Author Archive: Editor

From the Book Shelf

The Fleet at Flood Tide
America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945

By James D. Hornfischer

 

There was no explaining away what thousands of Marines had observed with their own disbelieving eyes in the Marianas. The ritual suicides of the Japanese garrisons, their predatory brainwashing and murder of the innocent unarmed, have been insufficiently considered as a turning point that shaped the war’s final year. … The first direct U.S. experience of total war occurred in the Marianas, and it renewed the will to win and to win totally, using all means available, without restraint. Unconditional surrender became the byword of this new resolve.

 Viewed through the haze of 7-plus decades it is hard to imagine the scope, the dedication and the unimaginable horrors of total all-out world war that was WWII. But James Hornfischer describes it well in his latest book, The Fleet at Flood Tide.

 As the brief excerpt above suggests, this splendid volume is a detailed narrative of the U.S. offensive into the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific and the final year of the war.

If one can quibble with anything about the book, to me it would be the title, specifically “The Fleet.” It is far from being just a chronicle of naval warfare. Rather it spells out in close detail the overwhelming air, land and sea operations that seized the strategically vital islands of Saipan, Tinian and Guam.

It is the story of the strategies and planning at the highest levels, but also it is the story of the individual men—mostly very young men—that made victory happen. It details what one reviewer called the true nature of their foe—not only the Imperial Japanese military—but its suicide-ready civilians as well.

He said that after the bloody capture of Saipan, two clear truths emerged: “A great victory was in hand… and far worse lay ahead.”

If you have ever questioned the decisions that brought about the end of the war, Hornfischer may make you reorder your thinking. The book makes clear the unimaginable depth of the Japanese will to resist. The reader is left with the obvious conclusion that an invasion of Japan proper would have been bloody beyond measure, for us as well as for the Japanese populace.

Today we all know how the saga ends, but this highly recommended book details how in the final months of the war we got there. It covers the penultimate B-29 incendiary raids on Japan and the painfully considered use of atomic bombs. But most significantly, it tells the story of the actions of soldiers, sailors, and airmen that combined to achieve victory.

— Reviewed by Past Commander Jim Blossey

 

Your 2017-18 Post Officers

Commander: David M. (Mike) Denton
Senior Vice Commander: Carl F. Kurfess
Junior Vice Commander: Rose Gililand
Quartermaster: Dennis L. Peterson
Chaplain: Daniel J. Doyle
Judge Advocate: Aaron M. Terwedo
Surgeon: Al S. Boyett
1 Year Trustee: Daniel A. White
2 Year Trustee: James R. Mc Cann
3 year Trustee: James M. Traner
Adjutant: Richard F. Simmons
Service Officer: Don D. Whedon

 

New officers will be installed at the Post meeting, on June 13, 2017

Dispatch from Rome

ANZAC Day in Romeby Pete Farmer

I am living in Rome, Italy for a year. It is a great experience and I thought I would share some that would be of interest to Post 8870 members.

April 25th is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand. It commemorates the landing of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli, Turkey on that date 1915. As part of British and Commonwealth ground and Naval forces, the aim was to knock the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), a German ally, out of WWI and provide relief to Russia. The campaign failed and ground forces withdrew after 8 months and with heavy losses on both sides.

Why celebrate a failure? Both Australia and New Zealand were newly independent, but there was no question that they would fight for the mother country on the international stage. Their involvement was a sign of nationalism and ANZAC spirit that had not fully existed earlier. Australians and New Zealanders annually participate in a lottery to attend ceremonies at Gallipoli. I was able to visit the battlefield as part of a tour of Turkey two years ago. It was a moving experience.

ANZAC Day in RomeRome is one of several other sites in the world to have their own ceremonies. The Australian and New Zealand embassies sponsor the event at the Rome War Cemetery. This is a plot of land donated by Italy and contains the graves of 426 Commonwealth veterans of the liberation of Italy in WWII. The ceremony remembers all their veterans. Wreaths are placed by representatives of the Commonwealth and Allied nations and by Turkey.

