Knebel Post 83, was first housed in a wood building at the corner of San Jacinto and 12th Streets. The Post was moved to a location on South Lamar, and then to the old Austin Engineers Club building at 602 W. 7th Street. Knebel Post moved to its present location on East St. Elmo in 1979.
Post 83 was named for Paul Knebel, a World War I Army (Infantry) veteran, and brother of Ed Knebel, who was a great supporter of American Legion baseball in Austin. Paul Knebel's picture (L), donated by family members, is prominently displayed in the Post Canteen. Burwell 'Tuff' Knebel, a nephew of Paul, was the last Knebel family member of Post 83.
Perhaps the most famous member of Post 83 was the entertainer, Martha Raye. While performing in Austin in the 1970's, Lt. Col. Raye visited Post 83 and was presented with a Life Membership. Martha Raye was a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps, and served during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Lt. Col. Raye was made an honorary member of the Special Forces by President Johnson because of her support for the Special Forces. In 1993 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her lifetime of dedication to the military.
Martha Raye died in 1994 and special consideration was given to burial at Arlington National Cemetery. She asked that she be buried instead with her Special Forces in Ft. Bragg. Her wish was fulfilled and she became the only woman buried at the Special Forces Cemetery at Ft. Bragg. It was with full military honors. Learn more about her in Vietnam and Soc Trang.
Texas has supplied personnel to the armed forces in all major wars and conflicts in which the United States of America has been involved. Texas was represented at the birth of the American Legion in Paris in March of 1919 by ten servicemen—including Charles Nimon (r) from Austin. Two Austinites were present at the St. Louis Caucus in May of 1919, Alfred Carrel and John W. Young.
On April 21, 1919, a caucus was held in San Antonio to organize a branch of the American Legion in Texas. There were 572 Texas veterans in attendance. The group elected Claude Birkhead of San Antonio as Chairman of this temporary organization, a position he held until the first Department Convention.
The St. Louis Caucus of the American Legion recognized this group as the official state organization of the American Legion in Texas at their meeting in May. The first Department Convention for the American Legion, State of Texas, was held in October of 1919 in Dallas.
Photograph, Portrait of Claude V. Birkhead. Image courtesy of the Texas Military Forces Museum. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
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AMERICAN LEGION KNEBEL POST 83
4401 E ST. ELMO RD. | AUSTIN, TEXAS 78744
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The American Legion—National
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Auxiliary Unit 83
Post 83 Legionnaires
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