Members of the Winfred Fairfax Warder American Legion post in Cairo, Ill., begin assisting the National Guard to patrol levees in what becomes the most devastating flood to date in U.S. history.

Lasting most of two months and extending from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River flood of 1927 tears out levees and dams and leaves some 400,000 residents homeless by the end of May. An American Legion post in Aubra Township, Ky., establishes a refugee camp, and members search flooded areas for survivors on rooftops, in trees and on the tops of barns. Legionnaires in Greenville, Miss., serve up to 9,000 meals a day, and all posts in the Department of Mississippi are mobilized to search for survivors, many of whom are African-American farm families who lost everything they owned. The American Legion Departments of Arkansas and Louisiana likewise mobilize as the floodwaters destroy hundreds of homes and farms.

Following the disaster, an American Legion Central Flood Relief Committee is formed, in collaboration with the Red Cross, to help those who had lost homes. Future American Legion National Commander Roane Waring of Memphis is named chairman of the committee.