Author Archive: Editor

Relief Fund Budget

The Post veterans relief and community programs are funded entirely from donations received in conjunction with our semi annual distribution of “ Buddy Poppies” around the Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances.

Our Post Chaplain, Dan Doyle and the Relief Committee he chairs, which includes Jim Blossey, Carl Kurfuss, and Rose Gilliland, have prepared the following proposed budget for the current fiscal year, to be voted on at this month’s meeting.

Vietnam Veteran Elected VFW National Commander

Ending sequestration will remain a top priority

Nat’l Cdr Keit Harman

Nat’l Cdr Keit Harman

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States concluded its 118th National Convention with the election of Keith Harman of as its new national commander. Harman served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969, including service in Vietnam as a crew chief and door gunner on Huey helicopters.

Harman has been a member of the VFW for 34 years, belonging to VFW Post 3035 in Delphos, Ohio. He has served in elected and appointed positions at Post, District and Department (state) levels, and achieved All-American status during his year as commander of the VFW Department of Ohio in 2004.

Throughout his remarks, he stressed the importance of the VFW’s work to those it serves, and praised today’s service members’ resolve and dedication. The national commander also discussed his recent fact-finding trip to Southeast Asia. It was his first return to Vietnam after ending his military service there 49 years prior.

With the demand, “Sequestration must end!”, Keith made clear during his remarks that ending sequestration will again top the VFW legislative agenda for his term as national commander.

He will lead the organization under the theme “Service not Self”. “Those three words represent the life I’ve led for more than four decades,” he explained.

Also elected were Senior Vice Commander Vincent “B.J.” Lawrence, of Alamogordo, N.M., and Junior Vice Commander William J. “Doc” Schmitz of Corning, N.Y.

Mystery Visitor at July Post Meeting

Jim Traner reports that we had a visiting WWII veteran show up late. Jim caught him after the meeting and learned that he was here from New Jersey visiting his son and dropped in to our meeting. His name was Earl and he said he couldn’t have enjoyed an evening more than spending it with fellow veterans. He had a count of our attendance and said he really enjoyed our Post. Jim reports having a feeling he was probably someone who was more than just your average Post member.

Uniform Covers to be Worn

General Order #1, 2017- 18

10. Attention of commanders at all levels is directed to action of the National Council of Administration prohibiting the wearing of VFW sport caps and/or western style caps at VFW meetings in place of the regulation cap of the VFW official uniform as set forth in sections 803 of the National By-Laws and the Manual of Procedure. This prohibition is in accordance with previous directives of Commanders-in-Chief that it is held to be objectionable and contrary to accepted rules of order and proper decorum implicit in the ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to permit the wearing of other than the official VFW cap at VFW meetings.

Dispatch from Berlin

by Pete Farmer

Pete is living in Rome, Italy this year and has been sending occaional dispatches to allow the Post to share his adventure.

In 1970-71, I was stationed with the 3rd Armored Division in what was then West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). We were defending the “Frontiers of Freedom” during the Cold War against Soviet Bloc troops. I believe our job was to slow possible invaders as they overran us. My artillery battery of 155mm self-propelled howitzers actually had nuclear rounds in nearby secure storage; small but deadly. Scary, huh?

Dispatch from Berlin

Because of my interest in WWII history, I took a week’s leave to West Berlin. Since I had a Top Secret clearance, I had to obtain permission to take a commercial flight over East Germany. A railroad or highway (only 1 route) trip required additional permission and delay.

Dispatch from Berlin

West Berlin was an island of freedom surrounded by a border secured by East German (DDR) forces with guard towers, concertina and a no-mans land.

In 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected overnight to divide the city and keep East Germans from fleeing to the West. Many of the WWII historical sites were on the East Berlin side of The Wall. I recall approaching The Wall at various vantage points to peer over and try to see these sights. The Brandenburg Gate, famous for Soviet troops raising their flag after defeating the Nazis in April 1945, was clearly visible but inaccessible. I could approach Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point between West and East, but no farther.

I just completed a visit to a reunified Berlin. The Wall came down November 9, 1989, though street pavers outline its location throughout the city. East Berlin had been pretty shabby but has been rebuilt since the German capital relocated from Bonn to Berlin. Our hotel and many of the museums and sights were in the former East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was torn down, but a replica has been erected a block away with actors portraying border guards. In the photo, it is hard to miss McDonalds.

Dispatch from Berlin

The former Gestapo SS headquarters was razed and replaced by a gravel field and a museum chronicling SS atrocities 1933-45. Adjacent is a section of The Wall and the former Luftwaffe headquarters (built of concrete, it survived the war). Germany does not hide from its Nazi past. There are additional memorials and museums in the city that document all the persecuted groups of WWII. Particularly if combined with a visit to the nearby Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, a visitor will be quite saddened by this chapter of history.

Of course the good news is the failure of Communism. A quirky museum dedicated to life in the former East Germany helps explain why and provides some comic relief to sadder times.

