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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 WWII Veterans remember

Two World War II veterans living at Lynden’s Christian Health Care Center reflect on their service of 70 years ago — page C3

Musical Salute is on Vietnam era

Saturday’s ninth annual Musical Salute to Veterans at the Mt. Baker Theatre will have a focus on the Vietnam War era — page C9


HONORING ALL WHO SERVED A supplement of the Lynden Tribune & Ferndale Record


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record



Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


World War II vets remember Two men both reside at Lynden’s CHCC

Paul DeVries flew 49 missions into France and Germany as pilot of P-51 Mustang fighter By Calvin Bratt

   LYNDEN ­— When Paul DeVries, at age 93 now, thinks back on the 49 missions he flew piloting P-51 Mustang planes into France and Germany in World War II, fear is not something that he recalls.    He thinks more about the attitude of unity and preparation that had to prevail in the 357th Fighter Group as they did their assignments.    “I don’t call it a fear. You were always cautious and watchful and very close. You were always in a group,” said DeVries, who resides at the Christian Health Care Center.    Yes, he did come under attack at times and some pilots in his group were shot down and captured before they could complete their return to the Leiston air base in England.    But the mission of the 357th during his stint from February to July 1944 was clear — to “pound Berlin” with bombs, knock out other strategic German installations and shoot down any enemy planes they could.    DeVries said the main job of P-51s was to escort and protect the big B-17 bombers — 1,000 of them were based in England — on their bomb drops and, in addition, strafe ground targets as possible with the Mustang’s eight 50-caliber guns. See WWII on C6

With ground crew buddies, Paul DeVries, right, stands at the wing of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane he piloted from England on 49 missions over Europe in 1944. (Courtesy photo/Julie LaCheck)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


Meaning of Veterans Day rooted in history Armistice ending World War I was at 11th hour of 11th day of 11th month

Archibald Alsop, a Minnesota man in uniform in World War I, wrote home to his sister a day after the 1918 armistice was signed. “When it came to eleven o’clock, German trumpets blew and men shouted and cheered. Some of our boys traded money and hats with men who, but a few minutes before, were sighting at them over machine guns. Below: Canadian soldiers climb out of trenches for an advance in what was known then as the Great War. (Courtesy photos from website)

   In 1918, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, the world rejoiced! After four years of bitter war, the Allied Powers signed a ceasefire armistice with Germany at Rethondes, France on Nov. 11, bringing World War I to a close. The “war to end all wars,” as it was called, was over.    Nov. 11, 1919 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States in remembrance of the sacrifices that men and women made during World War I in their efforts to ensure a lasting peace. Soldiers who survived the war marched in parades through their home towns. Politicians and veteran officers gave speeches and held ceremonies of thanks for the peace they had won.    Armistice Day officially received its name in the United States through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later. Congress voted Armistice Day a federal holiday in 1938. Americans realized, however, that the previous war would not be “the war to end all wars.” World War II began the following year and nations great and small once again participated in a bloody struggle. At the end of World War II, Armistice Day continued to be observed on Nov. 11.    In 1953, townspeople in Emporia, Kansas called the holiday Veterans Day in gratitude to those veterans in their town. Soon after, Congress passed a bill introduced by a Kansas congressman renaming the federal holiday to Veterans Day.    Americans continue to give thanks for those who gave their lives for their country. At 11 in the morning there are ceremonies and speeches and many Americans observe a moment of silence, remembering those who fought, and continue to fight, for peace.    After the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, the emphasis shifted. There were fewer military parades and ceremonies. Veterans now gather at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to place flowers and to hold a quiet vigil as the names of their friends and relatives who fell in Vietnam are read.    Veterans of military service have organized support groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. On Memorial Day, these groups raise funds for their charitable activities by selling paper poppies made by disabled veterans. The bright red wildflower became a symbol of World War I after a bloody battle in a field of poppies called Flanders Field in Belgium.    Earl Erickson is a Korean-era veteran. “I realize most Americans do not know the history, meaning or importance of the federal holiday called Veterans Day,” he wrote in submitting this piece. He can be reached at 927-5181.


