Museum exhibit honors town’s military past

Alonso Smith Westmoreland is one of 12 Valley Center residents who served in the Civil War. He is the only one who fought for the Confederate Army. He died in 1917 at age 74. Valley Center Historical Society

Alonso Smith Westmoreland is one of 12 Valley Center residents who served in the Civil War. He is the only one who fought for the Confederate Army. He died in 1917 at age 74. Valley Center Historical Society

With the approach of Veteran’s Day on November 11, the Valley Center History Museum has enhanced its already popular exhibition of military memorabilia.  The display, titled “Honoring our Local Heroes”,  now includes multiple documents, military medals, uniforms, photos, dog-tags and citations.  All spotlight current and former residents of Valley Center.

Among items on exhibit is an original Civil War discharge certificate issued at Appomattox in 1865, plus a photo profile of 12 other local residents who served in the Civil War, including one soldier who volunteered for the Confederate Army.  Seven are buried at Valley Center Cemetery.

Visitors will also see tributes to Captain Lester Rice, commanding officer of the legendary aircraft carrier, USS Valley Forge; Navy master diver A. Ken Hartle who brought up downed ships and aircraft at Pearl Harbor;  and Captain William Roe, organizer of the California State Guard.  There is also a major display recalling the military training camp that was housed in a former CCC complex in the 1940s.  An oversize banner created in 1947 by Beatrice Bates honors local World War II veterans.