Author Archive: Editor

Tinnitus (and other hearing problems)

Any of us who ever served an artillery piece, or even spent much time firing any sort of gun have had our hearing affected. Back when I was on 3 inch and 40mm gun crews, the only man with hearing protection was the telephone talker. The rest of us tried to get by covering our ears. (Hard to do with a 3 inch shell in your hands.) Ed.

Tinnitus is the number-one disability among Veterans and affects at least 1 in 10 American adults. People with tinnitus describe ringing sounds, a buzzing sound, a high-pitched whistle, or numerous other sounds.

The causes and effects of tinnitus vary from person to person. Because tinnitus has many causes, VA believes the approach to treating it should be interdisciplinary. And because there is no cure for tinnitus, VA’s goal is not to silence the sounds it causes, but to help patients manage their reactions.

About 80 percent of people with tinnitus are not bothered by it, because it does not affect their sleep or their ability to concentrate. Those who struggle with the noise in their head can be more prone to other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

Testing for tinnitus—Tinnitus is common in Veterans, but there are no objective tests to diagnose the problem. In 2013, NCRAR researchers and researchers from Oregon Health and Science University conducted three phases of testing to try to distinguish Veterans with tinnitus from those who do not have it. Some differences were found between the groups, but also that no single test or series of tests could reliably diagnose the condition. The team concluded additional work is needed to develop a specific battery of tests for detecting the presence or absence of tinnitus with a high degree of confidence. For more information on Veterans’ hearing loss and VA treatment and research, follow this link.

New Member: Jay Hansen

New Member: Jay Hansen

Jay Hansen was voted into membership and sworn in at the January Post meeting by Commander Mike Denton

Jay retired as a Lt. Colonel from the USAF. Among his other stations and duty assignments, Jay served in helicopters out of Danang during the Vietnam War.

Notable among Jay’s activities is membership in the Mill Creek Chorale, where he sings low bass with Commander Denton. Jay resides in Mukilteo.

The Battle of Belleau Wood

by Dan Doyle

The Battle of Belleau Wood

The 100th anniversary of one of the most storied battles of the long Marine Corps history will be remembered this year: the Battle of Belleau Wood in WWI.

Late in the war, the Germans, knowing that the Americans were entering the war in numbers, undertook a desperate, last ditch effort to defeat the Allies before the Americans could bring sufficient forces into the war on the side of the Allies. But, as usual, the Marines were already there. The German offensive was launched in a place called Belleau Wood, near the Marne River in France, near Paris. It was in the spring of 1918 and the Germans would bring everything they could to the offensive. They would be countered by the 1st Bn, 5th Marines, among other allied troops.

One of the most famous Marine Corps quotes comes from a Marine 1st Sgt. by the name of Dan Daly who shouted to his Marines in their attack on the German lines, “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?”

As battered as they were, those Marines never fell back, never gave up, and fought with such wild abandon that the Germans began calling them “TeufelHunden,” or Devil Dogs. That name has become an unofficial moniker for all Marines.

On June 26, 1918 Marine Maj., Maurice Shearer sent a message: “Woods now entirely U.S. Marine Corps.” The battle had lasted 3 weeks and by the end the Marines had suffered more casualties in that battle than in all of its history to that point.

Like the Spartans at Thermopylae, this small force of Marines had held back and stopped a superior force. Because of this, all Marines who serve in the 1st Bn, 5th Marines (and a unit of the 6th Marines) can wear the French Fourragere insignia on the left shoulder of their uniform. They are the only Marine units allowed to wear this device. These units also were awarded the French Croix de Guerre with two palms and one gilt star for their actions at Belleau Wood.


In Memoriam

We will drape our charter at the February Post meeting in honor of the passing of two of our Life Members. Rest in peace Comrades.