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record

Local veterans gather for LMS assembly

Lynden native Foster Courtney speaks to Lynden Middle School students on Tuesday about his experience in the Korean War. (Brent Lindquist/Lynden Tribune)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


WWII: DeVries received three combat decorations Continued from C1    It was all the responsibility of just the pilot in what DeVries calls the “very high performance” fighter craft of the U.S. Army Air Force of the time.

Paul DeVries in full World War II uniform    In all, the 357th Fighter Group flew 313 combat missions from February 1944 to April 1945 and is credited with destroying over 700 German planes.    Another member of DeVries’s squadron was Chuck Yeager, later to become famous as the first man to fly a plane past the sound barrier. DeVries kept up his friendship with Yeager until a few years ago.    As for DeVries, although his name might hint at deep Lynden roots, he has only been in town since July. He had been in nursing care in the Seattle area, but it was time to get him conveniently closer, said his daughter Julie Lacheck, of Lynden, as she assisted with his interview last week.    The softspoken man takes no pre-

scription drugs and doesn’t need glasses. He uses a wheelchair and is a little hard of hearing, but very clear of mind.    He was born on May 29, 1920, and grew up in little Luzerne in eastern Iowa. The town could boast the largest Lutheran church in the state, however.    After high school, DeVries headed to southern California to work in the Douglas aircraft company; he wasn’t going to be milking cows on the farm. He was also following his fascination with aircraft and flying. Of being a pilot, he says, “That’s what all the kids wanted to be.”    The month after Pearl Harbor’s bombing, DeVries enlisted as an Army Air Corps cadet. He got seven months of progressive flight training in California and Arizona and received his wings on Aug. 26, 1942.    He had trained on several planes, but was eager to get into the P-51 Mustang as the fastest military aircraft of its day and with fuel tanks to stay in flight for three hours. (Later, in combat, extra tanks would be attached underneath the P-51 for more range, then jettisoned if the craft came under fire.)    On Aug. 28, 1943, in San Francisco, Paul was married to Ellenora Schroeder, whom he had met in California. Even to the newlyweds, his military instructions remained fairly vague — “they didn’t tell us when and where we were going,” he said.    Evenually he and two buddies were told to report to Casper, Wyo. “We got there and they put us on a train and we went directly to New York, and then onto an ocean liner that took us to England.” The men’s wives, who had come along to Wyoming, drove their cars back to California.    In early 1944 the flights across the English Channel began.    Military records that have been assembled by the family give details of the dates and types of missions, and the destinations in both Germany and occupied France: Rouen, Braunsweig, Berlin, Augsburg, Dijon among them. Sometimes missions would be on consecutive days, sometimes

Paul DeVries talks with his daughter Julie LaCheck at the Christian Health Care Center last week. On his lap is a model of the P-51 Mustang plane he flew during the war. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune) with two weeks’ skip.    “Sometime we would fly a whole mission and encounter no combat. Other times, we would run into something,” DeVries said.    The records show he had 30 sorties, or engagements with enemy fire. On June 8, 1944, DeVries shot down one enemy aircraft and on July 6 he shot down two more. For his combat performance, he was awarded these decorations: an Air Medal, three Oak Leaf Clusters and one Distinguished Flying Cross.    He ended active duty as a captain in July 1945. He later served in the Air Force Reserves.    With flying in his blood, DeVries went on to a career with the Civil Aeronautics

Authority and successor Federal Aviation Administration, working first in Oakland, then San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Seattle. He retired at age 55 as deputy chief of air traffic control (second in command) for the FFA in the Seattle area.    Then he went to work in property taxes for TransAmerica Tax Service until age 75.    Daughter Julie said her dad was delighted to see a working specimen of the P-51 once in his later years at the Seattle Museum of Flight, and he described some of its unique characteristics to his family. Julie was able to fly in the plane as a passenger scrunched where the extra fuel tanks would be in World War II.    Julie said her father insists the P-51 “flew best at full throttle” and she jokes

