By: Leo Shane III
Senior service members would once again be able to share their GI Bill benefits with spouses and children under a provision included in a House panel’s budget bill draft.
The measure was unanimously approved by the House Armed Services Committee during their debate of the annual defense authorization bill on Wednesday. Sponsor Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said the idea is to reverse “a truly lousy decision by the Department of Defense last year.”
The measure still must survive negotiations with the Senate before it becomes law, but supporters said they hope it sends a clear message to Defense Department leaders about their disapproval of the rule change, which blocks troops with more than 16 years of service from transferring their education benefits to a spouse or children.
That move goes into effect on July 12. Military officials in recent weeks have warned affected service members to finish their transfer paperwork before that deadline or lose out on sharing tens of thousands in education benefits with their family.
“This decision … punishes those who have served over a long period of time, maybe got married late or started a family later,” Courtney said. “It cuts them off from being able to get the GI Bill’s really special component of transferability.
“If you talk to service members, it is one of the most popular aspects of the benefit — to have that for their family.”
Service members wounded in combat are exempted from the rule change.
Courtney said reserving the decision would not have a significant financial impact on the federal government but could help with retention and morale.
The post-9/11 GI Bill benefits cover the full cost of in-state tuition plus a monthly living stipend for eligible troops, veterans and family members. Troops must serve six years before they can transfer benefits to a family member.
Officials from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have lobbied for the change in recent months, arguing it unfairly limits benefits promised to service members.
Senate officials have not yet weighed in on the idea.
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Story and Photos by Tim Sproles
It was a beautiful day for a ride, and for The American Legion Riders out of Cicero Post 341 in Cicero, Indiana, it was a good day combat the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A group of more than 100 motorcycles with riders from all over the Hoosier state, traveled to Cicero Saturday to take part in the fourth annual “Battle Ride.”
This annual fundraiser benefits The American Legion program Operation Comfort Warriors, which aims to provide additional comfort items to veterans not normally received while receiving medical treatment.
The program focuses primarily on injured or ill troops with severe injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, the signature wounds of current conflicts.
While the care at many military hospitals and warrior transition units is extraordinary, The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program was created to provide "non essential" - items that help wounded warriors' recovery but don't usually show up as a budget line on government spreadsheets.
Past National Commander of The American Legion, Jim Koutz, said “I think the Riders out here really understand how hard it is to fight an invisible enemy like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They do a great job setting this up each year and these Riders go all-out."
According to the U.S, Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20 percent of all the veterans that come back from Afghanistan and Iraq are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The Battle Ride started at the Cicero Post and made scheduled stops at Fairmount Post 313, Frankton Post 469 and the Lapel American Legion Post 212.
“We traveled about 100 miles and we finished up here at Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis," said Dave Baughman, Director of the Legion Riders Cicero Chapter.
"This is one of the largest Harley-Davidson dealerships in the state and they help support the Battle Ride each year.”
For the owner of Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis, David Dellen, hosting the final stop of the Battle Ride was almost a no-brainer.
“This will be our third year backing up the Battle Ride and we absolutely love it. We look at it as our way of giving back to the brave men and women who put on the uniform and served our country.”
In addition to hosting the closing event, Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis also pledged 5 percent of their sales during the event to OCW.
At the end of the day, the Battle Ride raised over $3,600 for OCW.
“These Rider are so motivated to make a difference” said Koutz.
“They are one of the biggest fundraising groups I have ever seen. I just can’t thank the Cicero Riders enough. They set the bar higher every year and reach it. I just can’t thank them enough for what they do.”
For more information on Operation Comfort Warriors, Click Here.
For more information on The American Legion Riders, Click Here.
Story by Shelby Mullis - The Republic
Army Capt. Jeremy Troutman, center, and Sgt. 1st Class Adam Coakley with Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment of the Indiana Army National Guard talk with residents of Silver Oaks Health Campus before leading them in a work out session in Columbus, Ind., Friday, June 7, 2019. Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Silver military dog tags dangled around the necks of nearly 30 senior citizens who participated in physical training led by five members of the National Guard 2-152 Infantry Battalion at Silver Oaks Health Campus.
Friday morning’s training replaced the residents’ routine exercise completed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as part of Silver Oak’s “Back to Basics” Wellness Week. Over the course of the last week, residents completed an obstacle course, toured the Bakalar Air Museum and visited Camp Atterbury.
