Richard J. Gross was born February 17, 1919 in York County. He graduated from East Berlin High School in May 1938. After his graduation he was employed in Hanover and later at the Middletown Air Force Base. At the start of WWII, he tried to enlist in the service twice before he was finally accepted. He was inducted in the Army Air Force in June 1942, at the New Cumberland Induction Center. He was sent to Kessler Field, Miss., for basic training and then to Sioux Falls Radio School and from there to Gunnery School at Harlington, Texas. He left the United States, June 1942 from San Francisco, and was sent to Port Moresby in New Guinea. He was shot down while flying a combat mission over New Guinea. He was acting as the radio operator-gunner on a B-24 Liberator Bomber when his plane was shot down by enemy ground fire. None of the crew survived. On September 8, 1943, he paid the Supreme Sacrifice for his country. The Richard J.Gross VFW Post was named in his honor.
The Richard J. Gross Post 8896 held its first official meeting and was chartered by the Department of Pennsylvania on February 13, 1947. At this meeting, the Town Council gave its permission for the organization to hold their meetings at the East Berlin Fire Hall.
Fundraising projects were started in conjunction with the Home Association due to the plans to erect as new Home. On October 27, 1956 ground-breaking ceremonies were held to build a new Post Home.
Membership has grown from 283 members to 469 in 67 years.
The Post is one of few in our area to have a Memorial Team that is still very active in doing services at their fallen comrades funerals and devoting their time to honor the dead on the four day Memorial Day Weekend.
The Ladies Auxiliary of Post 8896 was instituted at a meeting held in the Post on March 9, 1949. The Auxiliary has been active in many pursuits through the years and continues to perform meritoriously working side by side with the VFW to serve the community, youth and veterans. Membership has grown from 70 members to 495 in 65 years.