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Post 90 celebrates 100 years

Cutting the cake, Rodger Presley, left, and Jack Wright

News Staff Report

Members and guests of Billy Glenn Rushing American Legion Post 90 celebrated the Post’s 100th anniversary Tuesday, July 18. The Post actually turned 100 in February.
Post members Rodger Presley and Jack Wright did the honors of cutting the anniversary cake. They have the longest membership in the Post, representing 110 years between them – Presley, 45 years, and Wright, 65 years.
About 20 members and guests, including Atmore Mayor Jim Staff and Escambia County Board of Education member Cindy Jackson, attended the quiet and brief ceremony.
The following history was furnished by Post 90.
The Post was named in honor of Billy Glenn Rushing, son of Atmore Mayor W. E. Rushing, and wife, who distinguished himself in the service for America in the war with Germany, Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria, in 1917 and 1918, as an aviator in France, losing his life in action.
Born at Troy, Ala., Sept. 13, 1893, Billy Glenn moved here with his parents a few year later. After attending the high school in Atmore he went to the Polytechnic Institute at Auburn, where graduated in 1915 as an electrical engineer.
When the trouble with Mexico came in 1916 he enlisted in company A, 1st Alabama National Guard, June 28. July 1st of that year he was appointed corporal; and Feb. 1, 1917, was promoted to sergeant, then to top sergeant Feb. 15. He saw service on the Mexican border from October 1916, to March 1917.
After attending the Reserve Officers Training Camp at Ft. McPherson, Ga., he was recommended for captaincy in the infantry, in May, 1917. But he resigned to enter the aviation service, being given an honorable discharge.
Re-enlisting, he entered the ground school for training cadet officers in the aviation section of the signal corps July 5, 1917. Being an electrical engineer he was placed in charge of his squadron detachment, as instructor in wireless while at Georgia Tech.
From this school he graduated Aug. 18, 1917, one of three honor students, being recommended by H. H. C. Richards, the commandant, to be sent overseas at once to become a full fledged American aviator.
He was sent to New York and sailed Sept. 8, 1917, on the Adriatic, a White Star Line ship, landing in Italy Oct. 15, 1917. At the Italian aviation camp, Foggia, he was given six months, flying five different types of machines, doing many aerial stunts without a single accident.
March 23, 1918, with other American Eagles of the air, he was sent to guard the Italian front. Against the Austrians this detachment of aerial fighters, numbering 40 daring and capable aviators, proved so efficient and effective that General Pershing ordered the squadron to France, where the great drive destined to smash the Hindenburg line, was being fomented.
Billy Glenn was detached from the squadron and given special assignments. He went wherever called – sometimes to pilot a gigantic bombing plane across the line with its cargo of death-dealing missiles, to be poured out on German army camps behind the lines
It was while on an assignment as ferry pilot, out of Tours, France, guarding off German planes to protect transport ships bringing soldiers and munitions of war into France, that Billy Glenn Rushing lost his life, June 15, 1918.
Making a turn, in some way his machine went into a nose dive, and he was almost instantly killed. Though flying at an altitude of 6,000 feet when the accident occurred, when the plane plunged into a wheat field below, his body was not mangled or disfigured in any way.
The plane was the Farman type of French design, which was later condemned for war use.
All of his records show him to have been a true, honest and faithful soldier , loyal to the cause, the type who considers it an honor to die for his country.
After this, his first and last accident, the body of Billy Glenn Rushing, the Atmorean who had so distinguished himself as an American soldier of the air, was laid to rest in Grave No. 84, Tours, France.
Later it was brought back to America, and Atmore, where it was re-interred.
It was in recognition of this record of service that his comrades in arms named their organization, home and meeting place, when Billy Glenn Rushing Post No. 90 of the American Legion was chartered Feb. 2, 1923.