Life enrichment director Alesa McQueary said they wanted to do something special to cap off the week, which is why they brought in “the best, most fit” guest exercise leaders around.
“The residents have been so excited for everything we’ve done this week,” McQueary said. “Our population, their patriotism is very important to them. It really is the core of their generation. To have these veterans be in this next phase of life but to connect with our current-day individuals in the service, to go to these places and look at the history of their lives, it’s a big deal.”
Staff Sgt. Evan Johnson led the residents in a 30-minute round of stretches and exercises outside the facility to get their blood circulating. They started with a simple march in place, then evolved into hamstring stretches, toe touches and shoulder rotations.
Johnson, who has served in the National Guard for 14 years, said it’s encouraging to see the residents actively participate in some physical training.
“I enjoy helping these folks because stability at their age is a big deal,” Johnson said. “At this age, slips, trips and falls are a serious issue. If I can strengthen their core, back and legs to help them last longer and prevent issue, it’s great.”
Friday’s training session was a first for the Guard — they had never before done their physical training with a group of seniors at Silver Oaks.
Johnson wasn’t doing a drill sergeant routine with the seniors, instead giving an encouraging “good job,” “that looks great” and calling out to individuals when they were able to participate.
The best wellness tip Johnson said he could give was to face each day with a good attitude, something he saw clearly in 94-year-old World War II veteran Jane Williams.
Williams served in the British Royal Navy as a leading writer (which is human resources work) at just 18 years old, and on Friday morning, said the only thing weighing her down was her age. Williams’ husband served in the U.S. Navy for 30 years, including serving in World War II.
“It’s a miracle that I’m here,” Williams said. “I’m pretty lucky to be able to do these exercises at my old age.”
Silver Oaks residents watch Army Staff Sgt. Evan Johnson, with Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment of the Indiana Army National Guard demonstrate an exercise during a workout session with residents of Silver Oaks Health Campus in Columbus, Ind., Friday, June 7, 2019. Mike Wolanin | The Republic
By David Chrisinger - The New York Times Magazine
Most of the men in the first wave never stood a chance. In the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, thousands of American soldiers crawled down swaying cargo nets and thudded into steel landing craft bound for the Normandy coast. Their senses were soon choked with the smells of wet canvas gear, seawater and acrid clouds of powder from the huge naval guns firing just over their heads. As the landing craft drew close to shore, the deafening roar stopped, quickly replaced by German artillery rounds crashing into the water all around them. The flesh under the men’s sea-soaked uniforms prickled. They waited, like trapped mice, barely daring to breathe.
A blanket of smoke hid the heavily defended bluffs above the strip of sand code-named Omaha Beach. Concentrated in concrete pill boxes, nearly 2,000 German defenders lay in wait. The landing ramps slapped down into the surf, and a catastrophic hail of gunfire erupted from the bluffs. The ensuing slaughter was merciless.
But Allied troops kept landing, wave after wave, and by midday they had crossed the 300 yards of sandy killing ground, scaled the bluffs and overpowered the German defenses. By the end of the day, the beaches had been secured and the heaviest fighting had moved at least a mile inland. In the biggest and most complicated amphibious operation in military history, it wasn’t bombs, artillery or tanks that overwhelmed the Germans; it was men — many of them boys, really — slogging up the beaches and crawling over the corpses of their friends that won the Allies a toehold at the western edge of Europe.
That victory was a decisive leap toward defeating Hitler’s Germany and winning the Second World War. It also changed the way America’s most famous and beloved war correspondent reported what he saw. In June 1944, Ernie Pyle, a 43-year-old journalist from rural Indiana, was as ubiquitous in the everyday lives of millions of Americans as Walter Cronkite would be during the Vietnam War. What Pyle witnessed on the Normandy coast triggered a sort of journalistic conversion for him: Soon his readers — a broad section of the American public — were digesting columns that brought them more of the war’s pain, costs and losses. Before D-Day, Pyle’s dispatches from the front were full of gritty details of the troops’ daily struggles but served up with healthy doses of optimism and a reliable habit of looking away from the more horrifying aspects of war. Pyle was not a propagandist, but his columns seemed to offer the reader an unspoken agreement that they would not have to look too closely at the deaths, blood and corpses that are the reality of battle. Later, Pyle was more stark and honest.
