Honoring members of the ‘Greatest Generation’

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American Legion Post 295 Commander Mark Doherty and Milton Parker of Galloway, a 70-year member of the post. American Legion Post 295 Commander Mark Doherty and Milton Parker of Galloway, a 70-year member of the post. EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Milton Parker, 93, of Galloway and Francis Nugent, 92, of Northfield were the honored guests at the Harvey Johnson American Legion Post 295 luncheon Thursday, April 3 compliments of the Golden Corral where both men were feted for their longevity in the post.  

Parker is a 70-year member of the post.

“My dad was one of the charter members of the post and he signed me up while I was still serving in the South Pacific,” Parker explained.

Parker was a tail gunner during WWII onboard a B27 and flew 24 combat missions.

Francis Nugent is a 50-year member of the post. He served on the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill. Nugent was shot down in the South Pacific and his son explained that his dad never used to talk much about his time in the Navy, but said when his plane was shot down he ducked behind the machine gun. The impact of the fall from his plane broke Nugent’s back but had it not been for the machine gun he slid behind, he would have been killed.

The battle where Nugent was injured was written about and he is named in “Hell Divers Squadron.” 

Parker explained that his father was a WWI veteran and his family members can trace their service to their country back to the Revolutionary War.
“There has been a Parker in every war this country has fought,” Milton Parker said.

Post 295 has a new commander, Mark Doherty, who is trying to revive the post. Like many of the other American Legion posts around the region, the older members are leaving and not enough new members have joined.

“Post 295 has a great history and we would like to be able to maintain the building, have some events and allow our members to have a place to call their own,” Doherty said.

The post is named for Harvey Johnson who was one of the first soldiers from Northfield to be killed during WWII. A Navy pilot, Johnson’s engine went out on his plane while on a mission. He was returning to base. Johnson could have parachuted from his plane and probably saved his own life, but because of his concern for people on the ground that might be killed if he baled, Johnson instead piloted his plane to a football field to land. Doherty explained that by all accounts, Harvey Johnson is a real hero. 

Inside the American Legion post there is a second floor filled with interesting letters and pictures of a past era. It is a trip back through time that Doherty and others on the committee are hoping will encourage other veterans to come to an event.

A website www.americanlegionpost295.org  is filled with great old photos and some interesting facts about the post and it is like a little snapshot of the community at the time.

Volunteers are also trying to get a chapter of the Sons of the American Legion chapter established in Northfield as well as a ladies auxiliary. Both of those groups would swell the membership of the post and that is a positive first step in breathing some new life into Post 295. For more information about Post 295, call 609-233-0216.

American Legion Post 295 Commander Mark Doherty and Francis Nugent of Northfield, a 50 year member of the post. American Legion Post 295 Commander Mark Doherty and Francis Nugent of Northfield, a 50 year member of the post.  


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