Newsletter Articles

In Memorium

Amos B Chapman 

Amos Chapman

We lost another of our few remaining WWII vets recently, when Amos Chapman died following a stroke. Amos grew up in Toppenish, WA but also lived in Seattle and graduated from Franklin HS. He joined the US Navy in May, 1943, just a couple months before turning 18. He served aboard the USS Killen (DD-593) in the Pacific as a Fire Controller. The Killen was a new destroyer built in Bremerton. It provided convoy escort, shore bombardment and anti-aircraft screen. It participated in action in the Surigao Strait in the campaign to retake the Philippines. The Killen was attacked by 9 Japanese Aircraft off of Leyte and was heavily damaged by a bomb, killing 15 crewmen. (In the photo at left, he displays the medal awarded to US Vets of the Phillippine campaign. At right, Amos is with his ship’s monkey mascot aboard the Killen. Such mascots were not uncommon in the Phillippine operations) Amos resided in Edmonds. He retired from the US Postal Service Seattle. He leaves 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. 

Amos Chapman

Memorials in the age of Covid-19

Memorials in the age of Covid-19
Amos Chapman
Amos Chapman

In this age of the Covid pandemic (six months into it as this is written) gatherings of friends and comrades have been pushed aside. Post meetings are held “virtually” over Zoom, social gatherings of any size cancelled and even proper farewells to our fallen comrades are being “postponed”, pretty much indefinitely. It is difficult not having the opportunity to say goodbye in the long established ceremonies of our social order, religious or otherwise. 

One thing that goes on is our Post’s resident sketch artist Mike Reagan’s effort to remember each and everyone of our comrades in portrait sketches, most recently those of Buck Weaver and Amos Chapman, two much loved members of VFW Post 8870. 

Buck Weaver
Buck Weaver

Recently, Reagan, along with Post Commander Rose Gilliland, has arranged small, properly masked and socially distanced, gatherings of Post and family members to present Reagan’s sketches of our lost comrades to their families. The photos included here show these presentations to the Weaver and Chapman families held recently at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza. What better use for this space that our members worked so hard to see built. 

No doubt we all agree that these brief, informal remembrances are a grossly inadequate farewell to our comrades. Once we are able to gather in greater numbers, we must see that they are bid a proper goodbye, each according to his own traditions. We know our Honor Guard is anxiously awaiting that opportunity. 

Memorials in the age of Covid-19

From the Post Service Officer

Recently, Past Commander Mike Denton was approached by a donor in possession of a high end mobility chair they wished to donate to a veteran who was in need of it. Denton turned it over to Post Service Officer Alden Gilliland who tracked down a DAV post willing to pick it up and get it to a vet in need of it. 

The little things we are able to do, can sometimes make a big difference in a comrade’s life. 

July Post & Staff Meetings

July Post & Staff Meetings

We are continuing to hold all of our regular meetings virtually, using the Zoom format. Certainly it is frustrating to be unable to gather for our usual monthly meal and business meeting, but Commander Rose Gilliland and her staff remain concerned for the health of our members and guests. Our average attendance at meetings (35-40) is such as to put the head count over the numbers suggested by health authorities for face to face gatherings and making significant “social distancing” challenging in a facility the size of the Legion Hall. 

Should one of our members, no doubt unknowingly, bring the pandemic virus into the rest of the group, the relatively advanced average age of our membership could result in a very unfortunate outcome, as we have seen in other groups (not necessarily VFW) around the country. It seems we will have to continue to be patient and do our best to continue to be among those #Still Serving without in- person meetings. 

We are considering options, such as combining a small group gathering at the Legion Hall, with other members joining us on Zoom according to their comfort level. 

At the July meetings, we talked about some of the groups and programs we will continue to support through our Veterans Relief Committee, funded by our semi annual “Buddy Poppy” drives. Our Memorial Day “virtual” Poppy drive yielded just under $11,000 to add to the fund for 2020-21 needs. We agreed that this is sufficient funding, added to existing reserves, to allow us to continue to support all of our ongoing Relief Fund programming. 

It has been suggested that the Post look at participating in the “Adopt A Unit” program to reach out with support to active duty military in the area. We are looking into this, with the present idea of adopting one of the Navy ships home ported at Naval Station Everett. Stay tuned. 

