Post # 15

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POST HISTORY

 
SIOUX FALLS POST NO. 15  ~ SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA
 
We are known as the Sioux Falls American Legion Post #15
1701 W. Legion Drive 
Telephone number is (605) 336-3470
 
South Dakota American Legion
The South Dakota Department of the American Legion was organized simultaneously with the national organization.  South Dakota Adjutant General William A. Morris named Theodore R. Johnson of Sioux Falls to select a committee of representative ex-service men to attend the first caucus in St Louis, Missouri, May 8-10, 1919.  
After the first national caucus, a temporary South Dakota organization was formed at Vermillion on May 15, 1919 with Theodore R. Johnson as chairman.   The first state convention was held in Sioux Falls on July 14 and 15, 1919.  Myron L. Shade of Mitchell was elected the first Department Commander.  Forty-eight posts had been organized by convention time.  The South Dakota Department now consists of about 260 posts with about 26,000 members. 
The Official activities and interests of the American Legion are in four areas: Rehabilitation, including all aid to veterans; Americanism; Child Welfare; and National Security.  One of the Americanism programs with South Dakota roots is American Legion baseball, now a nationwide program.  It was conceived at the state convention at Milbank in 1925.  Frank Sieh of Aberdeen originated the idea.  A granite monument at Milbank commemorates the formation of Legion Baseball there. 
The South Dakota American Legion Department Headquarters is located in the Codington County courthouse in Watertown.  The South Dakota Legion contributed to the construction cost of that courthouse and thus was granted rent-free space in the courthouse for the life of the building. 

  Date of Charter, July 1, 1919   

 
The original post in Sioux Falls was named Harold Mason Post #15 in memory of Harold E. Mason, Corporal in E. Company 58th Infantry, the first Sioux Falls soldier to be killed in action on July 21st, 1918, during the Alsne-Marne offensive in France.
 
For a number of years the Post met in the old Germania Hall, and after this building was torn down, its meeting places were varied and indefinite until it acquired its own building at 208 W. 9th street in 1939.  This building was used as a club room and meeting hall until increased membership required larger quarters.
 
In 1942, the building at Dakota Avenue and 9th Street was purchased and leased to the Federal Government for use as a U.S.O. during the remainder of 1942 and through 1944.  When  it was returned to the Post in 1945, the building was completely remodeled to produce one of the finest Legion homes in the northwest.  This building consisted of a basement and two floors, and was free of debt. 
 
In September 1945, the Sioux Valley Post #253 merged with the Harold Mason Post #15 to charter the present Sioux Falls Americn Legion Post #15.  The new Post home at 1701 W. Legion Drive is the result of splendid cooperation by its members and those directly responsible for it being, who are too numerous to mention by name.  The Post was financed by maintenance of a Club, Lounge, Bar, and various social events at all times during the year. 
 
In the fall of 2019 a vote of the membership was held to make a decision about a move to the newly formed South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance  ( SDMHA) located at 1600 West Russell. This was previously Badland Pawn - a high tech new building which will allow for a variety of events and entertainment for veterans, military and the public. During the conversations leading up to the vote the tension was high and emotions ran deep.  Many of the "old timers" did not want to give up their "lounge" - a place to gather with fellow veterans for meals and cards. Sadly a few members chose to leave and join another post. One  96 year old WWll veteran, Orren Lee, jumped on board and shared with everyone his excitement for the new adventure. The lounge was struggling and had lost money for several years straight. Members didn't want to raise prices on meals or drinks even though the costs were climbing.  The thoughts were of older fixed income members - the truth of the matter was many of the daily clientel were not members of the Post.  When the opportunity was presented to move to the SDMHA and focus on "serving veterans" it was very appealing. The SDMHA was formed to manage the facility, all events, a cafe, gun range, lounge, meeting rooms and entertainment for veterans, active military, their families and the public. When the vote to move was taken it passed.  There was a second vote to actually invest in the SDMHA and in return receive a % of the profits each year - that passed also. The legion - POST 15 - will still be managed by the veteran members and run according to their constitution and bi-laws. As of April 2020 we are awaiting for the COVID19 pandemic to be under contol so our physical move can actually happen. The new address for Sioux Falls Post 15 will be 1700 West Russell Suite 510. The office will be located in the armoury - a building directly west of the main SDMHA building. The reason to call this the armoury instead of the "Janklow Law Office" building is because the ground these two buildings stand on is the ground of the air base during WWll - another reason our WWll veteran loved the idea of the new location.  
 
