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Deputy Mayor of Encinitas Jody Hubbard presents the Mayor’s certificate of recognition to San Dieguito American Legion Post 416 Commander Matt Schillingburg, at an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American Legion. Photo by Lexy Brodt.
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Legion Post celebrates 100 years

ENCINITAS — In spite of the rain and chill, about a hundred people gathered in front of American Legion Post 416 in Encinitas on March 2 to celebrate the American Legion’s 100th year.

“This is Normandy weather, we’ll survive it, no problem,” said Tom Rice, the event’s guest speaker and a World War II Paratrooper who leapt into Normandy on D-Day.

Local officials, veterans, servicemembers and supporters look on during the presentation of the colors and national anthem during an Encinitas celebration of the American Legion’s 100th year. Photo by Lexy Brodt.

The event drew veterans of all ages and branches of service, with the aim of saluting “the greatest generation” — particularly those of Rice’s ilk. At least five attendees served in World War II — and they were joined by many more who served in the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Gulf War and in the Middle East post-9/11.

The Color Guard posts colors during the national anthem at American Legion Post 416 in Encinitas, where about a hundred people gathered to celebrate the national organization’s 100-year anniversary in spite of the rainy weather. Photo by Lexy Brodt.

The American Legion is a national organization aimed at supporting veterans, service members and their communities. It was federally chartered in September of 1919 — and locally, the San Diegiuto Post has been in operation since the early 193’s. The post is one of 29 in San Diego County, with over 500 active members.

Deputy Mayor of Encinitas Jody Hubbard noted that Post 416 is Encinitas’s second oldest business — “a notable accomplishment by itself.”

“But when you consider a broad range of its services and large membership, the tenure of Post 416 in Encinitas is nothing short of impressive,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard — as well as representatives from the San Diego County Supervisor Office and from 76th California State Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath’s office — presented the Legion with certificates of recognition for the organization’s “historic anniversary.”

The crowd was silent for the presentation of colors and Katleen Dugas’s rendition of the national anthem — which was followed by the French national anthem as well. Post Commander Matt Schillingburg said the gesture was meant to recognize France for sponsoring Tom Rice’s jump into Normandy again this year.

Tom Rice, 97, recalls his experience as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division during WWII. Rice jumped into Normandy on D-Day and fought there for over a month. He now commemorates the experience by taking similar jumps both locally and in France. Photo by Lexy

Rice, a 97-year-old Coronado native, has now jumped from airplanes a number of times in order to commemorate Operation Overlord, a historic military campaign undertaken during World War II. This year he will jump again in France, for the second year in a row, although he has jumped many times locally as well.

The event also hosted words of humor and wisdom from actor and comedian Hank Garrett — who starred in “Three Days of the Condor” and was an entertainer on the front line during the Vietnam War — as well as a performance by a local nostalgia band called the Mar Dels.


Dr March 7, 2019 at 11:27 am

My count was over 200
Where are the photos of the Legionaires and vets who have been member and supporters for decades ?
Too many politician photos, most who have never been to Post 416 let alone support the Legion..

Matthew Shillingburg March 8, 2019 at 7:50 pm

Please accept my sincere apology but at the event we had over 300 Veterans and their Families ad we “Saluted the Greatest Generation”

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