Field Allen Post 148 Windham Maine (official site)

 

Field Allen Post 148, Detailed History

 

First Chartered in 1938, American Legion Post 148, of Windham, Maine was initially called the Lt. Field Post after the first Windham Resident KIA in World War I. Lt. C. C. W. Field was a well-educated local member of the community who responded to the call of duty. He was killed in France leading a charge across an open Rail Road bed against a German machine gun emplacement raining down brutal fire over those that opposed it.

Twenty four leading citizens and WWI Veterans of the Town of Windham formed the first Post in 1938 and Roland Ward was the first Commander. Little in the form of records remains from this early post formation and activity.

In 1949-50, The Field Post was re-charted as the Field- Allen Post in memory of USMC Sgt Jim Allen who was the first Windham resident Killed in Action in WWII. Sgt Allen was killed in the Island Campaign in the Pacific Theater. Jim was an outstanding academic and star on the athletic field in his High School years.

It is somewhat ironic that the Field and Allen families were closely related. Lt. Field was the uncle of Sgt. Allen. Small Town.

The Field-Allen Post was officially re-charted as of Aug 25th 1950 with Ralph Newell as the Post Commander.   The Post met at various locations around the Town of Windham until, in the early 1950s, the Post purchased the Ireland School on Nash Road from the Town of Windham. The Ireland School burned in the early 1960s and the Post was again without a permanent location for meetings. Hand scribed legers from the period until 1970 indicate the membership met at various locations around Town, including an annex at the Town Office.

Records again go thin during the 1970 through 1990 and from several sources it would appear that the Post was hanging on, but, that was about all. The Post continued to coordinate the Memorial Day Parade for the Town until the 1980s.

In the late 1980s the Post attempted to acquire land for a home on Sandbar Road in Windham, but was met with local neighborhood resistance. Following that, the Post started working with the local VFW Post to establish a building that both organizations could use as headquarters and call home.

The resulting collaboration eventually became the Windham Veterans Association with land being purchased on a back lot in North Windham from one of the Post members.

Construction on the Windham Veterans Center (WVC) commenced with groundbreaking in May of 1993. Through the dedicated effort of the membership of both Field-Allen Post 148 and VFW Post 10643 and many donations from people and business in the Town of Windham, the WVC was opened with much fanfare in 1999.

The WVC is run by an Executive Committee of the WVA staffed equally by membership from both American Legion and VFW Posts. The Center is also used as a rental Hall and as a location to sponsor a variety of Veteran and Community events.

In spite of the accolades as noted from the previous paragraphs, The Post membership was in serious decline and in 1999 the Dept. of Maine intervened and held a general meeting of local veterans in an attempt to provide an infusion in the Post membership.

As a result of the meeting, a new Commander, then Col Don McCormack, Maine Air National Guard, was elected along with a new Executive Committee. Under Commander McCormack’s leadership the Post was reorganized and revitalized. Goals were set for finances and membership. Within a year the Post membership was up to 68 and growing. Commander McCormack established social events and veteran’s support activities. Memorial Day has again become a significant event in the Town of Windham .Under Commander McCormack’s leadership the Parade was reestablished along with air craft flyovers. A Memorial Day Ceremony was established in front of the High School after the Veteran’s Monuments were relocated to that location. Additionally, an Open House was set up at the WVC for all to attend. The Legion Post worked closely with the VFW Post to insure that flags were placed on all the graves on veterans in the 30 cemeteries in the Town. Commander McCormack’s parting challenge to the community and the Post was to place 100 American Flags on the utility poles lining the major thoroughfares of Windham.

After 5 years at the helm, Commander McCormack was replaced with Commander Dave Tanguay, and then Commander Gene Tanguay. During the ensuing 5 year period, the grounds around the WVC were revitalized with a Veteran’s Memorial Garden, with walk ways and granite benches, flower gardens and trees. Membership reached 80+ and a regular Newsletter was sent out to all membership. Post visibility was increased with events such as the annual end of summer Pig Roast and occasional bean suppers were established. Memorial Day Programs continued to grow and  prosper.

