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By Debbie Gregory.

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A memo from Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan appears to have preserved $310 million in California military construction funds that were in danger of being diverted to border wall construction.


Shanahan directed the Pentagon to provide a list of $3.6 billion in military construction projects that could be used to fund the border wall by early May. Shanahan’s memo exempted projects awarded in fiscal 2019.   The majority of the new construction planned for military bases at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Camp Pendleton and Fort Irwin have fiscal 2019 award dates.


The projects include a $118 million reconstruction of the docking facilities at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, which includes the overhaul of the Anaheim Bay depot. This project will allow the station to load munitions onto larger ships and onto more ships simultaneously. It also will help accommodate the current shift of ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Work could begin as early as the end of this year.


The Navy’s preferred plan includes a 1,100-foot pier, a new breakwater to protect the pier, a causeway for trucks and a channel dedicated to public boats, which now travel through the same area used by Navy.


Camp Pendleton is slated for a $49-million amphibious-vehicle maintenance and warehouse building that is needed to properly maintain and repair the existing fleet of AAVs and new ACVs, that support the main combat focus of the Marine Corps amphibious operations.  There is also a $47-million upgrade to the base’s potable water system. The base still stands to lose $26 million awarded last year for a replacement medical care center.


Fort Irwin, a major training center in the Mojave Desert, is scheduled to receive $29 million in 2019 awards for a multipurpose training range complex. The National Training Center (NTC) is part of the United States Army Forces Command. The opposing force at the NTC is the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse Cavalry, who are stationed at the base to provide an opposing force to units on a training rotation at Fort Irwin.


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Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Marine Son and his Exec Dad are Now Salsa Kings

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By Debbie Gregory.

Gunnery Sgt. David Smith, served more than 20 years in the Marines as a cook, and developed the secret recipe for his salsa during those years. David and his dad, Tom, are two of only five people who know the top-secret recipe for their Jar Head Salsa.

“It’s kept in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and guarded by a Marine,” said Tom Smith of the recipe.

David came up with the recipe when he was cooking for some 3,000 U.S. Marines a day at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

“We went to visit him and he told us to try the salsa he created. It was wonderful,” said Tom. “We started bringing back coolers of his salsa.”

In 2009, the father and son would take over the kitchen of the Grand Blanc Township VFW Post 822 twice a week, chopping, mixing and tasting the salsa until they achieved perfection. The top Secret Recipe includes eight different vegetables, citrus juices, and spices.

They began selling the salsa at local farmers markets, donating 10 percent of the net revenues to charities that support veterans.

For Tom, who retired from quality control at General Motors in 2008, this is his shot at a dream.

“I had this entrepreneurial desire that was pent up all those years at GM,” said Tom. “This doctor, who kept ordering the salsa and giving it to his friends, said we should go into business. That’s all I needed to hear.”

David graduated from U.S. Marine Corps boot camp in 1998 and quickly worked his way up to gunnery sergeant running the food service for some 3,000 marines stationed at Camp Pendleton.

“There was a lot of Mexican food down that way,” Tom said. “The Marine Corps food services has a taco bar… it’s like a buffet.”

David found the government-issued salsa unacceptable, so he set out to fix that problem. He began experimenting with creating his own salsa. It took a few tries, but he found the perfect recipe and his Marines loved it. When his parents started sharing it with colleagues and friends, they knew it was a hit.

After David retired from the service in 2008, he and Tom launched the business. Although it took a while for Jar Head Salsa to be profitable, the company has donated $46,800 to charity so far.

Jar Head Salsa ships salsa to most of the 50 states.