Fight at the Museum: Chapter 5

In Chapter 4  I reported that the California Military History  Foundation reached and how the Dynasty raided the California Center for Military History’s (CCMH) mission. In chapter  5, I:

  • Question whether it’s the Dynasty’s intent to subordinate the California  Military History Foundation in order to surge patronage jobs for cronies; and
  • Pose the question of whether the “Fight at the Museum” is the test case for defining the Department of Defense’s interaction with State Defense Forces.


Public Private Partnership vs State-paid. (Right of blue bar) California Military History Foundation operated the State's Military Museum largely on private donations and grants. Since the State Military Department Takeover (left of blue bar), the costs of operating a museum with limited access has dramatically shifted to the California taxpayer--largely to pay for State Active Duty (SAD) salaried posts for cronies. The above chart is only a rough estimate. It does not account for the three American Association of Retired People (AARP) Volunteers and two college interns who annually donated their services, partially funded by AARP and colleges to earn experience from fulltime staff. They were replaced by State Active Duty generals, lieutenant colonels, and other cronies accepting six-figure salaries from the state coffers.
Public Private Partnership vs State-paid. (Right of blue bar) California Military History Foundation operated the State’s Military Museum largely on private donations and grants. Since the State Military Department Takeover (left of blue bar), the costs of operating a museum with limited access has dramatically shifted to the California taxpayer–largely to pay for State Active Duty (SAD) salaried posts for cronies. The above chart is only a rough estimate. It does not account for the three American Association of Retired People (AARP) Volunteers and two college interns who annually donated their services, partially funded by AARP and colleges to earn experience from fulltime staff. They were replaced by State Active Duty generals, lieutenant colonels, and other cronies accepting six-figure salaries from the state coffers.

Feathering the Dynasty’s Bird Nest

The Dynasty has arguably found a loophole in federal statutes to form its state defense force confederacy of wannabes and job seekers for their cronies to command.

Although most volunteers joining the California State Military Reserve (CSMR) today do so for patriotic reasons, practically speaking they remain “untrained” and perhaps a “liability” to the Golden State without Department  of Defense oversight. The California Center for Military History (CCMH) is the exception with its “historical preservation mission.

Detractors say SDFs are magnets for attracting “warrior wannabes” unable to qualify for military service.  Alaska disarmed its SDF following a state investigation that found it lacked “training  intensity or standardization” and was a potential liability to the state.

In California, Maj. Gen. Robert Thrasher had to pull back a renegade CSMR unit from the ledge of mission-creep in the early 1990s after a Bay Guardian Newspaper reporter infiltrated it, and reported it was maintaining files on California Legislators at a California armory. The New York Times has reported that officers in the New York SDF had little, or no, formal military training, but held ranks as high as general officer as tokens for political favors.

A favor, many speculate, that cronies like Lt. Col. (CA) Jay Coggan  (page 2 of attached link) are receiving in the form of SAD-salaried jobs in exchange for political or personal deals. Coggan, who exceeds the age 60 retirement requirement for which the Dynasty discharged nearly 100 SAD employees in 2013–is a retired business litigation lawyer, hired on Youth Program dollars to litigate matters beyond the Youth Program’s scope.

Coggan has minimum military experience, but earns a “post-civilian” six-figure SAD retirement salary for allegedly legally managing high-ranking Cal Guard Officers real estate deals. The State Military Department also purchased his services, so to speak, as part of their “big guns’ at taxpayers’ expense to outspend the California Military History Foundation (CMHF) in the courts. Coggan reportedly helped with the legal work for the lawsuit the Military Department filed against the CMHF in Sacramento Superior Court, and allegedly used his political influence to lobby lawmakers (page 19, attached link) to rip he Foundation’s authority from state law.

Many speculate that the Dynasty created a Major General position so that Timothy Albertson can have a prestigious military status as well as to justify a fulltime SAD-paid Brigadier General post for Col (CA) Michael Herman, the alleged hatchet-man of both the SAD retirement purge and dismantling of the CCMH. Unable to fulfil his ambitions while on Active National Guard duty, Herman is now a member of the CSMR–an organization he originally trivialized in conversations he had with me (per my personal journals), but now fully endorses the CSMR now that he holds a SAD-salaried job within the CSMR.

This is a shame in California where our so-called “Grandfathers’ National Guard” established the model for establishing a SDF. When Congress authorized states to  maintain peacetime SDFs in 1956, they enacted it under federal laws governing the National Guard, Title 32 U.S.C. § 109, unwittingly hurling SDFs into the middle of today’s “turf war” between the National Guard and Active Duty Components. Under Title 32, The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is the executive agent for SDFs and  their conduit to the state and territory national guards.

NGB respects the state and  territory national guards hegemony, interprets the legal definition for SDFs as a “state entity” separate from the organized militia, and jealously protects Guard turf by holding DoD at bay from any SDF interaction. This allows each state to determine its own SDF training programs, uniform wear, fitness standards, and mission sets under the auspicious of  each state Guard’s lead emergency  management or Homeland Security agency.