Be sure to log on Zoom for the August meeting on Wednesday, Aug.19 at 6:00 pm. The meeting log in will be the same as prior meetings, but an email will be sent to the membership as a reminder. The above “screen grab” shows only those members appearing on a single screen.of those attending the July Post meeting. Note that one member, Al at lower right, is participating from an audio only connection, always an option. 

Inclusion Within VFW

An e-statemet of national and department policy 

The following is an except from an all hands memo by VFW Department of Washington Commander Traci Williams 

Commander Traci Williams
Commander Williams

Comrades, Sisters and Brothers

This morning (July 31, 2020) myself and a few members of my staff attended a live Zoom meeting with Commander-in-Chief Roesch to address some of the statements made during his speech on July 24th, 2020 after being installed as the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ 112th National Commander-in-Chief. During Chief Roesch’s acceptance speech he made it clear that our organization is “at a major turning point in our nation’s history”. The speech continued to speak of inclusion of all eligible veterans no matter their gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or religion. While there are some that do not agree with the wording used by our Commander-in-Chief specifically that of “Black Lives Do Matter”; I am here to tell you that, as your State Commander, my staff and I are committed to standing with Chief Roesch, and we will not tolerate intolerance to others based on gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or religion. The goal of our organization is to be the most INCLUSIVE organization for our qualified veterans no matter their personal differences and or preferences. 

During the meeting Chief Roesch brought two things to light, that I think are important that I pass on: 

The statement of “Black Lives DO Matter”, is not an endorsement nor was it meant to be an endorsement of any organization or movement. Chief Roesch made it clear that the word “DO” makes a huge difference and was intended to ensure that the members of the VFW understand that regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or religion you “DO” matter as a veteran and member of this organization. 

The statement of “Our doors are open to ALL eligible veterans” means exactly what is stated. If you are eligible for membership within the VFW then you are welcome no matter your gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or religion. This was not a statement that all veterans can join or an indication that we are changing our Congressional Charter to include veterans who are not currently qualified for the VFW. 

Heroes’ Cafe/Got Your “6”

(Note: Post 8870 is supporting both organizations financially to benefit all area veterans) 

Hello everyone, 

Our most likely date for restarting our Heroes’ Cafe events looks to be in Jan 2021, which will be at our new location. Let’s hope so!!! I want to thank everyone for your kind words, support, as my family and I journey down this cancer road. I finished treatments recently and the doctors’ feel they got everything needed to keep me around a little longer. 

Gary Walderman, USAF Retired 
Veteran Director, Heroes’ Cafe 

The GY6 lunches in Edmonds remain on hold at least through August. When we do start again, the lunches will be take place on the second Wednesday of every month, noon to 3:00 PM, in Kennedy Hall, 828 Caspers Street, Edmonds, 

Veterans, PLEASE do not forget our options for online food ordering & pickup (on Monday or Tuesday) and for home delivery. To place an order go to: https://edmondsfoodbank.org/order-food/, between the hours of Friday starting at 5:00 PM to Tuesday at 10:00 AM. At the time you place your order, you will be advised when to come to the food bank on Monday afternoon (3:00 – 5:30 PM) or Tuesday morning (9:00 AM — 12:00PM) to pick up the food. 

If you need assistance ordering food or cannot pick it up on Monday or Tuesday, please contact the food bank at info@edmondsfoodbank.org, or leave a message at 425-778-5833. We will arrange for pickup at another time, or for the food to be delivered.  

Larry Fuell 
Edmonds Food Bank Volunteer and GY6 Co-Coordinator

Kiosk Data Collection

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Kiosk

We would like to complete the Information Kiosk at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza by inputting data for each dedicated veteran. We created Online Forms for this purpose. Please help us! 

If you have purchased any of the several types of memorial spaces in the plaza for either yourself or other veterans, living or deceased, please select one of the Forms below and use its link to enter requested data for each honoree: 

Form A: For those who have a Google account or are willing to create free account. (If you use Gmail or Google Calendar, you have a Google account. You can create it by visiting: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/56256?hl=en) Only Google account holder can upload photos directly from the form. Prepare the photos (Read Photo Specification*) and start the form below. —> https://forms.gle/HXNLN8AoGuJWtW4G7 

Form B: For those who do not or wish to have a Google account. We will send a separate email requesting photos later. Please go ahead and fill the form below. —> https://forms.gle/1iqMkSoaPUHfzo8H9 

Either way, you will be requested (but not required) to provide up to 2 photos. *Photo specification: Ideally optimized for 400w X 500h in pixels at 72 DPI and JPG (.jpg) format is preferred (up to 10 MB per photo in size allowed). You may want to start preparing them before you start filling the form. If you do not know how to do these, do not worry but go ahead and upload photos as they are. 

