Author Archive: Editor

Dan White Inducted into OCS Hall of Honor

Dan White Inducted into OCS Hall of Honor

Post 8870 member Dan White was recognized at the February Post meeting for his appointment to the OCS Hall of Honor. Induction is automatic for any OCS graduate who has received the Medal of Honor or attained general officer rank. Other nominees are selected based on their distinguished service in their civilian and military careers. A computerized kiosk provides photos and biographies of all inductees. Congratulations to Dan. 

Dan is a Seattle (and Doe Bay, WA) native. He joined the Army in 1946 and was part of occupation forces in Korea. After he completed Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Ft Sill, OK and Airborne School, he served again in Korea. He became part of the Army Reserve in 1953 and retired as a Colonel in 1989. Awards include a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. Dan received degrees from Western Washington Univ and the UW. He was a teacher and college administrator. 

National Legislative Action in Support of Veterans

Representative T.J. Cox (D-CA) recently introduced VFW-supported H.R. 6082, the Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act. This important legislation would allow veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam from Nov. 1, 1955, to Feb. 27, 1961, to receive wartime benefits. “More than 3,000 veterans served in Vietnam from Nov. 1, 1955, to Feb. 27, 1961, ten of whom were killed in action,” said VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director Matthew Doyle. “However, veterans who served in Vietnam prior to Feb. 28, 1961, are not considered wartime veterans and likewise are ineligible for certain VA benefits. The VFW is proud to support this legislation, which would change the statutory definition of Vietnam veteran to include those who served in the Republic of Vietnam beginning on Nov. 1, 1955. 

National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz called for “accountability for failure to grant benefits to Vietnam and Post-9/11 veterans suffering from toxic exposures” during a special joint hearing of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans Affairs. The VFW expressed its frustration with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lack of urgency in providing benefits to individuals who suffer from conditions associated with toxic exposures, especially when there is science to back up veterans’ claims. “The VFW proposes a permanent, comprehensive, and evidence-based framework of granting presumptive benefits for toxic exposure,” said Schmitz. “Veterans who were exposed to burn pits and now suffer from pulmonary conditions and rare cancers should not have to wait decades for benefits – like Vietnam veterans did.” Schmitz reminded committee members that the VFW has led or played a major role in every reform or expansion of veterans benefits since the institution of the VA. 

Planning For “Buddy Poppy” Time

Planning For Buddy Poppy Time

While Memorial Day may yet seem way off on the horizon, it is actually just over two months away, so now is the time to start making preparations. 

Jr. Vice Commander and Poppy Chair Duane Bowman has made arrangements for a presence at the Mill Creek Central Market once again. It has been a few years since we have been at that location, but it has always been very productive, as well as being a comfortable facility at which to distribute poppies. We would like have tables at each of three doors at that store. 

We plan to distribute poppies at QFC on the Speedway in Mukilteo; QFC at Westgate in Edmonds, Fred Meyer on Alderwood Blvd & 164th and at Central Market in downtown Mill Creek. At both QFC stores and at Fred Meyer, we will staff two doors each and at Central Market, three doors. We will work Friday May 22 and Saturday May 23 with two shifts both days at all locations so we need to fill a total of 36 shifts. 

We had intended to have sign up sheets at the March meeting to get us started, but with the meeting cancelled, we will obviously need to at least start our sign-up process on line. Hopefully, we will be able to meet together at the Legion Hall in April. 

With the shift from West Lynnwood QFC to Central Market, there will be no need for anyone to be out in the rain. We will all be able to be under shelter. Obviously, if too many people sign up at one location, some of us will need to move, so be prepared to be flexible. There will certainly be some of us who are unable to participate fully, so If you can do more than one shift, or can bring spouse, offspring or friends to help, please do so. Contact Duane to let him know your preferences and with any questions: dvbow@comcast.net. On line sign-ups will be made available as soon as possible. 

Brothers Are Everywhere

Brothers Are Everywhere

In the past month, your editor found himself undergoing some minor heart surgery at a local hospital. Mine being the first case of the day, I found myself the only patient in the recovery room being cared for by a rather senior, graying male nurse nearing retirement. 

Once the fog of anesthesia wore off, the two of us had the better part of an hour before the room got really busy to get acquainted and, of course discovered that we were both veterans. It seems the nurse was a very young Marine in the late days of the Vietnam War, who was in country late in 1972 as a Marine rifleman. 

Brothers Are Everywhere

It never fails to amaze how quickly the brotherhood of veterans bond becomes apparent when two veterans meet. As we parted company, and I was thanking my newly found friend for his attentive care, he said: “You know, it is guys like you that led me into this profession”, fellow veterans who need his help. Thanks, Marine. 

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton

Book review by Mike Denton How it is like to go to war by Karl Marlantes

In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. In his thirteen-month tour he saw intense combat, killing the enemy and watching friends die. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his experiences. 

In “What It Is Like to Go to War”, Marlantes takes a candid look at these experiences and critically examines how we might better prepare young soldiers for war. In the past, warriors were prepared for battle by ritual, religion, and literature—which also helped bring them home. While contemplating ancient works from Homer to the Mahabharata, Marlantes writes of the daily contradictions modern warriors are subject to, of being haunted by the face of a young North Vietnamese soldier he killed at close quarters, and of how he finally found a way to make peace with his past. Through it all, he demonstrates just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey. 

