Providing for Veterans and our community since 1919

The life and death of Burton Woolery

Burton Woolery
Sergeant Woolery was the first casualty for Monroe County in the Great War (WWI), and is the namesake of the American Legion Post in Bloomington, IN.

Sergeant Woolery enlisted as a member of the Indiana National Guard in Bloomington, joining Battery F, 1st Field Artillery, 42 Rainbow Division.

He was sent overseas to France October 18th 1917, and was placed in charge of a 3 gun emplacement. He was killed by a direct hit of enemy artillery on July 29th, 1918 at Beauvardes, France. He was buried first at the site of his death, then moved to the American Cemetery, Seringes-et-Nesles, Aisne, France. In July of 1921, his body was returned to the United States, and August 1st he was placed in his final resting place at Rose Hill Cemetery, Bloomington, IN.

(Information from the web site “Find a Grave Memorial 22420922” by Jim Bohn)

An example to aspire to, Paul V. McNutt

Paul V McNutt
McNutt was raised in Franklin Indiana, the son of a lawyer. He attended Martinsville HS and then INDIANA UNIVERSITY (1909-1913), graduating with a BA in English. He received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard in 1916, and joined the IU Law School faculty in 1917.

McNutt joined the Army in 1917 and was sent to various bases in Texas. When the war ended, Captain McNutt returned to IU in 1919 and by 1925 was elected Dean of the school.

He was Commander of Bloomington’s American Legion Burton Woolery Post 18, and elected State Commander in 1926. He was then elected National Commander in 1928 and offered advise on foreign policy and veterans affairs.

McNutt was elected Governor of Indiana in 1932, the same year Franklin Roosevelt first won the Presidency. He remained Governor for four years, then became the High Commissioner of the Philippine Islands (1937-39 & 1945-47) and a potential Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate. These never happened, however he continued his public service as administrator for the Federal Security Agency, Director of the Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services, and the War Manpower Commission and his final post as a member of the China Advisory Committee.

With failing health, he moved to Manhattan and later died on March 24, 1955.

(Source: Paul V. McNutt: The Man Who Would Be King-The Indiana History Blog)

Gerry H. Kisters, Medal of Honor

Gerry H. Kisters
Kisters was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to a family that had worked in the fur trade for generations; his family moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1937, where his father opened a fur shop. Kisters worked for his father and then opened his own fur shop in Vincennes, Indiana, operating it for several years before he was drafted in January 1941. He was assigned to a reconnaissance unit training at Fort Bliss, Texas.

By 1942 Kisters' unit, formerly attached to the 1st Cavalry, had become an independent unit, the 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. At the end of 1942 they were sent to Casablanca to join the North African Campaign. On May 7, 1943 Kisters, now a staff sergeant, surprised and killed the crew of a German 88 mm artillery gun, earning a Distinguished Service Cross.

By July 31, 1943 Kisters' unit was attached to the 2nd Armored Division. On that day, near Gagliano, Sicily, he and an officer captured an enemy machine gun position. Kisters then went forward alone and, although wounded on his approach, single-handedly captured a second machine gun emplacement. He was subsequently promoted to second lieutenant and, on February 18, 1944, was awarded his Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor.[1] He was the first American soldier to be awarded both during World War II.[2] He was featured in war bond drives and the Monroe County Airport was named Kisters Field in his honor.

He died at age 67 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana.
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Portraits of the Monroe County Indiana Soldiers, Sailor, Marines, Coast Guard, and Airmen who died in service during Vietnam

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Past Commanders 1919-1948

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Past Commanders 1949-1976

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Past Commanders 1977-Current

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Persons of interest

Many awards
Commander Dunbar receives one of many awards for Post 18
Distinguished Legionaire
Jim May receives a Distinguished Legionaire award
Burton Woolery