VFW & POST HISTORY

uss-maine-explosion-large.jpgThe VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.

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Pittsburgh Encampment of September 14-17, 1914,

Two hundred fifty delegates from across the United States and its territories and possessions attended, including engineer Colonel George W. Goethals, builder of the Panama Canal, who represented the Panama Canal VFW post.

  • Official adoption of the name Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
  • Adoption of the Cross of Malta as the official seal of the VFW
  • Election of Colonel Thomas S. Crago of Waynesburg, Pa., veteran of the Philippine-American War, as the first national commander in chief of the VFW
  • Adoption of the constitution of the VFW, which included the organization’s aims as stated in article 1:

“The objects of this organization are fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational; to preserve and strengthen comradeship among its members; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead, and to assist their widows and orphans; to maintain true allegiance to the government of the United States of America, and fidelity to its constitution and laws; to foster true patriotism; to maintain and extend institutions of American freedom; and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies, whomsoever.”

LINCOLN VETERANS MEMORIAL HALL BUILDING AND SITE

EARLY HISTORY OF THE SITE:  

Silas Elder had the first business at this site in the 1860’s and 1870’s, a blacksmith, wagon, and paint shop. Stephen Burdge next occupied the site establishing a winery there in 1880 (the same Burdge who owner the hotel at 5th and G Streets).

Lincoln, California Circa 1893

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This is a panoramic photo of a map of Lincoln, California dated 1893. This photo along with many historical records of our history was obtained thanks to the support of Bryanna M. Ryan, Curater of Archives, Placer County Museum.

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In 1897, the town of Lincoln obtained the building and used it as a firehouse and town hall. The large bell on exhibit around the corner on E Street was used as the town’s fire bell and was mounted above the town hall.

USE OF THE SITE IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY:

The town hall remained here until 1930, although much of the town’s business had moved next door into the Civic Auditorium building. In 1930, local WWI veterans succeeded in getting $10,000 from the county to be used in constructing a veteran’s center. Lincoln deeded the lot to the county and had the old town hall moved south along the alley to use for storage, etc. Azevedo & Sarmenti of Sacramento presented the low bid of $9,999 to build the Veterans Hall. Architects were Starks and Flanders of Sacramento. Gladding, McBean & Co. donated 15,000 bricks. The formal dedication took place June14, 1930.

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ARCHITECTURE:

Extensive use of brick makes this building appear strong yet elegant. Brick was used not only in the main structure but also in the original entry floor, an entry floor enlargement, and an exterior planter. The building has a cross-gabled tile roof with a shed extension and a newer second story addition. Decorative terra cotta surrounds the arched entry with its recessed double wood doors. A large multi-paned steel casement window is above the brick planter, and a decorative brick vent is adjacent to the entry. Noticeable alterations include hall expansion to the South and to the West and a board-and-batten second story.

 

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VFW POST 3010 FOUNDERS TALES:

James Vassion, a founding member of Post 3010, was a member of the 326th Infantry Regiment in World War 1.  The regiment was part of the 82nd Division during the Muesse-Argonne Offensive in 1918.  The 326th Regiment was activated on August 29th, 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia.  It was composed entirely of draftees.

James and his regiment became part of the “All American Division”, so named because the members came from all over America.  They arrived in France on May 17, 1918, and their first combat was seen as they relieved the 101st Infantry in the Toul sector.  There they and the 82nd Division came under control of the French VII Army.

82nd The All American division was constituted, originally as the 82nd Division, in the National Army on 5 August 1917, shortly after the American entry into World War I. It was organized on 25 August 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia and later served with distinction on the Western Front in the final months of World War I. Since its initial members came from all 48 states, the division acquired the nickname All-American, which is the basis for its famed “AA” shoulder patch.

Meuse-Argonne

328th Infantry Regiment of 82nd Division advances in preparation to capture Hill 223 on 7 October 1918. The division was next moved to the Clermont area, located west of Verdun on September 24. They were stationed there to act as a reserve for the US First Army.[10] George B. Duncan, former commander of the 77th Division, relieved Burnham on 3 October, and Burnham subsequently served as military attaché in Athens, Greece. On the night of 6/7 October 1918, the 164th Infantry Brigade relieved troops of the 28th Division, which were holding the front line from south of Fléville to La Forge, along the eastern bank of the Aire River. The 163rd Infantry Brigade remained in reserve. On 7 October, the division, minus the 163rd Infantry Brigade, attacked the northeastern edge of the Argonne Forest, making some progress toward Cornay, and occupied Hill 180 and Hill 223. The next day it resumed the attack. Elements of the division’s right flank entered Cornay, but later withdrew to the east and south. The division’s left flank reached the southeastern slope of the high ground northwest of Châtel-Chéhéry. On 9 October, the division continued its attack, and advanced its left flank to a line from south of Pylône to the Rau de la Louvière.