For days after the landing, no one back home in the States had any real sense of what was happening, how the invasion was progressing or how many Americans were being killed.
Nearly impossible to imagine today, there were no photographs flashed instantly to the news media. No more than 30 reporters were allowed to cover the initial assault. The few who landed with the troops were hampered by the danger and chaos of battle, and then by censorship and long delays in wire transmission. The first newspaper articles were all based on military news releases written by officers sitting in London. It wasn’t until Pyle’s first dispatch was published that many Americans started to get a sense of the vast scale and devastating costs of the D-Day invasion, chronicled for them by a reporter who had already won their trust and affection.
Before World War II, Pyle spent five years crisscrossing the United States — and much of the Western Hemisphere — in trains, planes and a Dodge convertible coupe with his wife, Jerry, reporting on the ordinary people he met in his travels. He wrote daily, and his columns, enough to fill volumes, were syndicated for publication in local papers around the country. These weren’t hard-news articles; they were human-interest stories that chronicled Americans during the Great Depression. Pyle told stories about life on the road, little oddities and small, heart-lifting triumphs and the misery that afflicted the drought-stricken Dust Bowl regions of the Great Plains.
Pyle honed a sincere and colloquial style of writing that made readers feel as if they were listening to a good friend share an insight or something he noticed that day. When the United States entered World War II, Pyle took that same technique — familiar, open, attuned to the daily struggles of ordinary people — and applied it to covering battles and bombings. Venturing overseas with American forces in 1942, Pyle reported the war through the eyes of the regular infantrymen on the front lines. He wrote about the food, the weather and the despair of living in slit trenches during the rainy late winter of 1943. He asked the soldiers their names and their hometown addresses, which he routinely included in his articles. Soon millions of readers were following Pyle’s daily column in about 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers across the United States. In May 1944, Pyle was notified that he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his dispatches.
90,000 ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans in line for disability benefits after Justice officials drop appeal
By: Leo Shane III
Troops from the First Cavalry Air Mobile Division watch the carrier USS Boxer after arrival at Qui Nhon, Vietnam, on Sept. 12, 1965. On Tuesday, Department of Justice officials announced they will not appeal a court ruling that will award presumptive disability benefits to thousands of so-called "blue water" Vietnam veterans. (AP file photo)
The Department of Justice will drop its appeal of a federal court decision awarding disability benefits to tens of thousands of veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants while serving in the seas near Vietnam, handing advocates what appears to be a final legal victory.
In a filing with the Supreme Court Tuesday, Justice Department officials said they will not argue for overturning the Procopio vs. Wilkie decision from January which undid years of Veterans Affairs policy denying benefits to about 90,000 “blue water” Navy veterans.
Congressional Budget Office officials had estimated that awarding the benefits to the blue water veterans could total about $1.1 billion over 10 years, but VA officials in the past have estimated the total could rise to more than $5.5 billion.
Justice lawyers had twice asked for deadline extensions to file an appeal, even as VA officials publicly said they believed the lower court decision should stand. Congressional leaders and outside advocates had also argued against an appeal.
In a statement, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., and ranking member Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said they were “encouraged by DOJ’s decision not to appeal Procopio and further delay benefits to our Blue Water Navy veterans.”
At issue is a VA decision in the past to treat the sailors’ disability benefit claims differently from other troops who served in Vietnam.
Under current rules, the blue water veterans can receive medical care for their illnesses through VA. But to receive disability benefits — worth up to several thousand dollars a month — they must prove that their ailments are directly connected to toxic exposure while on duty.
That’s not the case for other Vietnam veterans, who are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other defoliants known to cause serious and rare cancers.
So while a veteran who served on the shoreline could receive disability payouts after contracting Parkinson’s Disease or prostate cancer, another vet who served on a ship a few miles away would have to provide evidence of direct contact with hazardous chemicals.
Advocates have argued that is impossible, given the time that has elapsed since the exposure and the poor toxic exposure monitoring at the time.
In a 9-2 decision in January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed, stating that that Congress never intended to exclude servicemembers in the seas around Vietnam when they awarded presumptive benefits for illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure.
John Wells, retired Navy commander and the executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy (which helped file the Procopio lawsuit), said the Department of Justice decision means their fight is effectively over.
