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Compton: History project seeks Catalina Heights memories

By George Compton
Saturday, February 21, 2009

For those who haven't noticed, the Catalina Heights Housing Area in Camarillo has been demolished and is being rebuilt. That facility was built in 1959 and housed Air Force and Navy families for almost 50 years.

The U.S. Navy and URS Corporation are documenting the history of Catalina Heights in an effort to preserve knowledge of that facility for the benefit of future generations. I know many families that served in Ventura County chose to remain here after service and I would like to invite those families to help with this history project.

A two-page survey has been developed and this office will provide a copy to anyone interested in providing information on their experiences in living in Catalina Heights. One of the questions asks if the housing was suitable to family needs. Hopefully answers to questions of that nature will help in designing military family housing in the future.

Q. I was recently rated 20 percent service connected disabled and on my award letter it states that I may be eligible for Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance. How do I find out about that benefit?

A. Go to, and in the menu go to Benefits and highlight Life Insurance. There is a prompt for Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance. At that location download a copy of VA Pam 29-9. That pamphlet explains the program and includes the premium rates. You have two years from the time you were rated to apply.

Q. With the 5.8 percent increase in compensation this year, did the burial allowance also increase?

A. Unfortunately, the VA burial allowances have not changed since September 2001. For deaths after September 2001, the VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for a service connected death. The allowances for veterans who were in receipt of compensation, where the death was not service connected, are up to $300 for burial and funeral expenses, and a $300 plot allowance.

— George Compton, a retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033, phone number 385-6366, fax 385-6371, or e-mail

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