LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: American Military Museum

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 7: American Military Museum 

The American Military Museum is a must see for military history buffs. The museum is home to the largest collection of military vehicles, artillery, and equipment on the West Coast.  There are no missiles or bombs here, rather on display are over 170 historical pieces, ranging from vehicles and artillery used in the First World War to WWII to Vietnam to Operation Desert Storm.  

The staff is very friendly and informative.  They provided us with a self-guided tour binder allowing us to explore the military hardware on display at our own pace.  We got up close to the equipment, could touch and take pictures but couldn’t climb or enter any of the vehicles.

We were struck by how different and imposing the equipment looks in person compared to images on the big screen or television. Each tank, vehicle, equipment, even a helicopter, is marked with a number, so you can look it up in the binder and read about its use, history and specifications.  

We talked to several visiting veterans as we walked the grounds.  They were enthusiastic in sharing their insights about the equipment and their own experiences in the service.  

It gave us a fascinating view of military history. The museum is located in South El Monte, open Friday to Sunday, plenty of parking. Plan on spending at least an hour here.  There is a $5 entrance fee.




Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.