Headquarters, American Legion, Department of Mississippi
HEADQUARTERS, AMERICAN LEGION, DEPARTMENT OF MISSISSIPPI
Department of Mississippi
120 State Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 688
Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: (601) 352-4986
Department Adjutant: Deborah Fielder
Our Mission & History
In 1919, The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism and Children and Youth. Each of these pillars encompasses a variety of programs that benefit our nation's veterans, its servicemembers, their famalies, the youth of America and ordinary citizens. These programs make a difference in hundreds of thousands of lives each year. It's who we are and what we do.
FORMATION OF THE LEGION IN MISSISSIPPI
Very few of the present members of the Legion in Mississippi know anything of the forming of the Legion because at the time of the First Department
Convention in Jackson, October 21, 1919, the total membership of the Department was less than 1,000.
A great many of this number had the interest of the Legion at heart, and it was due to their unselfish and untiring efforts that the Legion was started in this state.
These men gave unstintingly of their time and money; they visited neighboring towns when there was a chance of forming a Legion post; they
traveled during any kind of weather and over roads that were almost impassable in order that the Legion might get ahead; and it is to these men that the Department owes an unrecorded debt of gratitude.
The names of the men exist only in the minds of some of the older members, but the results of their work and planning continue today.
Early in April 1919, Mr. Alexander Fitz-Hugh of Vicksburg received a letter from Mr. A. F. Cosby, General Secretary of the Military Training
Association in New York, in which he advised Mr. Fitz-Hugh of the movement begun in Paris, in March of that year, to organize the ex-servicemen, and he requested Mr. Firz-Hugh to present the matter to representatives ex-servicemen in Mississippi with a view of selecting delegates to the Convention to be held at St. Louis on May 12, 1919. Fourteen men attended the convention.
At this meeting, the delegates from each state were authorized to choose officers and an organizing committee and to determine the day and place
for the State Convention. This was done at a meeting held in Jackson, June 13, 1919. This committee chosen served until the State Convention, which was held in Jackson, October 21, 1919, at 10:00 a.m. to convene at the Hall of the House of Representatives, which time new officers and a new committee was elected. Expenses for delegates will be borne by the post or the delegates themselves.
American Legion Auxiliary
The first action taken towards the establishment of the Auxiliary in Mississippi was on August 5, 1920, when seventeen ladies of Jackson met in the club room of Henry H. Graves Post No. 1 and organized a Unit to this Post.
The National Constitution recognized an auxiliary organization to be known as the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion. Membership will be limited to mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, and to mothers, wives, daughters and sisters of men and women who were in the military or naval
service of the United States between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, and died in the line of duty or after honorable discharge and prior to November 11, 1920.
According to the temporary regulations of the National Executive Committee, Auxiliary units with a minimum membership of 10 may be formed in
connection with any Post of the American Legion. The application for the charter for such an Auxiliary Unit must be approved by the Post to which it is attached, and then approved by the Department Commander and Executive Committee before the charter will be issued by the National Committee and National Adjutant.
Founded in 1919, The American Legion Auxiliary has nearly 1 million members from all walks of life. The Auxiliary administers hundreds of volunteer programs, gives tens of thousands of hours to its communities and to veterans, and raises millions of dollars to support its own programs, as well as other worthwhile charities familiar to Americans. It is all accomplished with volunteers.
While originally organized to assist The American Legion, the Auxiliary has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary’s interests have broadened to encompass the entire community.
The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some
foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly
stands behind America and her ideals.
In Garden City, Mich., in 1993, Chuck "Tramp" Dare and Bill "Polka" Kaledas, commander of American Legion Post 396, shared an idea to start a motorcycle enthusiasts association within the organization. The two longtime riders wanted an environment where Legion family members could come together to share a common love for motorcycles.
Dare and Kaledas wrote a letter to Michigan Department Adjutant Hubert Hess, sharing their idea. Hess replied that he liked the concept and wanted to pursue it. Later, he gave Kaledas and Dare instructions for managing the program at the post level. He also explained how they could be approved to use the American Legion emblem, and how to gain Membership's support and recognition. At a regular meeting, Post 396 members passed a resolution for a new program to be known as the "American Legion Riders."