That is the history of the amazing American Legion in action in this great State of South Dakota and Sioux Falls Post #15, a Post that has had much involvement in history.

 Sioux Falls Post 15 Past Commanders (*= Deceased)

 Year

 Commander

 Year

 Commander

 1918-1919  *James Knewell*  1919-1920  *Art Muchow*
 1920-1921  *DR. G.I. Cottam*  1921-1922  *James Parliman*
 1922-1923  *Henry Mundt*  1923-1924  *Fred Shultz*
 1924-1925  *William Snitkey*  1925-1926  *James C. Mann*
 1926-1927  *Tom Manchester*  1927-1928  *A.L. Bodley*
 1928-1929  *Fred Whitfield*  1929-1930  *Claude Hamilton*
 1930  *Mark McMahon*  1930-1931  *V.W. Widstrand*
 1931-1932  *Ben Stark*  1932-1933  *Geaorge Brochardt*
 1933-1934  *Lawrence Green*  1934-1935  *Dee Richardson*
 1935-1936  *Joe Seubert*  1936  *Al Rabe*
 1936-1937  *Chan Gurny*  1937-1938  *Ben Abel*
 1938-1939  *Sid Wirzbach*  1939-1940  *Hal Ranney*
 1940  *Ernest Hahn*  1940-1941  *Russell Powell*
 1941-1942  *Clarence Akin*  1942-1943  *Dan Dedrick*
 1943-1944  *Roy Burns*  1944-1945  *George Elmen*
 1945  *W.F. Weiss*  1945-1946  *Tom Harkison*
 1946-1947  *C.J. Rufer*  1947-1948  *Doc G.L. Clifton*
 1948-1949  *Gene Pruitt*  1949-1950  *Mike Schrimer*
 1950-1951  *Dale Tuttle*  1951-1952  *W.F. Lenker*
 1952-1953  *Leonard Miller*  1953-1954  *Demming Smith*
 1954-1955  William Clayton  1955-1956  *Robert Reetz*
 1956-1957  *Joe Griffin*  1957-1958  *B.E. McCreedy*
 1958-1959  *Leonard Martinek*  1959-1960  *Roland Wick*
 1960-1961  *Chet Lien*  1961-1962  *Ozzie Zender*
 1962-1963  Jim Kirschman  1963-1964  *Jim Wheeler*
 1964  *Wayne Herreid*  1964-1966  Arlo Lyng
 1966-1967  Al  DeGroot  1967-1968  *Harold Huber*
 1968-1969  *Ken Fladgard*  1969-1970  *Art White*
 1970-1971  *Dale Norstrom*  1971-1972  *Robert Brekke*
 1972-1973  *Paul Bankson*  1973-1974  *Wally Sorum*
 1974-1975    Jim Haight  1975-1976  Orville Hill
 1976-1977    *Jack Mulkey*  1977-1979  *Bryce Selix*
 1979   *Les Bradberry*  1979-1980  *Ed Brown*
 1980-1981  *Milt Simons*  1981-1982  *Jim Hale*
 1982-1983  *Bob Aschoff*  1983-1984  *Lloyd Tenneboe*
 1984-1985  *Arlen Johnson*  1985-1986  *Ellwood Wilson*
 1986-1988  *Bill Ranney*  1988-1989  *Don Kuck*
 1989-1990  *G.D. "Hoot"Gibson*  1990-1991    Dorthy Nash
 1991-1992    *Vince Maag*  1992-1993  *George Havel*
 1993-1994    Elmer Bjotum  1994-1995  Jim Hartsook
 1995-1996     Roger Klos  1996-1997  *Glen Kelly*
 1997-1998     Benny Beiningen  1998-1999  Jim Ellis
 1999-2000  *Harold Aulner*  2000-2001  *Dennis Hirsch*
 2001-2002     Sue Erschens  2002-2003  *Dick Sievert*
 2003-2004     Gene Tornow  2004-2005  *Dennis Hirsch*
 2005-2006   Darwin Wahlert  2006-2007    Richard Cobb
 2007-2008    Rick Towns  2008-2009  Terry Towns
 2009-2010    Curt Pansch  2010-2011  *Dave Saunders*
 2011-2012  *Thane Johnson*  2012-2014    Ken Teunissen
 2014-2015      *Jeff Wilkes*  2015-2016      Ed Stringer
2016-2017     Larry Panning         2017

    Loren Rohrer

2017-2019     Kevin Hempel  2019-2020 Robert Johnson
2020-2021