Shortly before the start of World War II, the US Army Air Corps began to build Wellston Air Depot (Currently called Robins Air Force Base) at Wellston, Georgia, an unincorporated village of less than 50 people. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the sleepy village of Wellston began to expand rapidly as did the nearby Depot. Watermelon and peanut patches were soon turned into streets and houses.
Wellston grew so fast that on August 4, 1942, the name of the railroad station was changed to Warner Robins. The Post Office department approved the new name effective September 1, 1942. and on March 5, 1943 the General Assembly of Georgia created and incorporated the growing city as Warner Robins.
On November 19, 1943, a group consisting of Taylor M. Brundge, T.D. Dawson, Mardy Morton, Al C. Caris, Russell L. Johnson, James Saulter, Joseph R. Downs, John R Stewart, George A. Stewart, Major G. L. Gaddy, Major Frank L. Hayes and Major Charles Bourcier called a meeting at the North Zeigler Community Center to organize an American Legion Post. Twenty-five veterans signed the application for temporary charter that night. Commander Stanley Jones, USN, Department Adjutant of Georgia spoke for the forming of the new post. George A. Stewart, FPHA Projects Advisor of the Zeigler Apartments was named temporary chairman of the group.
Meetings were again held on December 3rd and 10th to add more names to the temporary charter application. Sixth District Commander Dr. Charles Lanier and Sixth District Adjutant Mardra Morton spoke at the December 3, 1943 meeting. The number signing the application by the December 10th meeting reached 67 and included Brigadier General Charles E. Thomas, Jr. Commanding General of the Warner Robins Air Service Command and Lt. Colonel Joseph E. Cheek, Adjutant General of WRASC. Approval of the two Macon posts and the Perry post was obtained on December 20, 1943 and the application was forwarded to Department Headquarters with 73 names as petitioners.
The application for temporary charter was approved by Department Commander Clarke Luke on February 16, 1944 and forwarded to National Headquarters of The American Legion in Indianapolis, Indiana where it was approved and a temporary charter was issued on February 18, 1944.
Anxious to get started, the organizers jumped the gun on the charter approval and on January 24, 1944 elected their officers and named the post Arthur Leonard Johnson, Jr., after the first Warner Robins man to lose his life during World War II. Guest speaker at this meeting was Colonel Dusty Rhodes, the fourth officer to arrive at Robins Field and later assigned to duty in North Africa.
Post meetings were continued at the North Zeigler Community Center and on July 29, 1944 the Post moved to space they leased on the second floor of the Martin-Thompson Theater Building and club activities were started.
The permanent charter of the Post was granted September 7, 1944 during the administration of Commander Taylor M. Brundege. The Post adopted a motion that all members prior to September 7, 1944 would be known as charter members and their names be inscribed on the charter. The charter hangs in the post home but a search has failed to locate the scroll listing their names, or the 1944 membership cards. The minutes of June 14, 1944 reported 112 members for 1944. A search for all members mentioned in the minutes prior to September 7, 1944, confirms only the following 14 names can be added to the 73 signing the application for temporary charter and are also considered as charter members:
|Ben D. Bayless||Robert E. Byrd|
|Ray H. Benefield||Thomas R. Nolan|
|Neal M. Phelps||Alton Pruett|
|Harry Scarborough||Grover Martin|
|Minnie B Hardy||H. B. Cochran|
|John Cenic||J. S. DaVitte|
|Austin C. Treadwell||Arthur H. Howell|
The Post was incorporated as "Arthur Leonard Johnson, Jr. Post No. 172, The American Legion Department of Georgia, Inc. on April 1, 1946 under the laws of the State of Georgia by the Superior Court of Houston County for a period of 35 years. The petitioners were Neil M. Phelps, Royce F. Valley, E. A. Anderson, Grover Maddox, Quinton E. Roberts, Gussie L. Marks, C. K. Rodgers, Henry R. Ward, Grady McCrimmon, W.A. Cuff, Taylor Brundege, C. O. Graham and Jim Salter.
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