Newsletter Articles

October Meeting Report

Speaker

October Meeting Report
Fred, seated with Nancy, displays the Legion of Merit

At the October Post meeting our speaker was Betsy Braun, Fred Diedrich’s daughter, who gave us a report on the presentation of the French Legion of Merit to Fred, arising out of his combat jumps into Europe during WWII, which were covered in detail in the October newsletter. Fred’s “War Bride” Nancy also spoke briefly but eloquently on their meeting in England (Nancy, of course being an English girl) and Fred’s service from her point of view. We are honored to have veterans like Fred as our Post Comrades. 

October Meeting Report Speaker
Betsy Braun reading her speech

The business portion of the meeting focused on Veterans Day and Christmas Party planning. If you have yet to make a commitment to supply something to the Christmas Party on Saturday December 14, do so at the November meeting, or by email to the Commander. The party will begin at Noon, with dinner served around 1:00 PM.

Commander Gilliland announced the Post membership goals for the current Department wide drive, for which Post 8870 will need to recruit 10% of our current membership in new members during the current VFW year, as well as and or convert 10% to Life Membership. 

From the Book Shelf

by Mike Denton 

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors 

by James D. Hornfischer 

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer

By sheer coincidence, your book reviewer read this fine book just before learning of the medal awarded to our own Amos Chapman, who’s ship USS Killen DD-593 took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, around which this book is written. (See Amos Chapman Awarded Medal)

Killen and other destroyers and cruisers destroyed much of the Japanese fleet attempting to thwart the landings at Leyte Island as they approached through Surigao Strait. Another group, comprised of escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts, encountered a force of Japanese cruisers, destroyers and battleships, among them, the largest battleship ever built. 

The entire battle, including the Surigao Strait engagement, took place over less than twenty four hours, but the impact of this stand on the part of the United States Navy cannot be overstated. 

Amos Chapman Awarded Medal for Phillipine Service in WWII

Amos Chapman Awarded Medal for Phillipine Service in WWII

Edmonds resident and World War II veteran Amos Chapman Jr. recently received the Congressional Gold Medal for his participation in the U. S. Navy during war activities in the Philippines. The medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow on an American. 

In a letter that accompanied the medal, Washington’s U.S. Senator Patty Murray lauded Chapman’s contributions, saying “You have demonstrated incredible dedication to our country, and your sacrifices will never be forgotten.” He was one of 28 veterans who received the award, 26 of whom are now deceased, at the event held Oct. 19 at the Mt. Tahoma High School Auditorium in Tacoma. 

Amos, now 94 years old, is still an active member of Edmonds American Legion Post 66 and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8870. The award was given to recognize his service along with his fellow Washington State Filipino and American World War II veterans, according to Murray’s letter. 

Amos Chapman Awarded Medal for Phillipine Service in WWII
USS Killen on Puget Sound, June 1944

Amos joined the Navy in May 1943, at the age of 17. He was assigned to serve aboard the Fletcher-Class destroyer, USS Killen, in the Pacific as a Fire Controller. His ship was engaged in the Battles for Leyte Gulf during which the ship was under constant attack by artillery, air and Kamikaze attacks. 

When the Japanese Navy decided to contest the landings on Leyte, the Killen’s squadron engaged the enemy at Surigao Strait. On the morning of October 25, 1944, the USS Killen launched five torpedoes toward the Japanese battleship Yamashiro. One hit, slowing the Japanese ship to 5 knots, enabled other American destroyers to maneuver for the destruction of the Yamashiro.

Photo of Amos by Don Stapleton, Killen photo Navsource ships photos. Text adapted from MyEdmonds News.com 

Post 8870 Teachers of the Year Nominated

Post 8870 Teacher of the Year Chair Sara Brannan has announced the following educators as Post 8870 teachers of the year. 

Elementary School 

Julie Bivins

Ms. Bivins teaches 5th grade at Serene Lake Elementary School in Mukilteo, fostering the development of democratic principles. Her teaching supports learning about American history, civic responsibility, flag etiquette, traditions and Americanism by including lessons that promote learning through relevant and engaging activities not only for her students, but also for staff members and the school community.