2010 to the summer of 2013, Commander Barry Lombard was the Commander of the Post. A St Patrick’s Day Scholarship Dinner was added as an annual social fund raising event. The Boys and Girls State programs were revitalized culminating in (5) students being sent to their respective conventions in 2012. Memorial Day is busier than ever with the addition of a well-orchestrated food drive on the Saturday before Memorial Day to benefit the local food pantry. All of this in addition to the Parade, flags, cemeteries, ceremonies and open house. Commander Lombard established a “social hour” preceding the business meetings where the membership can gather over refreshments and socialize before the meetings and there was a renewed emphasis on veteran’s related events. He worked closely with the local VFW Post to conduct joint activities such as the recent silent auction, free spaghetti dinner and Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s event.

The Post was saddened by the Passing of Commander Barry Lombard in August of 2013. He was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery, North Windham, Maine. Navy Chaplain Dana Reed of the Post officiated and a joint VFW and American Legion Rifle Squad render military honors.

In November of 2013 the Post installed a new Commander, Melvin Greenier of Westbrook. Although new to the Post, Commander Greenier made his mark with the development of a new Post web page, new Post Facebook page, established a new Post Auxiliary unit, new Post Honor Guard and Rifle squad, all are firsts for the Post. He is now working on adding a Legion Riders Chapter and thinking about adding a Sons of the American Legion unit as well. As of 2013 the Post membership broke the 100 mark with a 111% gain from the previous year. Commander Greenier solicited new members for several weeks, visiting Windham store parking lots and talking to vets. Membership was also supported by an influx of transfers from Post 178 as a result of invitation letters mailed to them and Commander Greenier’s follow up phone calls and Dave Tanguay meeting with vets who come to the hall every two weeks to visit with VSO, Matt Haley. Membership topped 135 at the end of 2016.

In 2013, 2014 and 2015 the Field-Allen Post was instrumental in providing the logistic support for a Studio Flora Wreath program, providing wreaths for all the 850+ veterans’ graves in all the cemeteries in Windham.

In the spring of 2014 the Post collaborated with Ms. Sabrina Nickerson’s 5th grade History class to replace (24) broken GAR markers in Windham’s Arlington Cemetery. The children had raised over $450. and Commander Mel Greenier and Vice Commander Karle Learned had visited their classroom in April and spoke to the students about the GAR and thank them for their efforts. Then in May they crossed the highway and every student individually replaced a GAR maker and installed a new flag.

In the summer of 2014 the Field-Allen Post 148 was awarded Maine’s Post Excellence Award for 2014 and again in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 by the American Legion State office. From 2014 to present Post 148 has been awarded 1st Place in all the major and minor awards handed out annually: Post Excellence, 100% Membership, New Membership all time highs, Post History, Post Newsletter, Americanism. In 2015 we became affiliated with the local Legion Junior Baseball team and continued until they dissolved in 2018.

In the fall of 2014 the Post and Auxiliary Unit were invited to attend Ms. Sabrina Nickerson’s new 5th grade History classes’ recognition of the 94 WWI Windham Veterans who went off to fight in the “BIG ONE!” The students had made giant poppies that were then placed around Manchester School’s flag pole. They read a vet’s name then placed a poppy. After they recited the Flanders Field poem.

In the summer of 2014 Commander Greenier suggested a annual quarterly schedule of fund raising suppers be set up.  Reoccurring dates in January, March, July, September and November were selected to fund our programs.

In the spring of 2016, Chuck Whynot started a Veteran Coffee Mixer social every Wednesday 9 AM to 11 AM. and many new members joined the Post as a result.

In the fall of 2017, the post added a Junior Air Rifle marksmanship program, certified by the 4-H and sponsored by Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM). The Post also became affiliated with the Junior Cadet Program under the guidance of SSGT Dan Weitz of Windham High School.

In the spring of 2018, the Post was invited by the Windham Little League to participate in their Opening Day Ceremony. The newly formed Post Honor Guard, lead by Post Sergeant-at-Arms Larry DeHof attended and presented the flag and 1st Vice Commander, Rebecca Cummings and Youth Officer Wally Clark spoke about their memories of service and LL baseball.

In the spring of 2019, the Post was invited back with Captain Craig Pride now the Commander of Post Honor Guard/Rifle Squad and Commander Mel Greenier spoke about his memories Coaching his three sons in Cape Elizabeth Little League and serving on the Cape LL Board of Directors.

In the winter of 2019 Commander Greenier announced that this would be his last year as Field-Allen Post 148 Commander. Commander Greenier served as Post Commander from 2013 – 2020, (7) years. 1st Vice Commander, Eric Bickford indicated that he was willing and prepared to step up as Commander and he was installed at the June 2020 monthly meeting.