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June 19, 2024

CSUMB honors local veterans with new exhibit

Display features Fort Ord history, alumni at Salinas City Center

SALINAS — California State University Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) Salinas Center for Arts and Culture has launched a new exhibition celebrating the college’s student, faculty and staff veterans, active duty service members and military dependents.

The free exhibit, “CSUMB Honors Veterans,” opened to the public Nov. 6 and continues until Jan. 12 at the CSUMB at Salinas City Center, 1 Main St., in downtown Salinas. The exhibition honors local veterans, Fort Ord alumni and the ongoing connection with CSUMB student veterans during the 25th anniversary of the university’s campus in Seaside.

“The goal is for this exhibit to be the first in a series of exhibits honoring veterans. This exhibit highlights local veterans that have a special connection to Fort Ord and several who are also connected to CSUMB,” said Giselle Young, CSUMB’s veteran services coordinator. “The hope is to honor some important Fort Ord alumni from our community and celebrate an ongoing connection with CSUMB student veterans during the 25th anniversary year of our campus.”

The exhibit, the first in a series of veteran-inspired displays, is a collaborative effort between Young, CSUMB alumna Ana Eckhart, CSUMB Service Learning Associate Director Andrea Monroe and CSUMB Salinas Center for Arts and Culture Director Enid Ryce in partnership with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

The display features Fort Ord historical pictures, veteran photos and veteran-created artwork.

Local columnist George Worthy, a resident of Gonzales, is among the exhibit’s featured veterans. Worthy served in the U.S. Army Special Forces and was an A-Team leader of the Green Berets, from 1961 to 1971. He did his basic training at Fort Ord and received two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Valor for his service.

Now, Worthy is finishing his last semester as a student at CSUMB.

“This display reminds me of the dedication of soldiers, sailors and Marines in the completion of their duty,” Worthy said. “To see the photos and read some of the quotes is very powerful — evoking memories of another time. I am very proud that I was asked to be part of the display.”

Other featured veterans in the exhibit include: Claudia Ward, Army, retired WAC commander; James Rucker, Army, and wife Helen; Vic DeLaCruz, Army; Alfred P. Glover, Army; William Chamberlin, Army, World War II; Luis Salcedo, Marine Corps, CSUMB graduate and featured artist; John Linquist; Darrell Sinclair, Navy, CSUMB student; and Allen McClellan, Army, CSUMB staff member.

Fort Ord’s history will also be highlighted by displays featuring retired Lt. Col. Claudia M. Ward, who was the first on Fort Ord to integrate women into the U.S. Army and dissolve the Women’s Army Corps, and retired Col. Alfred P. Glover, who was commander of Fort Ord’s 2nd and 3rd Training Battalions.

Eckhart, exhibition co-curator, noted the importance of connecting CSUMB and the former Fort Ord lands where the university resides.

“Since the base has closed, there has been an inevitable disconnect between what the land was and what it has become,” Eckhart said. “On the surface, CSUMB and Fort Ord may not appear to have much in common. In reality, both share common core belief, the importance of service to the community.” 

Eckhart’s grandfather — retired Command Sgt. Maj. Vic Delacruz, survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March — also has a display at the exhibition highlighting his life and career. 

“Personally, Fort Ord has always been an important place for me,” Eckhart recalled. “It’s where my grandpa retired from the Army. It’s where my mom attended elementary school. It’s where my grandma would take me for trips to post exchange. It is why my family has the opportunity to live in this community.”

“CSUMB Honors Veterans” exhibition is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a final weekend viewing on Jan. 11-12.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.