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record



   John Clifton was on the ground servicing airplanes in World War II. He might have worked close to Paul DeVries, as both were in England.    Currently, Clifton also is a Christian Health Care Center resident.    Originally from Sumner, Wash., he signed up to join the Marines in 1942, he said. He went through boot camp and additional training in California to become a mechanic for the planes of the Navy Air Corps, he said.    “I remember that I repaired a lot of airplanes.”    He also was in Germany and France before getting out in 1947, he said.    “I was sort of at all the places. I can’t remember them all,” he said.    Back in California, he was able to go to work for the airplane company of Jack Northrup, whom he personally knew. He worked especially in hydraulics systems, having received all the basic training he needed from his time in the military, he said.    “I had a lot of my friends from the service working there too.”    He eventually came back to Washington and worked for Boeing on military and some commercial planes, he said.


10:49 AM

Homefront group keeps connecting Whatcom to its service people    LYNDEN ­ — Whatcom Homefront is a charitable organization dedicated to providing an ongoing message of support, appreciation and recognition to men and women in uniform with a Whatcom County connection who are serving in combat situations.    The Thanksgiving pack of goodies for six service people is completed, and the Christmas pack will be done in late November, said Kevin Goertz, president of the group.    “We do try to limit it to the combat zones,” he said.    Actually, recent packs have been double, two boxes per person, with the second box devoted to extra donated Girl Scout cookies.    Since November 2003 Whatcom Homefront has been sending regular care packages five or six times a year. The names of Whatcom County-connected troops are submitted by family and friends and represent all branches of the armed forces.    The care packages contain food and personal care items, reading material, cards, letters and other small items that will let the military person know people from home are thinking about

them, says the Homefront website.    The packs are usually done in timing with Valentines Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Goertz said.    The number of Homefront packs sent out has dropped quite a bit with the United States’ pullout from primary action in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.    Still, names are being taken. Goertz can be contacted at 384-0357 or 9370412. Email to:    Send the name of the deployed soldier or sailor, his or her military address, and a local contact person for checking on the service person’s status.    Send donations or write for information to: Whatcom Homefront, P.O. Box 32328, Bellingham, WA 98228-4328.    Whatcom Homefront board members include: Tom and Thelma Darling, Kevin and Kim Goertz, Pam Hansen, Calvin and Peggy Deem, Tammy Bengen and Bonnie Lagerway.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record



THANK A VETERAN TODAY Veterans’ Day is a time of tribute, remembrance, patriotism and gratitude. We are proud to offer this special section to honor those men & women who have served our country! Please Remember to say “Thank You” to a veteran.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


Musical Salute to Veterans focuses on Vietnam era Event is at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 in Mt. Baker Theatre By Tim Newcomb

WHATCOM — The ninth annual Musical Salute to Veterans this week will be focused on the Vietnam War.    The Vietnam Veterans Chapter 165 of Bellingham produces the event. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the main escalation of the war, the focus will be on the Vietnam conflict era from 1964 to 1975, when the last of American troops left Saigon.    Directed by Mark Kuntz of Western Washington University, the salute is geared toward thanking and honoring local service members by paying tribute to the contributions made by Americans on the home front and recognizing the support and sacrifice made by U.S. allies during the conflict.    The event is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Mount Baker Theatre.    Local musicians participating are the Mt. Baker Toppers, Johnny and the Starlights, Double Deuce, New Originals, Bobby Lee and Jeff Morgan. They will perform popular songs from the era including “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “Homeward Bound” and “He Ain’t Heavy … He’s My Brother.”    Tickets are $15, $18 and $24, plus fees.    Jim Pace, Whatcom County VA Center director and a Vietnam veteran himself, has been the producer of the show all of its past eight years.    When the idea of focusing this year’s effort on music of the Vietnam era came up, it totally made sense to do that, he said.    Pace said the show will not be political, but rather educational and entertaining, with markers of the history noted to go along with the music. Mark Kuntz always does a wonderful job of pulling it all