Joined by 19 other founding members from their post, Dare and Kaledas were flooded with requests for information about their organization. They agreed to establish a central source for the Riders to ensure that chapters formed not as motorcycle clubs or gangs, but as Legionnaires and
Auxiliary and SAL members joining to ride as Legion family.
Sons of the Legion
At a Department Executive Committee meeting held on February 11, 1934, it was decided to form a Detachment of the Sons of the American Legion in
this Department and Robert D. Morrow was appointed as Detachment Commander and Fred L. Todd as Detachment Adjutant. Founded in 1932, Sons of The American Legion exists to honor the service and sacrifice of Legionnaires.
S.A.L. members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership. Members of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons 1919 of The American Legion comprise the Legion Family, which has a combined membership of nearly 3 million.
Although Sons have its own membership, the organization is not a separate entity. Rather, S.A.L. is a program of The American Legion. Many Legionnaires hold dual membership in S.A.L.
The Sons organization is divided into detachments at the state level and squadrons at the local level. A squadron pairs with a local American Legion post; a squadron’s charter is contingent upon its parent post’s charter. However, squadrons can determine the extent of their services to the community, state, and nation. They are permitted flexibility in planning programs and activities to meet their needs but must remember S.A.L.’s mission: to strengthen the four pillars of The American Legion. Therefore, squadrons’ campaigns place an emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation’s children, caring for veterans and their families, and teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship.
Since 1988, S.A.L. has raised more than $6 million for The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. S.A.L. members have volunteered over 500,000 hours at veterans hospitals and raised over $1,000,000 for VA hospitals and VA homes. The Sons also support the Citizens Flag Alliance, a coalition dedicated to protecting the U.S. flag from desecration through a constitutional amendment.
PAST DEPARTMENT COMMANDERS
1919 & 1920 *Alexander Fitzhugh; 1921 *Dr. Ira L. Parsons; 1922 *W. C. Adams; 1923 *Kenneth G. Price; 1924 *Curtis T. Green; 1925 *Leon F. Hendrick; 1926 *Clarence I. McDonald and Dr. M. W. Robertson; 1927 *Benjamin F. Hillburn; 1928 *Ernest Waldaur; 1929 *W. Dudley Owens; 1930 *William A. Schmitt; 1931 *Forest G. Copper; 1932 *Luther W. Maples; 1933 * Lyon W. Brandon; 1934 *Arthur C. Short; 1935 *James T. Crawley; 1936 *B. B. Allen; 1937 *Charles E. Sims; 1938 *Adrian H. Boyd; 1939 *Wilkes H. Davis; 1940 *Henry Hillburn; 1941 *Robert D. Morrow; 1942 *Joseph Dixon; 1943 * Fred W Young; 1944 *David Crawley; 1945 *George W. Ditto 1946 *H. Kirk Grantham; 1947 *H. N. Morse; 1948 *T. N. Touchstone; 1949 *Rollins S. Armstrong; 1950 *Guy Land; 1951 *Ralph M. Godwin; 1952 *Norman A. Johnson Jr.; 1953 *Robert E. Thompson; 1954 *Sam W. Waggoner II; 1955 *T. Woodley Carr; 1956 *C. D. Gulley; 1957 *Jack Pace; 1958 *Fred R. Metcalfe Jr.; 1959 *Gary Moore; 1960 *Wendell Craft; 1961 *Cleveland Davis 1962; *Thomas J. Kirk; 1963 *Gene Tibbett; 1964 *T. A. Dichiara; 1965 *H. B. Monroe; 1966 *Roland D. Marble
1967 *David L. Morrow; 1968 *Morris Meyer; 1969 * William Hays; 1970 *Hugh Broome; 1971 *Thomas V. O’Brien; 1972 *Tommy Mills; 1973 *James P. Dean; 1974 *Derrell Roberts; 1975 *John Sapen; 1976 *Hershel Ladner; 1977 *P. O. Gibson Jr.; 1978 *B. E. Sullivan; 1979 *Victor Broome; 1980 *Gayle Gorden; 1981 *Amos Anderson; 1982 *Lee H. Wall; 1983 *Mack Currie 1984; *Henry Macoy; 1985; *Joe Ghetti; 1986 *George P. Delvorias; 1987 *Haskel Smith; 1988 *Clayton Thompson; 1989 *Emmett Case; 1990 *Richard Clements; 1991 Robert Gosa; 1992 *Joe Peetz; 1993 *Fred Ingellis; 1994 *Charles Langley; 1995 *Ray Howe; 1996 *Audrey Box; 1997 *Lawrence Freeman; 1998 *Ed Merriman; 1999 *Bill Miller; 2000 *James Herring; 2001 R. N. Martin; 2002 Richard Reed; 2003 *Bill West; 2004 *John Wilkerson; 2005 Lynn Rodgers; 2006 *Charles Scott; 2007 *Henry Trest; 2008 Joe Kersh; 2009; Steve Sweet; 2010 *Donald W. Cabrol and ***Johnny Bracy; 2011 Kenneth D. McGuire; 2012 James Edwards; 2013 John Tardy; 2014 Angela Baughman; 2015 Ronald Bennett 2016 Robert Endt; 2017 Murry Toney; 2018 Ray Barrett; 2019 Pat Baughman; 2020 James Till
**In order to honor Past Department Commander status, the convention elected R. D. Morrow, who served a short period, resigned, then the
convention elected Clyde McGehee.
