Welcome to Captain Lester S. Wass Post 3 of the American Legion located at 8 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA. This site was created so our members, families and friends can easily access important information about our Post .
Legionnaires from the Captain Lester S. Wass Post No. 3
of the American Legion honor Veteran!
NEC ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS TO OPEN UP AMERICAN LEGIOIN MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILTTY
Membership eligibility in The American Legion is determined by Congress through the
establishment of specific dates of declared hostilities in which U.S. military personnel
were activated. Since its founding in 1919, membership in The American Legion has
been open to veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War,
Lebanon/Grenada, Panama and Gulf War/War on Terrorism.
There are at least 12 known combat operations that required activated military personnel,
such as the Cold War, Libyan Conflict and Persian Gulf Conflicts, and resulted in about
1,600 U.S. military men and women casualties. However, because these operations are
unrecognized by the U.S. government as a period of war, those who served during these
timeframes are not eligible for membership in The American Legion.
The American Legion’s National Executive Committee passed a resolution during its
annual Fall Meetings in Indianapolis Oct. 17 to change that.
Resolution No. 1 – “Unrecognized armed hostilities recognition,” calls on Congress to
declare that the United States has been continuously engaged in a state of war from
December 7, l94l to the present, and for Congress to direct the Department of Veterans
Affairs to qualify a wartime veteran as any military service personnel who served
honorably under Title 10 for at least one day from December 7, l941 to the present.
Following the passing of Resolution No. 1, the NEC adopted Resolution No.2,
“Unrecognized armed hostilities membership date change,” which will change
membership dates for The American Legion. This resolution will only be put in motion
once the actions of Resolution No. 1 are approved by Congress. Once approved,
membership in The American Legion will be open to the following war periods: April6,
1917 to Nov. 1 1, 1918, and Dec. 7 , 1941 to the date of cessation of armed hostilities as
determined by the U. S. government.
The American Legion believes that membership in the organization should be extended
to all U.S. military personnel who served on active duty during the hostile events that are
not seen as a period of war.
Read Resolution I and2 in the Legion’s Digital Archive at
Our View: Remembering their sacrifice
November 12, 2018
Lester W. Chase was a shoemaker, the son of a painter, when he signed up for the National Guard. It was 1916. He was barely 20 years old when his 1st New Hampshire Infantry was sent off to the Mexican border to hunt for the elusive Pancho Villa with Gen. John Pershing.
Chase was there four months, and had scarcely been relieved of duty for six, when the U.S. declared war on Germany. His unit, folded into what would become the 103rd Infantry, was called for war in Europe in the fall of 1917.
According to an account of Chase’s service submitted to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission by local historian T.J. Cullinane, his Company K went to the front in France in early February 1918, “to gain badly needed experience and provide relief to war weary Allied troops who had borne the brunt of the fighting since the war broke out in 1914.”
Considered a capable soldier, the boy from Derry three months later was chosen for a trench raid. “During this brutal but ultimately successful engagement,” wrote Cullinane, “Chase was mortally wounded.” He died of septicemia from his gunshot wounds on May 25.
News wound its way home in letters. Chase’s commanding officer, 1st Lt. Thomas J. Quirk, wrote to his mother, Allettie: “During the time he has been a member of this organization, he has proved himself a good soldier, willing to do his duty at all times, and while we can only offer our sympathy in bereavement you may well be proud that you had a son who did not flinch when the time came to make the supreme sacrifice in this great struggle.”
Chase was not the first of Derry’s sons to die in combat in what was known as “The Great War,” reported Cullinane, but he was the first to die from combat wounds, and perhaps would become the town’s best known. His name is still attached to the local American Legion.
Five generations later, time has disconnected us from firsthand memories of Chase and others who fought during the first world war. Their names may be memorialized on honor rolls, monuments and buildings but, except for personal histories such as those culled by the World War I Commission, we would not have any true sense of their service.
More than 4.7 million Americans served in that war. More than 116,000, like Chase, died there in battle, from disease or due to other causes. The losses tallied in that war, ended by an armistice signed 100 years ago today, were far eclipsed by the sheer scope and mortality of the conflict a quarter-century later. But that doesn’t blunt the sacrifices of those who served, and particularly of more than 220 people from our region who died, in World War I.
They were people like Lester Sherwood Wass. He was a 32 year old Gloucester man and Marine Corps captain who personally led his troops against machine guns in multiple battles. It was the one near Vierzy, France, where he was killed by gunfire on July 18, 1918. For his heroism, Wass posthumously was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His name also graces the American Legion post back home.
