Durbin And Hare Name Springfield Post Office After John H. Wilson, Jr.

[SPRINGFIELD, IL] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) celebrated today the renaming of the United States Post Office located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois after Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr., the first African-American in Illinois to achieve the rank of Colonel. Durbin and Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) authored the federal legislation naming the Springfield Post Office Building at 2105 East Cook Street in Wilson’s honor. The legislation was signed into law on March 9, 2009.


“Colonel Wilson was a true American hero who served our country during World War II and served my hometown of Springfield for 57 years as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service. Having the post office in Springfield named after Colonel Wilson is a fitting tribute to this distinguished man of service,” said Durbin.


“It is fitting to bestow this honor on a hero like Col. John Wilson,” Hare said. “Whether it was his courage in becoming the first African-American Reservist from Illinois to achieve the rank of Colonel or his longtime work as a member of the U.S. Postal Service in Springfield, Col. Wilson dedicated his entire life to the service of others. Colonel Wilson enlisted in the Army in 1942 and fought bravely during World War II. As a young 1LT he commanded a segregated ammunition unit, the 599th Ordinance Ammo Company, in five battle campaigns in Europe under the 3rd Army’s General George Patton’s advance in France. He was ultimately awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action.


Upon his return home in 1948, Colonel Wilson was assigned to HQ 303rd Ordinance Group in Springfield, Illinois. In 1965 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, the first African American in Illinois to achieve that rank. He retired from the military service in 1973 with 14 years active duty and 17 years Reserve duty.


As a civilian, Colonel Wilson provided outstanding service to his community in Springfield as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service for over half a century, retiring after 57 years on January 3, 2004.