic truly deserve to vote, deserve even to be here. Alas, there are only so many white people born between 1946 and 1964, and the GOP has adamantly refused to expand beyond them. And their kids and grandkids don’t vote like they do at all. The electoral college will turn blue, even if we don’t ever change it.

As for Trump (I’m writing this the Friday after his election, as my fellow liberals still stumble about shocked and weeping, as I would be, if not for all the Prozac), he is the ultimate Baby Boomer candidate, if not a Boomer himself–he’s one of he Silent Generation, believe it or not–and Boomers are at their peak electoral power now.

He may be incoherent half the time, but then wasn’t Bob Dylan? And Trump may come off like a loutish New York version of George Wallace, but then a helluva lot of us voted for George Wallace (a shocking number of the Gene McCarthy voters in 1968 voted for Wallace that November, and voted for Wallace in even bigger numbers in the 1972 primaries, especially in Michigan and Wisconsin.) Trump didn’t win many big states in a big way last Tuesday–Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin combined gave him a razor thin 107,000 vote margin, once all mail in ballots were counted (Hillary stomped all over Trump among those who vote by mail). Still, that was just enough to put all those upper midwest minorities and Gen Xers and Millennials with all their college degrees (far fewer Boomers went to college than they did) in their place. You betcha.

There are still loads of us Boomers alive (I was born right smack in the middle of the boom, 1957), and we are at our peak voting years, our 50’s and 60’s. People vote with astonishing regularity at our age (you value regularity at our age) and this year we just happened to be angry and in the right combination of states to give Donald Trump an electoral vote majority with the worst disparity of popular votes ever.

Hillary had a higher popular vote margin than not only Al Gore, but more than JFK (1960), Nixon (1968) and maybe even Carter (1976.) It’s like if you don’t win the Super Bowl by more than two touchdowns they give the trophy to the losing team. A constitutional shenanigan, really. As Hillary’s numbers are finally officially tallied–which could take weeks in California, where there is a mountain of mail in ballots, millions of them, being counted by hand–the scale of this shenanigan will dawn on everybody, and the notion of Donald Trump having a mandate for revolution will disappear into thin air.

You need to win votes to launch a revolution. FDR did. Reagan did. George W. Bush didn’t. Bush is so now loathed by most Republicans it’s hard to believe he was one of their own, with a GOP approval rate above 90%. There’s not much love in the long run for those who win the electoral college but lose the popular vote–when was the last time you heard nice things about Rutherford B. Hayes or Benjamin Harrison?–and in the 2000 election Bush was down only half a million votes. Trump is down by much more. A popular vote deficit of historic proportions. Huge, even. Big league.

Oh well, all us Boomers will start dying off soon enough–the eldest if us are 70 now, and we used to smoke like chimneys–and Gen Xers and Millennials will finally outvote us in, oh, two election cycles. We’ll still vote plenty, of course, all crotchety and conservative, but we’ll at last be outnumbered by all those rotten kids. And you know how they vote, those rotten kids, overwhelmingly blue, in ratios not seen since FDR’s day. Even as they get grumpy and old themselves they will vote probably twice as Democrat as we do now. Certainly twice as liberal. They are the most liberal bunch since the New Deal.

The Reagan Revolution was made possible because those original New Dealers were dying off (about three or four years earlier than we will, a whole election cycle). But the Reagan Revolution will fade the same way, as we Boomers die off. We are witnessing its final thrashings now. The New Deal lasted for 48 years, 1932-1980. The Reagan Revolution might last 40 years, 1980-2020. Apparently Reaganomics contained faster acting seeds of its own destruction. But I digress.

There are likely to be none of these absurd vote winner losing the presidency travesties once we are gone, taking the GOP with us. Once the whites-only GOP disappears, there will be no need for imbalanced congressional districts. There will be no advantage of farmers having two or three or times as much political pull as city dwellers, or a rancher in Wyoming having 67 times as much electoral vote representation as a writer in Los Angeles. The electoral college will again be reduced to an archaic afterthought, and not a threat to democracy itself.