Or people like Albert E. Thomson, who is said to have lied about his age in order to enlist at 16. He was a private in the 101st Infantry and not yet 17 years old when he was killed in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, east of Paris. Six years later, his hometown of North Andover put his name on the school down the street from where he’d lived.
That their names become a fixture of our communities is a significant tribute. As Cullinane noted about Chase, “Three generations of Legion baseball players have taken to the field with his name emblazoned on their chest, just one example of the community activities conducted in his good name.”
But, at 100 years and hereafter, it’s the duty of us the living to ensure we keep animated not just their names but their stories. Only that way can we and the generations after us understand the depth and reason for their sacrifice.
Local Legion calls for tougher gun rules
By Ray Lamont Staff Writer March 31, 2018
Gloucester’s American Legion post has gone on record calling for veterans to support tougher regulations on gun violence in the aftermath of recent school shootings.
Attorney and Vietnam veteran Mark Nestor, commander of Lester S. Wass Post 3, said members of the post voted unanimously last week for four resolutions calling for stricter background checks for gun sales and a lifetime ban on sales to anyone with histories of mental health issues, crime, domestic abuse or violence, a Uniform Code of Military history, or a history on a “no fly” list established by the Department of Homeland Security or the Transportation Security Administration.
The other resolutions endorsed by the Legion urge bans on the manufacture, sales or imports of firearm bump stocks, and for a ban on sales of any high capacity magazine clips containing 30 or more rounds to any business or nongovernmental entity. The fourth resolution simply calls on state and federal lawmakers to back the changes.
Nestor, who said he is not aware of any other posts tackling the gun and school security issue with a resolution from its membership, said he plans to submit Post 3’s resolutions to the Legion’s Massachusetts district in June, in the hopes the state organization will forward it to the national Legion.
The four resolutions approved received unanimous support from the 15 post members who turned out for the March 20 special meeting, though Nestor said had sent notices to all the post’s 210 members. Nestor said the voting session included two hours of debate, and began with 11 potential resolutions on the table.
“We wanted to send a message that veterans are concerned,” Nestor said, “and to make sure people know this is not just about the far right and far left. We’re concerned about the safety of our kids.”
He acknowledged that the post’s call for tighter gun controls will run afoul of those who stand by strict interpretation of Second Amendment.
“But we believe these resolutions can co-exist with the Second Amendment,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen (to the resolution) when it goes to the state level, but if we shake up debate, we shake up debate. That’s what we want to do.”
An uncommon stand
The idea of a Legion post or other veterans organization taking a stand on what some may see as a political issue is unusual, others noted.
John Rosenthal, the Gloucester resident who helped found and still heads the Boston-based nonprofit Stop Handgun Violence, said the local Legion’s stand is the first time he’s heard of a veterans organization stepping out to take a stand on the need for tighter gun laws and gun violence.
“But who better?” he said of veterans, due to their use of and confrontation with weapons in the field. “I think this speaks volumes.
“It’s just another reason why I love Gloucester,” Rosenthal added. “I’m so proud of my city and so proud of these veterans. It shows great compassion and leadership among veterans who — like law enforcement and our students — have a loud voice and can make a difference. These students are not going away, they’re saying ‘enough’! And it’s good to see our local veterans stepping up, too.”
At Gloucester’s AMVETS Post 32 on Prospect Street, commander Victor Anido said veterans there have been discussing recent gun violence, especially since the Valentine’s Day shootings at a Parkland, Florida, high school left 17 dead.
“But mostly, they get back to talking about (gun control) and the Second Amendment,” he said. He added that he doubts the post would back or entertain a resolution similar to the Lester S. Wass Legion post’s.
“I’m not aware that AMVETS nationally or (posts) locally have made their opinion or any comment on the whole weapons issue,” Anido said, “and by our bylaws, we cannot be political at all.”
Officials from the Legion’s national legislative center in Washington did not return calls seeking comment Thursday, nor did anyone from AMVETS national headquarters in the D.C. suburb of Lanham, Maryland.
“I’m all for protecting the young men and women in our schools systems — for protecting everybody — we all are,” Anido said. “It’s a serious situation and we have to do something. But we can’t, as a post, take political positions.”
Adam Curcuru, who heads the Cape Ann Veterans Services Center on Gloucester’s Emerson Avenue, said he and the city-based center did not want to be seen as taking sides in a gun control debate.
“We, as an organization, want to bring our veterans and other people together,” he said, “not be a wedge between people and pull them apart. We’re just looking to be here and support our veterans. I know this (issue) is important, but our job is to bring people together and support our veterans of all views.”