This reader found some of his discussions of ritual, religion and literature a bit overstated, but it is clear that these thought processes and his writing (Marlantes has also written novels about the war) have become Marlantes’ personal way of dealing with his PTSD, perhaps allowing us to overlook a few excesses here and there. Overall, Marlantes expresses his individual view of war and its impact on young warriors well. This is, for the most part a well written book that might be of value to those who have not served, in understanding the vet’s world view.  

VFW District 1 Memorial Ceremonies

VFW District 1 Memorial Ceremonies

On February 15, as we do every year around this time, Post officers and members of both VFW and Auxiliary units of District 1 of the Department of Washington joined together for a luncheon and memorial ceremonies at the Post 2100 facility in Everett. These ceremonies, performed to memorialize our comrades who have left us in the past year, include the laying of floral bouquets by the representatives of each Post, the reading of prayers for the dead, as specified in the VFW Manual of Procedure) by our District Chaplain and a rifle salute by the Honor Guard. Post 8870 Commander Rose Gilliland was joined by several other Post officers at the event. 

VFW District 1 Memorial Ceremonies

Edmonds VFW is very proud to provide more than our share of members in the Honor Guard, who represent us all a such ceremonies, and at burials and assorted community events where such formal representation ads so much to the solemnity of these events. 

Fair Winds a & Following Seas Edgar Shepherd

WWII Navy Veteran dies at 101  

Fair Winds a & Following Seas Edgar Shepherd

Edmonds VFW Post 8870 lost one of its most senior members when Edgar Shepherd left us on January 27 at his home in Edmonds, surrounded by his family. Born July 4, 1918 in Trafford, PA, Ed celebrated his 101st birthday this past summer. Twice widowed, Ed is Survived by brother Thomas Shepherd, 4 children: 6 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. 

Fair Winds a & Following Seas Edgar Shepherd

Edgar survived the sinking of USS Helena (CL50) in the Battle of Kula Gulf, July 6, 1943. The light cruiser, which had come through the Pearl Harbor attack, was tasked with protecting other ships during the Guadalcanal campaign. Nearly 170 shipmates perished. Shepherd was part of a group who survived, clinging to a liferaft. He kept a dollar bill signed by the sailors who survived with him. It was one of two bills he had in his pocket at the time. He used the other bill, a five, to pay for telegrams so they could tell their families they were alive. 

Ed joined the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. A Fire Control Technician, he worked in the plotting room, which included the control system for the guns. He also fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa aboard USS Louisville, CA28. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for work greatly enhancing the accuracy of the ship’s 8” guns. 

After finishing his time at sea, he helped start a Navy reserve center in Colorado before moving to California to help his uncle open a doughnut shop. He got a job in Los Angeles at an electrical company

A friend persuaded him to visit Seattle, and Shepherd bought a house in Edmonds where he was living at the time of his death with daughter

Paula Kilbourne. Paula once offered to take him whitewater rafting. He turned her down. She asked if he didn’t think she’d be a good guide. That’s not it, he told her. He had clung to a rubber raft, adrift in dark waters after the USS Helena sank. He wasn’t interested in getting on a raft again.  No local services were scheduled. Memorial contribution to Edmonds VFW, Edmonds Senior Center or the Lynnwood Elks are suggested. 

WWII Marine Corps Vet Dies at 100

WWII Marine Corps Vet Dies at 100

Clara Jennings, who served in the US Marine Corps during World War II, died just days after her 100th birthday, which was January 27. While not herself a member of VFW, she was the mother in law of member Dick Harsin, one of our Vietnam Navy veterans. The family has requested donations to be made to VFW Post 8870 in her honor. 

Many were honored with the opportunity to meet Jennings at the 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza, where this photo was taken. 

VFW Post 8870 Announces Freedom Scholarship

By Don Stapleton 

Commander Rose Gililand has announced the Post will once again offer their Freedom Scholarship to graduating high school seniors. Student qualifications include having at least one sibling, parent, or grandparent that is a United States Military Veteran; and, reside within the Edmonds and Mukilteo Public School Districts. Students who reside within the boundaries of the districts but attend private schools or are home schooled are also eligible. Each of the four scholarships will be in the amount of $1,500.00 and will be awarded to seniors who will be enrolling full time at an accredited college, university or technical school. 

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. 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 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, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be notified of their selection prior to their high school’s spring awards program. 

January Post Meeting Was Cancelled

The snow storm the week of January 15 caused the January meeting to be cancelled by Commander Rose Gililand, in the interest of the safety of our members and guests. 

The program for that meeting was to have featured our student essay winners and our Teachers of the year. That program has been shifted forward to the February meeting. Our meal will be provided by the post Auxiliary. 

Don’t miss it. 

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Vets and Agent Orange

New map helps Vets locate ship positions 
from “Military Times” 

A new interactive map could help ill Vietnam veterans who served on U.S. ships determine whether they could be eligible for Agent Orange-related benefits. The law allows veterans who served on a ship that operated within 12 nautical miles of a line of demarcation established by law and have an illness presumed related to herbicide exposure, to apply for health benefits and disability compensation. 

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Vets and Agent Orange

Over 1,700 deck logs have been plotted to date, and new information continues to be added. The map is hosted online by the disability law firm Hill & Ponton one of numerous law firms which vie to assist veterans in drafting and filing disability claims with VA.Veterans service organizations provide similar assistance free of charge. As part of filing disability claims, veterans must show they served on a U.S. vessel when it traversed the congressionally drawn zone. 

Veterans who were on ships that aren’t yet mapped or who served outside the zone, such as in the Gulf of Tonkin, should contact Military Veterans Advocacy and the Blue Water Navy Association if they have one of 14 diseases listed by the VA as linked to Agent Orange. They may still be able to file a claim