American Legion Installs Historic Sea-Going Display

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
A new display, representing U.S. sea-going armed services, was installed at the American Legion Post 217 in Warsaw on Friday, August 7. A white anchor, weighing about 6,000 lbs, was placed in the middle of a new rectangular slab, and two air funnels from a World War II Victory ship were mounted on its left and right sides. Sharing the grassy area between Post 217’s parking lot and Wildcat Blvd are two other long-time displays of a M60A1 tank and Cobra helicopter that supported the U.S. Army, Air Force  and Marines in many conflicts and military exercises. Now all five armed services are represented.
The new display was completely made possible by donations from members and local businesses. Wright’s Machine Shop, in Lincoln, provided the machinery and labor to install the anchor and air funnels. Charlie Brown put in the concrete slab, and Coy Butner donated the air funnels. The anchor was located and delivered to American Legion Post 217 by member Barry White, who is retired from 30 years with the U.S. Coast Guard and knew just where the sea-going icon had been stowed away.
The donated anchor was originally part of a wind-class icebreaker named Westwind, and was operated by the U.S. Navy during WWII. When the Navy was no longer involved in ice-breaking, the ship was lent to Russia for ice-breaking services in 1945. Then, Russia returned the ship to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1951 and it participated in many operations in the Artic and Antartic until it was decommissioned in 1988. Once the cutter was scrapped, the anchor found a place of honor in front of a Coast Guard base club in Mobile, Alabama. When the base club was damaged by a hurricane, the surviving anchor was tossed in the “Back 40” of Mobile Sector Command, laying in the grass for 15 years until White offered to pick it up and deliver it to Post 217.
“WiseCo Welding and Machine in Sedalia Powder coated the anchor in white, because it was last used by the Coast Guard,” said White. “If it had been a Navy anchor it would have been gray.”
White said that the concrete slab holding the anchor and air funnels has a short vertical wall where the names of donors will be put on plaques and posted. In addition to free services from local businesses, many members and other people gave $100 each for the project.
The American Legion Post has a membership of 358. There are 90 Sons of the American Legion, and 158 members of the auxiliary. The organization helps veterans, and the community. It hosts dinners and dances, shuffleboard on Thursdays at 6:30 PM, Corn Hole on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM, live music every Tuesday at 1 to 4 PM, and Taco Tuesdays on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2:30 PM.  Some of their special events during the year include July 4th Independence Celebrations, Fall Gun and Knife Show, and the American Legion Toy Run. It has a pool table, and the Trap shooting range. Service Officer Mike Lange is available every Tuesday at 9 AM in the Post’s smoke-free hall.
Post 217 will hold a Dedication Ceremony for the new sea-going displays, along with a picnic later on in the summer.