Joseph (Ski) Kuchinski

Joseph (Ski) Kuchinski Joseph (Ski) Kuchinski

Post 8870 member Joseph Kuchinski passed away on December 31, 2017. Joseph was born in Moosic, PA August 13, 1929 to Henry Sr. and Cecelia Kuchinski. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Henry Jr. and Vincent Kuchinski. “Ski, as he was he was affectionately known, enlisted in the Navy in 1948. He defended our freedom with honor and pride for 30 years in which he served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was a proud member of the Knights of Columbus and VFW post 8870. A devoted member of Holy Rosary Church in Edmonds. Ski is survived by wife, Wanda, of 57 years; sister, Dorothy; daughters, Angela Kuchinski, Trina Myers, Lisa Beavin (Ron) and son, David Kuchinski; grandchildren, Bryce, Mckenzie, Breeahna, Lereana, Ryan, Kyle, Jamie and three great grand children. Services were held at Tahoma National Cemetery, January 26, 2018.

Richard Clyde 

Richard Clyde

Richard Clyde , World War II Veteran and Life Member of VFW Post 8870 died January 24, 2018 at age 92 in his home town of Langley, on Whidbey Island.

The Clyde name is ubiquitous in Langley. There’s Clyde Alley and Clyde Road. The famous Clyde Theatre, built in 1937, still shows movies. Clyde Motors was once adjacent to the theater at the corner of First and Anthes.

Richard grew up in Langley during the Great Depression. He worked at the family garage in high school and frequently ran the projector at the theater. Richard went back to work in his father’s garage after he returned from World War II. He eventually bought the business in 1954.

American History; Our Hope for the Future

(The full text of Olivia Olson’s winning Voice of Democracy essay)

The binding is a bit loose, the pages curl slightly with age, and the passages have been highlighted and margins doodled in by previous students. My American history textbook is certainly aging, but the messages it contains are timeless. Sitting in class and thumbing through those yellowed pages, I am suddenly transported through time.

The birth of a new nation begins to unfold from dense paragraphs in Chapter 3. The American Revolution. Thirteen scrappy colonies tenuously bound in the ideals of liberty and democracy. Protesting the tyranny of Britain, Bostonians dump tea in the harbor, twelve delegates meet at the first Continental Congress, and George Washington recounts Thomas Paine’s iconic words to his troops, “these are the times that try men’s souls.” And when their souls were tried, their bravery, patriotism, and determination to forge a better future never wavered, and the United States of America was born. The reading concludes with an illustration of the Battle of Yorktown and the simple caption, “a glorious victory for the newly formed nation.”

An insert in Chapter 7 discusses American inventions. A cartoon image depicts Thomas Edison refusing to give up on his lightbulb, claiming, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And nearly 100 years later, visionaries like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates advance computer technology, putting libraries and symphonies at our fingertips. The spirit of innovation is an inherent part of our history, one fostered by the belief that we can always improve the world around us. I look up from my textbook, sitting in a room lit by American innovation and chairs filled with students from all around the world. Their parents and ancestors came here for a better future and helped build, shape, and advance this nation.

A yellow Post-it note serves as a forgotten bookmark and draws my attention to a black and white photograph in Chapter 16. Women pour into the streets, donning signs that demand gender equality and the right to vote. In the section on Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his dream to a crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, and hundreds of people march across my page at Selma, protected by the National Guard. The subjugation of women and people of color are unignorable stains on the tapestry of our history. But today, these stains serve as reminders not to repeat the mistakes of the past. And they also remind us, that even in the face of oppression or prejudice, the American people can exercise the rights earned for each citizen to realize the intent of the Constitution: that we are all created equal.

Now notice I say earned, not given, when talking about our rights as American citizens. Because the liberties we enjoy, our unalienable rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” have been bravely defended by our veterans. Without them, we wouldn’t have had the security to pursue innovations that changed the world, the freedom to speak our minds, nor the ability to stand here today, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, looking towards a bright future.

The bell rings suddenly, dismissing my history class and shaking me from my thoughts. I look at the glossy U.S. flag cover of my textbook and slide it into my backpack. As I walk to my next class, I think about the students who will traipse through these halls 60 years from now. High school seniors, just like me, will read their updated American history textbooks and be transported through the events of the past. I hope those chapters fill them with the same pride that I feel today. I hope they live in a world where these qualities, those of Washington, Gates, and King, characterize what it means to be an American. I hope that my children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren live in a country that continues to foster an innovative, resilient, and brave society.