Nestor, however, said he sees the current discussion of tighter gun laws and the need for school safety as one that is beyond political.
“This is a serious issue for us all,” he said, “and this one-a-week (school shooting) pattern is not acceptable. That’s what I believe we, as veterans, should want to say.”
Letter: A call to veterans to protect our children
February 25, 2018
To the Editor:
I write this as a father, husband and veteran. I am sure that you have been as horrified as I have been over the tragic events that recently took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Quite bluntly it was the massacre of 17 unarmed adults and children, someone’s father, mother or child, by a cold-blooded 19-year-old killer who was able to legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle for the sole reason of killing as many human beings as he can before he cowardly fled the school.
And he succeeded! I would like to say that it was an “aberration” or an “one time thing,” but we know that it was not. Since the Sandy Hook killings in 2012 there have been 142 school shootings. In the past year alone there have been 45 separate school shootings. And let’s not forget the tragic slaughter of people just like you and me who turned out in Las Vegas to hear a little country music and 59 of those souls will never hear another song, never kiss another loved one, never to be able to watch their children grow.
The victims for the most part have been children, from kindergartners to high schoolers, our hopes for the future. These children were deprived of the right to live, to grow up and see the world, to fall in love and raise a family, to continue to make our nation great, for reasons we never seem to know. We give lip service to their deaths, shed tears and then move on. We allow our schools, teachers and students to be subjected to regular drills in how to survive a madman or woman. Is that how we want our children to grow up, in fear?
I think we as veterans need to speak out against these killings and the culture that it appears to foster. We as veterans, especially combat veterans, know the horrors of war, and the suffering that has been inflicted upon others and been inflicted upon ourselves by the enemy in the defense of our country and our freedom.
We took an Oath of Allegiance when we enlisted, to defend ourselves against all enemies, both foreign and “domestic.” I submit that we are under attack, and more pointedly, our children, the hope of our future, are under attack. We as veterans have a solemn duty to protect our families. I think that we, as veterans, need to make a statement. The statement should be:
that stronger background checks need to be implemented immediately, that anyone who was a mental health history, criminal history, Uniform Code of Military Justice history or domestic abuse/violence history should be banned forever from ever being issued a weapons license;
- that bump stocks be banned from being sold, manufactured, imported or exported into or out of this country;
- that gun registration requirements be tightened;
- that high-capacity magazine clips need to be banned;
- that all types of assault rifles be banned; and
- that police are granted stronger powers to seize weapons under the Baker Act.
As a veteran of more than 26 years and a Vietnam veteran, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I don’t think that any of these proposals weaken the Second Amendment. You still have the right to own and carry firearms. You can still shoot, hunt and protect your families. You just don’t have the right to own and use assault weapons to wreak mass destruction on our children! Guns are not knives or automobiles. They are manufactured for only one purpose, to kill quickly and efficiently. Who best to tell our elected officials that we veterans want our children and loved ones to live and see their future potential?
I believe that we as veterans need to take a stand. A stand against gun violence and the implementation of some measures that hopefully reduce the chance of any of us ever receiving that fateful call that our child or grandchild has perished in a hail of gunfire at a school. It is a call that I know we never want to receive. I ask that my fellow veterans take a stand and demand these changes. It is a start!
If our elected officials refuse to protect our children then we should vote them out forthwith, and then we, as veterans, who have repeatedly answered the call and defended this great country in its time of need, must step into this void! We have no choice.
Mark L. Nestor,
Vietnam, Class of ‘70
Returning veterans deserve a level playing field
To the Editor:
I read with dismay Stephen Delaney’s Dec. 19 letter to the editor, “No quota system for veterans.” Mr. Delaney appears to believe that today’s veterans should not be entitled to veterans preference because there is no longer a draft.
Yes, he’s correct, there is no draft. But after the horrific and unprovoked attack on the United States on 9/11/01, tens of thousands of young men and women for the past 16 years have interrupted their education or employment to enlist in the armed forces and answer the call of their country. Often these men and women repeatedly put themselves in harms way with multiple tours in either Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of freedom.
These military personnel often spending a significant amount of time away from their families and loved ones in war zones because they knew that it was the right thing to do. When they return to civilian life, Don’t they deserve a chance to reintegrate themselves into society and the workplace? Don’t they deserve to get a “leg up” to make up for their sacrifice? Don’t they deserve more than just a pat on the back?
Don’t they deserve something that will somewhat level the playing field because of their service? And that is what veterans preference gives them. Don’t we at least owe them that much, Mr. Delaney?
Mark L. Nestor,
Vietnam, Class of ‘70