Mike Reagan recently finished this portrait of Buck Weaver, showing him from a photo in recent years and in the cockpit of his P-39 in the South Pacific. Buck’s war history was shared recently following his death.
A different type of Cold War
Project Iceworm was the code name for a top-secret United States Army program during the Cold War to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet. The ultimate objective of placing medium-range missiles under the ice — close enough to strike targets within the Soviet Union — was kept secret from the Danish government. To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicized “cover” project, known as Camp Century, was launched in 1960. Unsteady ice conditions within the ice sheet caused the project to be canceled in 1966.
The “official purpose” of Camp Century, as explained by the United States Department of Defense to Danish government officials in 1960, was to test various construction techniques under Arctic conditions, explore practical problems with a semimobile nuclear reactor, as well as supporting scientific experiments on the icecap. A total of 21 trenches were cut and covered with arched roofs within which prefabricated buildings were erected. With a total length of 3,000 meters (1.9 mi), these tunnels also contained a hospital, a shop, a theater and a church. The total number of inhabitants was around 200. From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world’s first mobile/portable nuclear reactor, designated the PM-2A and designed by Alco for the U.S. Army. Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine whether germs such as the plague were present.
Reports from VFW National
The Veterans of Foreign Wars stands for equality, inclusivity and diversity. No matter race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation, it is our duty as an organization to advocate for our employees, members, fellow veterans, service members and military families who may face systematic injustices. We owe this to every man and woman who dedicated their lives to selflessly defending our great nation, and in fact, every American who should reap the equal benefits of their service. As a nation, we should all be outraged and heartbroken over the tragic and senseless loss of human life. America must live up to its ideals and the fundamental truth that all human beings are created equal. The only way this can be accomplished is for our nation to continue its work to strive for the unity of all people with different backgrounds into a single nation of equal justice
It’s time for “Virtual” Poppy Drives
by Jim Blossey
“Would you wear a poppy in honor of our fallen comrades?”
Rain or shine, every Memorial Day weekend members of Edmonds Post 8870 of Veterans of Foreign Wars—combat veterans all—stand outside of area supermarkets offering passersby a small replica of a poppy and inviting them to wear it.
It is free; we never charge for it. we just want people to wear it as a way to let others know that they appreciate the sacrifices that have been made on their behalf.
Very often, people choose to leave a donation anyway. The Post uses the funds to support needy veterans in many ways: holiday gifts for residents of local veterans homes, temporary housing for families of hospitalized veterans, placing wreaths on veterans’ graves and many more.
And there’s the rub. With the Social Distancing prohibitions this year, our veterans can’t be out there. As a result, Memorial Day donations are likely to drop to zero and sadly our ability to continue to help worthy veterans will come to a halt, too.
Unless, that is, we can get folks to click over to the Post’s website at https://vfw8870.org and hit the donate button. It doesn’t have to be a lot; anything will help. It is amazing how quickly the dollars accrue. We will be running an ad with a link to our web page in MyEdmondsNews.com and perhaps some other local media in support of this effort. That ad is shown below.
Another way you can help is to share this message on your Facebook page, or with your email contacts. You can go to our page (click here) and share it to your friends and readers. Or just copy this message and post it. Everything you do helps us help those that did so much for us.
Matching funds available! Post member Ron Clyborne and his wife Michelle have committed to matching funds of up to $ 1,500.00. Early donors have the opportunity to double their contribution with the Clybornes’ generous offer.
by Fred Apgar
On May 2, 22020, our nation and our Post lost one of its great American heroes. Robert “Buck” Weaver passed away at the age of 101, Buck left a legacy of being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, respected member of the community, and friend. I join my comrades of VFW Post #8870 in extending our heartfelt condolences to Buck’s family.
Buck Weaver was born in 1918 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the fourth child in a family with two brothers and a sister. Buck was active in sports in high school and graduated 1936. Since jobs were scarce in those days, Buck enlisted in the Ohio National Guard Cavalry. Buck pursued a pre-dental program at the University of Cincinnati but his plans to become a dentist were placed on hold when with the start of WW II. In September 1941, he was sworn into the Army Air Corps and reported for primary training at Grider Field in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A month later, Buck soloed in the PT-19A trainer and completed the pilot training program in April 1942, earning his wings.
After flying anti-submarine missions off the coast of California for six months, Buck transitioned into the P-39. Upon completion of the program in September 1943, Buck found himself on a troop ship on his way to New Guinea. Buck and the other members of the 41st Fighter Squadron would be flying bomber escort, dive bombing, and combat air patrol missions in the South Pacific in support of the “island hopping campaign”. After the war, Buck left the Army Air Corps to return to his dental studies, earning his DDS four years later. He returned to active duty status in what had then become the Air Force and served in the Dental Corps for the next 25 years. In 1975, Buck retired from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel.
Buck was preceded in death by his loving wife, Bettina. They had moved to Edmonds in 1996, to be near their four children and their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Buck will be sorely missed.