The annual Musical Salute to Veterans is an entertaining and honoring presentation put together by Western Washington University theatre arts professor Mark Kuntz and local veterans services leader Jim Pace. (Courtesy photo) together, he said.    A special highlight that may not have made early publicity is that Taylor Lynn, granddaughter of country music star Loretta Lynn, living locally, will be part of the show, predictably with a country Western flair.    It’s considered to be 50 years from the escalation of the Vietnam War under President Johnson in 1964, including the Gulf of

Tonkin incident.    The local chapter of Vietnam Veterans, with about 115 members, got behind this idea, and Pace was able to use his job connections and contacts also to line up a number of vets whose names will be used in the script as to when they served in Vietnam.    “I work with these guys. I got the word out,” he said. “I felt it was time. No one else


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is going to do it.”    Pace, who was in Vietnam in 1970-71, estimates Whatcom County has over 5,000 Vietnam vets.    At the end of the show, at first Vietnam vets will be called on stage and then all other vets will be invited to join them to be honored. And the Vietnam emphasis may continue on for a few years, Pace said.


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


Ferndale Veterans Memorial still an ongoing effort to become reality Bender Park is the approved city site By Mark Reimers

FERNDALE — A long-running effort to fund and build a “world class” veterans memorial at hilltop on Thornton Road is getting a fresh pledge of support from organizers.    The most recent visible sign of life from the effort has been the establishment of a smaller-scale memorial in Griffintown Park downtown.   However, the Griffintown project might have caused a misconception among some that it was all that will come out of the memorial effort, said local Realtor J.D. Pullman.    Local Fire District 7 firefighter associations helped fund the smaller memorial, which, like the Bender Park proposal, includes a carved stone piece and flags. However, that effort was meant mainly to help raise awareness about the large project.   The Ferndale Veterans Memorial Committee, of which Pullman is a founding member, was formed in October 2008 after he noticed in previous City Council meeting minutes, that councilman Paul Ingram had stated that he would like to see the Park, Recreation & Trail Advisory Board look into building a Veterans Memorial.    Pullman made some calls and soon got many in return from local veterans interested in being a part of the project.    One board member, Mark Kuhl, a local veteran and firefighter, was an active member and chaired the group until he recently moved away to Montana.

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   With Kuhl’s move and a daunting fundraising target still ahead, Pullman is eager for the community to know that the memorial effort hasn’t ended or even stagnated.    “Our stated goal is to bring a worldclass memorial to the City of Ferndale that not only honors veterans, but also the families left behind,” Pullman said.    The Ferndale Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board has already approved the use of Bender Park for the memorial, should the funding materialize.    The monument that will make up the centerpiece of the six-acre park will depict an American Flag made entirely from naturally colored, red, white and blue granite.    The upright slab would measure about 38 feet long and 18 feet tall, with separate United States, Washington State and P.O.W./M.I.A. flags mounted on mast-style poles atop the monument.    Ferndale veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice will have their names engraved into the stars on the flag. The monument will sit atop a pentagon-shaped platform built to resemble the deck of a Navy ship.    Bender Park, located off Church and Thornton roads, offers the second highest elevation in western Whatcom County with sweeping views of Puget Sound, local islands and mountains, Pullman said.    Estimates from Eric Weden of Weden Engineering regarding the final cost of the Bender memorial hover somewhere between $900,000 and $1 million.    In order to raise that amount, the committee has gained nonprofit status.    For more information, visit the committee’s website at or call Pullman at 360-5104663.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Ferndale Record


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