It was this type of analysis by which the DoD IG determined State National Guards were misinterpreting Title 32 section 109 and inappropriately applying Title 10 policy to  SDFs. Under Title  32, neither DoD nor the National Guard can subsidize SDFs and are technically violating the law by allowing SDFs to use in-kind federal resources such federal facilities, ranges, equipment, and training materials.

But the CCMH is the exception with its mission clearly defined in federal law and embedded in Army  Policy implemented through Army Regulations 870-5 and 870-20. Arguably overlooked in DoD IG report titled, “Evaluation of Department of Defense Interaction with State Defense Forces, the CCMH should be serving as the model for integrating SDFs into the Nation’s Homeland Security and Defense planning using the DoD IG recommendations for creating interface with the DoD.

Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin’s concept for growing the CSMR is timely given its growing responsibilities in Ukraine, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley’s announcement of possibly doubling National Guard training days, and the likelihood that U.S. policy in the war on terrorism will change after the 2016 Presidential elections.

With the changing dynamics in global security, the California National Guard, however, cannot afford to bog down its mission by growing its inventory with antiquated military hardware and artifacts confiscated from the California State Military Museum. Neither is it efficient to distract fulltime active duty Guard mechanics from priorities of maintaining modern equipment for war and  civil emergencies to preserve historical artifacts.

Disenfranchising the CMHF and restructuring the CCMH so has to hire cronies is arguably disrespectful of the United States Constitution, federal and state laws, civilian leadership, and the citizens of California and the Nation. Both the Francize and the CCMH were established within the spirit of the Constitution. Their intent was to maintain deference to state authority with a SDF autonomous of the organized Militia; without that loophole the DoD IG exposed in its 2014 report.

Baldwin’s staff could better serve him and  promote the SDF vision by collaborating with DoD to implement recommendations in the 2014 DoDIG evaluation. The Cal Guard would help usher in DoD interface for SDF Homeland Security/Homeland Defense missions, integrating SDFs into the Defense Support to Civilian Authority (DSCA) mission, and preparing them as a viable backfill to Guard units deployed  for their federal missions both domestically and overseas. The SDFs would be able to use federal facilities, training facilities, ranges, and establish uniform military standards as they did while mobilized under Title 10 for World Wars I & II, With proper standards and DoD training oversight, states would incur less liability.

But the Dynasty is moving in the opposite direction. The Museum has become a taxpayer burden. Taxpayers once contributed less than 10 percent to the California Military History Museum budget for a museum that was open to the public, and resource center that fed Center for Army  Lessons Learned, produced history books, properly maintained public displays, and accurately re-enacted historical battles and events. Now citizens pay nearly $1.5 million annually for a museum the public cannot visit, produces no historical products, and is manned by a SDF staff with no authority to operate a museum under Army Regulations. The CCMH is now the Heritage Command with a mission to provide a headcount for commander wannabes needing a façade command to rationalize large salaries.

The Dynasty is squandering the peacetime SDF model their so-called “Grandfather’s National Guard” designed in favor of a system to retire or hire Dynasty crony has-beens into high-paying SAD salaried jobs. They are feathering their retirement nest, so to speak, with a mission pilfered from the CCMH, booty stolen from the California Military History Foundation, and SDF vision robbed from Arthur N. Tulak, Robert W. Kraft, and Don Silbaugh, who, in Parameters Magazine, argued that SDFs are a “valuable component for homeland security/Defense contingency missions and that the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) should consider integrating them into the DSCA mission.

In their 2014 evaluation, the DoDIG offered several recommendations for accomplishing the integration that Tulak, Kraft, and Silbaugh suggest; recommendations that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy “non-concurred,” many speculate, to steer clear of the National Guard-Active Duty Component ‘turf wars .”

In what appears to be a ultimate hypocrisy, the Dynasty is cleverly doing what they criticized our Grandfathers’ National Guard of doing–building their own version of the “Bird Sanctuary.”


Hamilton's Marauders. In hindsight, the groundwork that Brig. Gen. (CA) William Hamilton did while the History Officer while he was Maj. Hamilton with the National Guard, proved "visionary," in establishing a California Center for Military History (CCMH) (left) state defense force command under the authority of the California State Military History Foundation (recognized the California Secretary of State (right)--a state agency. but with Department of Defense (DoD) interaction. The DoD Investigator General offered a similar recommendation for all state defense forces in 2014, which the Under Secretary of Defense rejected--presumably, California's Home Game speculates, of intruding into the National Guard-Active Component turf war.
The California Center for Military History was a state defense force started in 1977 that grew into the only state Guard authorized to use federal training facilities, federal equipment, and maintain federal property. That’s because the United States Army Center for Military History had oversight of their training and standards and it was nested into both federal and state statute. California’s Secretary of State recognized the CCMH for work that included founding the MG Walter P. Story Research and Resource Center that was networked into the Library of Congress and the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL).

The Smoking Guns”

But the Foundation and the SMR History Command  have a trademark associated with “The Greatest Generation;'” a SDF unit built the “right way,” conceived in spirit of the U.S. Constitution and laws governing the U.S. Armed Services and in the tradition of the minute-man militia, leaving no loopholes for their degradation.