Charter Draped for Two Departed Comrades
We are mourning the loss of and draping our charter for two Life Members of Post 8870 this month. In addition to the recent loss of our dear friend and comrade Robert (Buck) Weaver, we learned recently of the passing during 2019 of William Garber. Garber was a resident of Greenbank, Whidbey Island and has not recently been active in the post. Regretfully, we have no other information about Garber, his life or his service, but still we mourn the loss of another comrade in arms. Rest in peace William, along with your brother Buck.
The Auxiliary, like the post itself is meeting via Zoom. The May meeting was scheduled for May 14 at 12 :00 noon, at which officers were to be installed for the coming years. The new officers are:
President: Jo Boyett
Sr. Vice Pres.: Carrie Bridgford
Jr. Vice Pres: none
Treasurer: Patsy Ethridge Neal
Conductor: Carrie Bridgford
Guard: Carrie Bridgford
Trustee: Janet Callahan.
The photo above shows how our post meeting looked last month, and apparently will continue in the foreseeable future, as long as the Covid19 pandemic keeps things shut down. The meeting was held online in the “Zoom” application. Past Commander Jim Traner, who maintains a pro level Zoom account for his business, kindly allowed the use of his account and set the link up for the meeting. The link was then sent out to all members on the email list to allow everyone to join on line. 27 members joined us. (The photo reflects a smaller number and I believe was taken early as members were logging on.)
Elections of officers for the coming year were held, and the slate selected at the April staff meeting (also held in the Zoom format) was proposed and unanimously approved by all in attendance. The only change in officers from last year is Alden Gilliland as our new Post Service officer. Alden is working his way through the Service Officers training materials and is ready to do what he can to help veterans in need.
A proposal to fund the Veterans flagpole and memorial plaque at the new Edmonds Waterfront Center (formerly the South Snohomish County Senior Center) in the amount of $ 2,000.00 from the Post Relief Fund was made with a unanimous favorable vote.
Our usual Memorial Day observance at the cemetery has been cancelled as has our Poppy Drive at the local stores. We are planning a “virtual” poppy drive, using online ads which will be discussed in more detail elsewhere in this newsletter.
We have also learned this week that the annual Edmonds 4th of July parade and fireworks will not be held this year. Crowds at those events approach 20,000, far above the size of gathering permitted under current health guidelines.
We urge all members to log on to the link which will be sent via email for our May 20 meeting. The meeting will start at 6:00 PM , as usual. (p.s., you’ll have to make your own dinner.)
Elections were held at the April Post meeting for Post 8870 leadership for the coming year. Here is the list of officers for the next VFW year, to be installed at the May meeting.
Commander: Rose Gilliland
Sr. Vice Commander: Carl Kurfuss
Jr. Vice Commander: Duane Bowman
Quartermaster: Dennis Peterson
Chaplain: Dan Doyle
Adjutant: Jim Murdock
Judge Advocate: Jim Traner
Surgeon: Jay Hansen
Service Officer: Alden Gilliland
Trustee: Mike Denton
Trustee: Kerry Watkins
Every year on Memorial Day, the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery Board chooses one or more Edmonds veterans, or groups of veterans to be honored with ceremonies, speeches, music and presentations of memorabilia. The plan for 2020 was an observance of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and some specific Edmonds resident veterans of that conflict. Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, the annual ceremonies at the cemetery have been cancelled for this year.
As part of the preparation for the event, Edmonds resident sketch artist, and Post 8870 member Michael Reagan prepared a sketch portrait of the late John W. (Wild Bill) Crump, which was to have been presented to Crump’s family on Memorial Day. Crump was an Army Air Corps pilot, flying P40, P47 and P51 fighters out of England against Germany, accompanied by his pet coyote “Jeep”. Those interested can find details of his Air Force career and his many contributions to the Edmonds community, not to mention the story of “Jeep” (to our knowledge, the only coyote ever to fly second seat in an Air Corps combat mission) at a web site prepared by his son Bob which you will find at: http://wildbillcrump.com/.
Since were were unable to follow the original plan, Reagan and a few members of our Post gathered (appropriately socially distanced of course) on Sunday, May 3 at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza to present Reagan’s portrait of their father to two of Crump’s sons. The portrait is of Crump in the cockpit of his fighter with “Jeep”.
In the photo are, (L to R) Mike Reagan, Erik Crump and Bob Crump.
No doubt you have all been following the news regarding the Covid-19 pandemic over the past month or so, and have seen the announcements coming out of Federal, State and Local governments calling for cancellation of larger group gatherings and warnings to those of sensitive groups. (People over the age of 60 and others with certain existing medical conditions, which, unfortunately includes many of us.)
Your Commander has, in discussion with the other Post officers, decided that the risk is great enough for many of our members to cancel our usual meeting on the third Wednesday.
Commander Gilliland and your Post officers will do our best to keep you informed of further developments and to continute planning for our usual activities going forward. Meanwhile, as our Comrade Ron Clyborne suggested to us today, consider spending some time at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza, thinking of all of our comrades who have gone before us. If you are there at the right time of day, there is an excellent chance you will encounter Mike Reagan and others of of our membership. (But not too closely we hope)
Wash your hands a lot. Keep away from large crowds. Try to avoid physical contact with other people. Stay well and we will meet soon.