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About Us • About Our Founder • About Us • How to Join

The American Legion is a service organization formed of men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during time of war.

We are dedicated to serving our comrades in distress, the widows and orphans of our fallen comrades, and our communities.

For those of us who live outside the USA, we understand that when we speak of "the community, state, and nation" we mean our host countries as well as the country we served proudly as members of the Armed Forces.

The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.

Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs, educating young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship and fitness. The Heroes to Hometowns program connects local Legionnaires with recovering wounded warriors and their families, providing a variety of support activities. The Legion raises millions of dollars in donations at the local, state and national levels to help veterans and their families and to provide college scholarship opportunities.

The American Legion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grass-roots involvement in the legislation process from local districts to Capitol Hill. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Washington. The Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation's veterans community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership.

The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation and volunteerism. The organization belongs to the people it serves and the communities in which it thrives.

About Our Founder

David Lilley (1925–2010)

David Franklin Lilley, also known as "Escondida Dave" and "Pops", passed away on October 13, 2010 while in the VA Hospital in Seattle, Washington. He was 85 years old and had been living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the last 24 years.

Dave was born on June 1, 1925 on the Penny Slade Plantation in Williamston, North Carolina, to Alexander Franklin and Mollie Coltrain.  He is survived by his wife Bonnie Wilma Hollbrook, his ex-wife and the mother of his three children, Arlene Frances Dearing, his daughters, Donna Marie Armitage, Suzanne Carol Lilley, and his son Michael David Lilley. He had four grandchildren, Brett David Armitage, Michael Scott Armitage, David Michael Lilley and Natalie Arlene Lilley. He also had two  great grandchildren, Kenneth Joseph Armitage and David Scott Armitage.

After his graduation from Williamston, North Carolina High School in 1942, he enlisted in the Navy, for the duration of WWII, where he served for 5 years. Once discharged from the Navy, he immediately enlisted in the Army where he rose to the rank of Command Sergeant Major. Upon his retirement 20 years later, he was one of three that held this rank and status in the Army. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

While in the Army, he was stationed in Germany for 8 years and travelled all over Europe. At one time he was assigned to head a 5 man team of coaches to go to Jordan and set up a complete sports program for the King Hussein and the Jordan Arab Army. He had a love of sports, especially football, basketball and boxing and was a referee, registered in both Europe and the United States, even travelling with the Harlem Globetrotters throughout Germany, France, Belgium and Luxemburg as the "stern" referee.

While in Vietnam, his artillery group was adopted by the town of Gadsden, Alabama, and he was sent to speak at numerous schools and civic functions. Upon his return to Vietnam, his unit, with the funds generated in Gadsden, built a complete refugee village for the aged and helped them start a brick making business.

After his retirement from the Army in 1968, he became the Civilian Youth Director at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, where he organized 15 Little League Baseball team, 6 soccer teams and 5 football teams, with a staff of just one secretary and numerous volunteers.

In 1969, he moved to Westport, Washington, where he married Bonnie Wilma Hollbrook, and became a Charter Boat Captain, owning and operating his own company, along with a motel, bowling alley and restaurant.

In 1978, he moved to Patterson, Louisiana where he worked for a time as a 1st mate on a supply boat in the Gulf of Mexico.  He completed the course needed to obtain his United States Coast Guard License to operate or navigate passenger carrying vessels and went to work for United Gas Pipeline as a Captain on a 142 foot supply and work boat, where he worked for 9 years. The company offered him an early retirement, which he took and moved to Seattle.

His love of boats and the ocean propelled him to buy a 36 foot sailboat with his son Michael and they began their year- long journey down the west coast that eventually landed them in Banderas Bay, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Dave fell in love with Puerto Vallarta and made it his home for the last 24 years.

After chartering the sailboat for a while, he bought a little cantina and turned it into La Escondida Sports Bar which he ran for 5 years before selling it to his daughter Suzanne. He also worked for Jorge Zambrano at Andales and Mike Pohl at the Frankfurter, volunteering his services for whatever was needed.

He was a member of the VFW, Elks, Eagles and American Legion. He supported local charities and was actively involved in New Life Mexico Street Boys Program.

The American Legion Post 14 had a memorial service for Dave on November 11, 2010, hosted by Steve's Bar at 12:00pm. There was a donation box for New Life Mexico Street Boys Program set up for those that choose to donate in Dave's memory.

Dave was well loved, admired and most of all, respected, by all of the friends whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed by his friends and family.

His ashes were spread in the Bay of Banderas from the sailboat that brought him to the Puerto Vallarta that he so loved.  He always signed his correspondence "Dave in Paradise" and now it will be his final resting place.

About the American Legion Post 14

Dennis A. Rike, USN: Born in Oakland California and lived adult life in New Jersey. Served from 1960 to 1963 on USS Bryce Canyon AD-36 and USS Rochester CA-124 before receiving an Honorable discharge. Dennis is a full time Puerto Vallarta resident 10 years, married to Dinia Hernandez and has a 16 year old son Kenneth (date 8-2013). Email address:

1st Vice-Commander:
Norm Deveraux, ARMY: Born in Utah. Norm served in the Army from 1967 to 1970, two years of which were spent in Vietnam. Norm is a full time resident of Puerto Vallarta. Email address:

2nd Vice-Commander:
Dave Rathje, Army

Russ Mills was born in Marin County, California, and served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968, receiving an honorable discharge.  He retired and moved to Puerto Vallarta in 1994, and is a full-time resident.  E-Mail addresses: and

Service Officer:
Cheryl Kehler, Born in Madison, Wisconsin.Joined the Army in December 1985. Was honorably discharged from active service in February,1992 into the active Reserves. Was honorably discharged from the reserves in December, 1999. Married to Larry Kehler and am a full time resident of Puerto Vallarta. I have one daughter and one grandchild.

Finance Officer:
Clark "Ed" GriffenUSA  Driver Armored Tank 1961 - 1964.

Jim Mawdesley

Judge Advocate:
 Fred Crowely, USMC.

Sergeant at Arms:
Jim Brockway

David Puckett, USAF: David was born in Camden, NJ and joined the Air Force in 1982 and was honorably discharged in 1991.

Join us!

How to Join Banderas Bay American Legion Post 14

Benefits of Membership:

There are many benefits associated with joining the American Legion. Many American companies provide significant discounts to members:

  • Discounts and Benefits
  • Health Benefits
  • Travel Discounts
  • Other Discounts

Membership Eligibility Requirements:

In order to be eligible for membership into the American Legion, you must have served any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces during any of the dates listed below.

  • World War I: April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
  • World War II: December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
  • Korean War: June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War: February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975
  • Lebanon/Grenada: August 24, 1982 to July 31, 1984
  • Operation Desert Shield/Storm: December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990
  • Desert Storm cont: August 2, 1990 to present

Renewing Your Membership Online

It's fast and easy to renew your American Legion membership online. Meanwhile, it's slow and difficult for the local post here in Puerto Vallarta to process your membership when paid here at the post with a check or cash.

So help us eliminate the paperwork and response time by renewing at the American Legion website.Go to the Renew Membership page, sign in with your membership number and last name, and then follow the payment instructions.

Last updated: November 13, 2021 · Charity ID: 130

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