Or so I hope.


Why Trump Scares Lithuania

Lithuanian President warns against naivete in the face of Russian threat.


The Toxic 100

The top corporate polluters of air and water in the US.


China Struggles to Control It’s History

Xi Jin Ping waging war on “historical nihilism”.


Veterans’ Day Presentation Video Available

Port Hueneme’s celebration of Veterans’ Day is available for viewing thanks to
Dr. Purna Pai and the Port Hueneme Historical Museum. 

Senior Holiday Luncheon Saved by Community Donations

The City Council asked for community support and the community responded with over $8,000 in donations for City staff to host the annual Senior Holiday Luncheon, scheduled for December 16 at the Port Hueneme Community Center.

The Senior Holiday Luncheon has been hosted by the city over 20+ years, offering the senior community an annual holiday where they get to enjoy a nice holiday meal, entertainment, and fun!

Due to the fiscal challenges the City of Port Hueneme is facing, discretionary program
and event funding was reduced or eliminated earlier this year. The Senior Holiday Luncheon was one of those impacted events.

At a recent Council meeting, members of the public spoke in support of the event and requested the City Council reconsider hosting the long standing event.

In response, the City Council asked the community to join in funding efforts. Less than two weeks later, almost twice the amount needed to host the event was and at the meeting of November 7, the City Council agreed to host the luncheon.

Donations were received by the City of Port Hueneme and REACH, a non-profit with the
mission to help raise and distribute funds for the purposes of providing Port Hueneme residents opportunities in: Recreation, Education, Arts, and Culture in Hueneme.

The event will take place December 16, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Orvene S. Carpenter Community Center, 550 Park Avenue, Port Hueneme.

Tickets will be sold beginning Monday, November 14th at the Community Center during normal hours until December 7th or the maximum of 150 tickets are sold.

Tickets prices: $5.00.

This event is limited to Seniors 50+.

For more information, please call the City of Port Hueneme’s Recreation and Community
Services Department at (805) 986-6542 between the hours of 12-3pm.

Donations Received by the City of Port Hueneme:

Hueneme Beautiful                                                           $856.00
Port Hueneme Police Officers’ Association                    $500.00
Orvene and Georgia Carpenter                                       $500.00
Oceanview Pavilion                                                           $500.00
Jon Sharkey and Beverly Kelley                                     $500.00
Murray Rosenbluth and Margaretha Van Oostenrijk  $300.00
Mark Petrasso                                                                    $300.00
Sondra Briggs                                                                      $250.00
Deni and J. Scott McIntyre                                               $100.00
Audrey Albert                                                                     $50.00

Donations made to City:                                            $3,856.00

Donations Recieved by REACH

Paul Watson                                                                        $1500.00
Go Fund Me set up by Cathy Reed                                  $1086.00
ILWU                                                                                   $1000.00
Ventura Mazda                                                                   $300.00
Carl and Jacki Cates                                                           $100.00
Steven Gama                                                                      $100.00
Richard and Beverly Rollins                                             $50.00
Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp                                                     $50.00
Gloria Gama                                                                       $25.00
Anonymous                                                                        $10.00

Donations made to REACH                                      $4221.00

Total Donations Made:                                $8077.00

When is a fundraiser not a fundraiser? 

A fundraiser is not a fundraiser—when charity begins at home.

