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Post Gearing Up for Memorial Day Celebrations

On May 20th, the Post will be attending the 2nd annual Memorial Day ceremonies at Edmonds Community College that will be hosted by the Student Veterans Association. The event is held at the Black Box Theatre which is near the clubhouse for the golf course. It you enter on the southern entrance there will be plenty of signage telling you where to go. Its important to support our student veterans so your attendance will be appreciated.

On Friday, May 22nd, we will begin our two day Buddy Poppy fund raiser. I won’t give my normal beg for volunteers because those of you who participate will do so again, and those who don’t, will make themselves scarce. As usual, 20% do 80% of the work. However, Memorial Day and Veterans Day fund raising provides all of our Relief Funds used to support veterans, students, and the causes that support and assist many worthy endeavors. Adding one store requires a minimum of 8 volunteers and can easily produce as much as $2,000 in funds. We have plenty of stores, just not enough voluteers.

On Monday, May 25th, we will be at Edmonds Cemetery lining up at 11:45 to raise the flag. As in the past, several of our members will be participating. We would love to have a huge turnout to remember our fallen friends.

Fish’n Trips for Heroes

Our speaker at the last meeting was Jeff Mason, professional guide. Jeff, in conjunction with the JBLM, provides free fishing trips for wounded warriors. In addition, he is expanding the trips to widows and families of fallen soldiers. I met Jeff at Midwinter Conference in Vancouver and asked him to speak to our Post, which he graciously did. He has a great program and our Post contributed $500.

Charter Draped for Past Commander Dennis Gassland

Dennis Lein Gaasland passed away peacefully on March 26, 2015, in Edmonds, WA. He enlisted in the Navy and served his country proudly during World War II ending up at the liberation of the Philippines as a Radarman 2C. Before arriving at the Philippines, the navy brought him throughout the south Pacific, just about circling the perimeter, being stationed on one tropical island after the other. After shipping out of San Francisco, with the obligatory goodluck coin toss as his ship passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, his first stop was New Caledonia. From there, he went to the Soloman Islands, New Hebrides Island, Guadacanal, the Russel Islands, then to the Phillipines through Leyte Gulf at Tacloban, then Dulig, then Guiuan, Samar, then finally to Calicoan Island where he was when the war ended. Then he headed home via Okinawa to Seattle. After the war ended, Dennis returned to Washington and he and Helen were married on November 22, 1947, in Seattle. They were married for 67 ½ years until his death. After the Navy, Dennis went to the University of Washington on the GI bill, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1952. Dennis was a successful businessman, working for law firms in Seattle, while also being involved with the Kiwanis, and teaching business classes at Edmonds Community College. Because of his love of his country and Navy background, Dennis became involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Edmonds branch, serving as the Commander. He was also active with the American Legion in Lake Stevens. The Post honored him at the April meeting and covered the Charter in his memory.

Post Officers for 2015-2016

Commander
Jim Blossey

Senior Vice Commander
Terry Crabtree

Junior Vice Commander
Chris Edwards

Quartermaster
Dennis Peterson

Chaplain
Fred Apgar

Judge Advocate
Don Stapleton

Surgeon
Al Boyett

First Year Trustee
Mike Denton

Second Year Trustee
Jim Traner

Third Year Trustee
Jim McCann

Adjutant
Dick Simmons

Service Officer
Don Whedon

Baseball in Vietnam—Now & Then

The Mariners have started their season as usual, blowing games in late innings and leaving men in scoring position without ever getting a hit. At least things are normal for the Mariner fan. Several weeks ago, I was talking to a client who was taking his 12 year old son’s team to Vietnam to teach the local kids baseball. It brought back a memory I hadn’t thought about for years.

In 1968, we were laagered in a jungle clearing somewhere in III Corp, exactly where I don’t recall. Somehow a baseball appeared and those of us who could slip away quickly started a game with a couple of different tracks participating. As I recall, my track was used as the backstop and the bat was a tent pole or a piece of an aluminum antenna staff. I remember getting a hit and going to first base which was the rim of a bomb crater. I recall thinking this is the only base in history where overrunning it could get you injured by falling into a 15′ or 20’ deep bomb crater left from a B-52 strike. I don’t remember much else other than 2nd and 3rd were somewhat safer. You had to be 19 or 20, love baseball, and be totally crazy to play in that environment. We didn’t play long (I suspect our First Sergeant probably came along and put us to work), but it was fun while it lasted.

I never played baseball again in Nam other than that one afternoon in that jungle clearing. But I do know that if the Mariners played with as much enthusiasm as we did that day, they’d be leading their Division.

New Members—Pete Farmer, Membership Chair

VFW 8870 Member Kenneth PaigeKenneth Paige

Ken was formerly a VFW Member at Large who has transferred to Post 8870. He is originally from South Dakota. Ken is a Navy Veteran having served Sep 1955 – Sep 1958. He served aboard the USS Gurke DD-783 as a welder on Formosa Patrol in the Taiwan Straits. Ken was awarded the China Service Medal. He was a welder in civilian life and a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 66. He also ran a salmon fishing boat out of Edmonds and still enjoys fishing. He and Maryann reside in Edmonds. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

 

VFW 8870 Member Harold -Bud- CamandonaHarold “Bud” Camandona

Bud enlisted in the Army in Seattle in 1952 and served for 2 years. He was an artilleryman and served with Battery C 90th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea for 10 months 1953-54. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star.

 

VFW 8870 Member Robert I Vaagen
Robert I Vaagen

Bob Vaagen’s hometown is Spokane. He joined the Air Force in September 1967 after graduating from Washington State University. His nearly six years of service included several stateside assignments. He was at CCK Airbase, Taiwan 1970-71 as a C-130 pilot and member of the 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron. He flew 200 combat sorties in Southeast Asia which included delivering troops and cargo into forward operating bases. Bob is retired. He and Kathy live in Edmonds and have 2 sons.

Mike Reagan Honored by Medal of Honor Recipients

Mike was honored by the MOH Foundation for his Fallen Heroes Portraits. The award is given once a year and presented at their annual dinner in Washington DC. There are three awards given, 2 for citizen valor, and one for one for citizenship. Interestingly enough, one of the awards for valor was given to the young man who was a hall monitor at Seattle Pacific University and jumped the gunman who entered the common area and began shooting. When he paused to reload, John Meis jumped him and pep-per sprayed him preventing any additional shots. Before he was restrained, the gunman killed one and injured two. The fact that Mike and Jon are both from here is a testimony to our citizens.

WWII Veterans Recognized with Plaques for Service

WWII Veterans Recognized with Plaques for Service

Rodney Lam, Buck Weaver, Jim Harkness, Norm Goldstein, and Amos Chapman. Not shown Fred Die-trich and Dan White.

Mike Reagan donated these plaques for service to our WWII veterans. Unfortunately, Fred Dietrich and Dan White couldn’t attend the meeting and will get theirs at a later meeting. There plaques are carved by an individual in Port Angeles, as I recall, and Mike was presented one after he spoke on his Fallen Heroes Project. Mike then generously donated sufficient funds to insure that each of our WWII veterans were honored with a Plaque. The picture doesn’t do justice to the craftsmanship.