If you have any question, please email at EVPkiosk@gmail.com

From The Bookshelf

by Mike Denton 

Dead Man Launch JOHN J. GOBBELL

As the Vietnam war rages in Southeast Asia, a US traitor sells top-secret codes to the Soviet Union. 

Then a Soviet submarine disappears in the North Pacific…and as the Russians mobilize to find it, a US nuclear submarine goes missing as well. 

Vice Admiral Todd Ingram is caught in the morass—and so is his son, Navy Lieutenant Jerry Ingram. 

Both men are thrust into a web of alliances and betrayal in search of answers…and a truth that could save the world from a major disaster. 

While a work of fiction, the novel is a histroically quite accurate portrayal of the United States’ position in world conflicts in the late 1960s. 

JOHN J. GOBBELL is a former Navy Lieutenant who saw duty as a destroyer weapons officer during the Vietnam War. 

POW Trivia: Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR)

By Carl Kurfuss 

POW Trivia: Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR)

Patrol Boat, Riverine or PBR, (aka “Swift” Boat) is the United States Navy designation for a small rigid-hulled patrol boat used in the Vietnam War from March 1966 until the end of 1971. They were deployed in a force that grew to 250 boats, the most common craft in the River Patrol Force, Task Force 116, and were used to stop and search river traffic in areas such as the Mekong Delta, the Rung Sat Special Zone, the Saigon River and in I Corps, in the area assigned to Task Force Clearwater, in an attempt to disrupt weapons shipments. In this role they frequently became involved in firefights with enemy soldiers on boats and on the shore, were used to insert and extract Navy SEAL teams. 

The PBR was a versatile boat with a fiberglass hull (some early versions were built on plywood hulls) and water jet drive which enabled it to operate in shallow, weed-choked rivers. It drew only two feet of water fully loaded. The drives could be pivoted to reverse direction, turn the boat in its own length, or come to a stop from full speed in a few boat lengths. (A major producer of the PBR was Uniflite, of Bellingham, WA., Since sold to Chris Craft and successors, ed.) 

The PBR was usually manned by a four-man crew. Typically, a First Class Petty Officer served as boat captain, with a gunner’s mate, an engineman and a seaman on board. Each crewman was cross-trained in each other’s job in the event one became unable to carry out his duties.

Typical armament configuration included twin M2HB .50 caliber machine guns forward in a rotating shielded tub, a single rear M60, and one or two 7.62 mm light machine guns mounted on the port and starboard sides, and an Mk 19 grenade launcher. There was also a full complement of M16 rifles, shotguns, .45 ACP handguns, and hand grenades. 

Early in their use, casualties among the PBR crews approached 80%, becoming one of the drivers of the massive use of Agent Orange to clear the river banks of ambush locations, which is of course another story altogether. 

Works cited 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrol_Boat,_River

Independence Day Memories

Independence Day Memories

For many of us, the 4th of July celebrations are a hi-lite of the VFW year, with the annual parade, picnic at the Legion Hall and evening fireworks, but this year, thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic, we will have only memories of past versions of these events. In the photos shown above from prior years, Post 8870 members are forming up for the “Edmonds Kind of 4th” parade, and handing flags out to the younger citizens in attendance. 

Independence Day Memories

We look forward to returning to these traditions next year. 

Meanwhile, Phil Sacks still showed up for parade duty. His neighbor, Art Jones, organized a parade in his honor around the block on Saturday morning. 

Sacks, a Purple Heart recipient, led the way in his VFW jacket. Jones, wearing blue jeans, carried a flag and blared music from a Bose Bluetooth speaker. “We played John Philip Sousa as if it were the Boston Pops,” said Jones, 77. Thanks to the Everett Herald’s Andrea Brown for the article and photo on Sacks’ personal parade

Independence Day Memories