Newsletter Articles

Keeping an Eye on the Edmonds Veterans Plaza

Veterans Plaza Report

Veterans Plaza Report

Many Thanks to Past Commander Jim Traner for this Update:

“I had an interesting conversation with Cal who appears to be the foreman. Great guy and I like the crew. He said he and the rest of the guys were honored to be a part of this project. I’ll keep a photo log on the project. Right now they are putting up the forms for the KIA wall.”

Veterans Plaza Report Veterans Plaza Report

New Post Officers Installed

New Post Officers Installed

At the Frebruary post meeting we installed two new officers: Shown at left are Dan Doyle, our new Post Chaplain and Rose Gilliland, who is taking on the Junior Vice Commander position. Officer of the Day Jim Collins looks on as Commander Crabtree (not shown) administers the oath of office.

Congratulations and a big thank you to Dan and Rose for taking on these responsibilities.

Ditching a P-3 Orion in Subic Bay

Our February speaker was Mike Montgomery, Capt., USN (Retd.) In the 1970’s Capt Montgomery (then a Lieutenant) was the pilot of a Navy P-3 Orion, antisubmarine aircraft built on the Lockheed Electra airframe.

Mike MontgomeryOne morning in Subic Bay in the Phillipines, Montgomery and his crew took off for what would be a four minute flight ending up in the waters of the bay, following the sudden failure of their engines. They would later learn that the loss of engines was due to an error in the supply chain, resulting in dry cleaning fluid being substituted for the methynol used to boost engines on takeoff.

Thanks to the timely (and coincidental) arrival of an Air Force rescue helicopter on the scene, (and we might ad, skilled piloting) all but one of the crew survived. The Navigator was lost in a catastrophic failure of his seat area, but Montgomery and the others escaped with minor injuries and some chemical burns from fuel exposure. Montgomery is believed to be the only pilot ever to successfully ditch a P-3 Orion aircraft.

Lockheed P-3 Orion

The Lockheed P-3 Orion

Montgomery’s presentation made for a gripping story, with his vivid description of the event, supplemented with photographs of the recovered aircraft and diagrams of the interior. If you missed the February meeting, you missed a dandy! Many thanks to Capt. Montgomery for sharing his story.

P-3 aircraft remained in service until just this past year or so, when the Navy began phasing in a new Boeing built replacement, based on the 737 airframe.

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton

Viet Man by D.S. Lliteras

As a blue water sailor, who never saw anything of Vietnam beyond a view of the Tonkin Gulf coast, your editor is not in a position to assess the accuracy of Lliteras’ descriptions, but his book is a gripping novel (if semi-biographical) that I found impossible to put down.

The Following review, found on Lliteras’ web site, is by Karen St. John:

“The simple explanation of why Viet Man, the new novel by D.S. Lliteras, should be read is best said by the author himself: “No combat veteran is able to convey to a civilian what it is all about – it’s impossible. We remember glimpses of war – punctuated by actual truth. Nobody should want to be more than the truth.”

Viet Man novel by D.S. LliterasA Vietnam veteran who served as a combat corpsman, Lliteras deftly snaps you to attention in the first paragraph: “You know, when you’re running away from a hornet’s nest to save yourself, there’s no time to ponder the meaning of life.” You know the hornet’s nest is in Vietnam. What you don’t know is that from that point on, Lliteras’s ability to paint a visual image, to put a thousand meanings into one succinct and profound turn of a phrase, has you walk alongside him, trying to survive, too. The Vietnam Lliteras effectively sketches for you to see, is not a pleasant one. It’s drug-filled, tense, raw, and aching. It’s all there to see, but you feel it in your soul.

The book is available online at Amazon.com, in print or Kindle editions and at book stores.

D.S. Lliteras served in Vietnam as a FMF Corpsman and later Combat Diver, a Deep Sea Diving & Salvage Officer in the U.S. Navy, and a professional Firefighter/EMT in the Norfolk (VA) Fire Department. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, VietNow, Vietnam Veterans of America, The American Legion, The 1st Recon Battalion Association, The Marine Corps League, and The Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 

 

VFW Legislative Conference

VFW Action Corps WeeklyMore than 500 VFW members converged on the nation’s capital the weekend of Feb 25-6, to urge their members of Congress to continue transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, so that it can more efficiently and effectively serve America’s veterans.

