Newsletter Articles

From the Bookshelf “Tin Can Titans”

Tin Can Titans

The Heroic Men and Ships of World War II’s Most Decorated Navy Destroyer Squadron. 

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 nonstop. 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 Destroyer Squadron 21 (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. 

(ed. note: Later in the Pacific war, the destroyer’s role in the battle of Okinawa was described as “absorbing torpedoes” on behalf of the larger combatants and troopships, resulting in the heaviest Navy casualties of the war.) 

March Post Meeting Program

Presentation of Post Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 

Post Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

We will have a special guest of honor at our March Post meeting in the person of Detective Nicole Stone, of the Mukilteo Police Department, our Law Enforcement Officer of the year, who has also been declared District 1 LOE of the Year and Department of Washington LOE of the year. 

Detective Stone will be our guest, along with her sponsoring officer for the actual presentation of the Post award.  

Commander’s Corner

Commander’s Corner

A reminder: nominations for Post officers for the 2020 VFW year will be held at the March meeting. Again, elective offices are Commander, Jr. and Sr. Vice Commander, Quartermaster, Chaplain and Trustees. Our nominating committee has prepared a slate of candidates for your consideration, but nominations will also be taken from the floor. Please do not nominate anyone without their permission. Elections will take place at the April Post meeting. 

Looking ahead, we will begin sign ups for Memorial Day Poppy distribution this month, to take place on Friday and Saturday, May 24 & 25 at our four usual locations. We need all hands participating to maximize results. Please consider working multiple shifts.

Memories of our Youth

Memories of our Youth

This photo of our Post Chaplain, Dan Doyle, shown with his parents, was taken in his guise as a Navy Corpsman attached to the Fleet Marine Force. Dan served with the Marines at Ke Sahn and for those familiar with the action around the time of the Tet offensive, little more need be said. 

Your editor would very much like others of you to share photos of yourself and your comrades during your active service to make this a regular feature of our newsletter. 

Fallen Heroes Project

Fallen Heroes Project

An excerpt of some thoughts by Mike Reagan 

This morning I finished my love letter to Fallen Canine Hero Apollo. He died in this war June 5, 2013. Please Never Forget. 

I believe that while I work with the fallen I bring them back for a period of time as I draw. I try to listen to them, even the animals. 

A Gold Star family once asked me why I wanted to linger in all of your grief. I answered I wasn’t, I am spending time in your love. If you were to take any of my posts, like Apollo and follow up on the image you would find a fantastic story, sometimes sad, but a nonetheless fantastic story about a Hero. I live in these more then 6000 stories and have for 15 years. While its impossible for me to explain how I feel love for every single fallen hero I draw, the families see it in the result. 

Life has 2 realities. The one most of us understand, where we can see, hear, smell and touch it. and the one that we need to learn to just believe, where we can’t do any of those above things. That ability takes trauma to achieve. You learn to believe because you have to, to hold on to whatever you lost that you loved the most. Once I draw a portrait of the fallen they become a part of me. I am a part of a lot of wonderful individuals and animals, who I believe died for me. Never Forget. 

Post Announces 2019 Scholarship Program

By Don Stapleton

Reprinted from the Edmonds Beacon

Mike Denton, Commander of VFW Post #8870, has announced the Post will, once again, offer their Freedom Scholarship.

The scholarships will be awarded to four deserving graduating seniors who reside within the Mukilteo and Edmonds Public School Districts. Students who reside within the boundaries of the districts but attend private schools or are home schooled are also eligible to apply for the Freedom Scholarship.

Each of the four scholarships will be in the amount of $1,500 and will be awarded to seniors who will be enrolling full time at an accredited vocational, technical, college, or university in the fall, 2019 semester.

Students will be required to submit a transcript of their high school academic record and a resume that lists the high school activities in which they participated, leadership positions they have held, and any volunteer work they have performed.

In addition, applicants will be asked to write a 300-500-word essay in which they explain the meaning of freedom to them and how our Constitution establishes and maintains a culture of freedom in our country.

Students may obtain a Freedom Scholarship application from the Career Centers in their respective high schools or it can be downloaded from the VFW Post web site at www.vfw8870.org.

The deadline for the submission of the application and supporting materials is April 15.

Scholarship recipients will be notified of their selection prior to their high school’s spring awards program.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza — Kiosk Issues

Edmonds Veterans Plaza - Kiosk Issues

If you have visited the Edmonds Veterans Plaza recently, you will note that the information kiosk has a protective cover placed over it and is not yet in operation. 