It all started during the economic downturn in 2008, when frustrated parents told us they could not afford to buy the cherished classics they found under the tree when they were kids.   
That’s when we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
Our Prueter Library “bookies” (volunteers who sort, clean and price used books) started to set aside a selection of gently-used donations that would provide an affordable alternative (under $1) to cash-strapped parents and grandparents.  
And since it is better to give than to receive, the Port Hueneme Friends of the Library also scoured their jewelry boxes, closets, toy chests, DVD collections and garages in search of nearly-new yet gift-quality treasures that youngsters might buy for less than a quarter or two.  
Those of us staffing the sale tables look forward to assisting the young people who show up with a long list of people to buy for and a fistful of quarters.  We not only assure them that their allowance will cover their purchases but also provide bags so that Mommy and Daddy (who are still busy shopping) will be suitably surprised come December 25.
In addition, the naming of the “white elephant in the room” has become an unexpected tradition as well. Each year we find an item that we, collectively, are quite positive will never find a buyer—at least not somebody in his or her right mind. 
The most memorable, by far, was a toilet plunger decorated in appropriate greenery for St. Patrick’s Day. Sure enough, an adult and her two offspring  snapped it up—allowing that it would be ideal for an unsuspecting Irish relative.
So whether you’re focused on the wearin’ or the savin’ of the green this holiday season, the Port Hueneme Library is the place to be on Saturday December 5 from noon to three.   The event is only open for three short hours so come  early for the best bargains.  And bring a fistful of quarters.

For more information contact Beverly Kelley Phone 805 488-0363


Friends of the Library Website:


Friends of the Library Facebook Page:

Hidden Track: John Cale — “Hallelujah

Copyright 2016 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher

The ePilot

Vol. II, No. 21, November 2016


Autumn at the Beach


Be sure to vote, Tuesday, November 8!


From Paris to Old Hueneme

Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner as Lucy Levy and Minnie Cohn

Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner brought their reinactment of Ventura County pioneers Lucy Levy and Minnie Cohn to the Port Hueneme Historical Museum in a program entitled “Lucy Levy — From Paris Socialite to Ventura County Humanitarian”.

Staged as a tea time conversation between Korenstein’s Levy and Mautner’s Cohn, the stories of Levy’s husband Achille covered much of the early history of the town known as Wynema.

Escaping the German draft during the Franco-Prussian War, Achille, along with 300,000 of his fellow Alsatians, found refuge in the New World.  After working in his uncle’s store in San Francisco, the 19 year old entrepreneur made his way south to the small town of Wynema where he joined the Wolff family store making it Wolff & Levy.

Prospering in the new Ventura County, in 1882 he sold his store in Springville (Camarillo) and headed back to France in search of a wife.  Hiring a matchmaker, the self-styled “entrepreneur from San Francisco” made quite an impression on the stylish young Lucy.

The newly married couple headed back to California, with Lucy expecting to join high society in San Francisco.  She recalled that ocean travel didn’t agree at all with her new husband, Achille being seasick all the way across the Atlantic.

The train ride from New York made quite an impression on the young Parisienne. Lucy was, after days on the rails “amazed we were in the same country.”

The stage coach ride from Los Angeles proved to be no less an adventure.  It was February and the roads were muddy and rough. The Conejo Grade was “too slippery” for the horses and so Lucy, bedecked in her Paris finery was forced to trudge for two hours in the mud.

The Levy mansion was also something of a disappointment. It was a three room house, but the new bride was surprised to learn that she and Achille would be sharing it with his partner Moise Wolff and the store clerks as well — six people all together.

Bard’s Warf was the major transshipment point for Ventura County crops.  Achille became a successful agricultural broker, shipping to markets all over the world.  Levy had one of the first telephones in the county, and one year ran up the outrageous sum of $241 in telegraph bills.

By 1890, Achille Levy was known as “The Bean King of Ventura County” shipping trainloads of lima beans to markets back East.  At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the Ventura Bean Pagoda boasting “The Best Beans in the World” proved to be a popular attraction.

Education of the children fell to Lucy.  The Levy children were always invited to the Methodist Sunday School whenever the Old Testament was being studied.  A rabbi in San Francisco provided lessons through the mail. High Holy Days were always observed at home.

Achille began holding accounts for farmers, and in 1889 along with Thomas Bard, he founded the Bank of Hueneme with a capitalization of $100,000.  Later, as The Bank of A. Levy, it was known as “the bank that beans built”.

Adolfo Camarillo was also on the board of directors. He and Achille were known for their practice of “character credit”.  If a farmer wanted a loan, the two men would rise before daylight and make their way to the farmstead.  If the lights were on in the house, they knew the man was industrious and would probably make a good credit risk.

