Newsletter Articles

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton 

Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell

A riveting story of American fighting men, “Outlaw Platoon” is Lieutenant Sean Parnell’s stunning personal account of the legendary U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division’s heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan. Acclaimed for its vivid, poignant, and honest recreation of sixteen brutal months of nearly continuous battle in the deadly Hindu Kush, Outlaw Platoon is a Band of Brothers or We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the early 21st century–an action-packed, highly emotional true story of enormous sacrifice and bravery. A magnificent account of heroes, renegades, infidels, and brothers, it stands with Sebastian Junger’s “War” as one of the most important books to yet emerge from the heat, smoke, and fire of America’s War in Afghanistan.

Outlaw Platoon by Sean ParnellThe image at right is the logo Lt. Parnell developed and painted in green on the doors of the platoons vehicles, causing the Taliban to refer to the unit as the “Green Skulls”.

Annual VFW/American Legion Christmas Party Slated

Annual VFW/American Legion Christmas Party SlatedThe VFW/Legion joint Christmas party will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 12:00, and lunch will be served at 1:00 PM. The annual pot-luck event will be held at the American Legion Hall in Edmonds. The American Legion and VFW Posts will supply turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, wine, beer, soft drinks, and coffee/ tea. Families attending are asked to bring a dish that will be shared with others. We need side dishes, salads, rolls/bread, and desserts. Additionally, the “cost of admission” will be non-perishable food item(s) and/or unwrapped toys.

Members who plan on attending the party are asked to sign up at the post meeting. indicating the number of guests and the class of food item you will bring. Family members and friends are invited to attend the party or by email to We all look forward to the fellowship.

Please note that the Christmas Party is being held in place of our monthly Post meeting, which would ordinarily take place on the third Wednesday. 

October Meeting featured Fisher House Puget Sound

Carrie Booker, Mgr., Puget Sound Fisher House spoke at the October Post meeting to introduce the membership to the Fisher House program

October Meeting featured Fisher House Puget Sound

Commander Mike Denton presented a check in support of Puget Sound Fisher House to Carrie Booker

Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military & veteran’s families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital. Fisher Houses are owned and operated by the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs in association with the attached hospital. Each Fisher House has between 7 and 21 suites and can accommodate 16 to 42 family members. They feature a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and a living room with library, and toys for children. Newest houses are 100% handicap accessible and include elevators. A Fisher House is a temporary residence and is not a treatment facility, hospice or counseling center.

Puget Sound Fisher House is one of the organizations supported by the VFW Post 8870 Relief Fund.  


Gil Loomis Receives Korean “Ambassador for Peace” Medal

Gil Loomis Receives Korean Ambassador for peace MedalGil Loomis recently became the latest of VFW Post 8870’s members to receive this award. Korean War veterans who served in country or in Korean waters during the Korean War, June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953 are eligible for the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal. The medal is an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to US service men and women who served in the Korean conflict.

Gil Loomis Receives Korean Ambassador for peace MedalOther members have received this recognition, including several during an award ceremony held at the Edmonds Community College Veterans Day observance in 2016. Congratulations Gil and all the other recipients.


“The Dirty Dozen”

Some History of the 161st Regiment Washington National Guard


The Washington National Guard’s 161st Infantry Regiment fought throughout WWII in the Pacific, seeing action in Guadalcanal from December 1942 , then on New Georgia in the northern Solomon Islands from July 1943.

Following the campaign for new Georgia in Nov. 1943, the regiment spent much of 1944 in New Zealand and New Caldeonia, being brought back to full strength and training for landings in the Philippines.

The Dirty Dozen – Some History of the 161st Regiment Washington National Guard

The Dirty Dozen: The surviving 12 of the original 120 officers of the 161st, January 1945 on Luzon. At the right end of the top row is Lt. Col Robert Dickey of Walla Walla, uncle of Post Commander Mike Denton

The return to Luzon was also a return by the regiment after a 46-year absence, of the 1st Washington Volunteer Infantry, now the 161st Infantry, not to fight the Filipinos as their grandfathers had done but to liberate them .

The unit landed on Luzon in the Philippines in January 1945 and participated in the battle for that island into July, of that year. They were training for the invasion of the Japanese home islands when the atomic bombs were dropped but instead entered Japan peacefully and shortly thereafter returned home to Washington and were inactivated.

The 1st Batallion of the 161st was again called to active duty in 2003 and in 2008 for service in Iraq. The battalion provided security for the Green Zone and conducted full spectrum operations in southeast Baghdad. There the 161st faced stiff opposition from the Mahdi Army, led by Shiite Cleric Al Sadr.

For a more detailed history of the 161st. visit this link: 161st_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)

South County Fire Fighters Host Edmonds 9/11 Observance

South County Fire Fighters Host Edmonds 9/11 ObervanceSeventeen years after terrorist attacks leveled the World Trade Center towers in New York City, many came together in downtown Edmonds Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, to remember those who lost their lives that day.

Among the more than 3,000 people who died, were 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 10 EMTs. So it was fitting that Tuesday’s memorial was held at the 9-11 Memorial, located at the Edmonds Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park next to the downtown fire station.

