The American Legion, the nation's largest congressionally chartered veterans organization, dates to 1919 when those being discharged following World War I held organizational meetings in Paris, France, and later in St. Louis, Missouri. Today the American Legion has some 18,000 local Posts in all states of the union and several overseas locations. .
The Department of Missouri also dates to 1919 as a state organization within The American Legion. The Legion's national headquarters is in Indianapolis, Indiana, with another headquarters located in Washington, D.C.
American Legion Pony Express Post 359, Department of Missouri, is so named because the Pony Express used St. Joseph, Missouri as the eastern terminus for its route. During its operation from April, 1860 to October, 1861, the Pony Express provided a vital communications link between the state of California and the United States Government during the American Civil War, helping to keep California part of the United States.
The city of St. Joseph, Missouri was founded in 1826 by Joseph Robidoux, a fur trader from St. Louis, Missouri. The city was incorporated in 1843 and developed into a major departure point for emigrants heading west on the Oregon Trail.
St. Joseph citizens have proudly served America in defense of its sovereign soil. St. Joseph’s airport, Rosecrans Field, is named for Sgt. Guy Wallace Rosecrans, who was the only airman from St. Joseph to lose his life in World War I. Sgt. Rosecrans, a member of the 153rd Air Squadron, was killed October 16, 1918, in France. Rosecrans Field is currently home to 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.
The American Legion was formed to speak for America’s veterans and to provide an instrument for them to provide further service to the United States through their local communities. Pony Express Post 359 was organized by veterans returning from World War II. A charter was applied for on September 19, 1945, and granted on January 24, 1946. Its first commander was Charles Piro (deceased) who would hold the office for two years.
Post 359 holds meetings at its headquarters at 2414 South 4th Street in Saint Joseph, Missouri. The Post formed a corporation (P.E.P., Incorporated) for the purpose of buying the land and constructing and maintaining its headquarters building for the membership and the community.
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