From September 10th through 13th, the Stephen C. Ludlam Post 331 of the American Legion located in Stone Harbor, New Jersey hosted the final reunion of the 36th Combat Engineer (SEAHORSE) Regiment, a World War II unit that had served with distinction in the African and European Theaters of Operation.
During the War, the 36th Engineer Combat Regiment served in 10 campaigns and made 5 combat landings, a record unsurpassed by any Army or Marine Regiment. Reunions of the SEAHORSE Regiment started soon after the war, but were so big they were scattered at different locations, but 45 years ago they began to be held in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Each year, the attendance at these reunions kept getting smaller. Fourteen years ago some thought the reunions were finished, but others decided to keep meeting. So to make its final landing, the Regiment celebrated the 14th anniversary of its final reunion in Stone Harbor. John T. Fallon, a World War II Platoon Leader in the unit, arranged for the reunion at his American Legion Post, which serves veterans primarily from Avalon and Stone Harbor communities. Sandwich lunch platters were served by the Post on Wednesday through Saturday so that the unit’s veterans, relatives of deceased veterans, and friends could have more time for socializing and reliving experiences.
Thursday night, the attendees were treated to a dinner at the Avalon Yacht Club. The final dinner and closing ceremony was held on Saturday night at the American Legion Post, where the attendees were joined by other local World War II veterans. Only three of the unit’s World War II veterans could attend. In addition to John T. Fallon of Avalon, the other unit veterans were Tony Stefanelli and Carl Furtado all of whom were in their nineties. The honored guests for the final dinner were 36th Engineer Brigade Commander, Colonel Keith Roscoe, and Brigade Command Sergeant Major Douglass Padgett, both of whom are U. S. Army active duty soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas. Harry Clayton of Avalon, the commander of Post 331, welcomed the attendees and expressed how honored the post was to be able to host the reunion.Colonel Roscoe provided a brief history of the unit and its relationship to the present day 36th Engineer Brigade. In appreciation of Post 331’s support, he presented Commander Clayton with the 36th Engineer Brigade Commander’s Challenge Coin.
The attendees then toasted the departed members of the unit, attendees, and soldiers currently on duty defending our country. Dinner was then served by members of the American Legion Post and its Auxiliary unit. After dinner, the veterans made their final toast to departed members of the unit and ended their reunion.
There are very few ancient Seahorses left, but they are still RUGGED!