Annual Legion/VFW Joint Christmas Party Held

Annual Legion/VFW Joint Christmas Party Held

The Silver Bells Carolers brought a mood of heightened festivity.
To the caroler’s left is a beautiful hand-made quilt donated by Dorothy Harkness, which was bought at auction by Buck Weaver.

Annual Legion/VFW Joint Christmas Party Held

Ron Clyborne displays raffle winnings.

Dinner which included turkey, ham and all the trimmings was enjoyed by a nearly full house.

Many thanks to Paul Bustard for providing turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Raffle items donated by the post leadership brought over $ 1,000 for the general fund. Members also donated food for the Edmonds Food Bank and new toys for disadvantaged children, long-standing traditions for this event.

Annual Legion/VFW Joint Christmas Party Held

In Memorium

VFW District 16 Commander Donn Dale passed way on the evening of Dec. 18, 2017

Services were held on January 6, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Toutle Christian Church, 5067 Spirit Lake Hwy, Toutle, WA 98649. Condolences may be addressed to Doreen Dale at the family home: 323 Cornell Rd Toutle, WA 98649.

The family requests donations to The Puget Sound Honor Flight, Northwest Battle Buddies or VFW.


Harley Crain. Just prior to going to press, we learned of his death last summer. We had sent birthday greetings to Harley to which his wife responded to inform us of his passing in August, 2017. Harley was a Life Member of Post 8870 and resided in Edmonds.

We will drape our charter in honor of our departed comrades at the January meeting.

Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America

The rifle team from VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood marches into the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Evergreen Washelli on Saturday Dec.16. It’s the eighth annual ceremony held here. (Photo: Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

At more than 1,200 locations across America, including Seattle-area cemeteries, more than half a million wreaths were placed. VFW Post 8870 donated funds toward the purchase of wreaths for the Evergreen Washelli ceremony.

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton 

P.T. Deutermann's novel Sentinels of FireP.T. Deutermann’s novel Sentinels of Fire tells the tale of a lone destroyer, part of the Allied invasion forces attacking the island of Okinawa and the Japanese home islands.

By the spring of 1945, the once mighty Japanese fleet has been virtually destroyed, leaving Japan open to invasion. The Japanese react by dispatching hundreds of suicide bombers against the Allied fleet surrounding Okinawa. By mid-May, the Allied fleet is losing a major ship a day to murderous swarms of kamikazes streaming out of Formosa and southern Japan. The radar picket line is the first defense and early warning against these hellish formations, but the Japanese direct special attention to these lone destroyers stationed north and west of Okinawa.


Author’s Note: 

“My father was a division commander (Commodore) of destroyers at Okinawa in 1945. I wish I could say that he told me all about it; he did not. He wouldn’t speak of it. It was simply that bad. 

Navy KIA exceeded those of the ground troops in the campaign. Considering the meat-grinder nature of the Okinawa land battle, with hundreds of thousand engaged, that is truly significant. Navy losses were driven by the ferocious Japanese kamikaze assault. I’ve long believed that the Okinawa campaign played a significant part in the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. The Japanese knew they could not hold Okinawa, but were determined to make the Americans bleed for it and perhaps think twice about invading the home islands. I think they succeeded in that.” 

P.T. Deutermann spent twenty-six years in military and government service, including command of the guided missile destroyer USS Tattnall for a three-year tour of duty, which included combat operations off Lebanon.

VFW Sets the Record Straight on Decision Ready Claims

On Dec. 14, VA sent veterans an email promising they would receive claim decisions in 30 days by working with organizations like the VFW through the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) process. To set the record straight, VFW National Veterans Service Director Ryan Gallucci put together a video explaining why the 30- day promise is misleading, and what the DRC process really means for veterans seeking to access their earned benefits. Gallucci also joined CBS Radio’s Connecting Vets on Friday morning to spread the word on how this program really works and why veterans need to have a candid conversation with their accredited VFW Service Officer about whether or not DRC is right for them. Watch the video.