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Tim: Cpl. Juan Dominguez-Gary Sinise

Inland Empire Community Welcomes Pendleton Warrior
By T.E. Mattox

n today's environment of talking heads and finger pointing, one Southern California community has embraced the concept that action truly does speak louder than words. The Temecula City Council voted unanimously in January to assist and support the building of a specially-equipped 'smart home' in Temecula for a Camp Pendleton wounded war veteran, Marine Cpl. Juan Dominguez.

Just prior to the council meeting announcement I had the distinct privilege to sit and talk with this young man about his time in uniform and both current and future endeavors. During the conversation it became very apparent this New Mexico native has lived a lot of life in his short 27 years.

Stationed at Camp Pendleton and attached to the legendary 'Darkhorse' 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Dominguez told me he was on his second deployment when a patrol through Afghanistan's Helmand Province, changed his life forever.

"It was my first combat tour," he said. "I was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan; the Sangin Valley." A particularly volatile area known for its strong ties to the Taliban, the Sangin Valley is recognized by both British and American troops as a very dangerous place.

It was while working his way down an embankment that the Corporal landed on top of an estimated 30 to 40 lb. roadside bomb. The resulting explosion that probably should have cost him his life, instead took both of his legs and his right arm.

Fifteen months and twenty-three surgeries later, the Purple Heart recipient still wears the uniform but is clearly focusing on what's ahead. He told me, "I'm retiring." but quickly added, "I can stay in, but I'm choosing to retire."

You would think that 'Mr.' Dominguez would likely want to distance himself from the memories of the last few months, but you would be wrong. He told me with certainty, "I still want to be involved with the Marine Corps. In February I start an internship in a government contracted job…teaching."

Interest piqued, I asked if there was any set curriculum? "Teaching Marine battalions that are about to pump out to Afghanistan, Iraq or any other combat-related areas in the proper use of tourniquets and the proper use of IED (Improvised Explosive Device) techniques. How to detect and find so that this stuff does not happen to other Marines and they can be better prepared when it does."

Just in case you may not have grasped that concept, please let me rephrase. Corporal Dominguez, upon retirement, plans to use his personal situational knowledge to train and hopefully prevent deploying service members from having to endure the same mental and physical trauma he's just experienced.

Cpl. Juan Dominguez with his family, Fred Siller and Gary Sinise
Cpl. Juan Dominguez with family and new friends, Fred Siller (L) and Gary Sinise (R) Photo: Bea Barnett

This truly selfless act has not gone unnoticed by others. In partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the City of Temecula has taken on the task of building this inspiring young troop a specially designed and equipped 'smart home.'

Dominguez told me he's simply amazed. "I chose this community and it all happened very quickly. Obviously this isn't my hometown, and even being a complete stranger to this community, they've been very welcoming. Everyone has pitched in, officials coming together and signing all my permits right away. It's pretty incredible. This wasn't supposed to be this fast and it seems like everybody's on board and pushing for this house to be built as quickly as possible."

Added support comes in the form of actor, producer and musician, Gary Sinise. As a long-time advocate of our military service members, disabled veteran's, first-responders and their families, Sinise and the 'Lt. Dan Band' will perform a benefit concert Thursday, March 1st in Old Town Temecula.

The film and television star says it's just another way to 'recognize the heroism, sacrifice and determination' of one of America's finest. "By doing these concerts we're able to bring the communities together and show our support for a great American who gave a lot to us, Juan Dominguez. And to show that no matter what, we're not going to forget what he did, how he has served and what he has sacrificed for us."

Frank Siller, who chairs the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and who leads the 'Building for America's Bravest' program, is in total agreement about the up-coming project. "Juan Dominguez has sacrificed so much for his country. I think it is only right that we repay him for his immense service."

When asked what he thinks of all the attention and new found celebrity status, Dominguez just shakes his head. "It's kind of weird." But having an award-winning actor like Gary Sinise stepping up in support, he adds, "It's very surreal. He's a very nice guy."

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band
Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will perform in Temecula, CA on March 1st.
Photo: courtesy of the Gary Sinise Foundation

When the reality finally begins to settle in, Juan says he has but one wish. "I just hope to live a normal life. I think my life is falling into place, I think this is my opportunity to get back to normal."

If you're looking for an opportunity to 'get back to normal' and do something special for one of our own, come out for an extraordinary evening of music and celebration to honor one of America's bravest.

For more information about the Gary Sinise Foundation, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the project or the show, contact the Old Town Temecula Community Theater at 866)653-8696 or check their website at

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Let Tim know what you think about his traveling adventure.

I was there at the Shrine to see Bob come in riding on a baby elephant. He says in the interview it was either '68 or 69: it was both – it was New Year's Eve (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite),

Debbie Hollier, Nevada City, CA

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Who else played with Canned Heat and Deep Purple at the Shrine in '68?

Bill, LA

I think the Shrine show on New Years in '68, where Bob Hite rode out on the elephant, also featured Poco, Lee Michaels, Black Pearl, Love Army and Sweetwater. Don't know that Deep Purple was booked on that evening.

Bill, maybe you're thinking about the International Pop Fest in San Francisco a few months earlier that featured these fine folks... Procol Harum, Iron Butterfly, Jose Feliciano, Johnny Rivers, Eric Burdon And The Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grass Roots, The Chambers Brothers, Deep Purple, Fraternity of Man & Canned Heat or possibly the following year in Jan of 1970 when Deep Purple appeared with Canned Heat and Renaissance on a triple-bill in London at the Royal Albert Hall.

