Legion Post 259 Dedicates
New Museum to Late
Oneontan David Townsend Jr.
By CASPAR EWIG
ONEONTA – In a well-attended luncheon ceremony last Saturday, January 7, Oneonta American Legion Post 259 opened its Oneonta Veterans Museum with a dedication to Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Townsend Jr.
The museum houses a varied assortment of military mementos, including more than 100 models of ships, tanks, helicopters, and other military equipment built and assembled by David’s brother, Barry Townsend. It also displays photographs of veterans and a scrapbook containing copies of news articles reporting on the exploits and tragedies of Oneontan soldiers serving in World War II.
“I had all these models that I had made and was really looking to put them some place so others could enjoy them,” Barry recounted. “And when I brought it up to the post manager, Wayne Gregory, the idea of a museum was born.”
The second floor of the Legion’s clubhouse, formerly a restaurant, has been converted with donated materials by the efforts of a dedicated core of Legion members.
Sharon Parshall, a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 259, even located a pristine 1941 Legion uniform. Worn by Carl Van Buren, a World War I veteran and member of Post 259 for 62 years, the uniform is now on display.
“We thought it only very appropriate that the museum honoring all veterans be named to honor Barry’s brother, Dave, who died while serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam,” Gregory said.
The dedication luncheon also featured reminiscences by guest speaker Sr. Master Chief Gordon Foster, also a major contributor of museum artifacts.
American Legion Post 259 is located at 279 Chestnut Street. Although a schedule has not yet been finalized, Gregory expects to open the museum from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Special arrangements for visitation can be made by contacting the Legion at (607) 432-0494.
Lots of childhood memories of playing with Dave and others in Wilbur park.
A fitting tribute for a fellow Vietnam Veteran.