Post 32 Longmont, Colorado

Post 32

Longmont, Colorado

Post 32 Longmont, Colorado

About This Post

Post Namesake
Lt. John Harold Buckley
Notable Members
Sgt. Allen Dale June (1921-2010). Sgt. June was one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. He received the Congressional Gold Medal on December 21, 2000 for his part in helping to confound the Japanese during WWII. The Code Talkers work was critical to the outcome of the war.
What Makes this Post Unique
We are among the oldest American Legion Posts in the country with a historically rich past that is fast approaching 100 years. Nationwide, the American Legion was chartered in September, 1919, as a social organization of war-time veterans and active duty personnel to help all veterans who needed assistance. During that historic time-past in Longmont, Colorado, there was an informal group of men consisting of former World War I Veterans. Their decision to join the new American Legion resulted in a charter being granted for John Harold Buckley Post 32 on October 1, 1920, with 15 members. Through the years, the post grew and received many national citations for its work in community service, child welfare, rehabilitation, and the Americanism Program. Post 32 has a strong membership base. We are usually in the top four within our state. Our membership total in 2014 consisted of 774 men and women veterans. Our post year for 2015 ended with a membership total of 786, which means we stand at 101%! Our namesake was born in Longmont, Colorado in 1897. John H. Buckley achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant and was in the 28th Squadron 3rd Pursuit Group. On September 27, 1918, he was killed on the 3rd day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He and a fellow pilot, Lt. Kenneth Bell, were forming up in a patrol to cross enemy lines on a combat mission. Weather reports stated that it was a rainy day and visibility was poor. From the statements of two other pilots, Lieutenants Bell and Buckley were seen to be going head-on towards each other at the same level in some low clouds. Then, both planes were seen to dive with one making a turn to avoid the other. These actions resulted in a mid-air collision where the left wings of each plane were torn off. The accident caused them to fall immediately into a vrille. Vrille is a French term for a bad spin—also known as a death spiral. Upon striking the ground, both planes burned, and the pilots were killed instantly. Lt. John Buckley was posthumously awarded both a Purple Heart and WWI Victory Medal in 2003. Buckley Air Force Base located in Aurora, Colorado is also named for him.* Great Leadership In addition to our regular Post Commanders, Post 32 has had the distinction of producing 5 Colorado Department Commanders and two National Executive Committeemen: Department Commanders: Cal Maier—1951-52 Tillson Gorsuch—1987-88 Steve Dillman—1998-99 Ralph Bozella—2006-07 Jim Gates—2012-13 National Executive Committeeman: Ralph Bozella served as a National Executive Committeeman—2008-2012 Jim Gates served as an Alternate Nat’l Exec. Committeeman—2013-2014 Since 2013, Ralph Bozella has been serving as Chairman of the National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission by special appointment of the National Commander. At the writing of this history, he is still serving. Community Service We deeply care about America, Veterans, their families, our nation's youth, and our beautiful city of Longmont. Over the years, there have been many worthwhile service projects sponsored by Post 32: Legion Baseball and Golf, Junior and Women’s Rifle Clubs, annual student oration contests and scholarships, Boy Scout Troop 67, Christmas baskets for the needy, Boys’ State, the Veterans’ Stand Down to help homeless veterans , and many other service projects. History of Post Locations Meetings were first held in the old Farmers’ National Bank on Main Street. In 1924, the Post purchased a former church building in the 300 block of Collyer Street. At that time, there were 60 members, and they met there for the next 22 years. In October, 1945, the building at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets was purchased using a combination of cash and a bond issue. In July of 1960, plans were made to move the club rooms downstairs into what had been a bowling alley area. Post Commander, Cal Maier, stated, “We then started to remodel the upstairs, and this was all done by volunteer labor, except for the building front, the lobby, and the heating.” By October 1, 1964, the major bond issue covering the major remodeling was completed, due in part to Grace Buckley Stapp (Lt. Buckley’s mother), returning her bonds marked as “paid.” A note-burning ceremony was held in November, 1964. In the November, 1988 newsletter, there was a notification from Wayne Kluck that a committee of three had been appointed to look for a new location to house the post. He said, “As Committee Chairman, I feel that this is a must for the continued growth and survival of our Legion in Longmont.” Long-time post member, Pat Patrick, recalls, “The move to our present location at 315 S. Bowen Street began in September, 1990, and it took a few months to complete the move.” There were two main reasons for making the move from Main Street to S. Bowen: 1. There were too many stairs for the older post members to safely and easily navigate. 