Said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy, “The VFW is fully committed to working with Congress and the VA to change the way the department delivers health care, to include finding the best way to leverage what the VA provides with what public or private practitioners out in the community can offer, with the end goal being the delivery of the highest quality integrated care so that no veterans are ever stranded in line again.”

Along with fixing the VA, Duffy was also to demand that this Congress finally eliminate sequestration. “When the 112th Congress created sequestration in 2011, Russia was not in the Ukraine, China was not building islands out of rocks, Iran and North Korea were not as emboldened as they are today, and the Islamic State did not exist,” he explained. “Yet here we are six years later, American forces are still in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and now in Syria, and our brave men and women in uniform must still operate under a budget ax called sequestration that is still the law of the land. Once again, the VFW demands that this Congress eliminate sequestration!”

Rotary District Forms New Veterans Affairs Task Force

In last month’s issue, we reported on the new Rotary District 5030 Veterans Affairs Task Force Committee, the formative meeting for which was held on the evening of February 22.

Immediate Past Commander Jim Blossey and Post Trustee Mike Denton, attended that meeting to bring Post 8870 into the picture. Jim and Mike are both members of the Rotary Club of Edmonds Daybreakers and so are interested in finding ways to further the efforts of both organizations.

The Task Force Mission: 

“Redeem Homeless Veterans from the streets of our communities, and assist Veterans in achieving total recovery.”

Rotary District-5030 consists of Rotary Clubs in the Greater Seattle area. The new Veterans Affairs Task Force Committee is a joint effort of Rotarians, veteran service organizations, local government, health experts and citizen-patriots who wish to improve the quality of life for US Veterans and their families. We will speak out on veterans’ issues and influence public policy to positively resolve an important community crises affecting all in our society.

We are looking forward to hearing further from the Task Force organizers as their efforts get underway.

 

Meet Our New Chaplain

VFW 8870 New Chaplain Dan DoyleDan Doyle, recently elected Post Chaplain and a Vietnam combat veteran, was a Navy Corpsman attached to the Marine Corps. Dan was with the Marines at Khe Sahn.

As you should all know, the Chaplain position in our post is one of considerable responsibility and Dan has hit the ground running. You will no doubt see his name mentioned frequently in connection with various Post projects and events. Dan is dedicated to his religion and the care of veterans and is quite serious about his chaplain role. You can get some idea of that dedication by taking a glimpse at his web site and blog, for which links follow.

theveteranssite.com
faithhub.net/devotion

My Nickel’s Worth

My Nickel’s WorthOn Defense Spending by Mike Denton

The U.S. is about to become embroiled in a debate over its role in the world. That discussion, which will unfold with the release of President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal will nominally be about how much America should spend on defense. But the real issue is what role the U.S. wants to play in the world. Do we need, or want to continue to be the predominate force on the world stage? How important is it to our prosperity and security to be in a position to substantially control world events?

America spends plenty on defense, nearly $600 billion annually. A lot of money any way you look at it, but as a percentage of our annual gross domestic product ($ 18 trillion in 2015) defense spending is just a bit over 3%, which seems not at all excessive a price to pay to maintain our nation’s security and the security of that massive economy.

In constant dollars, defense spending has has actually declined from $768 billion in 2010 to $595 billion in 2015 — the fastest drawdown, percentage-wise, in many decades. As a result of the decline in net spending, we are asking our active duty and reserve men and women to perform at a higher “operating tempo” than they and their equipment can reasonably sustain. Ships and aircraft which should be in active service sit idle, awaiting deferred maintenance and replacement. Personnel serve long, arduous deployments away from their families. Sure, that is the job they signed up for (as we all did), but retaining valuable people in the face of this kind of service will become more and more difficult.

We hear quite a lot about how the government is short changing Veteran care and rightly so, but the Congress is equally tight about seeing that those now serving have what they need to perform the daunting tasks they are given. We, the people of the United States of America, in the persons of our elected representatives, must decide what our role in the world needs and is to be, and fund the necessary armed force accordingly.

If you are interested in a further analysis of this subject, read: “Seven Deadly Myths of U.S. Defense Spending” By Hal Brands, the source of much of this piece. It can be found on the following Bloomberg News link: https:// www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-28/seven-deadly-myths-of-u-s-defense-spending Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

(Readers interested in providing their own “Nickel’s Worth” for this newsletter are invited to do so. Just email your copy to editor@vfw8870.org. We reserve the right to edit for space.) 

Feel free to send your own comments in response to “My Nickel’s Worth. We will publish as many as we can in subsequent newsletters.