For the rest of the month, the division turned to the north and advanced astride the Aire River to the region east of St-Juvin. On 10 October, it relieved troops of the 1st on the right, north of Fléville, as far as a new boundary extending north and south through Sommerance. It then attacked and captured Cornay and Marcq, and established the front just to their south. On 11 October, the right flank of the division occupied Sommerance and the high ground north of la Rance Rau while the left advanced to the railroad south of the Aire. The next day, the 42nd relieved the 82nd’s troops in and near Sommerance, allowing it to resume the attack. The 82nd passed through part of the Hindenburg defensive position, and reached a line just north of the road from St-Georges to St-Juvin.

On 18 October, the division relieved elements of the 78th as far to the left as Marcq and Champigneulle. Three days later it advanced to the Ravin aux Pierres. On 31 October, the 82nd, except the artillery, was relieved by the 77th Division and the 80th Division, and assembled in the Argonne Forest near Champ-Mahaut. On 2 November, the division concentrated near La Chalade and Les Islettes, and, on 4 November, moved to training areas in Vaucouleurs. On 10 November, it moved again to training areas in Bourmont, where it remained until the 11 November armistice. During this campaign the division suffered another 7,000 killed and wounded. A second 82nd soldier, Alvin C. York, won the Medal of Honor during this campaign.

Post-war

The division suffered 995 killed and 7,082 wounded, for a total of 8,077 casualties. Following the war’s end, the division moved to training areas near Prauthoy, where it remained through February 1919.[9] It returned to the United States in April and May, and was demobilized and deactivated at Camp Mills, New York on 27 May.

For the next 20 years the 82nd Division existed only as a unit of the Organized Reserve. It was reconstituted on 24 June 1921 establishing headquarters at Columbia, South Carolina, in January 1922. The 82nd formed part of the Organized Reserves, and elements of the division were located in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The division later served in World War II where, in August 1942, it was reconstituted as the first airborne division of the U.S. Army and fought in numerous campaigns during the war, gaining an excellent reputation.

In addition to James Vassion, the following comrades were original members of Post 3010 in 1934.

Asa Atteberry Frank Berryessa
Harold Best Frank Beske
Edgar Burnett Clarence Carl
Joseph Caddell Fred Crowell
James Fancy Robert Fitkin
Walter Hayt Hershel Hicks
Alvin Jones Peter Jespevson
Leonidas Lowry Joe Mevy
Charles O’Neil Lloyd Reeves
L.P. Ruiz Fred Simonson
Elmo Slinkard Clyde Thomas
Clarence Ivansue Frank Williams
James Vassion Alexander Weinick

 

VFW POST NAME

(Williams-Russell Post 3010)

On April 7th, 1934 VFW Post 3010 was chartered as the Williams-Russell Post 3010.  George Williams was with the Marines in the Belleau Woods Attack.  Edward Bates Russell, Sr., received a head wound in the Army and came home with a metal plate in his head.  His granddaughter worked for the Lincoln City Archives said he died in 1935, one year after the post was named.  She also said the name of the post was dropped in a real political fight that her father, Edward Bates Russell, Jr., found very aggravating.  In 1939, there was a battle within the VFW regarding the “Keep America Out of the War” movement.

The National Office sent a message to all posts requiring them to pass out petitions from the “Keep American Out of the War Committee”.  The officers of Post 3010 prepared a proclamation to to National Headquarters that declared the movement to be against the best interests of the nation and declared that to pass out petitions would reflect badly on the VFW.  The Vote on the proclamation was not unanimous but after this incident, the post dropped the name and it is this fight that could be the reason.

The Veteran’s Memorial Building was enlarged in 1946.

