Lt. Philip Lansdale
VFW Post 67 is also officially known as Lt. Lansdale Post.
You might ask, "Who the heck is Lt. Lansdale"?
Post 67 is the second oldest VFW Post west of the Mississippi. So it should not come as a surprise that Lt. Lansdale fittingly served in the Spanish American War, the earliest campaign recognized by the VFW. We hope this page can help everyone understand why Lt. Lansdale was chosen as the Post's namesake
Lansdale, Philip Van Horne
Lansdale, born in Washington, D.C., graduated as Passed Midshipman from the Naval Academy 18 June 1879. Commissioned ensign 1 June 1881, he served on Asiatic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific Stations. Promoted to lieutenant 15 May 1893, he became executive officer of Philadelphia upon her recommissioning at San Francisco 9 July 1898.
After visiting Honolulu for ceremonies which transferred the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, Philadelphia, flagship of Rear Admiral Albert Kautz, Commander, Pacific Station, arrived Apia, Samoa, 6 March 1899. An unstable political climate, created by rival Samoan factions and German presence, erupted into open hostility during the month. A combined American and British naval force sought to keep the peace, but natives attacked American and British consulates late in March.
The Philadelphia was ordered to proceed thither with all dispatch. Reaching Apia early in March, it was found that the situation was an acute one, the two rival chieftains, Malietoa and Mataafa, contending for supremacy. The three signatories to the Berlin agreement, respecting Samoa, the United States, England and Germany, were all represented by warships in the harbor. The decision of the American and English commanders made Malietoa king, and Mataafa was ordered to disperse his forces but defied the injunction and continued hostilities. Troops were accordingly landed from American and English ships, and on the 15th of March a bombardment was begun which lasted intermittently for two weeks, but had only slight effect, the enemy retiring into the bush.
On the 1st of April a concerted movement was made by the allied land forces, Lieutenant Lansdale of the Philadelphia commanding the American party with which Ensign Monaghan had been serving since it had been put ashore. The march was through a densely wooded country, where Mataafa'a men were in ambush in large numbers.
The following account of this encounter has been given:
"Under a deadly fire which could not be replied to with advantage, especially as the only piece of artillery (a Colt automatic gun) brought by the marines had become disabled, a retreat was sounded. While this was in progress Lansdale received a wound in the leg, shattering the bone. In the confusion of the retreat he had been left in the rear, with only Monaghan and three or four privates. He was carried some distance, when one of the privates was shot to death, and soon afterward the others fled, leaving Monaghan alone with him. Although urged repeatedly by Lansdale to save himself (as testified by the last of the men to leave), he steadily refused and stood his ground, awaiting assistance. Presently others who had been in the rear came up and in their turn departed. The next day the bodies of Lansdale and Monaghan were found lying together in the jungle.
Captain White of the Philadelphia in his official report wrote: 'It is in evidence most clear that when Ensign Monaghan discovered that Lieutenant Lansdale was wounded he used his best endeavors to convey him to the rear and seizing a rifle from a disabled man made a brave defense; but undoubtedly he fell very shortly after joining Lansdale, and the hostiles, flushed with success, bore down on our men in this vicinity. The men were not in sufficient numbers to hold out any longer and they were forced along by a fire which it was impossible to withstand.
Local Draft Biography
Check out the in house Lt. Landsdale Biography (draft) by E. O. Putzman, circa 1924. The original working draft document was scanned and converted to a PDF file and is available on our "100 Years Archives" page.
Last US Navy Rank: Lieutenant
Last Navy Duty Station: 1898-1899, USS Philadelphia (C-4)
US Navy Service Years: 1879 - 1899
Unofficial US Navy Certificates: Decommissioning, Plank Owner
Place of Rest: Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA
Lansdale's Naval Vessels
Lt. Lansdale served on this ship during his final campaign:
The Dept. of the Navy commissioned three ships in his honor: