Author Archive: Editor

50 YEARS LATER

Vietnam Vietnam Veterans HonoredVietnam Veterans Honored 

Veterans of the Vietnam War were honored during a special 50th Anniversary commemoration ceremony held at Tahoma National Cemetery on Saturday, April 1.

Keynote Speaker for the event was Jim Martinson. A Vietnam Veteran himself, Martinson lost both legs above the knee as a result of an action near Da Nang in 1968.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Tahoma National Cemetery will honor the service, sacrifice, and enduring achievements of the Vietnam Veterans at this Vietnam War Commemoration 50th Anniversary event, through a special pinning ceremony. (Image of pin at right)

Those eligible include any living US Veteran who served on active duty in the US Armed Forces between November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The pins were presented by Jim Martinson and Cemetery Director Thomas Yokes.

100 YEARS LATER

World War I Veterans Who Shaped Future Decades (A Century Ago)

World War I (1917-18) produced some of America’s most prestigious leaders from among the 2 million doughboys who served overseas. As we enter the month of April, 2017, 100 years after the U.S. entered the war, here are just a few of the notable combat veterans of that conflict:

Harry S. TrumanHarry S. Truman
33rd President of the United States, Life Member, VFW

Christopher Mathewson
Baseball Player

Walter A. Brennan
Actor

Laurence T. Stallings
Author

Edwin P. Hubble
Scientist

Robert R. McCormick
Publisher

From an article featured in the April 2017 issue of VFW magazine written by Janie Dyhouse, associate editor, VFW magazine. For details of the service of these men and their later contributions, see the article in VFW Magazine, or follow this link to the online version:

https://www.vfw.org/news-and-publications/press-room/archives/ 2017/3/world-war-i-veterans-who-shaped-future-decades

The Chaplain’s Corner

by Dan Doyle 

VFW Post 8870 Chaplains CornerMeet The Man Who Survived The Kamikaze Attacks Below Deck On The USS Bunker Hill. They were the greatest generation, indeed.

Francois Joseph Richer was a regular guy, a teenager from New Bedford, MA when the WWII broke out. Like so many of his peers he entered the Navy to join the cause. He went through boot camp at Newport, RI and was trained to be a Water Tender, producing the steam to drive the huge turbine engines of the ships of that era. After training he was assigned to the aircraft carrier, USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) and he served aboard that mighty ship for his entire enlistment. I had the chance to interview him personally at his home in Carson City, NV recently, and this is his story, and the story of the Bunker Hill, which was hit by two kamikaze fighter while she was supporting the battle for Okinawa.  

Read the entire account of Richer’s experience on The Veterans Site.com at: http://blog.theveteranssite.com/frank-richer/

This is the first of what will be an ongoing series from Chaplain Dan Doyle’s Veterans Blog. 

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton

Men in Green Faces by Gene WentzMen in Green Faces by Gene Wentz

“With just weeks remaining in his 180-day tour of Vietnam, Navy SEAL Gene Michaels hopes he will live to see his pregnant wife again, but he thrives on his dangerous missions. Michaels and his team are “inserted and extracted” literally every day, entering impenetrable jungles and engaging numerically superior forces.” (Publishers Weekly)

Wentz and Jurus are not the best writers I have read, with a penchant to distract us with repeated explanations of terminology. (How many times must the initials “PBR” be explained as Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, which seems to be in endless supply at this SEAL base, and there are numerous other examples)

Never the less, the operations described are in themselves gripping, if repetitive and I found the book well worth reading.

GENE WENTZ served in Vietnam as a SEAL. His many decorations include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, three Presidential Unit Citations, three Navy Unit Citations, and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. Wentz, says he’s had the story of “Men in Green Faces” bottled up inside him since he returned from his second combat tour in Vietnam in 1971.

Jurus is a writer and a director of the San Diego-based Southern California Writers Conference.

Kirkus Reviews, allowed that Wentz and Jurus “successfully re-create the manic intensity that characterized SEAL operations at their height during the Vietnam War. . . . All war, no politics. Grim but well done.” Wentz makes no apologies for the no-politics approach: “The people serving in Vietnam had nothing to do with politics. They were just following orders, doing a job.” If that kind of thinking makes you uneasy, “Men in Green Faces” probably isn’t for you.

 

 

April Meeting

The April Post Meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 11, Supper at 5:00pm, meeting starts at 6pm.

Our speaker will be Sara Jane Ruggles, a public history graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, who will speak to us about the The Edmonds Museum project, which is to begin with collecting Edmonds veteran’s wartime memories.

Keeping an Eye on the Edmonds Veterans Plaza

Veterans Plaza Report

Veterans Plaza Report

Many Thanks to Past Commander Jim Traner for this Update:

“I had an interesting conversation with Cal who appears to be the foreman. Great guy and I like the crew. He said he and the rest of the guys were honored to be a part of this project. I’ll keep a photo log on the project. Right now they are putting up the forms for the KIA wall.”

Veterans Plaza Report Veterans Plaza Report

New Post Officers Installed

New Post Officers Installed

At the Frebruary post meeting we installed two new officers: Shown at left are Dan Doyle, our new Post Chaplain and Rose Gilliland, who is taking on the Junior Vice Commander position. Officer of the Day Jim Collins looks on as Commander Crabtree (not shown) administers the oath of office.

Congratulations and a big thank you to Dan and Rose for taking on these responsibilities.

Ditching a P-3 Orion in Subic Bay

Our February speaker was Mike Montgomery, Capt., USN (Retd.) In the 1970’s Capt Montgomery (then a Lieutenant) was the pilot of a Navy P-3 Orion, antisubmarine aircraft built on the Lockheed Electra airframe.

Mike MontgomeryOne morning in Subic Bay in the Phillipines, Montgomery and his crew took off for what would be a four minute flight ending up in the waters of the bay, following the sudden failure of their engines. They would later learn that the loss of engines was due to an error in the supply chain, resulting in dry cleaning fluid being substituted for the methynol used to boost engines on takeoff.

Thanks to the timely (and coincidental) arrival of an Air Force rescue helicopter on the scene, (and we might ad, skilled piloting) all but one of the crew survived. The Navigator was lost in a catastrophic failure of his seat area, but Montgomery and the others escaped with minor injuries and some chemical burns from fuel exposure. Montgomery is believed to be the only pilot ever to successfully ditch a P-3 Orion aircraft.

Lockheed P-3 Orion

The Lockheed P-3 Orion

Montgomery’s presentation made for a gripping story, with his vivid description of the event, supplemented with photographs of the recovered aircraft and diagrams of the interior. If you missed the February meeting, you missed a dandy! Many thanks to Capt. Montgomery for sharing his story.

P-3 aircraft remained in service until just this past year or so, when the Navy began phasing in a new Boeing built replacement, based on the 737 airframe.

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton

Viet Man by D.S. Lliteras

As a blue water sailor, who never saw anything of Vietnam beyond a view of the Tonkin Gulf coast, your editor is not in a position to assess the accuracy of Lliteras’ descriptions, but his book is a gripping novel (if semi-biographical) that I found impossible to put down.

The Following review, found on Lliteras’ web site, is by Karen St. John:

“The simple explanation of why Viet Man, the new novel by D.S. Lliteras, should be read is best said by the author himself: “No combat veteran is able to convey to a civilian what it is all about – it’s impossible. We remember glimpses of war – punctuated by actual truth. Nobody should want to be more than the truth.”

Viet Man novel by D.S. LliterasA Vietnam veteran who served as a combat corpsman, Lliteras deftly snaps you to attention in the first paragraph: “You know, when you’re running away from a hornet’s nest to save yourself, there’s no time to ponder the meaning of life.” You know the hornet’s nest is in Vietnam. What you don’t know is that from that point on, Lliteras’s ability to paint a visual image, to put a thousand meanings into one succinct and profound turn of a phrase, has you walk alongside him, trying to survive, too. The Vietnam Lliteras effectively sketches for you to see, is not a pleasant one. It’s drug-filled, tense, raw, and aching. It’s all there to see, but you feel it in your soul.

The book is available online at Amazon.com, in print or Kindle editions and at book stores.

D.S. Lliteras served in Vietnam as a FMF Corpsman and later Combat Diver, a Deep Sea Diving & Salvage Officer in the U.S. Navy, and a professional Firefighter/EMT in the Norfolk (VA) Fire Department. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, VietNow, Vietnam Veterans of America, The American Legion, The 1st Recon Battalion Association, The Marine Corps League, and The Veterans of Foreign Wars.