Submitted by: Michael J. Berru
John Howard Strain was a member of the 5th Marine Regiment during the first world war. He lost his life during the battle of Belleau Wood. He was the first American from the San Gabriel area in California to lose his life serving his country
To honor him, in 1927, soil from the San Gabriel Valley was sent to France to be spread upon Strain's grave. France returned the honor by sending French soil to the United States. Subsequently, encased in a metal container. the soil became part of the cornerstone of the still-standing American Legion Post 139 located at 24 N. Stoneman Ave. in Alhambra. Calif.
Post 139, which includes Past Commander Sgt. Michael J Berru and 18th District Chaplain Lionel Moreno, traveled to northern France to visit the grave site of Pvt. John Howard Strain at the Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Memorial at Belleau.
Post 139 is named in Strain's honor. This post is extremely active in the community with 232 veteran members, an Auxiliary unit and Sons of The American Legion. Post 139 worked with the City of Alhambra to create the Veterans Memorial located in Alhambra Park. It was dedicated in 2009 with California Congressman Adam Schiff present.
American Legion Post 139 continues to hold charity events and fund raisers. It's members are dedicated to preserving its heritage and to honoring the men and women of the armed forces who have served their country no matter the cost. Pvt. John Howard Strain has left a memorable legacy
About the author:
On behalf of my brother Sgt Michael J. Berru, I am sending this article for submission. My brother is a Vietnam veteran. He was honored with two Purple Hearts because of his injuries serving his country. I honor him by helping him with this article. He is dedicated to his work with American Legion Post 139 in Alhambra, Calif. Thank you. Elizabeth Berru O'Dell