Newsletter Articles

VFW Members Participate in Library of Congress Veterans History Project

VFW Members Paticipate in Library of Congress Veterans History Project

“I loved my career, my active career,” said Otis Wolfe, 66, commander of VFW Post 921 in Snohomish. He served aboard the USS Sterett near the end of the Vietnam War. “I saw a lot of the world I never would have seen without the Navy,” he said. Wolfe, told his story to U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, who represents Washington’s 1st Congressional District. “Thanks to those who shared their stories & for sacrifices you’ve made for our country,” the Democratic congresswoman tweeted Monday after interviewing Wolfe. Commander Rose Gilliland, Newsletter Editor, Mike Denton, 

VFW Members Paticipate in Library of Congress Veterans History Project

Army vet Brad Andrews, 69, VFW Post 8870 member, joined the Army in 1968. He trained at Fort Ord, California, with its gun range near the ocean. Soon, orders came for Vietnam. He spent time at Quan Loi, what U.S. forces called LZ Andy. “Vietnam, it was death and move on,” said the Lynnwood man, whose long hair is now gray. He feels he did his job during that unpopular war, but is haunted by it. “I watched a Chinook helicopter fall apart in midair. Five guys died,” he said. In the Army, “they never said, ‘This may come back on you.’” 

VFW Members Paticipate in Library of Congress Veterans History Project

At 90, VFW Post 8870 member Dan White was one of the oldest interviewees. He enlisted in the Army in 1946, served nearly two years, and was called back in 1950. A retired middle school teacher, White lives in Redmond but spent years in the Edmonds area. In Korea, he flew a modified Cessna called an L-19. His duties involved adjusting artillery. Back home, he and his wife raised four boys. He earned two degrees, stayed in the reserves and retired as a colonel. 

White said he’d been asked for years to share his story. He’s glad other veterans are telling theirs, and that the Library of Congress will preserve those stories for future generations. 

Wolfe, Andrews and White were among about 15 people interviewed at the Everett Public Library as part of the Veterans History Project. A program of the Library of Congress, the oral history effort was created by Congress in 2000. Interviewers have heard and recorded stories of veterans and Gold Star families in all 50 states, culling more than 100,000 collections, some with photos and diaries. Many are available online. 

Karen Lloyd, director of the Veterans History Project, and Andrew Huber, liaison specialist with the program, were at the library Monday. But many interviewers were teens in uniform — members of the Civil Air Patrol Overlake Composite Squadron, based in Redmond. 

Text and photos From an Everett Herald Article by Julie Muhlstein. 

Gary Walderman Speaks at August Post Meeting

Gary Walderman Speaks at August Post Meeting

As you all know Gary Walderman has overseen the operation of Heros Cafe, the monthly breakfast gathering in Lynnwood. At the August meeting, Walderman came to present details of a new Edmonds Veterans Gathering to be held at the Edmonds Food Bank, located at the Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers Street 

The first of these monthly events will take place on October 24 from noon to 4 PM. 

Veterans services information will be available on the subjects of VA benefits, including education and employment opportunities. 

This program is meant to offer community based support available through Civic sources, Veterans Service Officers and commercial sources and offer a fellowship opportunity to local veterans. 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Pavers

New Group of Pavers Planned 

Orders are now being taken for a new group of pavers which will be installed in the area around the information Kiosk. 

A production order will be placed shortly, so if you wish to honor a veteran in this way, get your order in as soon as possible. 

The order form is reproduced below. Send your order by mail to VFW Post 8870, PO Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020, with your check made out to the Post. You can also bring your order and check to the Post meeting and hand it to Jim Traner. 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Pavers

Please note that his particular round of orders is for pavers only. 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Pavers

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 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 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.