IIn 2019 Ron Brooks volunteered to create a website for Post 38 which can be accessed at nclegionpost38.org. During the intervening years there were no formal events or records compiled leaving a historical gap. This site will endeavor to fill this gap.
The American Legion maintains an important presence in North Carolina, a state that is home to several large military bases and thousands of active and retired soldiers.The U.S. Congress officially granted a national charter for the American Legion on 16 Sept. 1919, although the organization had already begun operations before that time. The first national convention was held in Minneapolis, Minn., later that year. Since then, the American Legion has pushed for increased and improved care for disabled and sick veterans and was a major
force in the establishment of government-funded hospitals to care for veterans.
The legion also played a role in the creation of the Veterans Administration in1930, and the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989, and in the passing of the original GI Bill of Rights for veterans of World War II and subsequent wars.
North Carolina’s first American Legion Post was established in Raleigh on 20 July 1919 and was designated Raleigh Post, No.1.Thereafter, there was a proliferation of posts in North Carolina. The first North Carolina American Legion state convention was held in Raleigh on 20 Oct. 1919. The first women’s auxiliary post was chartered in Winston-Salem in 1920, and others quickly followed.
In keeping with period social codes, posts for African American legionnaires were
originally formed separately from ones for white legionnaires. The first post for blacks in North Carolina was Post No. 4 in Wilmington, and Post No. 124 in Pembroke in Robeson County was composed of Native Americans. By 1929 North Carolina had 101 active white posts and 16 black posts. Total membership in 1929 was 12,001, with 682 of
these being African American members. Henry L. Stevens Jr ., from Post 109 in Warsaw, served as the American Legion national commander in 1931-32. A fiftieth-anniversary convention for the North Carolina American Legion was held in Winston-Salem in June 1969, with Governor Robert W. Scott as one of the principal speakers. That year approximately 25,000 of the 40,000 members in North Carolina attended the convention. An evening banquet and dance was held at the Robert E. Lee Hotel in Winston-Salem.
The American Legion in North Carolina is currently divided into five divisions, with each of these subdivided into five districts. By the early 2000s there were approximately 40,000 legionnaires in 200 posts across North Carolina. Ray G. Smith from Post 109 in Benson was elected national commander for the years 2000-01. Many prominent North Carolinians, such as Governor R. Gregg Cherry, Governor Luther H. Hodges, Senator Samuel J. Ervin Jr., State
Treasurer Edwin M. Gill, U.S. Representative Lawrence H. Fountain and others, have been proud members of the American Legion. Additional History of North Carolina’s American Legion1 can be found in the N.C. Government & Heritage Library.
In 1918, an organization in the town of Weldon, NC was formed for men who had served in the Armed Forces. An old Virginia Electric Power Company (VEPCO) Plant building was procured as a meeting place by this group of men. This small group of men applied for a charter in The American Legion on October 20, 1920 with the following charter members: Elliot Clark, D.W. Seifert, C.C. Telghan, James Josephson, James Price, W.B. Grant, C.F. Rhem, W.G. Suiter, N. Smith, H.G. Rowe Jr., Mike Josephson, S.J. Fitzhugh, W.B. Josephson, and Gees Pappas.
A temporary charter was issued on October 24, 1919 with the permanent charter later issued on July 25, 1922. The new Post was called The American Legion Shaw Post 38. This Post was named after Captain William Shaw who was the first soldier to die in World War 1 from Halifax County, N.C.
In 1945, a group of men from Weldon, NC applied for a Charter to form a new Post in The American Legion on June 15, 1945. This new Post was called The American Legion Eugene Basil Glover Post 298. The officers of the new Post were: Commander M.C. Newcom, Adjutant John Forest, and Finance Officer James Rogers.
The Shaw Post in Weldon and the May Post in Roanoke Rapids were merged into a single Post and called Shaw-May Post around 1960. The Post initially moved into a building on Washington Avenue in South Weldon. Around 1974, the American Legion Shaw-May Post 38 moved to a building on the American Legion Road in Halifax County. Their new Post was named after Robert E. May, Chief Petty Officer Coxswain Mate First Class, who was the first World II casualty from Roanoke Rapids.
In 2013, the American Legion Department of North Carolina elected its first Woman and first African American State Commander. On June 15, 2013, Patricia A..Harris became the state’s first female and African American State Commander. She was the second African American woman to hold the post nationally. Ms. Harris is the 98th Department Commander in North Carolina and also the first woman of color to serve as a National Officer. She is also past Commander of the NC State Veterans Council. Ms. Harris is from Raleigh.
Currently, James W. Oxford, a native of Lenoir, North Carolina, is serving as National Commander of the American Legion. Oxford was a past state commander of the North Carolina American Legion from 2010 to 2011 and is the third national commander from North Carolina.
January 21, 2022: Commander Dave Sammons announced Shaw-May Post 38 will make it a priority to reclaim our Auxiliary in 2023.
On Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the State Convention in Raleigh Commander Dave “Slammer” Sammons was appointed and installed as the new District 2 Commander. He told the members he intends to resign as the Post 38 Commander at the October meeting and a new slate of volunteers will be submitted for approval by acclimation. If approved the new leadership will be: Commander Kevin Hanretta, First Vice Jimmy Silver, Second Vice Ted Hux, Adjutant Jim Shook, Sgt.-at -Arms Rich Odom, Sgt.-at-Arms Walt Fightmaster, Finance Officer Ernie Payne, Chaplain Al Cooper Jr., Historian Ron Brooks. Ernie Payne was appointed and installed as Vice Commander of District 2.