In 1919, fifteen World War I veterans
from Somerville NJ, decided to form an American Legion Post in
The charter members of Post 12, hail from
some of the most familiar families and areas in Somerville NJ.
the name of the new American Legion Post.
- The First Commander Edward T
- George R. Nolan
- J.H. Gernet, Jr.
- Fred Keller
- Arthur Gernet
- Floyd C. Galbraith
- George W. DeMond
- William V. Perry
- Rymer V. W. Veghte
- William V. Davenport, Jr.
- Albert D. Hayse
- Edward W. Hoffman
- John F. Winiski
- William L. Fallon
- William H. Vosseller.
Stevenson American Legion Post 12
(John Roland Stevenson) US ARMY
One of Somerville’s first residents who went
"Over There", was a soldier named John
Roland Stevenson. The reports gathered by the Post
Historians regarding John are not as complete as hoped, but
John died in France
in 1918, leading a charge on the left flank of a push forward.
These fifteen veterans decided to name their
new Post after this Veteran, hero who gave his life in "The
War to End All Wars".
First named "Stevenson Post 12, American Legion,"
Somerville was the home town of the twelfth post in the state
of New Jersey to receive a charter. The date was April 1, 1921.
Building a Post Home:
Meeting where they could, in the late 1930's
and with membership growing, this group decided that a Post
Home of their own was needed. Committees where appointed, volunteers
Rallying together to raise money, purchase
land and erect a Post Home, a site was selected that to this
day is still the original location of Post 12.
The perseverance of this group is little known
yet they ran into problems right from the beginning.
First the Site of the Post Home had to be determined.
At that time, a section of land was purchased and a dedication
ceremony was held that reinforced their desire to build
a post home. The
Building Plans were drawn up and approved and construction
In 1939 construction of the Post Home began on
the present day site. It took six long years and immeasurable
volunteer hours to complete the building.
Soon after the beginning of the construction,
this group ran into an Age Old Problem, "MONEY".
Considering what had happened up to this point, this became
a serious issue for this group. The Legionnaires needed $5,000.00
to complete the home.
Here to Read the Newspaper Article)
Eventually with the help of neighbors and friends,
the Post Home was finished. Dedication
Ceremonies followed and Post 12 has been active in the Community,
the local schools, and veterans related activities ever since.
D'alessio American Legion Post 12
(James W. D'Alessio) US NAVY
On December 7, 1941, the United States was forced
into war once again, the global conflict which became known
as "World War II".
In 1942, another Somerville resident was killed
in action, Seaman First Class James W. D’Alessio,
US Navy, lost his life in defense of his country.
James served as a "Seamen" on the
USS Juneau (CL-52). For those who may not know, the "Sullivan
Brothers" also served on the Juneau, with James.
James was a "Seamen 1st Class" and most likely served
along side 2 of the Sullivan Brothers, who also were rated as
"Seamen 2nd Class.
In the battle in the Pacific, the Juneau was
hit by a torpedo which broke the hull of the ship.
According to Navy reports from other ships in convoy, the
Juneau was limping back to port, when the convoy was attacked
a second time by a Japanese submarine. The report states,
that 3 torpedoes were fired in a spread, where one went behind
the Juneau, a second was aimed at another warship, went underneath
it, and continued towards the Juneau.
Because of the previous hit, and subsequent damage to the ships'
backbone, (hull), it is speculated the Captain could not turn
the Juneau with the speed necessary to present a smaller target
to the torpedo. The second torpedo finished what the first could
not, and reports indicate the Juneau sank to the bottom in less
then a minute.
His name was added to the charter of Post 12,
and the official name became "Stevenson - D’Alessio Post 12.
" Today, Post 12 members proudly wear their
service caps bearing the names of both of these heroes.
These are a few extra links regarding the USS Juneau (CL-52)
- A special thanks to Paul Henriott,
who has set his own private goal to honor the crew of the
USS Juneau, and other ships. A veteran himself,
Paul has provided permission to link to his site, which names
the crew members of the USS Juneau. This link specifically
shows James D'Alessio as a crew member the Juneau.
Several email communications, with Paul, have helped us here
at Post 12, to provide accurate historical information.
We invite you to check out what Paul has made available to
posterity. Contact info for Paul, should you have any
questions, or wish to write to him, is available at his site,
and we at Post 12, strongly recommend a visit.
(Well done, and thanks Paul)
On June 25, 1950, "President Harry S. Truman
orders US Air and Naval forces to help South Korea." Thus began
the onset as the "Korean conflict."
On February 28, 1961, another CONFLICT in the
south of the same general area. The Vietnam Conflict.
Out of these two wars, many Somerville residents
joined or were drafted into the "Conflicts." Somerville had
two residents that did not return and were never found.
Captain Ray Willis Brown, who was a combat pilot,
returned to serve in Korea after serving in World War II. Captain
Brown never returned from Korea and was officially listed as
Missing In Action (MIA) on March 10, 1952.
The Vietnam War followed shortly after Korea.
A Somerville resident named SSGT
Robert Francis Scheridin, served his country and became
another soldier listed as MIA. The date was November 27, 1968,
Both of these men were adopted by Stevenson-D’Alessio
Post No. 12 as honorary members. The Post remembers Robert F.
Scheridin every May 7th as we honor him and all MIAs. We have
a small service at his Memorial gravesite in Immaculata Conception
Cemetery on Route 28 in Somerville, on that day.
The original Post Home was increased in size
in the late 50's when Post 12 expanded their property line to
the size it is today. Additions to the building were added and
Post 12 basically doubled in size.
The hall now holds 130 people. Post 12 hosts
meetings for community service clubs and organizations. The
Jaycees, Disabled American Veterans, Amvets, Veterans of Foreign
Wars, and many other non-profit organizations are welcome to
use the hall free of charge.
out the Post 12 Photo Album)
WE WILL NEVER FORGET
To search the Vietnam Wall for names or just
CLICK HERE ==> http://thewall-usa.com/
Scroll to the Search Menu at the Bottom,
Then enter SOMERVILLE, in the city name.
The membership roster of Post 12 today lists
965 members having increased by at least one each yer since
1951, when the membership was at 121.
As best that can be determined, Post 12 Somerville
is currently "Number One In The Entire American Legion Organization",
regarding "Being Over The Top" with consecutive years
membership renewal. 2013 marks 62 Years in a Row. .
There are many, who deserve much praise, who
over the years have guided this post to prominence; especially
it’s eighty plus Past Membership Chairs and Commanders, all
of whom have given of themselves to the Post. All have given
outstanding service, some have accepted the demanding position
of Post Commander more than once, and all have served with distinction.
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