Two new American Legion posts were chartered to honor the legacies of two Killeen-area veterans.
The two posts will be named after retired Gen. Robert M. Shoemaker, a Nolanville-area resident who died June 21, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Elijah King Jr., a Killeen resident who died March 12.
“All American Legion posts are named after a deceased veteran, and all our posts are named after veterans from the area,” said Dan Corbin, a former Killeen mayor tasked with setting up the new posts. “Not enough people understand just what a great man Gen. Shoemaker was. Sgt. Maj. King was a little less known, but no less a great man.”
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness, according to a Legion mission statement. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in local communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans.
The goal of Texas American Legion posts is to have a post associated with every high school in the state, Corbin said. Shoemaker’s post will, of course be associated with the high school that bears his name. King’s post will be associated with Ellison High School, where King’s children attended.
“The new posts will actually meet at the schools and won’t have a traditional brick and mortar building,” Corbin said. “We really don’t need big buildings with bars anymore, and our image should be tailored more toward the things we should be doing, such as our programs taking care of kids and our veterans.”
Many of the programs sponsored by the American Legion are tailored toward youth, including a Junior ROTC shooting program, an oratory competition based on patriotism and taking care of children of service members who are deployed, he said. “These are the programs these posts will be focused on.”
For retired Lt. Gen. Pete Taylor, a long-time friend and associate of Shoemaker and lifetime American Legion member at large, the opportunity to be associated with a post named after a friend and mentor will be an honor.
“I’m very pleased they are naming a post after Bob Shoemaker,” Taylor said. “I can’t think of anyone who personifies what the American Legion does as Gen. Shoemaker. I am very pleased I will be a member of a post named after him.”
Applications to become charter members of the new posts can be found in today’s Herald. Corbin said veterans who would like to become members of one of the chapters, or of the American Legion, simply need to fill out the applications and send them in.