American Legion Post 68 Information


2018 Post Calendar

 2019 POST CALENDAR   Version 2 - 30 Jan 2019



The new Van Buren County Veterans Service Officer is Karee Krause.  Her phone number is (269) 657-8200. E-mail:  Need help? Don’t hesitate to call or visit.  Office hours: Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. County Administration building (Schuitmaker Building) corner Paw Paw & Niles St. 



JUNE 8, 1895 - OCTOBER 11, 1918

Clare was born in Paw Paw, county of Van Buren in Michigan on June 8, 1895, the son of Thaddeus and Jessie McGowan. Clare received his early elementary education at theGliddenburg Rural School in Paw Paw Township. He attended and graduated from Paw Paw High School  [the old red brick] as part of the Class of 1914; and continued his education at Michigan State Normal School (Western State University, now known as Western Michigan University) in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he received a teaching certificate. He then taught at the following schools in Van Buren County; Bell Rural School in Waverly Township and the Westgate School in South Haven Township. Clare enlisted in the Michigan National Guard in 1917.  However, when this unit was mustered into the Federal service, he was unable to pass the physical examination and was rejected.
He then entered the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he had the physical condition corrected. After this, Clare accepted a position to teach at the Moline School in Walbridge, Ohio.
In May of 1918, Clare re-enlisted into the United States Army. Upon the completion of basic training, Clare was transferred overseas to Company K, 7th United States Infantry Regiment. On October 11th, 1918 in the Meuse-Argonne Sector where he was killed in action. His body was one of the few to be returned to the United States at the end of World War I, is interred in the Wildey Cemetery in Paw Paw Township.
Clare was survived by his parents and his brother, Hugh McGowan.

Battle at Argonne
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Date:  September 26 – November 11, 1918

Location: Argonne Forest, France
Result:  Allied Victory

The main U.S. effort of the Meuse-Argonne offensive took place in the Verdun Sector, immediately north and northwest of the town of Verdun, between September 26 and November 11, 1918. The second phase of the battle ran from October 4 to October 28.On October 4th, during which time all of the original phase one assault divisions (the 91st, 79th, 37thand 35th) of the U.S. V Corps were replaced by the 32nd, 3rd and 1st Divisions.

Of the two battles involving U.S. troops in the Grand Offensive, this was the more immediately significant in terms of the overall result of the offensive and thus the ending of the conflict as the capture of the heights above the Beaurevoir Line by October 10 marked a complete breach in the Hindenburg Line. That was precisely the goal of the overall offensive as masterminded by Marshall Foch. The victory at the Battle of St. Quentin Canal seems largely forgotten in the U.S., despite the American input, probably because unlike at St. Quentin, a distinct part of the Meuse-Argonne frontline (to the right of the French) was all-American.  Although the Meuse-Argonne was "probably the bloodiest single battle in U.S. history", in the sense that it had the largest number of U.S. dead in a single battle, it is little remembered today in the United States. Its battleground memorials are neglected by most American visitors to Europe, though Europeans pay more attention to them and other World War I battlegrounds and memorials. The battle also hailed the debut of the Browning automatic rifle in combat, with both the US and France using them significantly for the first time in battle. According to the American view, the battle's pressure on the Germans was an important factor in them agreeing to the armistice: "Until the last, this battle had worried German commanders most; unlike other sectors of the front, here they had little space short of a vital objective that they could afford to trade for time."





February 12, 1918 - December 7, 1941

Robert was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 12, 1918, the son of Henry and Florence Johnson. He received his early elementary education from 1926 until 1932 at the Wildey Rural School in Paw Paw Township. He then attended and graduated from the Paw Paw High School, Class of 1936. After his graduation from high school until 1939, he was employed by the O'Grady Brothers Clothing Store. In 1939 he became the local manager for the Equitable Life Insurance Society of the United States, where he worked until his November 1940 enlistment.
Following the completion of basic training at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri he was transferred overseas to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii in December of 1940. There he was assigned to the 22nd Army Air Force Material Squadron.
On December 7, 1941, Robert was killed in action by Japanese forces during the attack on Pearl Harbor and the surrounding bases.
His body is interred in the Punch Bowl Military Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii.
He was survived by his parents and three brothers; Frank, Carl, and William. On September 18, 1950, the McGowan Post 68 of the American Legion Department of Michigan was rechartered, the 'McGowan-Johnson Post 68 of the American Legion Department of Michigan' in his memory.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Date: December 7, 1941

Location: Hawaii

Result: Defeat

The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese 

Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning) and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and the four others present were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 men were killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (which also included the home of the intelligence section), were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor wascaptured. The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8) the United States declared war on Japan. Domestic support for isolationism, which had been strong, disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. the same day. Despite numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action, the lack of any formal warning by Japan, particularly while negotiations were still apparently going on, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy".

American Legion Eligibility Information

 If you have served federal active duty in the United States Armed Forces during any of the war eras listed below, and have been honorably discharged or are still serving -- you are eligible for membership in The American Legion! 




FEBRUARY 28, 1961 TO MAY 7, 1975(VIETNAM)

JUNE 25, 1950 TO JANUARY 31, 1955(KOREA)



*Because eligibility dates remain open, all members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to join The American Legion at this time, until the date of the end of hostilities as determined by the government of the United States.

U.S. Merchant Marine eligible only from December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946 (WWII).

Eligibility Questions

 To be eligible for membership in The American Legion, you need to have been assigned to at least one day of federal active duty service any time during the eligibility periods as determined by U.S. Government, and received an honorable discharge/discharge under honorable conditions, or currently serving in one of the U.S. Armed Forces. Are you eligible? Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding American Legion eligibility.  

Q: I’m currently on Active Duty. Am I eligible?

Yes.  The current eligibility period from is from August, 1990 – Present, and includes the current war campaigns.  All current active duty military are eligible for membership.

Q: I didn’t retire from the military, but was on active duty during one of the qualifying time periods.  Am I eligible?

Yes.  As long as you have served at least one day of federal active duty during any of the qualifying periods, you are eligible for membership.

Q: I served during one of the qualifying periods, but was never in a combat zone.  Am I eligible?

Yes. Location of active duty service is not a consideration for membership.

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