Newsletter Articles

From the Bookshelf

Revolutionary Summer

by Mike Denton

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence 

A distinctive portrait of the crescendo moment in American history from the Pulitzer-winning American historian, Joseph Ellis. 

The summer months of 1776 witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding. While the thirteen colonies came together and agreed to secede from the British Empire, the British were dispatching the largest armada ever to cross the Atlantic to crush the rebellion in the cradle. The Continental Congress and the Continental Army were forced to make decisions on the run, improvising as history congealed around them. Ellis meticulously examines the most influential figures in this propitious moment, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain’s Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves together the political and military experiences as two sides of a single story, and shows how events on one front influenced outcomes on the other. 

February Post Meeting 

Jason Bain

Our February speaker, Jason Bain is currently the Registrar & Asst. Curator of the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds. Bain’s presentation was based on his previous experience as the Senior Collections Curator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation. That foundation was formed in 1979 for the purpose of creating a memorial to our comrades lost in Vietnam as “A tangible symbol of recognition from the American People for those who served and sacrificed in the Vietnam War” 

Bain displayed numerous examples of items left at the “The Wall” as well as many images of all of the sculpture at the Wall Memorial in Washington DC. Several of our members have had the experience of visiting the Wall, which was dedicated in 1982. Designer Maya Lin’s work simply and dramatically presents the names of each of the over 58,000 who were lost in Vietnam in the order of their passing. Since the dedication of the wall, additional sculpture has been added, as illustrated in the accompanying photos. 

Welcome New Member David Wells 

Welcome New Member David Wells

Commander Kurfess inducted David Wells as a new member of Post 8870 at our February Post meeting 

Born in Everett WA, David Wells graduated from South Eugene High School in 1966 and joined the Navy in January 1967. After boot camp in San Diego he attended Naval Tactical Data Systems school in Vallejo, CA. (Naval Tactical Data System was a computerized information processing system first deployed in the early 1960s for use in combat ships.) 

In August of 1968 he was assigned to the USS Mahan, DLG11 homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. they made regular trips to the Gulf of Tonkin over the next two years. The ship returned to San Diego in January 1971. On the way home a a detour was taken to Australia and New Zealand for short stays in Brisbane, Sydney and Wellington. On crossing the equator, David experienced the Neptune ceremony, & after a day of hazing, became a Shellback. He was then transferred to the schools command at Vallejo where he served as an instructor until discharge in January of 1973. David lives in Edmonds with wife Kate of 42 years. They have three children and 2 grandchildren. Retired in 2018 and David enjoys playing Pickleball, hiking and drawing. Welcome Aboard! 

Our Other New Member

by Mike Reagan 

Our other New Member

My Orkin guy, the “Bug Guy” called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I remembered Ed’s Outdoor. I told him I remembered the Army Surplus Store in Lynnwood but also remembered it being closed down a couple of years ago. Then he asked me if I remembered the large soldier that stood outside the store. I thought it had sadly been trashed. 

Turned out that a friend of his bought it from the owner and it’s been sitting in that person’s garage since. The buyer’s wife wanted it gone so my “Bug Guy” took it off his hands. So he called me a couple of weeks ago, & offered it to me and I accepted, with the idea this is an “Veteran Icon” of our area and that it needs to be saved from the garbage heap and at the last meeting brought it down to the Post, maybe its last home. I think it’s valuable and with some thought I believe we at the Post could find a way to make it pay off with the work we do. It’s easy to move around and it does get attention. 

Nominations for Post Officers Due 

At the March 16 Post meeting, nominations will be taken for Post officers for the VFW year 2022-23 which begins July 1. 

A slate of nominees, inlcuding a second year for most of the current officers will be presented and nominations will also be accepted from the membership. If you wish to serve you may place your own name in nomination. Please do not nominate anyone for any office unless you have gained that person’s approval in advance. 

The roster of current elected officers is below. (All other officers are appointed by the Commander) At this writing, the only one on that list not running for another term is long time Quartermaster Dennis Peterson, who wishes to step down after something on the order of ten years in office. Cal Barnard is on the nomination slate to be presented by the Commander to replace Dennis. 

Elections will be held at the Post meeting on April 20. 

Commander: Carl F. Kurfess 
Sr. Vice Commander: Duane Bowman 
Jr. Vice Commander: Rose Gilliland 
Quartermaster: Dennis L Peterson 
Chaplain: Dan Doyle 
1st Year Trustee: Kerry Watkins 
2nd Year Trustee: Donald Stapleton 
3rd Year Trustee: Mike Denton 

Planning for Upcoming Events 

Buddy Poppy

Spring is just around the corner, which means that planning for Memorial Day ceremonies and our Memorial Day round of Buddy Poppy distribution (May 6 & 7) is underway and we will need to begin planning for Independence Day, on the assumption that both the annual parade and our barbecue can be held this year. 