Last month, House lawmakers unanimously passed legislation echoing the court decision in an effort to ensure any future appeal or legal challenge would not overturn the benefits.
Roe and Takano on Tuesday urged their Senate counterparts to pass the measure anyway, noting that it also includes expansion of certain presumptive benefits to troops who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone and to children of herbicide-exposed Thailand veterans born with spina bifida.
But Wells argued that the legislation actually pulled back parts of the court ruling, more narrowly defining the territorial waters where ships had to travel for veterans to be located.
“Now we don’t need the bill at all,” he said.
VA officials had already begun to process some blue water veterans benefits since the January decision, and are expecting that caseload to rise now that the court decision is final.
To view this story on the original source, Click Here.
Ron Wilkins, Lafayette Journal & Courier
WEST LAFAYETTE — One-hundred years ago, veterans of the Great War pledge to help one another in years that followed World War I, and the American Legion was born.
It is a historic moment that carries on through today.
This month, Jill Wable made American Legion history as the West Lafayette post, becoming its first female commander.
Her days as a Legion member date back to 2005, when she was a soldier in the Army Reserves. The American Legion was the one military service organization that helped her when she injured her back in 2007 while getting ready to deploy to Iraq.
Wable was a cog in the Army's mountain of paperwork and trying to get benefits.
“The American Legion — their veterans service officers out of Indianapolis — … those service officers, … they have more claims that they’re able to get processed and get payments than any other veteran service organizations across the country,” she said.
“Because I was able to be helped, I wanted to help others,” she said when asked about her passion for the Legion post she now leads. “It’s the adage of pay it forward.”
As the post's first female commander, Wable realizes she's a trailblazer.
“It is a honor to be the first female commander in here," she said. “It’s the faith of the post seeing that my heart was in the right place. That they felt strongly enough that I would be able to come in here and help move the post forward.”
Wable plans to raise the visibility of the American Legion in the community, as well as expand its patriotic education programs.
“Most people think that it’s a place that you come down to where old folks hang out and drink cheap beer,” she joked. “That’s not the case.”
“One of the things that I look forward to doing is to be able to help — with the other folks in the Legion family — to help educate folks in the community about what the post is able to offer," she said.
The American Legion offers school programs to teach proper flag etiquette or teach about service to the country, she said.
The American Legion helps veterans access benefits or helps veterans who are experiencing a crisis, she said.
And of course, there are the graveside honors for veterans that the Legion provides.
"The hope is to be able this term to be able to start educating the community of how the post can potentially contribute to them personally and over all where we can have a larger impact on our community,” she said.
She also hopes to dispel the misconception that one has to be a veteran to join the American Legion.
Children and grandchildren of veterans may join the Sons of the American Legion, and women whose fathers, grandfathers or husbands served may join the American Legion Auxiliary.
Contact Wable or any American Legion Post to find out how to join and give back to the community and its veterans, she said.
Reach Ron Wilkins at 765-420-5231 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.
To view this article on the original source, Click HERE.
Story and Photos by Tim Sproles
It’s been 30 years since an Indiana Auxiliary member has served as National President of The American Legion Auxiliary, but we could see a Hoosier take the reins very soon.
Vickie Koutz of Boonville Unit 200 has a history of leadership in the Auxiliary.
She is a 45-year member who has served in various positions at her Unit, District and Department levels, culminating in Vickie serving as Department President from 2006-07.
Shortly after Vickie completed her year as Department President, the National organization came calling.
Vickie said, “I received a call asking if I would like to chair the Auxiliary Emergency Fund. I had never dreamed that I would be asked to chair at a National level. It wasn’t an aspiration because I never thought I would have the opportunity, so I immediately said yes.”
Vickie’s eligibility in the Auxiliary is through her husband, Jim Koutz, who also happens to be a Past National Commander of The American Legion (2012-2013). If elected President of the Auxiliary, this would make Jim and Vickie Koutz only the second husband/wife team to hold both offices of the National President and National Commander.
The only other married couple to serve as both National President/Commander is PNP Sharon Conatser (2015-2016) and PNC Martin F. Conatser (2007-2008).
Vickie says that she is not only honored by the opportunity to serve at a National level, but also honored to work with the wonderful woman currently in place.