***Johnny Bracy was voted to receive Honor of Past Department Commanders status at the State convention, Vicksburg, MS, July 2010, via
resolution by the membership body.
Since the first State Convention held in Jackson on October 21, 1919, the Mississippi Department has grown from an organization of 33 posts and
approximately 1,000 members to an organization of 173 Post and approximately 13,000 members. It now covers every County and ever section of the State, and it may be said to be representative of the ex-servicemen and women of the State.
At the time of the State Convention, October 21, 1919, the following Posts had been organized:
1 Henry H. Graves Jackson; 2 Indianola Post Indianola; 3 Warren County* Vicksburg; 4 Herbert J. Remondet Natchez; 5 Tippah County Ripley; 6 Perry O. Johns Corinth; 7 Roy Lammons Yazoo City; 8 P. M.; Wilkinson Fayette; 9 William B. Cochran New Augusta; 10 Lafayette County Oxford; 11 Marvin E. Stainton Laurel; 12 John Edwards Brookhaven; 13 Oktibbeha County Starkville; 14 Harry Harvey McComb; 15 Cabe Keen Mendenhall; 16 Magnolia Magnolia; 17 Roger; Montgomery Tunica; 18 Daniel W. Beall Jr. Lexington; 19 Whitten J. East Sentobia; 20 Gaimes-Lewis Hernando; 21 T.C. Carter, Jr. Meridian; 22 Taylor-Puckett Edwards; 23 Frew Post Drew; 24 Allen B. Carter Hattiesburg; 25 Amory Post Amory; 26 Daniel W.
Byrd Aberdeen; 27 N. J. Owen Port Gibson; 28 Cooper Yerger Clarksdale; 29 Greenwood Post** Greenwood; 30 “Ole Miss” University; 31 John Burton Millsaps College, Jackson; 32 Beppo Arnold Greenville; 33 Charles L Baudry Biloxi;
*Name changed in 1920 to Allein Post; **Name changed in 1920 to Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post
GRAND VOITURE OF MISSISSIPPI
On February 8, 1922, Glenn H. Smith, Department Adjutant, was appointed “Deputy Organizer” to serve until a Grande Voiture was established in
Mississippi was located at Vicksburg and was known as the Warren County Voiture No. 191 and was chartered through the efforts of E. R. Spiegel, Commander of the Allein Post No. 3.
The second Voiture to be formed was the Hinds County Voiture No. 247 and was organized through the work of Glenn H. Smith.
Harrison County Voiture No. 251 at Gulfport was the third Voiture formed and was organized with James A. Magnuson as Chef de Gar and
James O. Jones as Correspondent.
Jones County Voiture No. 297, Laurel, was formed on June 27, 1922, with A. A. Valentine elected Chef de Gare and Earl Lindsey the Correspondent.
On August 9, 1922, a meeting was held in Jackson and the Grande Voiture of Mississippi was organized and the First Grande Promenade was held at
McComb on September 11, 1922.