The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help, wartime veterans organization. The Wythecomb Post in Corvallis—the 11th American Legion Post in Oregon—was formed in 1919. W.H. Ellenburg served as commander. All members of the American Legion have served their country proudly during time of conflict throughout the 20th century to the present day. In Benton County the post sponsors representatives to Boys State from Corvallis High School, Crescent Valley High School, and Santiam Christian High School. The American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 11, sponsors attendees to Girls State.
Post 11 has a long history of support to the community and to American Legion Baseball. The post also provides support to the Veterans’ Hospital in Roseburg, Oregon. Post 11 has an active color guard that renders honors at funerals for veterans, participates in Veterans Day and Memorial Day activities, places flags on veterans’ graves at Crystal Lake Cemetery, and presents the colors at Legion baseball games. The Legion also teaches flag etiquette and provides flags to local schools and scout organizations.
The post annually holds a local oratorical contest for Benton County high school students. The purpose of the American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest is to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students. Other objectives of the contest include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, the rights and privileges of American citizenship.
The American Legion, Post #11 ROTC Scholarship Fund provides an annual award to four ROTC students at Oregon State University; one each for an Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps student. OSU is one of only a small number of universities nation-wide that has all four services represented on campus. The post has awarded these scholarships for many years, but in 2008, Post 11 established an endowment scholarship fund with BCF to ensure these ROTC scholarships would be granted in perpetuity.