This year, The Generals Ward & Chennault and Lt. Helseth American Legion Post 1, Shanghai, China, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the post.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary, China Post 1 member Joe Gentile came up with the idea to commission artwork for several plaques to memorialize the rededication of the Old Post Home in Shanghai as well as the Heavenly Kingdom Museum in Ningbo, China, home of the General Frederick Townsend Ward exhibit.
On Dec. 14, 2018, several members of the executive committee - Scott Riebel, deputy commander of China Post 1, Kerry Kilburn, post JAG, and Gentile - traveled to Valdosta, Ga., to Moody Air Force Base, home of the Flying Tigers, to present the wing with a replica of the plaque that will be presented to the people of Shanghai at the rededication of the Old Post Home. Current Wing Commander Col. Jennifer Short hosted us in the SCIF, where we briefed her on the history of China Post 1 and the significant ties between our two organizations.
China Post 1’s historical ties to the 23rd and the Flying Tigers runs long and deep. Our members include Tex Hill, Robert Smith, and James B. “Earthquake McGoon” McGovern, whose remains were found in 2002 and repatriated in 2006 after being identified by another China Post 1 member at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
Of the 15 surviving Flying Tigers, 12 are members of China Post 1.
Then on March 19, 2019, Commander Ron Burkett, his service officer Marlys Burkett, Gentile, Kilburn and Riebel traveled to Monroe, La., and the home of the General Claire Chennault Museum. The purpose of the visit was to re-establish a relationship with the museum, to present a duplicate of the plaque to the museum and make a donation on behalf of China Post 1.
We had the opportunity to meet with Nell Calloway, CEO of the Chennault Museum and granddaughter of Claire, who was kind enough to escort us through the museum adding a personal touch to each of the exhibits. Following lunch, hosted by Ms. Calloway, we moved into the theater where China Post 1 presented a duplicate of the plaque to the museum as well as a donation for $1,000.