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From the Bookshelf

by Carl Kurfess 

Tin Can Titans 

Tin Can Titans

The Heroic Men and Ships of World War II’s Most Decorated Navy Destroyer Squadron. By Wukovits, John F. 

This book tells the story of the first of the new Fletcher-class destroyers that joined the Pacific fleet in fall of 1942. They held the line against the Japanese fleet until America’s shipyards produced the new ships that would eventually defeat the Japanese Navy. These first three ships would later be formed into Destroyer Squadron 21 (Desron 21), which became the battle hardened US Naval squadron of World War II. 

The USS O’Bannon (DD 450), the USS Nicholas (DD 449), and the USS Fletcher (DD 445) arrived in the Pacific theater in September 1942 and were immediately put to work escorting ships, patrolling against enemy submarines, bombarding enemy positions on Guadalcanal, and shooting down enemy planes. There was a severe shortage of destroyers and they were in constant demand and were working and fighting almost non-stop. Other new destroyers arrived in 1943 and were also put to work immediately. Over time, some were sunk, others were damaged, but they were constantly in service. 

When Admiral William Halsey selected Desron 21 to lead his victorious ships into Tokyo Bay to accept the Japanese surrender, he chose the most battle-hardened US naval squadron of the war. But it was not the squadron of ships that had accumulated such an inspiring résumé; it was the people serving aboard them who won the battles. This is the story of Desron 21’s heroic sailors whose battle history is the stuff of legend. Through diaries, personal interviews with survivors, and letters written to and by the crew during the war, John Wukovits brings to life the human story of the squadron and its men who bested the Japanese in the Pacific and helped take the war to Tokyo. – King County Library Review. 

Veterans Day Poppy Planning

Veterans Day Poppy Planning

It’s time to get ready to do our November Veterans Day Poppy Drive. This is extremely important for our Post, as it is how we raise funds to do all the good work that we do! 

With that said, please mark your calendars to help out on November 8th and 9th at our usual locations. You will be able to sign up online or at the Post meetings in September and October. Spouses and friends are welcome to help out also. Shifts will be in four hour increments. Please note that if you sign up online, don’t sign up at the meetings. Make sure to include your contact phone number, as you may be asked to help out at a different store than the one you signed up for, if necessary. 

VFW Project Deadlines

If you are the Chair or a member of committee of any of the following projects for the current VFW year, please be aware of these deadlines, beyond which your entries will not be valid. 

Teacher of the Year 
October 31: Nominations to Post
November 15: Entries to District Chair
December 15: Entries to Department

Voice of Democracy, Patriot’s Pen & Youth Essay 
October 31: Entries to Post
November 15: Entries to District Chair
December 15: Entries to Department

Scout of the Year 
March 1: Nominations to Post 
March 15: Entries to District Chair 
April 1: Entries to Department

Safety Awards – Law Enforcement, Fire Fighter, EMT of the Year. 
November 15: Nominations to Post 
December 15: Nominations to District Chair 
January 1: Nominations to Department 

Community Service Awards 
December 31: J.A.S.O.N. Award Cut-off 
April 15: Post Special Project Entries 

Commander’s Corner

Commander’s Corner

I think it is important that we recognize September as Suicide prevention month. We know that we have several comrades out there who need help and support. For anyone who needs help please reach out! 

We understand that you may not want to reach out to someone personally, but maybe you are willing to reach out on line or maybe at our kiosk. You can go to our kiosk which is located in front of Edmonds city hall. 

A new app is coming out on November 11th called “Operation pop smoke”. You can read more about it at https://americanmilitarynews.com/2019/08/new-app-works-to-end-suicides-among-veterans/. You can also support the effort here in Washington State by going to the facebook page and supporting the district in getting up and running with “Operation pop smoke”. Go to https://www.facebook.com/ operationpopsmoke/ to learn more. 

Silk Maps – WWII POW Escape Aids

Silk Maps - WWII POW Escape Aids
Map of France and Spain, with German/Swiss Frontier offset at 

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and to facilitate their escape… 

Now, obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, showing among other things the locations of ‘safe houses’ where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter. 

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush, but Someone in MI-6 (similar to America’s OSS) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and is quiet. 

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. Coincidentally, Waddington was also the U.K Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category of item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE’ packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war. 

Under the strictest secrecy in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a they began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region where POW camps were located. These maps could be folded so small as to fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.The clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add a playing token containing a magnetic compass, a two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together and useful amounts of high-denomination German, Italian and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money. 

British and American crews were advised how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set by means of a tiny red dot, rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the ‘Free Parking Square’. 

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWs who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided by the rigged Monopoly sets. The story wasn’t declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honoured in a public ceremony. 

