Newsletter Articles

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton 

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II Kindle Edition by Daniel James Brown

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II

Kindle Edition by Daniel James Brown

“They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of America. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. And within months many would themselves be living behind barbed wire. 

Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Daniel James Brown’s extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons, who volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible.” 

At times, a difficult read, simply because of the profound bigotry demonstrated to these dedicated young Americans, who became some of the most decorated soldiers of WWII, but hang in there, it’s worth the 

Operation Home Front

Back to School Brigade 

Back-to-School Brigade® is Operation Homefront’s annual nationwide school supply collection and distribution campaign. Since inception, Operation Homefront has distributed over 400,000 backpacks to military children saving military families nearly $50M in school expenses. Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree Inc. have joined forces for 12 consecutive years to collect and distribute school supplies. 

Families of Post 9/11 wounded, ill, or injured service member of any rank, both currently serving and those no longer serving in the military or All ranks, Active Duty, Guard and Reserves, any duty status or Transitioning service members within 12 months of their discharge/retirement date. 

VFW Posts’ role in this program is to collect donated supplies from participating Dollar Tree locations, sort and deliver them to Operation Home Front for distribution to military families in need. 

Operation Home Front
Above, at a recent Post meeting, (L to R) Commander Carl Kurfess, Post Surgeon Bryan Rowe and Past Commander Rose Gililland prepare to sort school supplies. 

Post Meeting Speakers Slated

We have speakers scheduled for each of the next three Post meetings. 

August 18: Monica McNeal, Washington State President American Gold Star Mothers

Finding strength in the fellowship of other Gold Star Mothers, who strive to keep the memory of our sons and daughters alive by working to help veterans, those currently serving in the military, their families, and our communities. 

September 15: Matthew Durkee, Edmonds College Veterans Resource Center

October 20: Mark Emiley, Healing Waters Fly fishing. 

Ken Burns’ Documentary On Vietnam

Ken Burns’ Documentary On Vietnam

Some thoughts from VFW Post Chaplain Dan Doyle 

Recently, on the Veterans Site by Greater Good, where he is a regular contributor, Chaplain Doyle wrote a lengthy analysis of Ken Burns latest documentary series on the Vietnam War. We thought it a bit too lengthy to reprint here in its entirety, and so have taken the liberty of summarizing Dan’s piece. We encourage you to visit the site to read the entire essay, the spirit of which we hope we have captured. 

Ken Burns’ (documentary) series on the Vietnam War has drawn a lot of attention. There has been much talk about it. I have to admit that I have very mixed feelings about watching it. 

Burns’ Civil War documentary is the best thing I’ve ever seen on television. It was thoughtful, sensitively handled, well written and a beautifully produced. One of its greatest strengths was in not judging the characters with current bias. It simply told the story. 

When Burns produced the Civil War documentary, it was already a century and a quarter in the past; all of those involved were long since gone. That historical distance shaped Burns’ ability to simply tell the story without prejudice. This, I fear, is not the case with this new documentary on the Vietnam War. It is only 50 years in the past, in historical terms, still too “fresh.” There are still millions alive today who lived it. The Vietnam War is still alive in the hearts and souls of those who fought it those who fought against it. I am concerned that Vietnam veterans will come out on the dirty end of the stick again. 

Ken Burns has given us some of the most thoughtful television in the history of TV, but without the historical distance that he had with the Civil War, and being a part of the Vietnam generation, can he really be as objective as he was with the Civil War documentary? 

I think that Burns’ intentions are good. He seems to want to bring about some healing around the still open wounds of the Vietnam War through this documentary. If he can break through, or somehow ignore his own prejudices, feelings, and experiences from that time, it might be a good thing. 

Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. Maybe I’m being too pessimistic. I do not know. I have not yet decided whether I will, or will not watch it. But I am not without hope. 

Buddy Poppies

at the Edmonds Farmers Market 

The Post will once again man a booth at the Edmonds Farmers Market on a Saturday in September to distribute Buddy Poppies and “show the flag” to the public and potential new members. This event is tentatively scheduled for September 25. We will be set up by the market opening time of 9:00 AM and continue until 2:00 PM. we do need volunteers to for set up/take down and to man the booth during the day. You can do a morning shift, an afternoon shift or both. 

Sign ups will be held at the August Post meeting. See Senior Vice Commander and Poppy Chair Duane Bowman. 

Buddy Poppies

In the photo at right are Post Chaplain Dan Doyle and then Commander Mike Denton at a similar event in 1919, set up much as we will be in September. 

Looking ahead to Veterans Day. Buddy Poppy distribution will take place November 5 & 6 at our usual locations in the area. Sign-ups will begin at the September Post meeting 

Edmonds VA Clinic Follow-up

Edmonds VA Clinic

In last month’s issue of the newsletter, we introduced the new VA clinics in Edmonds and Everett, (two more were added in Olympia and Puyallup) which should represent a much more convenient alternative to Snohomish County enrolled veterans. The image above was taken from a Facebook post on the topic and we thought it a good opportunity to remind everyone that this facility is now available right here in Edmonds and show you what it looks like. It is not a large facility, but VA has announced its intentions to add services now available only in Everett and the larger regional facilities, as demand grows. 

Carl Kurfess’ Trivia

Glacier Girl

Glacier Girl

Glacier Girl is a Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning World War II fighter plane, 41-7630, c/n 222-5757, that was restored to flying condition after being buried beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet for over 50 years. 

