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Whidbey Crosswind The Puget Sound Veterans’ Monthly | July 2018

It’s magic Navy veteran is successful entertainer z pg. 6

Supplement of the Whidbey News-Times


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ervice has opened the door to homeownership vice has Your opened the door homeownership service has Your military service hasopened openedthe thedoor doorto tohomeownership homeownership Your military service has opened the door to homeownership payment loanmilitary options andtoeasier qualifications. payment with loan options and easier qualifications. payment loan withlow lowdown down payment loanoptions optionsand andeasier easierqualifications. qualifications. with low down payment loan options and easier qualifications.

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Medal of Honor recipient dedicates vet care program By STEVEN POWELL

said. “I didn’t carry myself off the battlefield.”

The emotional well-being of military members has been neglected for too long.

He said veterans, active military and their families need to be strong emotionally, too.

That was the overriding message of speakers at the dedication of the new Extra Mile Military Care Unit at the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital Wednesday. “We’re not going to tolerate another generation of homeless veterans,” retired Col. David W. Sutherland said. The unit was dedicated in honor of Master Sgt. Leroy A. Petry, the first Army Ranger to receive the Medal of Honor. On May 26, 2008, in a raid against a Taliban encampment in Paktya, Afghanistan, Petry was wounded in both legs during the assault. Soon after, an enemy grenade landed nearby. Petry tossed it away from two fellow Rangers, resulting in amputation of his right hand and multiple shrapnel wounds. He applied his own tourniquet. When he recovered from his wounds, he became a Wounded Warrior advocate for reducing the stigma of combat-related posttraumatic stress syndrome. Petry said while he saw some psychiatrists after his injuries, he would have benefitted from a facility like the Extra Mile.


“We need to get a lot of people out of that isolation,” he said, adding, “It takes courage to be here.”

ties like this one so all eyes are on this unit, and he wants to make sure it succeeds and is Gold standard. “We need more places like this to make our vets whole,” said Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, director of the state Veterans

Matt Crockett, chief executive officer of the hospital, said it is the first psychiatric facility in 80 years to open.

“We need to get a lot of people out of that isolation. It takes courage to be here.”

“It makes you a better soldier - at the top of your game,” he said. Petry said this area is fortunate to have such a facility close by that people have access to, and he hopes people take advantage of it.

Sutherland brought up that June 6 was the 74th anniversary of D-Day. Two World War II veterans, Leonard Martin and Harlan Newberry, were in attendance. He said that soldiers on the beaches at Normandy “rejected the paradigm of negativity” that is so prevalent in society, even though 95 percent of those in the first wave died. He said Petry displayed that same type of valor.

MASTER SGT. LEROY A. PETRY, Medal of Honor recipient

He said he met with some of the patients and is excited about helping them. He likes seeing that dependents also are involved as he had not seen that before. Petry said the president would like to see more facili-

He said those hired for the new unit have received specialized training to go “the extra mile” when dealing with the military. “He hired the best to take care of the best,” AlvaradoRamos said. Smokey Point is a 115-bed behavioral hospital that provides inpatient, acute behavioral health and addiction treatment for adolescents, seniors and adults. For more information, go to smokeypointbehavioralhos

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Independence Day on Whidbey

Independence Day activities abound on Whidbey Island. Here’s a look at what’s happening: OAK HARBOR July 4 7:30 a.m., Oak Harbor Rotary Pancake Breakfast at First United Methodist Church 11 a.m., Davis Amusement Carnival, field on corner of Bayshore Drive 11 a.m., Oak Harbor Rotary and Chamber Grand Parade 11 a.m.-10 p.m., street fair, Pioneer Way 11 a.m.-4 p.m., kids’ games at Smith Park 1-3 p.m., BBQ at the Elks 1-11 p.m., beer garden at Flintstone Park 10:30 p.m., fireworks SOUTH WHIDBEY July 3 3-10 p.m., Freeland Park Celebrates America! -- music, games and fireworks at 10 p.m. July 4 Noon: Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade followed by kids’ activities

VP-40 holds change of command ceremony The Fighting Marlins of Patrol Squadron 40 held a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on June 15. During the ceremony, Cmdr. Patrick O’Reilly relieved Cmdr. Scott Coonan as the commanding officer of VP-40. The ceremony is one of the Navy’s oldest traditions and signifies to the sailors a transfer of authority and responsibility from one commanding officer to the next. Serving as guest speaker, Capt. Kevin Long, commodore of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Ten, presented the outgoing commander with the Meritorious Service Medal to commemorate the squadron’s achievements during his tenure. Coonan, a native of Orange Park, Florida, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 1999, earning a bachelor of science degree in ocean engineering. His military career has spanned the globe over six operational/instructor tours of duty.

A change of command ceremony was held for VP-40. “We have faced challenges I have never seen a command face before and have come out stronger on the backside of them because of you,” said Coonan. “It is because of each and every one of you that VP-40 will be called upon again in the future. Thank you for your selfless service to our nation. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to work alongside you.”


fighters in the making. As the last VP squadron to transition, you must remember proudly each time you walk to that aircraft to fix it, fly it or fight it: today’s flight is tomorrow’s legacy.”