District 1 Commander Visits Post 8870

Presents 2018-19 Awards 

Commander Doug White Visited on the occasion of our July Post meeting to present the Post with The 2018-19 All-State Post Award (see certificate on page 2) and other certificates recognizing 8870’s stellar performance for the past VFW year. In addition to the All-State certificate, Commander White presented the post with certificates representing awards in categories of 100% + Membership, Buddy Poppies, Heroes in the Ballpark, Patriots Pen, Scouting, Teacher of the Year, Veteran & Military Support, Voice of Democracy andYouth Activities. We were also recognized for nominating our Post Law Enforcement Officer of the year, Mukilteo Police Detective Nicole Stone, the winner of the Department of Washington award in that category! A Big Well Done, to the entire post for an outstanding year! 

2017-19 Commander Mike Denton and Quartermaster Dennis Peterson each accept the “Whtite Cover” from District 1 Commander Doug White on behalf of the Post, in recognition of the Presentation of the All-State Award to our post. 

Prior to our July Post meeting, Commander White sent out this message to all of the District 1 Posts, congratulating all for the District’s achievement in the past VFW Year: 

“Congratulations to every District 1 Post and Member for all of your hard work in the past 12 months. Due to your efforts in the community the District 1 team was recognized at our Department Convention with the following. 

District 1 Commander Visits Post 8870 Presents 2018-19 Awards

District 1 All-State District Team Captain 
Post 921 All-State Post 
Post 1040 All-State Post 
Post 1561 All-State Post 
Post 2554 All-State Post 
Post 7511 All-State Post 
Post 8870 All-State Post 
Post 9417 All-State Post 

Department of WA Firefighter of the Year via Post 921 
Department of WA Police Officer of the Year via Post 8870 
Department of WA 2nd place Scout of the Year via Post 7511 

Thank you for everything you do in our communities. Doug” 

Certificates for individual categories will be posted on the Post website under “Award Wall” 

Recruiting Event at Edmonds Summer Market

Recruiting Event at Edmonds Summer Market

On Saturday, July 27, Post 8870 once again held a community outreach and recruiting event at the Edmonds Summer Market. On hand to greet the public and introduce the Post to local veterans were Les Abel, Mike Denton, Dan Doyle and Don Stapleton. While no new members were signed on the spot we spoke to a number of local vets and more who were visiting friends and family from other areas, some of whom are members of VFW. 

Among the veterans we encountered was an older man from Ukraine, who proved to be a veteran of the Soviet Army from cold war days. A US Army vet who stopped by, told us of his experience at the Pentagon on 9/11. 

Many thanks to Sound Credit Union, sponsors of the non-profit Summer Market booth and the Edmonds Historic Museum folks who set up the booth for us. 

Veterans Plaza Committee Honors Carrie Hite

Veterans Plaza Committee Honors Carrie Hite

At the July Post meeting, former City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite was honored for her enormous contribution to the development and completion of our Edmonds Veterans Plaza. 

Plaza Committee Chair Ron Clyborne spoke of Hite’s contributions to the project, recognizing the essential nature of her part in its completion. While Hite recently resigned from the Edmonds position to assume a similar role in the City of Redmond, the Edmonds Veterans Plaza will surely stand as a highly visible symbol of her legacy to the city. She had served the City of Edmonds since 2012. 

Veterans Plaza Committee Honors Carrie Hite
As a symbol of our gratitude, Mike Reagan, Post member and famed sketch artist of fallen heroes, presented Hite with a her recently completed portrait, shown here, along with a photo of the presentation itself.

The Post and all Edmonds veterans and their families are indeed grateful. 

A Veteran Tells His Story

A Veteran Tells His Story

At the Independence Day picnic/barbecue, Post member Don Stapleton had a special guest in the person of his grandson Caleb Stapleton. Caleb spent most of the afternoon visiting with veterans and listening to their stories and, in particular managed to draw John Shelton out on his Vietnam experience. 

John, as most of you know was a sniper with a Marine Corps Force Recon unit and did a considerable amount of damage to the enemy, right up to the day he forgot to duck and landed in that wheel chair you now see as a part of him. One can well imagine that a young man of Caleb’s age would be fascinated by the history of a man like John, as you can easily see from the rapt attention demonstrated in the accompanying photo. It is important that we give our young people an opportunity to gain some insight into the veteran experience. 

VFW District 1, Dept. of Washington Is All-American

VFW District 1, Dept. of Washington Is All-American

At the Department of Washington School of Instruction, held at Post 2100’s facility in Everett on Saturday, August 11, Past Commander Linda Fairbank presented District 1 Commander Doug White with the Red & White cover and National Certificate recognizing District 1 as an All-American District for the 2018 -19 VFW year. 

Individual District 1 posts were also presented with All- American awards. Details on those awards will be found in the inaugural issue of the District 1 newsletter, which will be published in the near future, along with other news from the District. 

Congratulations are in order to all of the District 1 membership, including All-State Post 8870. These awards don’t happen without the participation of everyone involved.