Middle School 

Marilyn Roberts 

Mrs. Roberts, of Cedarcrest Middle School in Marysville, teaches Social Studies to 6th & 7th grade students. For several years, Mrs. Roberts has requested Buddy Poppies from Post 8870 and has made a generous donation back to the Post from the distribution of Poppies during school assemblies. She has her students memorize Dr. Mc Crae’s poem “In Flanders Field” to teach them about WWI and the sacrifices made. In addition to the immediate students in her classroom, Mrs. Roberts has developed various programs for her school’s Veterans Day assemblies. She has a son currently on active service in the USAF. 

High School 

Tamara Harber 

Ms. Harber is a member of the faculty at Everett High School, where she teaches advanced Placement U.S. History to 11th grade students. In her classroom, she focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the principles that our country was created on. Another focus of her teaching of US History is the theme of national identity and pride in our country. In the past Ms. Harber has augmented her curriculum with trips to various sites that offer insight into our history, including The Flying heritage Museum and to a performance of the Broadway musical “Hamilton”. This year, she plans to visit Washington DC with a group of 20 students to visit our capitol.

Veterans Day In the Schools

Veterans Day In the Schools
Sr. Vice Commander Carl Kurfess speaks at St. Pius X School

An important part of our Veterans Day observances is the appearance of members at local schools, where veterans share their experience with the students and answer questions they may have in a variety of formats. Veterans In the Schools coordinator, Past Commander Jim Blossey, reports eighteen veterans visited the schools on behalf of our post, making a total of 28 appearances at 22 different schools. Below are listed the names of those participating and the number of visits made by each: 

Veterans Day In the Schools
Pete Farmer speaking at Cedar Valley Elemetary

Bill Bengston (2) 
Jim Blossey (5) 
Duane Bowman (2) 
Dick Cassutt (1) 
Amos Chapman (1) 
Terry Crabtree (1) 
Mike Denton (2) 
Dan Doyle (1) 
Peter Farmer (2) 
Norm Goldstein (1) 
Jay Hansen (1) 
Bill Keppler (1) 
Carl Kurfess (1) 
Michael Reagan (2) 
Paul Russo (1) 
John Shelton (2) 
Jim Traner (1) 
Don Whedon (1) 

Four Member Veterans Awarded Quilts of Valor

On Saturday, September 21, at the Edmonds American Legion Hall, Four World War II Veteran members of Edmonds VFW Post 8870 were each awarded an individually designed and personalized “Quilt of Honor”. In the photo below, are shown, L to R, Fred Deidrich, Amos Chapman, Buck Weaver and Norm Goldstein. These veterans range in age from 96 to 101 years, with Weaver being the senior. Shown with the Awardees are Gold Star Mothers Monica Mcneal and Lee Ann Prewitt Doerflinger. 

Four Member Veterans Awarded Quilts of Valor
Four Member Veterans Awarded Quilts of Valor
At above, Commander Rose Gilliland, with Quilts of Valor Lead Marj Woody making the presentation.

At right, Commander Rose Gilliland, with Quilts of Valor Lead Marj Woody making the presentation 

Quilts of Valor Foundation History 

Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to Catherine: The dream was as vivid as real life. “I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was: Quilts = Healing”. 

Four Member Veterans Awarded Quilts of Valor
Each quilt is personally labeled as shown in the photo at right of Amos Chapman’s quilt, including the name and location of the quilting group.

Veterans Day Poppy Distribution – Sign Up Now

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 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 also 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.

Veterans Day Poppy distribution

Diedrich Awarded French Legion of Honor

Fred Diedrich
Fred Diedrich with the Legion of Honor . We are very proud of Fred, said Commander Rose. 

Post 8870 member Fred Diedrich received the French Legion of Honor from the French Consulate on Friday September 27 in recognition of his service in France in World War II. 

