The Story of China Post 1
The Generals Ward & Chennault and Lt. Helseth American Legion Post 1, Shanghai, China
By: Scott Riebel, Janet Rae Bond
Publication Date: 2019-06-06
Number of pages: 203
There are people in this world that will sacrifice everything for God and Country. Many of them are members of China Post 1.China Post 1, one the oldest American Legion Post in the world, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The history of this Post is, in fact, a history of the membership of the Post, their love for it, their dedication and efforts in ensuring the success and survival of this organization. During the early years and prior to the invasion and subsequent occupation of China by Japan in 1938, the Post conducted operation much like any other Post within the American Legion.Following the Japanese occupation the membership shifted focus and much of their work consisted of clandestine operations, intelligence gathering support and reporting through their established business connections. In effect operating the Shanghai underground.On December 8, 1941 following Pearl Harbor, all U.S. expats were gathered up and incarcerated in "civilian detention facilities" like Pootung Prison. During that long incarceration, Post members were subjected to starvation frequent and brutal interrogations, torture and abuse but still managed to continued their intel gathering and reporting through a vast network of established civilian contacts. One member in particular stands out, Past Commander Frank D. Mortimer.Following the war and their release from incarceration, Post members immediately returned to the old Post home and began the process of assisting expats. Helping veterans return to the U.S., locate missing relatives, and arrange for final honors for those who had perished; frankly, anything that was within their power to accomplish with very little available money. General Claire Chennault, Chairman of the Executive Committee for China Post 1 donated a large portion of his own money rebuilding the Post, restoring Ward's Tomb and providing food and materials to the People of China. Following the end of the war, he redirected his energy into assisting the people of China with the herculean effort to rebuild this war ravaged country. Despite the government's best efforts, the people abandoned the Chiang Kai-shek's government for the populist Mao Zedong and in 1948; Americans in Mao's China became persona non grata. So began our exile.During the 1970's, the Soldier of Fortune moniker appealed to a certain category of war fighters in South East Asia. Men and women who willingly volunteered to conduct operations in regions where their discovery and detainment would result in long periods of interrogation without access to consular services. Further, these people provided plausible deniability to the agencies employing their unique services, an asset during clandestine operations.The resurgence of the Post is due in large part to these people, those willing to work in the world of the zone of silence.You cannot just join China Post 1. Membership in the Post is not solicited. Prospective members MUST be recommended by a current member. The veracity of their application is carefully reviewed; the nature of their experiences verified and an intake interview is conducted. The brand that is "China Post 1" is carefully protected.The story of China Post 1 is the story of the membership. This is a collection of their stories and their contributions to maintaining the Post and its brand. This is their story.
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