RIPON – Commander Ernie Tyhurst of the Clinton McCausland Post 190 of the American Legion has a history of service to his community and to his country during his colorful lifetime. He joined the Legion four years ago and is in his second year in its leadership. He is now a life member.
McCausland, 27, gave his life in France during World War I. He farmed before joining the Army and is credited with planting what are now the tall Sycamore trees in the old residential district near the downtown.
Tyhurst said it is important that vets belong to the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars since the two groups are an influential voice, especially with the vets’ promises from the government that haven’t been kept. They were told their jobs would be ready for them when they got back from duty, which hasn’t happened, he noted.
“I think the Veterans Administration needs to listen to the Legion and the VFW. There is a debt due our veterans for every campaign,” he stressed.
Tyhurst served in the U.S. Air Force for four years from 1966 to 1970 attached to the 602nd Tactical Control Group assigned to train radar crews serving in Southeast Asia to become proficient in direct air strikes. He was sent to Bergstrom Air Force Base.
The Legion commander also served as a sergeant with the Ripon Police Department, later working as a city planner and currently a member of the Ripon Unified School District Board of Directors.
His Air Force duties put him under the direction of the Twelfth Air Force. “We sent radar crews to Korea when the U.S.S. Pueblo was attacked with me working at the command post” for the mission, he noted.
Tyhurst’s duties in the USAF started out in operations followed by an assignment in intelligence and then on to plans and programs.
“We created a training syllabus and exercises for the crews sent to Southeast Asia,” he said.
He is currently working on seeking recognition for the World War II vets who participated in the liberation of France with the installation into his second term coming in June. Tyhurst is also busy decorating the walls of the post with loaned framed photographs of military aircraft and ships from fellow members of his post.
One of those pictures are Tony Bell’s B-24 bomber that flew over the English Channel in the Liberation of France and the U.S.S. Bismarck aircraft carrier in full color. There is a framed set of knots loaned by Mario Mendes who sailed on the Cruiser Topeka. Tyhurst is also mounting World War II recruiting posters on the walls in the near future, he added. A story about those posters will also be added to add a greater depth to the hall on Stockton Avenue. The Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion is going to be an important part of his display.
The Legion has its meeting hall on the central area of the downtown with its military museum several blocks away to the west. The museum property includes an honor wall of the names of Ripon residents who served in the military from World War I until recently. Those who lost their lives in combat have gold stars by their names on that wall.
The interior of the museum contains everything from models of aircraft along with weapons and mannequins donned with a variety of military uniforms. Photographs of Ripon residents are mounted around the tops of the rooms in the building that has served in the past as a church, Ripon City Hall and the Ripon Chamber of Commerce.
Outside is a life-sized bronze statue of active duty soldiers with their weapons at the ready.