“Auxiliary National President, Kathy Dungan appointed me as the Children and Youth chairman for her command year and I couldn’t be more grateful. I really appreciate her faith in me to take on this chair and I can’t express in words how much I value her friendship.”
Vickie has said that she is extremely excited for the opportunity to work with fellow candidates.
She said, “I am really enjoying working with Nicole Clapp and Kathy Daudistel. To have the next three candidates for national President working together and staying on the same page is extremely valuable for this organization.”
Nicole Clapp with be National President for the 2019-2020 year with Kathy Serving as National Vice President. When Kathy takes over as President in 2020-2021, Vickie Koutz will serve as her National Vice President and so on.
Vickie is a Paid Up for Life member of Boonville Unit 200. Her resume of service and accomplishments on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary is long and varied. She has served her Unit, the 8th District and the Department of Indiana for the past 45 years. She has held numerous positions on all levels with the ALA as well as serving as Unit, District and Department President. She is currently serving as the American Legion Auxiliary's National Children and Youth Committee Chairman.
For information on how you can help Vickie Koutz on her road to the Auxiliary Presidency though donations and volunteering, contact Lisa Liford at email@example.com.
Story and Photos by Tim Sproles
American Legion Post 1919 in Greenwood, Indiana, operates just like any other American Legion post, but Legionnaires here have made a habit of “thinking outside the box” to set them apart and make the post successful.
For instance, one of the first things you notice about the post is that it operates from inside of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Greenwood Post 5864.
For most, having an American Legion Post inside of a VFW is not something you see every day, but it has become the new normal for these Legionnaires and VFW members. In fact, Post 5864 has grown accustomed to sharing their facility.
“We have multiple organization meet here on a regular basis, said Post 5864 Commander Steve Milbourn. “Within our four walls we host fleet reserve meetings once a month, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is beginning to meet here and the Submariners will be meeting here. Realistically, all of our organizations have many of the same goals, so why not work together and build each other up?”
The story of how Post 1919 came to be and why it is inside of a VFW Post all started from a “small” issue that seems to be causing “big” divides in Legion posts across the nation: whether to allow smoking in the posts.
Many of the members of Post 1919 were previously members of another local American Legion post that allows smoking inside.
Some Legionnaires had voiced plans to transfer to new posts, but then someone asked the question, “Why don’t we start a new smoke-free post in Greenwood?”
“The conversation started between Commander Steve Milbourn and Post Judge Advocate Mike Delaney, who are both are dual members of The American Legion and VFW,” said John “Dave” Everett, commander of Post 1919. “They said we don’t smoke, why don’t we start a new Legion Post here at the VFW? It just took off from there.”
Many say that allowing smoking at an American Legion post could alienate a large portion of the Legion family from taking part in post events.
“There are a number of positive reasons for a post to go smokeless, but I believe one of the most important is for a post to provide a family-friendly environment,” said Ken Pridemore, the American Legion Department of Indiana 7th District Commander.
“A quick Google search of American Legion youth programs will show you the importance our organization places on building up our next generation,” Pridemore said. “To not take full advantage of getting more people into the doors to spread the Legion message just seems like a missed opportunity.”
On April 9, the post held their monthly meeting where it adopted the new Post No. 1919 by officially signing the post charter. The post was originally named Post 586, which was a play on the number of the VFW Post, 5864.
The Post’s number change came as part of the National Commander of The American Legion, Brett P. Reistad’s initiative to create a “Centennial Post” in every department.
“Through their hard work, we can brag that Indiana is one of the few states to actually have a Centennial post,” said Department of Indiana Commander, Rodney Strong. “This group is extremely motivated and I look forward to watching them continue to grow. I can’t tell you how proud I am of these wonderful Legionnaires.”
A quick scan around the room during a Post 1919 meeting shows a mix of both older and younger veterans with various options, but all of these Legionnaires share a common trait. The motivation to make this post a success and work together to achieve it.
The Post actively works to engage both members and potential members through different avenues to reach as many veterans as possible. One of the ways is through the use of Facebook Live to broadcast post meetings.
“I think the social media aspect is being missed by a lot of posts,” CMDR. Everett said. “We all have the ability to get our message directly to our members. You know, schedules get tight especially if you have children—we understand that. That’s why we are using technology to make it as easy as possible to take part in this post. Any of our Legionnaires who missed our meeting can log on to Facebook and catch up on what they missed at any time.”
