In the City of Stockton, as many may not be aware, a local nonprofit organization has thrived in recent years. The American Legion Post 230 of Stockton is currently ranked the #1 color guard for the state of Missouri.
Post 230 competed against other Missouri posts color guard teams at the Missouri American Legion Department Convention in 2019. The convention was cancelled last year due to covid but Post 230 won the competition during the previous two years.
This year, convention is scheduled to convene in Cape Girardeau during the second week of July. Post 230 intends to send a team and attempt to retain the crown.
One of the duties of the team is to present colors at the Department Convention. “We believe it is a true honor to perform in front of hundreds of veterans representing American Legion posts throughout Missouri,” color guard member Larry Griffin said.
After earning the Missouri title, Post 230 had been invited to accompany the Missouri contingent to the American Legion National Convention.
At the National Convention, members competed against Legion teams from all over the United States. There were strict guidelines members of the legion were required to follow, such as following the flag code. Teams are graded on dignity, military bearing, discipline, poise, Esprit de Corps.
Competitors are also graded on precision, execution, originality, effective use of time, and overall marching ability as well as standing a personnel inspection prior to starting the advancing and retiring of colors competition.
The American Legion Post 230 has competed with teams from other Legion posts which have memberships numbers up to 7000.
An idea of creating the color guard for the Stockton Post started about six years according to Griffin. Legion members decided to create an honor guard team to perform military honors at veteran's funerals.
Since then, Post 230 has provided military honors at over 135 veteran's funerals. The team members observed there was also a need to train color guard members for parades and events like hosting the traveling Vietnam Wall.
Since then, Post 230 has performed at two Vietnam Wall events, led the last five Black Walnut Festival parades, presented colors at the Missouri County Clerks Convention, presented colors at the last three 54 Cruisers events in El Dorado Springs, twice led the Green County Veteran's Day parade in Willard, performed at Veteran's Homes during Memorial Day, performed at the last five Veterans Day events at the local high school as well as the elementary school and presented colors at three local football games.
The team also has presented colors at two Department of Missouri American Legion Conventions, will again in July and four Department of Missouri conferences. Of course, the group presented colors at the last three Chamber's dinners.
Members of the color guard in the past as well as present include: Brian Ballard, Harold Beck, James Behan, Glenn Burnaman, Michael Cheek, Larry Christie, Sam Eaves, Carla Griffin, Larry Griffin, Leonard Hopkins, Lawrence Johnston, Bernie Kral, Bill Linnartz, Bob Malouff, Gary Maugh, Carol Maugh, Dan Palmer, Don Roerick, Julia Roos, Sonny Ross, Guy Ross, Chuck Schroder, Jim Smith, Jonathan Taylor, Joe Teed and Kris Smith.