One final note: The current Johnny Otis piece didn't mention it, but it was Mr. Otis that took Canned Heat into the studio the very first time to record in 1966. Small world, ain't it?


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Thank u for posting it! Bob is still boogin' around!! (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite),

Stefano Di Leonardo, Fisciano (Salerno, Italy)

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Great Read! (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite) I will post it on Bob "THE BEAR" Hite Official Facebook Page,

Dave Tohill, Brandon, UK

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Hello Tim, thank you so much for letting a huge Canned Heat fan check out this
interview with the Bear. I really enjoyed it.

Best regards,

Rick Caldwell, Fairfield, Ohio

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I knew Bob Hite in the 60's. Canned Heat played at our high school prom 1966 Rexford High. The Family Dog, Chet Helms, Skip Taylor.

Max Kalik, Los Angeles, CA

Dear Tim,

I just discovered you from an email I received from Preston Smith disclosing his next event. I wanted to tap into his website Prestonsmithmusic but it would not link from your site for some reason. I have to say Preston really is a genius and I met him in Glendale at a jazz club about three years ago, after a fatal accident. By chance, I was invited to spend time hanging out with Preston and some friends after his gig. He is everything you say and I will never forget his amazing creativity and his positive influence in my life.

Janelle, Palm Springs, CA

Love the article! (on Lowell George) Lowell was my father.

Forrest George, Warren, Vermont

This Bob Hite interview is the most interesting thing I have read concerning Canned Heat. I have Fito's book, but I always was interested in learning more about Bob Hite. You did it here my friend...great interview!!!!!

Tony Musto - Pittston, PA

Hey Tim, Great article on Preston! I really enjoyed it and you did your homework. I'll probably catch PS this weekend.


Dave - Northridge, CA

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Hello, what a great article on Preston Smith! I actually met Preston one evening after an Acoustic set of my own at the Prestigeous Carlton Hotel here in Atascadero, Ca. We were loading up and he happened to be walking down the sidewalk and stop to say hello. I must say that he is a truly interesting and talented man that NEVER forgets to let me know when he is playing around the Central Coast where I live. It was so fun to read about who he truly is...(as if you don't know him the first time you meet him)! My adventures have only just begun as I recently returned from Nashville recording my self titled debut EP. I can only hope that my adventures down the road are as enlightening as Preston's and that I have the honor of a great writer such as yourself to share them with the world. Thank you for doing just that, sharing "Preston Smith" with the world.


Amy Estrada - Atascadero, CA

Hi Tim,

My name is Bert, I'm from Italy and I'm a blues harmonica player...I read your article and it reminded me of the two trips I made in the Delta, in 2008 and 2009. I love Frank's music and I think it's a shame people don't really know his work. It's important that people like you write about him. Thank you! In the Delta I was only a "stupid" tourist, but it was a great, unique experience I consider one of the most important in my life: driving on the highways, Listening to the blues everywhere, jamming in places like Red's and ground Zero in Clarksdale or the Blues Bar in Greenville... are priceless things, something I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life. I met a beautiful, lovely woman there too (named Hope), but I behaved like a stupid kid and I lost her... Alas! I will never forget that days and the chance I had to find happiness...Well, I also wrote something about Frank on a website, but it's in Italian... I give you the link of the first part (the second will be published in the next weeks) anyway if you know some Italian or somebody who can understand it... Even if I'm thinking of making a translation


Bert - Pavia, Italy

I wanna be Tim!

Brent, Seattle, WA

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Those pictures give you an idea of what the Rockin' Pneumonia actually looks like and it looks BAD! But the man can still play! Enjoyed the article - give us more TRAVELING BLUES BOY!

Steve Thomas - NA, INDIANA

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Good Stuff, Tim. Having been a Johnny Winter fan since the first time I heard Rock n Roll Hoochie Koo, it was great hearing his take on some his highlight moments that defined his blues career. His affiliation with Muddy Waters was particularly interesting. Kudos for bringing that out. Thanks to your dedication to covering the blues scene, this "one of a kind" music still lives for servicemen & women around the world. Keep it Up!

Brandon Williams, Moreno Valley, CA

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Impressive! What a legend and how cool that you got so much time with him, Tim.

Don, Louisville, KY

Tim - Great article, enjoyed Little Feat/Lowell George story, really brought me back in time. Did not know he was a fishin' man! Wonder what surfaces out of the abyss of your memory next?

Steve Thomas, New Albany, IN

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I really liked your travel back in time with Lowell and Little Feat. As a long time Feat fan (mostly the stuff with Lowell) it was cool to read. I learned several of their songs back in the day and they still stand up today when played live. Another singer I really liked from back then is TimBuckley. Thanks for the article.

Chet Hogoboom, Arroyo Grande, CA

Loved your last issue of TB, especially the Mayall piece. I want that guy's job!

Brent, Seattle, WA


This is a great write up. Has it been printed in any magazines? It's better than a lot of things I read in my guitar magazines, so props for that.

Caejar, Moreno Valley, CA


I can tell that you have this passion for jazz. I wonder if you yourself play any instrument. Or are you just a groupie like most of us?

I talked with a mid-aged flute jazz artist a few weeks ago and he lamented that despite his talents (and he is extremely talented) he says that the industry hasn't been kind to him. He said jobs are few and far between. He said the music industry is combating piracy and competition due to technology being readily available to private homes and that they are not as profitable as before. So they are replacing live talent for synthesized or digital instruments.

Do you see the same trend in your relationships with your music network?

Bob, Pasadena, CA

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