2. There was insufficient parking with no hope for any new available space there in the middle of the city.” A Historically Notable Member While we are proud of all our veterans’ service, there is one in particular who should be mentioned. Sgt. Allen Dale June (1921-2010) was one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers who served in the US Marines during World War II. Sgt. June received the Congressional Gold Medal on December 21, 2000. He, along with some of the other original Code Talkers, helped develop the code based on his native Navajo language. Their work totally confounded the Japanese. The Code Talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They sent thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battle tactics, and other communications critical to the outcome of the war. Their role in the military was not declassified until 1968. After the declassification, Mr. June did not like to talk about it much, because he considered it to be bragging. Those who knew him well here at the post called him, “Pops.” In 2008, Sgt. June was honored as an Honorary Veterans Day Parade co-Marshal along with Colonel Dan Straight. Post 32’s Ladies’ Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion Our Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post 32 was formed on May 3, 1922, with 18 members including Lt. Buckley's mother, Grace Buckley Stapp. She bequeathed Post 32 a large sum of money in order to help veterans. Members of the Auxiliary have always been willing and eager to co-operate in every Legion activity, and they have worked hard for the good of the Legion. Our Post’s Sons of the Legion, fondly referred to as the SAL, was formed on August 22, 1972, with 19 charter members. They also have worked very hard for the good of the Legion. We remain very proud of both our Women’s Auxiliary and our Sons of the Legion units. Each has gained statewide recognition because of their programs of service. Color Guard and Honor Guard In the early 1950s, a Color Guard was started through our Post. It eventually became known as “The Colorado Buckthorns.” This special group won many awards and trophies as they participated in parades and community events. Former Post Commander, Marion Herman, recalls that in the 1970s, a Color Guard comprised of all women was formed. Pat Patrick and Bill Bohn both recall that in 1997, Commander Gerald Perry asked Ray Yakel to start an Honor Guard unit. It was then formed as a part of the Color Guard. Ray Yakel and Bill Bohn served as Co-Captains. Upon Ray’s passing, Bill Bennett was Co-Captain with Bill Bohn. During their tenure, the Honor Guard acquired the first bus. After Bill Bennett’s passing, Dennis Sindelir became a Co-Captain with Bill Bohn. Eventually, the Color Guard was absorbed into the Honor Guard. Dennis Sindelir now serves as the sole Captain. In October, 2013, the Honor Guard’s own Dick Kounovsky received the Channel 7 Everyday Hero Award for his service to the community in assisting Dennis Sindelir with Honor Guard duties. Also of historical note, over the past eight years our Honor Guard has rendered an average of 90 Military Honors Funerals per year and has provided Education, Flag Etiquette and Holiday Events or Posting Colors at an additional 50 events per year. By early 2014, our post’s Honor Guard bus had logged many, many miles in service and would soon need replacing. Through the efforts of Dick Kounovsky and Gene Hammerle, Post 32 was the recipient of a brand-new bus by a very generous anonymous benefactor. The new bus was pressed into service on November 1, 2014. We are proud of how our past and present Color Guards and Honor Guards have represented our post to our surrounding area. Beaver Lake Post 32's history with Beaver Lake began in 1953 for members to go camping and fishing. It became a place where especially Vietnam Vets could go to find solace, refuge, and peace after their experiences in the war. Beaver Lake was a great place to spend quality time with their families, and the Vets could also enjoy camaraderie with others if they so desired. Mr. and Mrs. Bob Holub were some of the original occupants. Mr. Holub served as the Lake Committee Chairman for many years. The original shelter at the lake, a hog barn from the Boulder County Fairgrounds, was donated for use by Longmont's Roosevelt Park. Patriotic Days Post 32 has a very long history of participating in MEMORIAL DAY events throughout Longmont, and we continue to honor the sacred memory of our war-dead. On the weekend before Memorial Day Services each year, active members still place a flag on Veteran's graves. ARMISTICE DAY, now called VETERANS' DAY, originally marked the end of fighting in World War I. Historically, it has been, and remains to this day, an important holiday for Legionnaires everywhere. For many years, our Post has sponsored the Veterans’ Day Parade annually in conjunction with Longmont's VFW Post. After the parade, lunch has been provided, with all veterans being heartily welcomed! We Take Pride in our History of Service and Camaraderie…Please Join Us and Keep this History Alive! Respectfully submitted on April 13, 2015 by Margaret Bobb, Post 32 Historian, and edited on July 17, 2015 to include information on membership. *Sources on history of Lt. Buckley:





Feb 15, 1995
I got shipped out to Fort Leonard Wood for Basic Training. After two months I go to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for my AIT; I finished my training as a medic and get stationed at Fort Hood, Texas> I stayed there for 4 years. After I finished my four years of service at fort Hood, I re-enlist and get sent to Fort Campbell, KY where I get my Air Assault badge. On October..
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