When the new sugar beet factory was built a few miles to the north, Achille proclaimed, “Oxnard is the town of the future.”  Lucy, however, was more skeptical. She saw a town with “17 saloons and shootings on Saturday nights.”  With his wife refusing to live there, Achille was forced to commute to his new Oxnard bank from Hueneme.

The couple headed back to Europe for the 1900 World’s Fair, and when they returned, Hueneme was a ghost town. Their son Joseph was an architect who built a new family home on D St. in Oxnard and Lucy and Achille decamped for the new metropolis.

The Levy legacy of community works is extensive: support for Jewish orphans’ homes and charities in Los Angeles and San Francisco, financial help for immigrant families, and the L.A. Sanatorium now known as The City of Hope.

When Achille died in 1922 his obituary read, “His reputation for square dealing is as wide as the county.”  Son Joseph carried on the legacy, making loans from his personal funds to keep the bank open during the Great Depression.

Lucy’s dedication to charitable endeavors encompassed work with the Red Cross to care for returning WW I veterans and going door to door to collect supplies for victims of the St. Francis Dam Disaster.

The one-time Paris socialite’s good works earned her the title of “Oxnard’s Angel of Mercy”.

She passed away in 1934 at the age of 71.


70 Years at Point Mugu

Capt. Jahnke speaks while Kathy Long, Adm. Corey, and Director Johnson look on

Capt. Chris Jahnke, Commander of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), confessed that he was a little apprehensive about California’s reputation when he first received orders to come here.  However, he soon recognized the strong support NBVC enjoys in the local community. “The base is stronger than ever,” he told an audience assembled to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD).

NAWCWD is the branch of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) charged with developing weapons for the Department of the Navy (DoN).

The base at Point Mugu, the first for pilotless aircraft, was developed during WW II because it provided “an unobstructed sea test range and great weather,” the Captain observed.  He pointed with pride to the excellent record of “protecting and respecting the environment” while developing the most advanced technologies.

“Let’s hope for another 70 years of the Navy here at Point Mugu,” he concluded.

Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long echoed the spirit of community support. “The people of Ventura County look to Point Mugu as a good neighbor,” she said.

NAWCWD Executive Director Joan Johnson noted that the history of the facility is recorded in the street names on base, many of which are named after the missiles that were developed there. Today’s emphasis on electronic warfare is nothing new. “For 65 years Mugu has led the charge on electronic warfare,” she said.

Rear Admiral Brian Corey, Commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, was the featured speaker.  Adm. Corey recounted the history of NAWCWD recognizing many of the key figures, some of whom were in the audience.  “We have the best technology in the world, but what really sets us apart is the people — the men and women in uniform,” he said.

Considering the world situation, he was sanguine about the future of NAWCWD. “The ‘good old days’ at Point Mugu will be 2017-2022,” he promised.

A humanikin “mans” a target vessel


It’s the Money

Pat Schuett discusses issues on the Test Range

In a recent address to the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century (RDP-21), Mr. Pat Schuett, Technical Director, Navy Test Wing Pacific, gave a harrowing account of what it’s like to run a large, complex organization on a shoestring budget. 

The Sea Range at Point Mugu is a unique national asset providing a test facility for all types of Naval weaponry.  “People all over the world want to use the Range,”  Mr. Shuett said.

The VX-30 “Bloodhounds” provide aircraft for range clearance and telemetry, “one of a kind capabilities” and “world-wide test support,” according to the Director. The data collected are “extremely valuable when things go wrong,” allowing for analysis and evaluation of the systems being tested.

The problem is that the aircraft needed for testing on the Range are reaching the end of their useful life.  The two P-3 Orion aircraft used for range support officially ran “out of airframe life in 2013.”  One was rebuilt. “They put new wings and tail on a 50 year old aircraft. The other we just had to let it go.”