O’Reilly will command VP-40 through the last inter-deployment readiness cycle of an active duty P-3C squadron. “I have heard folks describe the P-3 and its replacement as weapon systems,” said O’Reilly. “I would like to clarify that at VP-40, you are the weapon system of tomorrow’s force. Whether in a P-3 today or a P-8 tomorrow, you are

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VOL. 8, NO. 6 WHIDBEY CROSSWIND STAFF Executive Editor & Publisher...............................KEVEN R. GRAVES Associate Publisher....................................... KIMBERLLY WINJUM Editor................................................................JESSIE STENSLAND Reporters... LAURA GUIDO, PATRICIA GUTHRIE, MARIA MATSON Admin/Production Manager.............................JENNIFER WILKINS

Advertising Sales.................... NORA DURAND, JOCELYN IALACCI, ERYN NAVARRO, JACY ANDERSON Creative Artists................ ERIN GOODFELLOW, GRETCHEN BUNDY Administration.................................................KAITLYN MARTINEZ Circulation Manager............................................DIANE SMOTHERS

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READER INFORMATION: ADMINISTRATIVE: The Whidbey Crosswind is a monthly publication of Sound Publishing, and is a member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. Advertising rates are available at the Crosswind office. While the Crosswind endeavors to accept only reliable advertisements, it shall not be responsible to the public for advertisements nor are the views expressed in those advertisements necessarily those of the Whidbey Crosswind. The right to decline or discontinue any ad without explanation is reserved. DEADLINES: Classifieds and Display Ads – 4 p.m. Monday prior to publication; Community News and Letters to Editor – Noon Monday prior to publication. ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENTS: ARBY’S

Oak Harbor native supports the ‘Silent Service’ Seaman Apprentice Alexis Lauterbach is an information systems technician. Navy information systems technicians are responsible for making sure all the computers and networks on submarines work properly. They also fix the computers and networks when they go down. “So far, the best part of serving in the Navy is proving to myself that I could meet the potential I knew I had,” said Lauterbach. “Knowing that I made it through was really great.”

“Growing up in Oak Harbor, I lived on a Navy base,” said Lauterbach. “That experience really helped me because lots of people gave me great tips on how to succeed. Living in Oak Harbor, I also learned to respect military service.”

cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

Naval Submarine Support Center, New London provides administrative and support functions to approximately 20 submarines. Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with

“The U.S. Navy submarine force has one of the highest operational tempos in the U.S. Navy, and Naval Submarine Support Center, New London plays a vital role in helping Groton-based submarines maintain their excellent readiness,” said Cmdr. Brian

J. Nowak, commanding officer, Naval Submarine Support Center, New London. “The warfighters operating the submarines at the tip of the spear, and those who are building the Navy’s newest nuclear powered submarines can only do so because of the vast network of support they receive from the shore side. The professional sailors and civilians

at Naval Submarine Support Center, New London serve a key role in that network. I am honored that I get to serve every day with outstanding sailors like Lauterbach.”

and observation.

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing

“I’m grateful that the Navy opened up the opportunity for females to serve on submarines,” said Lauterbach.

The submarine community is an all-volunteer force, which has some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy.

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Retired Navy pilot transforms into magician JR Russell works full time performing his unique craft By LAURA GUIDO


fter 30 years in the Navy, retired Capt. JR Russell still doesn’t want to grow up. When he graduated from college, he couldn’t go to Neverland so he did the next best thing — he went to flight school. “When you’re flying, it’s like you’re not even a grown up,” he said.

more on “close-up” tricks that he would do in a one-on-one setting. He took a toastmaster’s class to get more confident with public speaking, he joined magician societies, he attended conventions and he took a week-long Magic and Mystery course in Las Vegas. He performed free shows at retirement homes to hone his skills.

In 2010, Russell retired from the Navy and decided to pursue a new passion to keep him young. He rekindled what started as a childhood fascination, evolved it into a way to pick up girls in college, then into “a way to cheat [his] buddies in the Navy,” until it finally became a career.

His personal library of books and videos expanded a great deal from his first “handbook.” “My wife would say I have way too much,” he said, “and I do.”

An 8-year-old Russell saw a magician on TV and promptly checked out The Amateur Magicians Handbook from his local library.

He said he’s still trying to discover his identity as a musician, but lately he mostly enjoys performing for children. He appreciates their creativity and said they often think of ways to do a trick that an adult probably wouldn’t have considered.

He’s not an amateur anymore. Russell works full time performing at shows for kids and adults and he recently started teaching his craft through the “Discover Magic” program. He also serves as chairman for the Veterans and Military Committee for the Society of American Magicians. He said he wants to do more events for military fami-

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JR Russell took a unique road after retiring from the Navy. lies, perform at VA hospitals and expose active dury personnel to the art. Through his military outreach, which will start at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, he hopes to


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The transition from amateur to professional didn’t happen magically overnight for Russell. When it was still just a hobby, his abilities focused

No matter who he’s performing for, Russell said he has fun every day in his new career. He doesn’t regret turning away from the higher-paying traditional jobs that he was offered after leaving the Navy to do card tricks. “I always say if you can find a job that you are truly happy with and you can somehow get paid for it,” he said, “it doesn’t get any better than that.”

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Whidbey Crosswind, June 29, 2018  

June 29, 2018 edition of the Whidbey Crosswind

Whidbey Crosswind, June 29, 2018  

June 29, 2018 edition of the Whidbey Crosswind