A new American Legion post has been chartered on Marco Island. A temporary charter for American Legion Post 404 was presented by the Indianapolis-based national headquarters of the American Legion on Feb. 18.
American Legion Post 404 has 28 charter members and is headed by Commander Lee Rubenstein, First Vice Commander Hugh Messner, Finance Officer Ray Rosenberg, Post Chaplin Mike Stapleton, Adjutant and Sargent-at-Arms Bill Horton, Trustees Bruce Novark and Judge Advocate Al Bozzo. Rubenstein’s goal is to have 100 member by May, and the post will leave its charter roll open until May 1. All members who join before the May 1 deadline will be named in the permanent charter roll.
According to Rubenstein, establishing American Legion Post 404 was an important step in honoring the growing veteran population in the combined Marco Island and Naples community. While VFW Post 6370 currently is active on Marco Island, only veterans who have served in foreign combat zones are eligible for membership in the VFW. The American Legion affords membership to honorably discharged veterans of seven wartime periods: World War I and II, Korean War, Vietnam, Lebanon/Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. In fact, since no ending date of hostilities has ever been determined by the U.S. government, membership eligibility is open to all military personnel who have served on active duty for any period sinceAug. 2, 1990.
This casts a wider net for members, notes Rubenstein, who also is a member of the VFW. “There are probably 75 folks that qualify for VFW membership in our area and in excess of 1,000 who qualify for membership in the Amercian Legion,” he adds.
Currently, the American Legion has roughly 15,000 local posts across the country, and is adding posts in many growing residential areas. It consistently has been the largest and most influential veterans organization in the U.S. since its founding by veterans of World War I. Today, nearly 3 million men and women are counted among the ranks.
Meetings of American Legion Post 404 are held the third Tuesday of each month at Gino’s Trattoria located at 969 N. Collier Blvd. at 11 AM. Lunch follows each meeting with a special menu and pricing for all members.
For membership information, please contact Rubenstein at 239-564-9894, Hugh Messner at 239-642-3753, Bill Horton at 239-642-8928, Ray Rosenberg at 239-394-8211, Mike Stapleton at 239-389-0531, Bruce Novark at 239-642-6777 or Al Bozzo at 239-389-0037. All officers have membership applications, and copy of an Honorable Discharge is required for membership (DD 214).
Eligibility Dates for American Legion Membership
- April 6, 1917-Nov. 11, 1918
- Dec. 7, 1941-Dec. 31, 1946
- June 25, 1950-Jan. 31, 1955
- Feb. 28, 1961-May 7, 1975
- Aug. 24, 1982-July 31, 1984
- Dec. 20, 1989-Jan. 31, 1990
- Aug. 2, 1990 -Cessation of hostilities as determined by U.S. government