On 15 July 1942, due to poor weather and limited visibility, six P-38 fighters of 94th Fighter Squadron/ 1st FG and two B-17 bombers of a bombardment squadron were forced to return to Greenland en route to the British Isles during Operation Bolero. The aircraft were forced to make emergency landings on the ice field. All the crew members were subsequently rescued. However, Glacier Girl, along with the unit’s five other fighters and the two B-17s, were eventually buried under 268 feet (82 m) of snow and ice that had built up over the ensuing decades. 

Glacier Girl

Fifty years later, in 1992, the plane was brought to the surface by members of the Greenland Expedition Society after years of searching and excavation. The aircraft was eventually transported to Middlesboro, Kentucky, where it was restored to flying condition. 

In April 2016, a team en route to the crash site in Greenland and under the guidance of veteran pilot and explorer, Ron Sheardown, was interviewed while at the airport in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada regarding plans to recover a second P-38. 

From the Bookshelf

by Fred Apgar

Stalking The U-Boat: U.S. Naval Aviation in Europe During World War I  Geoffrey L. Rossano

Stalking The U-Boat: U.S. Naval Aviation in Europe During World War I 

Geoffrey L. Rossano 

Stalking The U-Boat provides a comprehensive view of the abrupt and rapid creation of Naval Aviation during World War I and fascinating insight into its day-to-day operations. The author, who died in July 2021, had been a history professor at the Salisbury School. 

Readers are taken on a discussion of wide-ranging topics that include the planning and construction of a series of Naval patrol bases in Europe, the aircraft used for anti-submarine missions, daily operations and life on the Naval bases, and the Navy’s attempt to establish a lighter than air (LTA) capability. Thanks to our military’s obsession with maintaining meticulous records, even about the most mundane of details, Rossano provides readers with a trove of information and details, which all make for a fascinating read. 

Once civilian and military leaders made the decision to establish a Naval Aviation presence in Europe, it fell upon a junior officer, Lt. Kenneth Whiting, to command the First Aeronautic Detachment. Whiting, with an expeditionary force of 7 officers and 122 enlisted men arrived in Europe in June 1917. Overcoming immense challenges, the expeditionary force eventually grew to more than 850 officers and 6,000 enlisted. Ultimately, the Navy conducted flight operations from 27 Naval Air Stations that had been constructed in the British Isles, France, and Italy. 

The network of Navy coastal patrol stations was designed to protect American war ships and convoys from attack by German submarines. Initial flights of Naval aircraft commenced in late September 1917, an incredible accomplishment since Lt. Whiting and his staff had arrived in Europe only three months previously. 

Rossano provides a discussion about each of the patrol stations and furnishes incredible detail regarding each station’s; construction, personnel, number and type of aircraft, training regimens, flight operations, number of sorties and distances flown, and injuries and deaths as a result of accidents and enemy action. Rossano concludes that, ultimately, the remarkable establishment of a Naval aviation presence in Europe did not shorten WW I, it did, however, succeed in creating the concept of Naval aviation as a military force that would reach full maturity during WW II. A group of heroes emerged from the war as did a powerful vision for the future of Naval Aviation.

Independence Day, July 4, 2021

Yes, We did have a Parade! 

Independence Day, July 4, 2021

Whether there would be an “Edmonds Kind of 4th” parade this year was a question mark, right up to the last two weeks preceding Independence Day. Due to some absolutely heroic effort on the part of the Edmonds Chamber staff and a dedicated group of volunteers, a full blown event took place, featuring over 80 different entries, including of course our Edmonds VFW and American legion. 

Independence Day, July 4, 2021

Veterans of our local post provided the color guard as usual and VFW Post 2100 of Everett joined us with their big deuce and a half truck. Volunteers representing Gold Star Mothers joined us carrying banners honoring fallen comrades. 

The number of members participating was down this year, but the audience was large and appreciative. Once again, the parade announcers were Past Commanders Jim Blossey and Mike Denton. The accompanying photos are courtesy of My Edmonds News and The Edmonds Beacon. 

Independence Day, July 4, 2021

June Post Meeting

June Post Meeting

Our June Post meeting was well attended (24 members on the premises plus two others attending via Zoom) and busy. 

Two of our 2021 scholarship recipients Shakeel Kah, of Mariner H.S. and Vann Dreier of Kamiak H.S. were present via Zoom to read their essays to the Post. The essay topics this year were “What Freedom Means to Me” and “How our Constitution establishes and maintains a culture of freedom”. The other two winners, Hayley Ross, Meadowdale H.S. and Taylor Schindler, of Edmonds Woodway H.S. were unable to join us due to other commitments. 

June Post Meeting

Dept of Washington Commander Traci Williams joined us to present Commander Rose with the Post’s 75th Anniversary certificate from the National Commander. 

Parade plans were finalized and several potential new members introduced. More on new members as they are actually inducted. 

Among the photos displayed is one showing the new video equipment (below) purchased to enable more complete participation by those joining our meeting online, which includes a new camera, monitor and laptop computer. In the photo shown, members Al Boyett and Jay Hansen are seen, as well as a third member connected via audio only. 

June Post Meeting

The above image at left displays the head table with Commander Rose directing the meeting, as well as Don Stapleton introducing the scholarship winners who were with us online. With this arrangement, everyone attending can see and hear everyone else, whether physically present or on Zoom.