The system was expected to have been activated by now, however, the recent exposure to snow and ice has damaged the equipmet requiring the manufacturer to replace the interface mechanisms. (Keyboard and roller mouse) 

While the unit was sold as “weather proof” that description seems to have been optimistic. Discussions are underway with the manufacturer, who has agreed to replace the faulty parts. The EVP Committee is exploring the placement of a cover or roof on the kiosk to protect it from rain, snow and debris from the overhanging trees. 

We still hope to hold a dedication ceremony around Memorial Day. Stay tuned for further developments. 

VFW Youth Essay Competitions

Voice of Democracy

Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, What Makes America Great. 

Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., Feb 29 – March 4, 2020, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of $154,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $30,000. 

The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12 by the Oct. 31 deadline, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school. 

Patriot’s Pen

Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. We invite you to join the more than 120,000 students who participated last year in this contest. The national winners will receive at least $500. The first-place national award is currently $5,000 plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winner and a parent or guardian. 

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities. 

Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Home-schooled students also are eligible. 

2019-2020 Theme
“What Makes America Great”

Student Entry Deadline:
October 31, 2019

Patriotic Audio Essay Competition
Grand Prize $30,000 award

Custom Wooden Plaques Available for Veterans

Many of you will recall occasions in the past when plaques such as those shown below were presented to some of our comrades, commemorating their service to our country. Mike Reagan has advised us that this opportunity is available to our membership at large. These plaques are produced by Dennis Hogan of North Beach VFW in Ocean Shores. Reagan provided the contact information and order form below for those of you who may wish to take advantage of this opportunity. 

If you wish to so honor a veteran, you may contact Comrade Hogan directly. 

Custom Wooden Plaques Available for Veterans
Custom Wooden Plaques Available for Veterans
Custom Wooden Plaques Available for Veterans

Ocean Shores, WA 98569

North Beach VFW
PO Box 54
Ocean Shores, WA 98569
Post8956@coastaccess.com
360-591-7595

or

Dennis Hogan
PO Box 2313
Ocean Shores, WA 98569
Nitecreate@aol.com

Post 8870 and District 1 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Post 8870 and Distict 1 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Devon Ames was nominated by our very own Sara Brannan, herself an elementary teacher. Sara describes Mrs. Ames as an outstanding educator who has demonstrated a sincere commitment to educating children about our American History. She teaches Fifth-Grade at Serene Lake Elementary School in Mukilteo and she has taught American History in her class in a way that has made learning about our country exciting, engaging, and profoundly inspiring for her students. Mrs. Ames has taught units on the American Revolution and Forming a Government for many years, and these lessons have been described as powerful learning opportunities for the students. 

Mrs. Ames has her students memorize part of the Declaration of Independence during her units of study. In addition, she also has her students reflect on their learning about freedom by creating an original art project in which the students create freedom paintings using symbols of America: red, white, and blue, with stars, and an eagle. 

Mrs. Ames dedicates much of her own free time reading about American history, studying great works of American literature from that time period, and developing lessons to teach the importance of citizenship in our world. She makes her history lessons come to life through her passion and love for teaching these important ideals to our next generation of citizens. Mrs. Ames loves American history and instills in her students the importance of freedom and democracy. 

Post 8870 and Distict 1 Elementary Teacher of the Year
Photos: Sara Brannan and Terry Crabtee present the award 


Sophia Hradec

Youth Essay Winner

Youth Essay Winner 

Youth Essay Winner

Our Youth Essay winner, third grade student Sophia Hradec, comes to us from Machias Elementary School. In addition to her Post 8870 award, Sophia also won at the District 1 level. Sophia read her essay at award ceremonies for both levels and the text of her essay is reproduced below. 

How the American Flag Makes Me Feel 

Let me tell you how the American flag makes me feel. First, the American Flag makes me feel sad. It makes me feel sad because dogs and people are fighting and dying for our freedom. Second, it makes me feel happy. The American flag makes me feel happy because I know that my family is safe and no one is going to hurt us. Third, it makes me feel angry. I am angry because I don’t understand why we have to fight. Why can’t we be friends? I don’t like when people fight. Fourth, it makes me feel like all the people in the military love me and I want to do the same for them by joining the AIR FORCE. In conclusion, the American flag makes me feel sad, happy, angry and like I’m loved. 

Youth Essay Winner

At the District 1 awards event, Sophia presented Commander Denton with her “We love our veterans” artwork, shown at right.