Buddy Poppy Chair Duane Bowman has announced that he wishes to staff three QFC locations, Mukilteo, Westgate and 196th at 76th, as well as Fred Meyer at 164th and Town & Country Market in Mill Creek. (formerly Central Market) In order to staff all of those locations, we will need participation by considerably more of our membership than we have seen in recent years. We understand that it is difficult for some of our older members and we just ask that each of you do whatever you can. If that is a full day, great, if just and hour or two, everything helps. 

Memorial Day

We have asked the Auxiliary to participate and if spouses and older teenage offspring are will to help, they would be welcome. We usually have several spouses of members who participate and basically, everyone is welcome. 

We expect to participate in the Edmonds Cemetery Memorial Day ceremonies (Monday, May 30) as we have for many years, so be sure to put that event on your calendar, beginning at 10:00 AM at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery. 

From the Bookshelf 

by Fred Apgar 

A Higher Call By Adam Makos and Larry Alexander

A Higher Call 

By Adam Makos and Larry Alexander 

Set during World War II, the book, A Higher Call, tells the remarkable story of two highly skilled pilots, warriors from different worlds, one German, one American, who meet in the skies over Europe. 

Five days before Christmas 1943, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown and his ten-man crew encountered German fighter aircraft on their way to a bombing mission over Bremen, Germany. Despite sustaining damage to the their B-17 bomber, the crew of Ye Olde Pub successfully delivered its bomb load, after which Brown headed for home. Flying at an altitude of close to 30,000 feet, Lt. Brown’s aircraft was subjected to intense anti-aircraft artillery fire and then, attacked by more than 15 German fighters, sustaining serious damage. All alone, the crippled B-17 was flying deeper into enemy territory instead of heading to its home base in England. 

Having just landed to refuel his Me-109, German ACE Franz Stigler observed the crippled B-17 fly over the German airfield. He took off in pursuit, intent on adding to his number of kills. As Stigler approached the aircraft, he was stunned by what he saw. He observed the body of the dead tail gunner and the bewildered looks of the men as they tended to the wounds of the other crewmen. Despite having the ability to do so, Stigler could not bring himself to destroy a helpless adversary. For almost ten minutes, the German pilot flew in formation with the Flying Fortress, waving at Brown to change his heading 180 degrees, and escorting him over deadly coastal AAA batteries. 

It took 46 years, for Brown and Stigler to find one another. A bond immediately formed between the two pilots, and during their remaining years, they toured the country attending and speaking at Air Force reunions. 

VFW Action Corps

VFW Action Corps

VA Proposes Disability Rating Changes 

VA has proposed changes to its Schedule for Rating Disabilities for auditory, respiratory, and mental health conditions. These changes would incorporate modern medical data and terminology, allowing veterans to receive disability ratings based on the most current information. Ratings of veterans who currently receive VA disability compensation will not be impacted as a result of these changes. The VFW will carefully review the proposed changes and will submit a public comment to the Federal Register.

Two of our Washington State Comrades Come Home 

MIA Update

MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced two burial updates and two new identifications for service members who have been missing and unaccounted-for from World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: 

Army Pfc. Kenneth L. Bridger, 17, Colville, Washington, was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, on the last night of his unit’s stand at the defensive perimeter near the east side of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered. Bridger will be buried in Twin Falls, Idaho, on May 21, 2022. 

Navy Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Harvey C. Herber, 34, of Tacoma, Washington, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship result

Military Trivia 

by Carl Kurfess 

Opera&on Iraqi Freedom (OIF) slang

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) slang 

Some terms/sayings commonly used in OIF, specifically in Iraq or Kuwait. 

G.I. Shower. Method of cleaning oneself when water is scarce. For troops in the field, the definition was “baby wipes”. 

Good to go. Ready for action. 

Oh-dark-thirty. Early in the morning; well before dawn. 

Outside the wire. Outside U.S. Army authority. 

Stop-loss. Policy preventing service members from retiring or leaving the service at their scheduled time. 

Weapons green and clear. Guns are unloaded and empty of ammunition. 

Works cited: Dickson, Paul. War Slang: Fighting Words and Phrases of Americans from the Civil War to the Gulf War. New York: Bristol Park, 2007. Print.

January Post Meeting 

Membership Chair Jim Traner announced a new potential member, David Wells, a USN veteran of 1968-70, who we hope to be able to induct at the February meeting. 

Data from the old Plaza kiosk is in the process of being transferred to the Post Web site.

Poppy Chair Duane Bowman is proposing some changes in our site set-up which will be discussed at the next staff meeting for further announcements at the Post meeting in February. 

The Post needs some volunteers in leadership & committee roles: 

  1. A VFW jacket Committee to help in ordering new Post jackets for members 
  2. Safety/Law Enforcement Committee to select Law Enforcement & Fire Fighter of the year awardees. 
  3. Identify and invite potential Post meeting speakers. 
  4. Reach out to older and ill veterans to check on their status. 
  5. The Edmonds VA Clinic is now open 
  6. Veterans pins available at Heroes Cafe 
  7. Planning is underway for Memorial Day ceremonies at Edmonds Cemetery. 

Talk to the commander if you are interested in any of these activities.