Master of ceremonies Dave “Bronco” Erickson (shown at left) recounted the heroism of the police and firefighters during that dark day in 2001. Erickson described the Edmonds 9-11 Memorial and what each part represents, including the 1-ton steel I-beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center which stands as the memorial’s centerpiece. Two stainless steel and glass panels symbolize the twin towers with 3,000 individual glass facets honoring the 3,000 who died that day.


The grassy area represents the field where the heroes on United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after thwarting hijackers. The Pentagon shape of the concrete represents the Pentagon, also struck by a hijacked plane. (That crash took the life of Sgt. Major Larry Strickland, an Edmonds High School graduate, as he was working at the Pentagon.) Firefighters added a plaque to the park’s Fallen Firefighters Memorial in honor of Walter “Duffy” Burns, a firefighter/paramedic with South County Fire, who died June 11. VFW Post 8870 members joined the Fire, Police and members of the public in attendance.

Among the Edmonds VFW members attending was Joe Camden shown above.

Article excerpted in part from Photos by Julia Wiese

October Speaker

Carrie Booker, Mgr., Puget Sound Fisher House

Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military & veteran’s families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital. Ms. Booker will provide a bit of Fisher House history, some stats and highlights about Puget Sound Fisher House and whom they serve.

Puget Sound Fisher House is one of the organizations supported by theVFW Post 8870 Relief Fund.

Puget Sound Fisher House is located at 1660 South Columbian Way in Seattle.

A Bit of WWII History, The U.S. Asiatic Fleet

A Bit of WWII History, The U.S. Asiatic Fleet
Even, perhaps especially, in defeat there is often extraordinary sacrifice and courage that deserves to be remembered.

USS Asheville (PG-21) under the command of Lieutenant Commander Jacob W. Britt was one of the last ships to evacuate Java, left behind due to an engine casualty, reducing speed to 10kts. Unbeknownst to Britt, between Asheville and the relative safety of Australia are four Japanese Pearl Harbor-veteran carriers, four battleships, numerous cruisers, destroyers, submarines and hundreds of land-based bombers; and the Japanese know the compromised allied rendezvous point (COMSEC violation). Sighting the Asheville alone at dawn on 3 Mar 1942, the Japanese destroyers Arashi and Nowaki, backed up by a heavy cruiser, close for the kill with a 20kt speed advantage armed with twelve 5″ guns and sixteen 24″ torpedoes against Asheville’s three 4″ guns. Asheville does not strike her colors, raise a white flag, jump into the lifeboats or scuttle the ship. Instead, Asheville opens fire, and she keeps firing as long as she is able. It takes the two top-of-the-line Japanese destroyers over 30 minutes and 300 rounds to put the archaic China gunboat under; an action viewed by the Japanese as a total fiasco but typical of the prodigious expenditure of surface ammunition to little effect, by both sides, during the course of the campaign. The Japanese rescued one Sailor and left the rest to perish as they hurried to massacre an Allied convoy just over the horizon. Engineman Fred L. Brown died in Japanese captivity in March 1945 from the combined untreated effects of disease and beatings, and the story of the Asheville is known only via another POW from the sunken USS Pope (DD-225) and fragmentary Japanese reports. Because no witnesses survived the war, there are no Medals of Honor, no Navy Crosses, no unit citations, just the dim memory of a brave crew of 166 men who fought valiantly without hope, lost somewhere about 160 NM SW of Bali.

Source: Naval History and Heritage Command

Veterans Day “Buddy Poppies”

Veterans Day Buddy PoppiesA number of our comrades signed up to distribute Poppies on Friday and Saturday, November 9 & 10 at the September Post meeting.

Those of us participating in the “Veterans in the Schools” program will need to coordinate our school presentations with our Poppy schedule to avoid conflict.

Sign up sheets will again be available at the Post meeting on October 18.

All of our Veterans Day Events are extremely rewarding to participants. Please join us.

Reflecting on the “War to End All Wars”

By Dan Doyle

Reflecting on the War to End All WarsOn August 4, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium to begin one of the most devastating wars in human history. By the end of that war, more than 15 million were dead from 28 different countries. Millions more were wounded. It was the first war that could truly be called a world war, with fronts in Europe, in the Middle East and Ottoman Empire, and in Africa. Some of the battles that would become famous in that war, like the Battle of the Somme, witnessed such carnage that the human mind could not comprehend it without teetering on the edge of insanity.

Countless veterans would come home from suffering the effects of wounds caused by weapons that were used for the first time in history: the tank, the machine gun, aerial bombing, and gas/chemical warfare. Tens of thousands came home suffering from psychological wounds so profound that the medical profession could only name the phenomenon with the language of poetic metaphor: shell shock.

The war raged across the world for four long years, leaving death and destruction in in its wake. It would finally come to an end not so much from clear victories as from the sheer exhaustion of the populations of Europe, no doubt aided by the entry of the United States in 1917. The Russian government would collapse in March of 1917 and the Bolshevik Revolution would begin in November of that year. On November 4, 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice.

Revolution was rumbling in Germany as well, and Germany finally signed an armistice on November 11, 1918. We still celebrate that event to this day, now called Veterans Day. At the end of the war the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, both of which had reigned for centuries, no longer existed.