Mr. Schuett stated that nine aircraft are needed for proper operations.  The Navy is getting three 30 year old C-130‘s from the Marines, but “one showed up with a warped wing.”  The plan is to acquire six Gulfstreams. One is presently being outfitted for Range use, a process that takes 2-3 years.

Until the new aircraft arrive, operations on the range are at “a high risk until 2017 or ’18.” With only one aircraft available for telemetry, Mr. Schuett sees a gap until at least 2019 when the first new aircraft comes on line. Should that aircraft be down for repair or otherwise unavailable, “We will not be able to to support these big programs,” he said.

With operations on the Range valued at millions of dollars per day, “What is the cost when missions don’t go?” he asked.  While the Test Range is technically down only 4% of the time, tests not scheduled because the support aircraft are not available don’t show up in the statistics.

How did the Test Wing get into such a tight situation? “It’s the money — alright?” Mr. Schuett explained in frustration.


State of the City Video Available

A video recording of the recent Port Hueneme State of the City Address is available on the City website.

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

So back in 2009, a modest Sand Sculpture competition with a $15 entry fee and donated trophies was held, and a handful of families showed up.  The following year, the number of participants tripled—lured to participate in part by a generous $1000 cash prize.  Then before the 2010 entries had even melted away with the tide, Donna Breeze was gently twisting the arms of the planning committee members to start envisioning the 2011 contest twelve months in advance.
As part of her research, Marietta King unearthed photos and documents belonging to Sheryl Malone and Marian Foster, who unbeknownst to the 21st Century planners, labored on sand sculpture contests in 1984, 1985. and 1986.  These contests were held in conjunction with Port Hueneme Harbor Days.  The genesis for the competitions was a group of art, culture, and merriment-minded residents of the Anacapa Condo Owners Association of Port Hueneme.  

When asked why there was never a 4th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest in 1987, Malone acknowledged that volunteers tend to vanish when the workload proves too great or the payoff proves too small.  Even non-profits that have endured for decades in Hueneme were at risk—dying off as their members did the same. The last production of Port Hueneme Harbor Days, a class act that ran for 51 years, occurred in 2005.  
Happily, however, the efforts of Malone and Foster paved the way for sand sculpture contests to come—more than three decades later. As Isaac Newton also insisted, we can see further by standing on the shoulders of those who come before us.

Brick Wahl


Baby boomers.

We are the worst generation politically since the 1920’s. We voted Republican in most elections, and if not Republican we came close, even in 1968. It was we who dismantled the New Deal. Reagan and his people began it, but it was the baby boomers who went at it hammer and saw and destroyed it. The Tea Party was the most successful political movement the baby boomers ever came up with, and look what it wrought, the political equivalent of the Mongol invasions. The George W. Bush administration was the ultimate in the baby boomer political philosophy in action, such as it was.

Thankfully most of us will be dead in a couple decades and the younger folks can rebuild what our parents built. We may have been lots of fun and made some of the greatest music of all time, but we sure messed everything up.

Not that you can tell us that, though.

We have convinced ourselves that it was we and we alone who brought progressive values to America. But think of this: when our parents saw Barry Goldwater running for president, they turned him down in a landslide. They knew dangerous crazies when they saw them. When we saw George W Bush, we elected him.

And Trump? Well, this is who baby boomers vote for when they get old and cranky. He is us. Maybe not me and you, but most of us. Certainly most of us baby boomer men, white and a surprising number Hispanic. And the majority of Trump’s female followers were born between 1946 to 1964, inclusive.

There are not only a helluva lot of us—we were proportionately the biggest American generation ever since before the First World War — there were so many of us and we all had lots of siblings, unlike today. We live longer and healthier than our parents did, but we vote far, far more conservatively than any other generation in our age group, ever.

The Bernie voters never had a chance against our numbers and voting participation rate–and that was against only those of us who voted for Democrats this year. More of us voted for Republicans. And most of them voted for Trump. The only reason that Trump is in this race at all is because so many Baby Boomers love the guy to death. Hey, we are wild and crazy guys.

By the time we got to Trumpstock we were half a million strong.