Embedded within the genes of their fertilization are the pillars of justice that give the U.S. Army Center of Military History’s (USACMH), Chief  of Military History (CMH), a compelling government interest. The USACMH is charged for ensuring the care and maintenance of taxpayers’ donations of historic military hardware and artifacts, and certifying and inspecting their field museum’s staffs, and “command logistics to ensure they are in compliance with ARs 870-5 and 870-20, as  deemed necessary,

California’s Home Game has obtained a March 1, 2013 email from the U.S. Army Historical Command’s Field Director at National Guard Bureau (NGB), Steven L. Stearns, to the Dynasty’s YCPTF Commander, Brig. Gen. (CA) James Gabrelli indicating the CMH “deems it necessary.” In that correspondence, Stearns relays a strong  message that CMH is concerned with the Dynasty’s assault on the Museum, its staff, and logistics command.

“Under the terms of AR 870-20, the Army’s regulation governing its museums, federal artifacts are the property of the Center of Military History (CMH) and part of the Army’s national collection,” Stearns writes. “The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the California Military Department and the California State Military Foundation is clear on the point that the Foundation is accountable for ‘any property, Federal, State, or Foundation, in its custody [and] under its control.”

Further on in the correspondence, Steans tells Gabrielli that the Museum’s director and staff, operate “under the auspices of the Foundation,” and that as an “Ex-officio member of the  Foundation, the Adjutant General “can advise” the United States Property and Fiscal Office (USPFO) in inventorying or recovering Museum Property. He adds, “If the California State Military  Museum was devoid of full-time staff and/or a functioning Foundation Board, a case could be made to provide CMH  with internal assistance. That is not the case here”

A Dynasty cue to make a case. With a specious  Governor’s mandate, unlimited state resources, a pseudo Political Action Committee (PAC), and CSMR General Officer and state commissions for sale, the Dynasty has exhausted the Foundation’s resources in the Courts, flipped the state legislature, starved out the Foundation’s revenue flows, and stole the CCMH’s federal identity. They have effectively disenfranchised the Foundation, and assumed its role in assisting  the CMH “internal assistance.”

So it is, that State Investigator General, whom denied two Foundation requests to investigate the State Military Department’s intrusion into museum business, is now leading the charge to inventory and recover the Army’s property, that the Dynasty dispersed  throughout the state when it forced the museum’s closure. But many of those involved allege that the Dynasty is “cooking the books,” and maneuvering their “propaganda machine,” to cover a trail of questionable tactics in their “Fight at the Museum.”

But perhaps there’s hope for a Foundation comeback pending a USACMH review and inspection. Although the Dynasty has covered their trail with a Governor’s mandate, it’ll be interesting to see if they can withstand Army scrutiny, and if that law suit they filed alleging the Foundation posed “public safety risk” for possessing and dealing in automatic weapons, ends up being the “smoking guns” that spark an Army Investigator General, and perhaps, broader-scoped state and federal investigations.


I often think of those veterans who dreamed of a California Military History Museum when I remain after Catholic Mass for the Chaplet of the Devine Mercy. Pulling out that weapon of peace I concealed in my military cargo pockets during nearly  30 years  of  military service, I pray the Rosary in unison with fellow parishioners and Christians worldwide, in mediation to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, for the souls of both living and dead, petitioning her intercession for world peace. It’s during this time of reflection and prayer, when it seems I feel the prayers, of those Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, suffered and bore the deepest wounds of war, veterans living and dead, praying above all others, for Devine intervention, and guidance under God.

It’s then when I image a Lonesome Dove, swooping down from the heavens, gathering those prayers radiating from the treasure beneath that Operation called Cornerstone that our Grandfathers’ National Guard established so long ago. As I picture the Saints sanctifying their prayers for peace, I envision the Lonesome Dove carrying them to the  gates of heaven, hoping their fellow citizens, military, and civilian leaders have learned to prudently use the soldiers’ experience, asking Mary’s intervention, to preserve God’s peace.

It’s during this time of reflection when I ask for forgiveness for that Dynasty that crumbled this Ark and destroyed its army; and I beseech the Lonesome Dove to add my prayer to that collection he’s carrying to Heaven’s Gates. My  prayer of atonement, for those times I was part of that Dynasty formation, failing to heed opportunities God gave me, to disrupt their cadence, and nudge them from their path, in their march, toward their “Fight at the Museum.”


In Chapter 6 I have fun. I write a satire of the “Fight at the Museum.” I will follow-up Chapter 6 with an  epilogue, summarizing my thoughts  and recommendations for the  future.


The California Military  History  Foundation is still fighting for Museum supporters and the California veteran. For those wishing to learn what they can do to help the Foundation,  visit



One comment

  1. Your points are well taken, accurate and concise. Unfortunately, the “Dynasty” of independent state powers seems to rule the day. Our Governor is clueless and could care less. Scandal is the only thing he will listen to…and there is plenty of scandal in the CA Military Dept…that spread around could cause a conflagration.

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