(From left) Harry Les Croyle, the event’s master of ceremonies, Post 6756 Commander Dan Bowen, State Sr. Vice Commander John Griffith, Department of Michigan Auxiliary President Stephanie Krueger and Post 6756 Auxiliary President Teri Brinker stand with a proclamation recognizing the post on its diamond jubilee.

(From left) Harry Les Croyle, the event’s master of ceremonies, Post 6756 Commander Dan Bowen, State Sr. Vice Commander John Griffith, Department of Michigan Auxiliary President Stephanie Krueger and Post 6756 Auxiliary President Teri Brinker stand with a proclamation recognizing the post on its diamond jubilee.

Photo by Brian Louwers


VFW’s Menge Post celebrates 75 years

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published July 28, 2021

 The Cpl. Richard W. Menge VFW Post 6756 celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 17.

The Cpl. Richard W. Menge VFW Post 6756 celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 17.

Photo by Brian Louwers

 Cpl. Richard W. Menge was the first soldier from Center Line to die in World War II when he was killed near Buna, New Guinea, while serving with the U.S. Army’s 126th Infantry Regiment in December 1942. Menge is buried at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. He was 23.

Cpl. Richard W. Menge was the first soldier from Center Line to die in World War II when he was killed near Buna, New Guinea, while serving with the U.S. Army’s 126th Infantry Regiment in December 1942. Menge is buried at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. He was 23.

Photo provided by VFW Post 6756

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CENTER LINE/WARREN — Cpl. Richard W. Menge was the first soldier from Center Line to die in World War II when he was killed in New Guinea in 1943.

On April 28, 1946, 125 veterans became the original members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6756, which they named in Menge’s honor.

The men and women who took up the mantle over the years to carry that proud legacy forward gathered to commemorate the post’s 75th anniversary on July 17 with a ceremony, followed by a community celebration.

Harry Les Croyle, of Warren, joined the VFW in the early 1970s after he returned from service with the U.S. Navy. He was a boiler tender on a ship in the Tonkin Gulf in 1965 and used the skills he learned to forge a career in stationary steam power at General Motors after he was discharged from the service in 1969.  

“It all started with a 90-year-old World War I veteran who asked me to join his VFW,” Croyle remembered. “It was a World War I veteran and I couldn’t say no, so I joined Hiram Post 6.”

He transferred from the post in Detroit to the Menge post sometime later. After close to 50 years in the VFW, he has served as the post’s commander twice. He also served as a commander at the county, district and state levels, and spent years working for the VFW’s national organization.

Croyle credited the organization for taking care of veterans when they return home from foreign service by providing a place for fellowship and understanding, and in the years afterward by supporting legislation and programs.

“When the VFW was formed, TV wasn’t a thing yet. The post-traumatic stress was not recognized. The soldiers came home and they formed their VFW. They were welcome. They were home when they were with the comrades they served with,” Croyle said. “When you’re in combat, and your buddy is keeping you alive, there’s a special bond between military people. That’s what created the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Today we have the internet. We all have a telephone that takes pictures and records movies. There’s so much competition for people’s time. And let’s face it, the Veterans of Foreign Wars takes time,” Croyle said.

VFW Cpl. Richard W. Menge Post 6756 Commander Daniel Bowen, of Warren, spent six years in the U.S. Army and served with the 82nd Airborne Division during the 1967 riots. He also went to Vietnam where he served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, of 503rd Infantry Regiment. Now in his second term as post commander, he said he would like to see more involvement from both Center Line and Warren.

The post straddles the boundary between the two cities.

“This post has been a community post for both cities,” Bowen said. “I’ve been here since before Warren was a city. I came here in 1956. I’d like to see more involvement from the community, to come here and support the post.”

Like veterans organizations across the country, the VFW has seen membership decline over the years, with fewer people choosing to serve and, as a result, fewer opting to join organizational ranks when they return home.

Auxiliary memberships are a way for spouses and children of veterans to support those who serve and their communities.

“This post is my family legacy,” said Teri Brinker, of Sterling Heights, president of the auxiliary at the Menge Post. Her family started the Bob Brinker Foundation after her father’s death in 2015. A Vietnam veteran, she said he helped any vet in need. The foundation was created to continue that mission.

“We’re so fortunate that with the foundation we’ve been blessed to be able to help the post stay afloat, and all the other veterans that we have come across,” Brinker said.

Croyle said the post felt the effects of COVID-19, which created a financial hardship. The building needs repair, and programs that help the community have been limited.

“In ages past, our post and auxiliary donated to the Center Line Fire Department the first ‘Jaws of Life’ that they ever had,” Croyle said.

“On our diamond jubilee anniversary, we would like any living veterans out there to help us in our mission to help Center Line, help the city of Warren and the citizens that reside there. It’s a big job. It needs people,” Croyle said.

The Cpl. Richard W. Menge VFW Post 6756 is located at 25500 Sherwood Ave. To reach the post, call (586) 756-6756.

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