The post currently has just over 40 members, but Commander Everett is positive that they can grow even bigger.
He said, “As far as area veterans with families, we look at the city of Greenwood as an almost untapped resource. If you bring in the families, the veterans will come too. We know there is a large population of vets—now we just need to make sure that they know we are here and the door is open.”
It is Day two of our 3-Day Department Drive-around, Operation: Convoy to Comradeship, featuring National and Department level leadership and showcasing American Legion Posts around the State of Indiana.
The official party woke up ready to go. We had breakfast in the parking lot for convenience purposes (Hotel wouldn't let us bring our bagels inside. Not that I am bitter or upset).
Our second day was definitely stacked. We traveled to Kokomo Post 6, Gaston Post 387, Bluffton Post 111 and then ended our evening with dinner at Speddway Post 500.
Kokomo Post 6
First up was Kokomo Post 6. This was a very interesting stop of the tour. Kokomo Post 6 is one of the few Legion Posts in the nation to have a fully functioning 18-hole golf course. Yes... I said a golf course. I was able to get the "Hoosier Drone" (the Department of Indiana drone) up in the air to stalk the official party as they toured the grounds in golf carts (video below). After a refill on “Go-Go Juice” (Coffee) it was back on the road to Gaston Post 387.
Gaston Post 387
The second stop of the day was Gaston Post 387. The Post couldn't be in a better spot. Located right in the middle of charming downtown Gaston, Indiana.
The traveling party was treated to a warm recemption followed by a delicious lunch served by Post Auxiliary. Good food and good company made for a great time with the Legion Family here at Gaston. After lunch, it was off to the next stop, Bluffton Post 111.
Bluffton Post 111
We arrived at Bluffton Post 111 and were welcomed to the with a wonderful reception. The Post 111 Honor Guard was "Dress Right, Dress" and looking sharp and a line of 4th District representatives were front and center to greet the official party. This is a very neat Post to visit if you never have. They proudly display both Post and county history throughout the building.
While we were on ground, Bluffton Post 111 was honored for reaching 100% Membership. Post 111 is one of the first in the Hoosier state to receive the Department Membership Ribbon. Next stop, Speedway Post 500. Stay Tuned!!!
Speedway Post 500
Its always extremely cool to drive out to Speedway Post 500 (Conveniently located next door to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). The Legion Family here at 500 is wonderful and welcomed us with open arms. Auxiliary members served up a delicious dinner for the traveling party.
First stop of day three will be the Ernie Pyle Museum in Dana. This just so happens to be CMDR. Strong’s project this year.
Story and Photos by Tim Sproles
Welcome aboard the The American Legion, Department of Indiana Operation Convoy to Comradeship from Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28.
The Mission of this three-day, statewide tour featuring National and Department level leadership is to raise community awareness of The American Legion Mission; to provide an opportunity for National and State level leadership to visit with local Post and District level leaders and volunteers; to celebrate 100 years of American Legion history.
The Department is honored to have National Vice Commander Jim Wallace making the trip with us.
Columbus Post 24
After leaving the Fort Benn Inn, the official parted headed over to the Department Headquarters, where NVC Wallace and wife Linda received a tour of the facilities and received a "battle brief" from Adjutant John Crosby to get the group ready for our first day. From there, it was back into the vans and off to Columbus Post 24. The official party took the one-hour drive like champions, so smiles met smiles as members of the post greeted the official party.
Floyds Knobs Post 42
After the official party left Columbus Post 24, the group headed to the second Post of the day, Floyds Knobs Post 42. It was a full house to greet us. The post welcomed local lawmakers and fist-responders for the visit which featured State Senator Ron Grooms, Shelly Watkins from Congressman Trey Hollingsworth's Office, State Representative Ed Clere and firefighters from Lafayette Township Fire Department.
Bloomington Post 18
Our last Post visit for Day one Bloomington Post 18. The Legion Family of Post 18 set up a very warm welcome with a pathway into the post lined with our Nation’s colors. After the official party spent time enjoying this beautiful Post and grabbing some chow, then it was back to the Fort Ben Inn for some much needed sleep. Back at it in the morning for DAY TWO!!!!
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