Veterans Resource Center honors military past

By Brittney Fleshman

Cal Poly Pomona’s Veterans Service Initiative hosted a number of events last week to honor service members and highlight the university’s history as a Quartermaster Depot for the United States Army during World War II.

“The focus was to pay tribute to our soldiers who have served, to our history as a campus with our military heritage and also to the equine because we love our horses here at Cal Poly,” said Elke Azpeitia, veterans services coordinator.

The events began on Tuesday with the Military and Equine Heritage Celebration in University Park during U-Hour.

The campus community took photos with the U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Calvary Regiments Horse Detachment, who appeared in World War II military uniforms and CPP’s own Arabian horses.

The event included the national anthem, the presentation of colors, and historical photos and artifacts.

“My father is a veteran, so it’s really nice to see them out of the office and interacting with students and teaching us history,” said third-year biology student Autumn Denison. “I really enjoyed it.”

Michael Bailey, the veterans resource advisor, gave an educational speech during the event to inform the campus community of CPP’s heritage.

In his speech, he explained that in 1943 “the [University of California] system donated the Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, renaming the ranch the Pomona Quartermaster Depot Remount commanded by Colonel F.W. Foster.”

Italian and German prisoners of war at the depot made the rock wall that leads up to Kellogg House Pomona.

“Their presence is still on this campus, but not very many people know that,” said Azpeitia.

During this time in history, Arabian horses were bred for the U.S. Army’s calvary unit.

“It’s nice to be able to come together with the Arabian Horse Center and the library to highlight our school’s heritage,” said Bailey.

Wednesday’s volleyball game was Athletics’ Military Appreciation Night, honoring service members. T-shirts were given out, and the veterans stood for a round of applause.

All current or prior service members were offered free admission.

“Our job continues today,” said Azpeitia. “We’re no longer a Quartermaster Depot, but our goal is the same in terms of supporting our troops as they return to the campus and get their education.”

The last event of the week was held on Thursday.

At the Veterans Day Observance in University Park during U-Hour, U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton presented the colors. CPP’s Wind Ensemble also performed.

“The Wind Ensemble did a great job, and I thought it was awesome that we had an opportunity to sign a card for service members wishing them happy holidays,” said fourth-year sociology student Luke Finalet.

CPP’s Staff Council hosted a booth where the campus community was able to sign cards for the holidays that would be sent through Operation Gratitude, which is a nonprofit organization that sends letters of appreciation and care packages to veterans, service members and first responders.

Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton, acting vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the Veterans’ Services Initiative executive committee, spoke about how our campus is committed to supporting our troops.

Ernesto Morales, a student veteran, spoke from the students perspective of the military and his experience on campus.

“It’s always been part of our culture and our heritage,” said Azpeitia. “Our campus has served our country during World War II, and it continues to serve by supporting our troops.”

Military and Equine Heritage Celebration

Gabrielle Penaranda / The Poly Post

Military and Equine Heritage Celebration

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