Written by Greg Bennett Friday, 30 April 2010 00:00
On April 30, Charles Wagner Post 421 will host its Annual Awards Night. It will take place at 7 p.m. at the Hicksville VFW where the Post 421 annually honors Nassau County Police Officers and Hicksville Fire Department members through its Law and Order program. A Post Everlasting Ceremony honoring legionnaires who recently passed away will also be held and Legion membership awards will be given out.
At the last meeting of Post 421, Commander Charles Rockwood gave out brochures about the Adult Day Care services at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University. The adult day care program has a broad range of health care services that are designed to meet the need of the individual senior. For information call 1-800-DAY-CARE or visit www.listateveteranshome.org. Charles Wagner Legionnaire Arlene Howard PCC is on the veterans volunteer board at the Long Island State Veterans Home.
American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill was honored by the 1st, 2nd, 9th and 10th Legion Districts of New York with a Testimonial Dinner as Antun’s in Queens Village on April 16. The event was attended by 705 legionnaires and auxiliary members.
Commander Hill is a 1967 graduate of the Ohio Legion Boys State Program and a 1972 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He commanded the guided missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG-8) during Operation Desert Storm and retired after 24 years of military service. He is a life member of Post 316 in Atlantic Beach, FL, a Sons of the American Legion member and a life member of Legion Riders Chapter 316.
Commander Hill asked legionnaires to sign up new members, which he called the “hardest easy job.” He urged posts to go on Facebook and Twitter and to have a website to attract a new generation of veterans. He stated an Army unit in combat emailed him that they lost 51 personal laptops. The legion responded with Operation Comfort Warriors replacing the laptops and helping wounded troops in military hospitals. He asked members of the legion family to go to www.legion.org and stay aware of “legislative alerts” and write or email their legislators.
Commander Hill recently met with President Barack Obama and thanked him for passing the VA budget. He also asked the president to reverse the VA backlog of veterans claims disability. Greg Bennett represented the Charles Wagner Post at the National Commander’s Visit.
On April 18, the 13th POW-MIA Remembrance service was held during the 10 a.m. Mass at the Mariner’s Chapel of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. The POW-MIA service was hosted by American Legion Post 160 and VFW Post 160, both of Great Neck and attended by numerous Kings Point midshipmen along with legionnaires, Veterans of Foreign Wars members, Military Order of the Purple Heart members, Catholic War Veterans and the 11th U.S. Volunteers. Nassau County Legion Commander Ned Johnson and his wife Betty attended as did Past County Commander Robert Robesch and Legion County Treasurer Frank Colon.
Third Division Legion Commander James Barton spoke about an American hero Lt. Melvin S. Dry of Great Neck, the last Navy Seal to die in Vietnam and whose father was a Navy officer at the Merchant Marine Academy. Lt. Dry was listed as lost in an off-shore Navy accident. In 2008 the Navy released the after-action report stating Lt. Dry was lost in Operation Thunderhead, a POW-MIA rescue mission from the submarine USS Grayback using a submerssible. Due to heavy unreported sea and river currents the Seals twice could not infiltrate enemy territory to locate alleged escaped U.S. prisoners of war. Lt. Dry and other Seals were lost in the currents.
Legionnaire Louise McCann, a retired Army reservist, spoke about the remains of U.S. Army Air Forces heroes recently being found on Pacific Islands and waiting to be returned home with honor. A breakfast was then held at the Great Neck Alerts Fire Department Hall. Greg Bennett attended the POW-MIA service and made a donation on behalf of Post 421.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Officer Richard Gales states he is available to assist all veterans and their families at the VA Regional Office at 245 West Houston Street in New York City. Gales can be reached at (212) 807-3009.
John P. O’Brien of the Laborers’ International Union of North America states they have a job program for veterans. O’Brien can be reached at (631) 802-0226.
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, their families and estates will only have a limited time to apply for disability compensation under new VA regulations. Veterans are encouraged to contact the Nassau Veterans Service Agency at 572-8452.
As Memorial Day nears, Catholic War Veterans will perform the time-honored tradition of the poppy detail. Commander Joseph Messana and his comrades of Joseph Barry Post 1946 will be at Catholic churches in the community following Mass to distribute poppies. Each veteran on poppy detail will wear the powder blue service dress blazer and distinctive organizational cap. All poppy donations are used solely for programs to help veterans, troops and their children.
Individuals and businesses can also mail in donations to Catholic War Veterans, Joseph Barry Post 1946, 45 Heitz Place, Hicksville, NY 11801.
Donations made honoring a veteran will be recorded in Post 1946’s 2009-2010 History Book and the veteran will be remembered before a post meeting.
Catholic War Veterans of Post 1946 continue the legacy and service of Joseph Barry, a combat veteran who succumbed to painful illness during the First World War, and is buried in an American Military Cemetery in France. Prior to the war Joseph Barry served in the State Guard and with Company 2 of the Hicksville Fire Department. He was a member of the St. Ignatius Holy Name Society and the Westbury Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Commander Messana and the members of Post 1946 are very grateful to the Hicksville community for its tradition of patriotic support of our veterans, our troops and our children.
Charles Wagner Post 421 meets at 8 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month at the Hicksville VFW, 320 South Broadway. All veterans are invited to join. New auxiliary members are welcome. Send donations to help hospitalized veterans and military to American Legion Post 421, P.O. Box 925, Hicksville, NY 11802.