American Legion Post Legacy
Spirit of Erath Centennial Series
The word "war" produces images of death and destruction in most people. However for soldiers, real memories and experiences are embedded in their minds and hearts. Memories that will haunt them a life time. Throughout Erath's life which begin in 1899, many wars have come to pass.
In 1917, area men were called to serve in World War I. By 1941, World War II soldiers whispered sad good byes to relatives and were shipped off. 1950 brought with it, the Korean War. In 1965, America entered into the Vietnam War and in 1991, America was involved in the Gulf War. With the terrorism facing our nation, we continue to send our native sons to defend our nation.
Each war had a different face and name, however all produced an intense sense of loss and sadness. After each war, soldiers returned home with a stronger sense of patriotism etched in their souls. Each war changed the men....
On April 30, 1946, World War II veteran and Erath native Roy Theriot called a meeting to form an Erath American Legion Post. Held in the gym, there was a large attendance. At that time it was decided that an Erath American Legion Organization would be formed. Unanimously, it was decided the name would represent the memory of two local men Conrad Snooks "Snookie" Derouen and Louis Moss. A short time later Theriot received word of the Official Charter from the American Legion Headquarters. On May 8. 1946, (one year after VE day), the post was recognized as "Derouen Moss Post 279, Erath, LA". "
Good looking, popular, athletic, personable and bright" are a few words used to describe Conrad Snooks "Snookie" Derouen Jr., by those who knew him. Derouen, a native of Erath was killed at the hands of a Japanese sniper in 1944. During his tour of duty in WW II, he was shot in the neck and died. Conrad Snooks "Snookie" Derouen Jr. was born an only child on February 12, 1921 to Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Derouen. He was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Derouen and Mr. and Mrs. Aurelian Theriot. Derouen was married to the former Marguerite Domingues of Abbeville. Following his graduation at Erath High School in 1937, he graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Masters in Health and Physical Education. At twenty one years old, he volunteered for service in the U.S. Marine Corps and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Quantico, Virginia. From there he was sent to Camp Pendleton, Oregon, then overseas to the Asiatic Theatre. He was involved in the Battle of Saipan, when he received wounds that led to his death. He died on July 17, 1944. Derouen had been overseas only seven months at the time of his death. On July 18, 1944, at the tender age of twenty three, "Snookie" Derouen was buried at sea. On April 9, 1945, both Derouen's widow and mother traveled to New Orleans to receive the Navy Cross from Rear Admiral A. C. Bennett. The event was held at the headquarters of the Eighth Naval District in the Federal Building. He was posthumously awarded the Naval Cross for Gallantry in action.
Erath resident Louis O. Moss, also died a hero's death during World War II. He was born on December 12, 1912 to Mr. and Mrs. Ollie J. Moss of Erath, Louisiana. Left behind was his widow, Helen Bridges Moss, a native of Minden and an Erath educator. Louis Moss was a graduate of Erath High School who later received a B. S. degree from Louisiana State University. He attended Texas A & M. As a dedicated teacher at Erath High School he taught Agriculture. Moss was the F.F.A. Advisor and an athletic Coach. He was also a member of the Lions Club in Erath. He enlisted with the Army Air Corps in October 1942 and received training at the Lake Charles Air Base in Louisiana: Keesler Field in Mississippi; Willow Run Ypsilanti in Michigan; Gunnery School in Harlmgen, Texas; Advanced Gunnery School in Clovis, New Mexico; and at Chatham Field in Savannah, Georgia. He became Chief Engineer of a B-24 Bomber and traveled to LaGuardia Air Base in 1944. He was killed on February 19, 1944 when a plane which was transferring his squadron from North America to Italy crashed. At that time, he was Staff Sergeant. Moss lies in the American Cemetery in Bart, Italy. Throughout the years many veterans like Derouen and Moss lost their lives in war.
Thousands of similar stories exist throughout American history. Through the losses, victories, tears, sweat and effort of "every" American soldier, whether dead or alive, each has earned a secure place in history. They remain forever alive in the freedom that Americans experience daily in U.S. flags that wave proudly and of course, in the hearts of appreciative Americans from sea to shining sea. Like a doubled edged sword, war breeds death and destruction, while ironically producing the priceless gift of freedom for each and every American today.
Spirit of Erath Articles (Keys to the Past Series)
Written by Stacy Bodin, Erath's 100th Anniversary Erath Centennial Historian (1999)
A Special Thank You
goes out to Attorney Warren Perrin;
the Acadian Museum in Erath;
Curney Dronet, (Erath Author);
the Abbeville Meridional (Local Newspaper);
(The late) Clement Bourgeois Jr., (Erath Historian);
John LeBlanc (Town Official);
The 1999 Centennial President Jackie Vincent;
Robert Vincent (Acadiana Museum Director);
and my parents Larson "Cap" and Gertie Hebert Bodin
who assisted me in my research in this project.
The articles presented in memory of
Relie LeBlanc III
whose enthusiasm and love of Erath
inspires me still today in my quest of
researching and writing about our community.
His "Unity in the Community" motto
will forever remain in my heart.
Photo of LeBlanc is
Courtesy of Dickie Durr's Thrifty Way of Abbeville
Questions or comments?
Email Stacy Bodin