Stevenson-D'Alessio Post 12
History Page
Go Back To  Post 12 Table of Contents

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.

Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at over 2.4 million in 14,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

Over the years, the American Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, having fought for and won hundreds of benefits for veterans while hosting and starting many important programs for children and youth as well as pioneering the GI Bill.

POST 12 is a FOUNDING POST and one of the oldest in NJ

In 1919, fifteen World War I veterans from Somerville NJ, decided to form an American Legion Post in Somerville.

The charter members of Post 12,  hail from some of the most familiar families and areas in Somerville NJ.

  • The First Commander Edward T Shannahan
  •  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.
Selecting the name of the new American Legion Post.

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 were recruited.

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 began.

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.
(Click 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.

Stevenson - 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)

  3. 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)

Adopted Residents:

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, in Vietnam.

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.

(Check out the Post 12 Photo Album)


To search the Vietnam Wall for names or just to browse
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.

Back to the Top