Teachers of the Year Recognized

Teachers of the Year Recognized

L to R Susan Venable, Jamie Mulvihill, Susan Olmos, Cdr Crabtree

At the monthly post meeting on March 14, Post 8870 presented selections for the Elementary and Middle School “National Citizenship in Education Award”. These awards recognize teachers for their dedication to educating students on matters of citizenship. The recipients are recognized with certificates and a modest monetary stipend at the local Post level and are entered in the District 1, Department of Washington competition, with district winners becoming eligible for Department (State) and National awards. (While the awards will not be made until the District Convention later this spring, we already know that both of our recipients will receive the District 1 award in their category.)

This years recipients, Susan Olmos and Jamie Mulvihill, both of Holy Rosary School in Edmonds, came to the attention of the Post awards committee as a result of an excellent Veterans Day program they jointly prepared and presented with enthusiastic student participation for Veterans Day 2016. Ms. Olmos teaches music to all grades and is also Holy Rosary Parish Music Director. She is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, now retired from the USAF. Ms Mulvihill teaches math in grades 6-8 in addition to planning and organizing the school’s annual Veterans Day Assembly.

 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Shaping Up

Edmonds Veterans Plaza DedicationWork is moving fast on the Edmonds Veterans Plaza near the Public Safety Complex at Fifth Avenue North and Bell Street in Edmonds. The two photos below, taken a few days prior to publication show the plaza under construction.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Shaping UpAt left, the engraved pavers are shown, waiting at the Civic Center Playfield for installation. Look closley and you will see the names Weaver and Clyborne on the exposed pavers.

Construction is expected to be complete in time for the dedication, now scheduled to take place on Memorial Day, May 29. We urge all of our members, their families and all other Edmonds Veterans to attend.

NL0417_Edmonds-Veterans-Plaza_2 NL0417_Edmonds-Veterans-Plaza_3

Plaza Garden Installation Volunteers Needed

Now, on to the garden! Ron Clyborne met with and has arranged to have an amazing group, “Growing Veterans”, join us in our effort to plant a beautiful memorial garden, and the City is helping us with plants from their gardens. We need volunteers to help with the installation. Email Ron Clyborne; ronclyborne@comcast.net to let us know you wish to participate. You will receive an email advising of dates(s) and time for the project.

Memorial Day Observances on the Horizon

Poppy Distribution 

MemoriPoppy Distributional Day poppy distribution will occur on the weekend of May 19-21 at the usual locations. Poppy coordinator Bob Crawford will be taking sign ups for Friday and Saturday shifts, plus Sunday shifts at Central Market in Mill Creek only. Please participate. This is the major fund raiser which allows the post to support verterans and our community projects. The more people we have on hand, the more poppies we hand out and the more money we collect. Besides, it’s fun!

Memorial Day Observances on the HorizonAnnual Memorial Day Observance, Edmonds Cemetary.

Monday, May 29, 11:00 AM. Join our color guard and participate in the ceremonies to honor the fallen.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Dedication 

Monday, May 29, 2:00 PM at the plaza, located at 6th Ave & Bell St in downtown Edmonds.

 

In Memoriam

NL0417_William-LeFevreLeo William (Bill) LeFevre of Edmonds, one of our few remaining WWII combat veterans passed away on March 16. He was 93 years of age.

While not a member of our post, Bill was a veteran of WWII, serving in Europe as a BAR man with the 99th Infantry Division. He was wounded at Bastogne, just at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, for which action he received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He returned to his unit following recovery in England.

Bill was a widower of many years, the father of five and an engineer with Lockheed and later Boeing, working in defense projects. He was a poet, violinist and singer of considerable skill. A kinder man and a better friend you are unlikely to find. Your editor sang with him for many years in the Holy Rosary Church Choir, where he was the longest serving member at 43 years, until the last month of his life.