Fred was assigned to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Red Devil’s). who with other paratroopers, parachuted into Normandy several hours ahead of the storming of the beaches on “D Day” in June of 1944. Their immediate objective was to capture the town of Sainte-Mere Eglise and then to secure crossings at the Merderet laFiere and Chef-du-Pont Rivers. Like most paratroop units that participated in Operation Overlord, they were dropped at wrong locations and experienced difficulty in linking up with each other as planned. Despite huge obstacles, Fred and his unit remained in contact with the Germans until being relieved in early July. 

They then participated in Operation Market Garden, an Allied effort to shorten the war by seizing control of strategically located bridges leading to Germany. On 17 September 1944, Fred’s Regiment jumped into Holland with orders to seize control of the Nijmegen Bridge. After securing the bridge at Nijmegen and engaging the Germans for six weeks, the Red Devils moved south to the Ardennes and combat operations in the Battle of the Bulge. Fred participated in the defense of St. Vith. They successfully defended the city and delayed the German advance until mid-December when the unit was ordered to fall back. 

Armed Forces Birthdays

United States Navy

United States Navy 
October 13, 1775 

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.” 

United States Marine Corps

United States Marine
Corps November 10, 1775 

The Marine Corps was founded to serve as an infantry unit aboard naval vessels and was responsible for the security of the ship and its crew by conducting offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions and landing parties as well as defending the ship’s officers from mutiny. 

Reporting Your Service as a VFW Member

Every month, the Post reports to the Department of Washington on the number of hours and dollar value of our service to the Community as members and as a Post. 

The form shown below is provided to guide you in reporting your activities. Essentially, anything you do in the way of service to the community as a member of VFW and Post 8870 is reportable. This form should act as a guideline to help you report your activities and contributions. Note that the form is in two basic parts: 1. Hospital and 2. Community. The key to the Hospital is section the word ‘Hospital’. If it is doesn’t happen in or connected with the hospital or nursing home it doesn’t belong on this report. You may submit your report to the Guard (as we have been doing) as you come in to the Post meeting or you can email it to Post Surgeon Jay Hansen, (surgeon@vfw8870.org) A copy of this form will be at the front desk to help you identify reportable items. Address questions to Surgeon Hansen, or Commander Gilliland. PLEASE WRITE CLEARLY.

Examples of Actions Reportable As Community service performed by a representative of the VFW 

  • Volunteering at hospitals, schools, senior centers, museums 
  • Taking veterans and families to doctor, dentist, hospital 
  • Helping maintain the Veterans Plaza 
  • Volunteering with Scouts or other youth programs 
  • Visiting or helping sick or disabled veterans at home 
  • Donating blood 
  • Donating items or money to the community 
  • Helping a disabled or elderly neighbor 
  • Raising and lowering the American Flag at PUBLIC locations 

If you have other services you think eligible, ask Surgeon Hansen, or simpley report them and let him determine whether they are qualified. 

PLEASE WRITE CLEARLY 

New Post Officers Appointed

VFW Post 8870 Surgeon Jay Hansen
Jay Hansen

Surgeon 

At the September August Staff meeting, Post Surgeon Charles Gaul announced his resignation from that position due to business conflicts that will not allow him to continue. Gaul, an Army veteran of Vietnam served as our Post surgeon for the past two years. 

Commander Rose Gilliland has appointed Jay Hansen, pictured at right as our new Surgeon. Hansen is a retired USAF pilot and Vietnam Veteran.

The Post Surgeon is responsible for collecting Hospital and Community Service data from members and filing required reports with the Post and the Department of Washington. 

VFW Post 8870 Adjutant Jim Murdock
Jim Murdock

Adjutant 

At the September Post meeting, long time Post Adjutant Dick Simmons announced his resignation from that position due to chronic health issues that will not allow him to continue. Simmons, is a “Blue Water” Navy veteran of Vietnam and a retired Seattle P.I. newspaper writer. 

Commander Rose Gilliland has appointed Jim Murdock as our new Adjutant. Murdock is an Army veteran of Vietnam and has been our House Committee Chair for the past few years. We thank Dick for his long service to the post and wish him better health. 

The Post Adjutant is responsible, among other things, for minutes of Post and Staff meetings.