Read more Brick Wahl at


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At the Museum

Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum
Distinguished Speaker Series

Presentation are at 11:00 AM (220 Market Street)
All are free of charge

November 5, 2016   Captain Bill Hodge, Captain Bob Quinn, Master Chief Jim Daniels and Corporal Ron Mongeau “50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.”

November 11, 2016 “2016 Veteran’s Day Celebration Note:  This event will be at 9:00 AM in front of City Hall

November 19, 2016 “Celebration of WWII Greatest Generation”

December 10, 2016  Lydia Stevenson “A Tribute to Elaine Garber”  Elaine will be receiving the “People Who Make a Difference” Award

January 14, 2017 Author Astrid Adler “Our Ancestors Were German—Emigration from the German Perspective”

January 21, 2017 Frank Naumann “History of Naumann Family Farms in Oxnard (established 1893)”

January 28, 2017 Jim Campos “Citrus Labels in Ventura County”

February 4, 2017 Tony Volante “History of the National Guard in Ventura County”

February 18, 2017 Author, Historian and Model Maker, Bridge Carney “Rescue of PT 109”

March 11, 2017 Dennis O’Leary “History of Cinco de Mayo”

March 18, 2017 Captain Bob Quinn “History of the Navy League in Ventura County”

March 25, 2017 Peggy Kelly “Thornton Edwards:  Hero of the St. Francis Dam Disaster”

April 8, 2017 Bob Allison “History of the Camera in Ventura County”

April 29, 2017 Captain Thomas Santamouro “Navy Drones in Ventura County”

May 6, 2017 Anthropologist Dr. Max Fleishman “Bones in Ventura County”

May 20, 2017 Dr. Beverly Kelley “History of the Vote for Women in California”

June 10, 2017 Casey Graham “History of the Hueneme Lifeguards”

June 17, 2017 Gerry Olsen “History of the Western Grades in Ventura County”

June 24, 2017 Jim Hensley “From Alaska to Port Hueneme”

July 15, 2017 Dante Honorico “Filipino History in Ventura County”

July 29, 2017 Eileen Tracy “History of the Saviors Family”

August 5, 2017 Eleanor Arellanes “History of Chumash in Ventura County”

August 19, 2017 Cheri Brant “History of Market Street in Port Hueneme”

August 26, 2017 Ola Washington “African-American History in Ventura County”

September 16, 2017 Dr. Frank Barajas “Hispanic Heritage Month”

September 30, 2017 Dr. Cynthia Herrera “Hispanics in Higher Education in Ventura County”

October 7, 2017 Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner “From the Gilded Age to the Broadway Stage”

October 28, 2017  Diane Mautner “Jewish Pioneers in Oxnard”

November 11, 2017  Second Annual Veterans Day Celebration Note: Location is City Hall and time is 8:30 AM

Time Change Reminder

Fall back with fire safety tips from Ventura County Fire


CAMARILLO, Calif. – An extra hour is coming this weekend. Make the most of it and take the time to prepare a fire safety plan to fall back on.

As people turn their clocks back on Sunday, November 6, Ventura County Fire reminds the public to review and refresh their disaster readiness plan.

Four “fall back” preparedness tips to consider include:

Change smoke alarm batteries – When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms provide early warnings so people can get outside quickly. Check each alarm’s batteries and test them monthly to make sure they are working. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. Click here for smoke alarm tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Prepare an escape plan – Create an office and home escape plan and designate a meeting place outside to gather in the event of an emergency. Click here to download an advance planning guide and escape grid.

Download a “Ready, Set, Go!” kit – Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and can make a difference when seconds count. Learn how to prepare your family and property against wildfire threats with an action plan, available at all VCFD fire stations and online at

Sign-up for emergency notifications – VC Alert sends important information directly to subscribers during an emergency in Ventura County. Alerts may include notifications about brush fires, earthquakes, flooding, evacuations and shelters. To opt-in to receive alerts, visit or call (805) 648-9283.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit

Hidden Track:  Dropkick Murphys — “Blood