The 2017 Winners of Post 8870’s Norm Goldstein Freedom Scholarship

The 2017 Winners of Post 8870’s Norm Goldstein Freedom Scholarship

Above L to R: Erin Dahl, Kamiak H.S. Kilie Otani, Mountlake Terrace HS, Terry Traner, Norm Goldstein, Terry Crabteree, Van Honglam from Mariner HS and Thinh Do, Meadowdale HS.

The 2017 Winners of Post 8870’s Norm Goldstein Freedom ScholarshipAt the June Post meeting the winners of the Norm Goldstein Freedom Scholarship were present to read their winning essays and receive the congratulations of the membership.

Norm Goldstein, Post 8870 member and WWII Navy veteran was present at Mountlake Terrace H.S. Senior Awards night for the presentation ceremony of that school’s winner, Kilie Otani. Norm, a Navy veteran of WWII received a warm welcome from two former students who are now faculty members at Mountlake Terrace. Norm retired as Vice principal of Mountlake Terrace H.S. in 1980 after a long career teaching and coaching basketball there and at Ballard H.S.

Above right, Norm took the opportunity to personally congratulate all of the winners.

2017-18 Post Officers Installed

District 1 Commander Don Wischman acted as our installing officer to swear in the 2017-18 Post Officers, who are listed below.

Commander: David M. (Mike) Denton
Sr. Vice Commander: Carl F. Kurfess
Jr. Vice Commander: Rose Gilliland
Quartermaster: Dennis L. Peterson
Chaplain: Daniel J. Doyle
Judge Advocate: Aaron M. Terwedo
Adjutant: Richard F. Simmons
1 Year Trustee: Daniel A. White
2 Year Trustee: James R. McCann
3 Year Trustee: James M. Traner

At left are 2016-17 Commander Terry Crabtree, incoming Commander Mike Denton and District 1 Commander Don Wischman, our installing officer.

Veterans Affairs Disability: “Presumptive” list

In order to qualify for VA Disability, a condition must be service-connected. But what if a serious condition develops that doesn’t fulfill the normal requirements for service-connection? Enter the VA Presumptive List.

Veterans Affairs Disability: “Presumptive” listIn most cases, conditions that cannot be proved service-connected are denied benefits. Over time, however, the VA began noticing patterns in the types of conditions to develop in veterans who had served in similar circumstances. In other words, a significant number of vets who served in the same place at the same time developed similar conditions in a similar time frame.

Since these conditions were not diagnosed while in the military or do not meet the other requirements for service-connection, they technically cannot be considered service-connected. With the number of vets developing these conditions, however, the VA decided that the evidence was too solid to be coincidental. Military service likely caused those conditions. So, the VA created their VA Presumptive List.

The VA “presumes” that any condition on the VA Presumptive List was caused by military service even though there may be no medical reasoning that definitively proves this connection.

The following link will show you the entire extensive list of Agent Orange related diseases and a much longer list of other conditions resulting from other exposures in all of our recent wars.

Very few in the civilian medical community seem to be aware of these connections and the potential for substantial financial relief to veteran patients. If you, as a veteran, suffer from any condition on this extensive list, by all means, contact a Veteran Service Officer. You may well be eligible for benefits of which you are unaware. Our Post Service officers, Don Whedon and Paul Russo are a great source. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with them if you need help.

From the Book Shelf

by Mike Denton

Sea Power
The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

by Admiral James Stavridis (USN Ret’d)


Sea Power The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans by Admiral James Stavridis (USN Ret’d)The subtitle of the books tells us a great deal about it’s content, in that Admiral Stavridis examines in great but interesting detail the military/ naval history of every ocean on the planet and the influence of those large bodies of water on ecomomies and politics throughout human history.

Stavridis, the only Naval officer to ever serve as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, spent much of his early career as a Surface Warfare Officer (What we non aviation types think of as the real Navy) in destroyers and cruisers and seems to have taken maximum advantage of the opportunity to cruise the oceans of the world, and acquire a broad sense of how the oceans impact our lives.

Stavridis examines the world ocean by ocean, from the Mediteranean to the Arctic and everything in between. Most of us, I think, know little about the history of the worlds coastal (or “Littoral, a word of which he seems inordinately fond) peoples prior to the voyages of Columbus and the early Portugese explorers, but the Admiral gives us a good look at the early sailors of all of the world’s major civilizations and some not so major.

Other reviewers comments: “…knows his maritime history, but equally important is his firsthand knowledge of the seas. He vividly relates what it felt like as a young naval officer taking a boat through the Panama Canal or the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, and he adds personal authority to his more general points about the different bodies of water…A highly readable, instructive look at the role of the oceans in our civilization, past and present.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Fellow Admiral Jim Stavridis spent nearly four decades as a US Navy Sailor, and is well known as an important geopolitical thinker. In Sea Power both of those attributes come together in creating a must read for anyone seriously thinking about the world’s challenges in the 21st century.” —Admiral Bill McRaven, USN (Ret.), Chancellor, The University of Texas System and former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command