Beale Air Force Base Titan Complex 4A

Located in Placer County, 1.6 miles east of Lincoln, California. Beale AFB Titan 1-A consisted of 274.99 acres. In 1958 the United States acquired 46.10 acres from Floyd R. Bonnifield, et al and 228.89 easement acres from various owners. The site was used by the Air Force as a Titan missile facility. The Air Force constructed the missile facility from 1958 through 1960, planning to go operational in 1964: This never came about and the missiles were removed in 1964. On 22 June 1965, 46.10 fee acres and 227.59 easement were transferred to the General Services Administration with 1.30 easement acres terminating. Of the remaining 273.69 acres, General Services Administration quit claimed 176.03 easement acres to Floyd R. Bonnifield on 1 May 1968. They also quit claimed 46.10 fee acres and 5.89 easement acres to Surplus Property Authority of Placer County on 7 August 1968. General Services Administration assumed accountability of 36.30 easement acres on 15 August 1068, with the remaining 937 acres staging a perpetual Restrictive Easement. Records did not indicate if restoration was required or if the property was recapturable. Site improvements included three silos, which were 160 feet deep, three propellant and three mechanical buildings, a powerhouse with three large diesel electric generators, a control building with living quarters, underground controls to launch missiles, antennae targets, two 15ft towers for calibrating antennae, an air intake structure and antenna silos.

Titan I Missiles in Northern California

On January 30, 1959, the Air Force announced plans to conduct surveys in the vicinity of Beale to determine the feasibility for missile bases. Site investigations, topographic explorations, and surveys were performed by the Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. On September 17, Col. Paul Calton, Commander of Beale’s 4126th Strategic Wing, announced that the base would be the fifth Titan I missile installation.

Three complexes with three weapons each (3 x 3) were located 25 miles southwest, 37 miles west, and 71 miles northwest of Beale near the respective communities of Lincoln, Live Oak, and Chico. The Corps of Engineers also oversaw the construction at Beale AFB of mechanical, pneudraulics, cryogenic, propulsion, and liquid oxygen shops to support the nine deployed and one spare missile assigned.

Bids were opened on January 12, 1960, in the Empire Room of Sacramento’s Hotel Senator. Peter Kiewit Sons’ Company won the contract to build the silos after submitting a low bid of approximately $30.2 million. Before the job was completed, some 400 modifications to the original plans boosted construction costs to over $40 million.

Construction began on January 22, 1960. More than 600,000 cubic yards of rock and earth had to be excavated and reused as backfill. By the time the project was completed, each of the three complexes had received 32,000 cubic yards of concrete, 90 miles of cables, 300 tons of piping, and 1,800 separate supply items. Supervision of the construction initially fell on the Sacramento District; however, this responsibility was shifted on November 1, 1960, to CEBMCO.

There were six wild-cat work stoppages; only one caused an appreciable delay. In the wake of earlier labor strife at other missile sites, the Federal Government established Missile Site Relations Committees for each project. At Beale this mechanism contributed to successful management-labor relations and allowed construction to forge ahead. In addition to good labor relations, the Beale project enjoyed a good safety record. There was only one accident-related fatality.

The Air Force activated the 851st Strategic Missile Squadron (Titan I) on April 1,1961. The first missile was moved to the 4A complex at Lincoln on February 28,1962, where workers encountered some difficulty placing the missile in the silo. Follow-on missile installations went smoothly and the last missile was lowered into Chico complex 4C on April 20,1962.

With missiles in place, assigned crews participated in what was called the “activation exercise procedure” in which they worked with contractors to obtain hands-on experience in maintaining the Titan I.

On May 24, 1962, during a contractor checkout, a terrific blast rocked launcher 1 at complex 4C at Chico, destroying a Titan I and causing heavy damage to the silo. After the investigation, the Air Force concluded that the two separate explosions occurred because of a blocked vent and blocked valve. On June 6, trouble again struck as a flash fire at another silo killed a worker. Subsequently, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Company received a contract signed on July 30, 1962, for an initial amount of $1,250,000 to repair the silo damaged in the May blast.

In September 1962, the 851st SMS became the last Titan I Squadron to achieve alert status. After damages were repaired, the Chico complex became operational on March 9, 1963.

Two months after the squadron became fully operational, SAC subjected the unit to an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). The 851st SMS became the first Titan I unit to pass.

On May 16, 1964, Defense Secretary McNamara directed the accelerated phaseout of the Atlas and Titan I ICBMs. On January 4, 1965, the first Beale Titan I was taken off alert status. Within 3 months, the 851st Strategic Missile Squadron would be deactivated.

Beale AFB also hosted another type of missile during this timeframe. On August 25, 1961, the first Hound Dog missile arrived and soon thereafter was mated to a B-52.

 

 

VFW Post 3010 works in partnership with the The City of Lincoln Public Library, and Placer County Archives to record and preserve historical military records.

 

 

 

 

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