Post History

 

 Post History

 The American Legion is the largest, oldest—formed in 1919—and most highly regarded and respected of all veteran organizations in the United States. It is divided into state level units, known as Departments, and into more than 14,000 Legion Posts. One of these Posts is American Legion Post 341 in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

 

It was chartered in 1975 by a group of forward looking Vietnam veterans:

“Lots of work,” wrote first Post Commander Kenneth ‘Ken’ Dover concerning the first years of the almost 40 year Post history. “Been thinking about the events of the Post and how it all began. Clark Keck wanted to operate a private club, and in order to do so he gave land, a place to put the Post; it was at the corner of Co  40 and U S 71.” The location is approximately two miles south of the present location of Bella Vista Post 341. Ken, Clark and George Littlefield applied for and received the American Legion Charter. “We bought an old 34 ft house trailer and held meetings in there until the building was completed. It took 2-3 years to get the private club license.”

They worked on increasing funds and the membership in the meantime. “To raise money we held bingo for several years in the upstairs of the old reception center at the lake and made lots of money for the Post. After the club opened we went from about 45 members or so to over 600 members and became famous from there on out.”

“We finally wound up with about an 8 person working crew—some I can’t remember but—myself, George Littlefield, George Hill, Gene Williams, Burdell Clark, etc—can’t remember all the names. George Littlefield and I did most of the work. We had a booth at the county fair that we all took turns running the different shifts and made a couple of thousand each fair.”

“I was Post Commander for 5 years or so. Then Gilge (Thomas Gilge) came along,” and was the next commander for a year. He was succeeded by Erich Hartman who served a year; continuity was supplied by George Littlefield, who had been working for the Post from the very beginning, seven or more years before and then served five more as commander. “But then Clark passed away and we wound up at the current location” near the intersection of Highway 71 and Kingsland Road, 1889 Bella Vista Way, on property given by the Cooper Corporation in an attractive but small building. “I changed jobs and moved to Fayetteville -  -  -. Anyway that’s kind of the very beginning of the Post -  -  - that will give you some idea of how it happened.”

An attractive sign marks the location on the east side of Highway 71, a mile south of Town Center and adjacent to the Bella Vista Historical Society.

Soon after the formation of the post, it attracted veterans from other conflicts: the Korean War and World War II especially. American Legion Posts are only named for deceased veterans. In 2007 the Post was re-chartered to reflect the present name, Marshall S. Sayner Post 341; Sayner was a prominent member of the Post as well as of the community. He served as District Commander, Vice Commander of the Department of Arkansas and was responsible for recruiting several hundred members into the Post over his lifetime.

As a sign of current progress, in 2008 Vice Commander Jake Greeling started a golf tournament which is very successful. A second year is underway. Commander Norvil Lantz, Jake Greeling, and Ron Raby remodeled the Post Building, more than doubling the space for holding meetings and maximizing its pleasant features. And building designs for a new building are on the drawing board; and perhaps a new bar, hurrah !

Recently, the Post has, under the inspired, knowledgeable, and dynamic leadership of Commander Norvil Lantz, Vice Commander Jake Greeling, Finance Officer John Chelstrom and many others, established an invigorating atmosphere and a well earned esteemed reputation in northwest Arkansas. Members from all wars and services from World War II through the current conflicts in the Middle East are present; the Post is expanding rapidly and is not only appealing to veterans throughout Benton County but also because the Post strongly supports the recruitment of active duty personnel; the Post has performed a remarkable job supporting our service men and women in the Middle East.

From the very beginnings to now -  -  -  An extraordinarily spectacular story of veterans that has just begun -  -  -  -

 

A list of Post Commanders follows:

 

Commanders of American Legion Post 341,

Bella Vista, Arkansas

 

Post 341 was founded by the first four officers.

 

Kenneth Dover, Vietnam, First Post Commander, 1973-1978:  Served five years.                       

Tom Gilge, Vietnam, 1978-1979: Served a year as Commander.   

Erich Hartman, Vietnam, 1979-1980: Served a year as Commander.   Also served as Vice-Commander for the Department of Arkansas.  Deceased.

George Littlefield, Vietnam, 1980-1985: Served five years as Commander.  Deceased.

 Jack A. Porter, Korea, 1985-1986: Served a year as Commander.            Deceased.

Bydell Clark, World War II, 1986-1987: Served a year as Commander.   Deceased.

Pat Cunningham, World War II, 1987-1988: Served a year as Commander.  Deceased.  Buried in Iowa.

Jim Drapper, World War II, 1988-1989: Served a year as Commander.     Deceased.

Harold Wagner, World War II, 1989-1990: Served two years as Commander. Deceased. 

Kenneth Asa, World War II, 1990-1991: Served a year as Commander.

Harold Wagner, World War II, 1991-1992: Repeat Commander.               Deceased.

Robert Miner, World War II, 1992-1993: Served a year as Commander.  Deceased.

Don Slade, Korea, 1993-1996: Served three years as Commander.

Walter Wolf, World War II, 1996-2000: Served four years as Commander.   Deceased.

James Sperry, 2000-2002: Served two years as Commander.

Charles Wentworth, World War II, 2002-2004: Served two years as Commander.  He also served as State Commander of the American Legion Department of Arkansas, and was instrumental in the construction of the Bella Vista Veterans Wall of Honor. Deceased.

Ray Gilman, World War II, 2004-2006: Served two years as Commander.  Deceased.

Charles Forbush, Korea, 2006-2007: Served a year as Commander.  Deceased

Post name changed to Marshall S. Sayner Post 341.
Post name changed to W. E. Rockey Glidewell Post 341 June 2016

 

Norvil Lantz, Korea, 2007-2009: Served two years as Commander.

Jake Greeling, Vietnam, 2009-2012 Served three years as Commander.

Jim Heath,  Vietnam,  2012-2013 Served one year as Commander.

John Chelstrom,  Korea & Vietnam 2013-? currently serving as Commander.

 

 

E. H. “Henry” Cathey

                                                                           March  30, 2009