The American Legion was established in 1919 and is based upon these principles:
A VETERAN IS A VETERAN
AMERICAN VALUES AND PATRIOTISM
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
ADVANCING THE VISION
HONOR THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US
We are a membership driven and volunteer lead organization of men and women who have served honorably and continue to do so through their activities in the Legion. Our membership consists of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Son's of The American Legion. We have 65,000 member supporters in the great state of Indiana and posts throughout the state that are partners in the community.
As Department Commander, I would like to address House Bill 1076 and Senate Bill 279 currently making their way through the Indiana General Assembly.
Our membership fully supports the addition of the Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard as convening authority for court martial, but our membership is strongly opposed to the other provision in HB 1076 and SB 279.
The removal of the right of an Indiana National Guard member to demand a court martial when presented with an Article 15, nonjudicial punishment, should be removed from these bills. Indiana Legion membership believes just because a National Guard member is serving in Indiana, that they should not lose that right afforded under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of demanding a court martial when presented with an Article 15. They should not be forced to accept the Article 15 and should keep the right to choose to go to court. This is rarely requested because of the severity of a court martial being the equivalent to a felony conviction. I agree with the membership that the removal of this right does not line up with Legion values.
From the American Legion Mission Statement:
"The American Legion is built on a promise from men and women who swore with their lives to defend and protect the United States through military service."
Removing the rights of those that volunteer to protect ours is contrary to those beliefs.
Indiana National Guard volunteers should not lose a right because they are serving in Indiana.
This proposed change would create two sets of rules, one for active duty and a different one for state duty.
Indiana Legion voted to oppose taking away this right of our men and women who choose to serve in and from Indiana.
I, as Indiana American Legion Department Commander, agree with the membership and ask that our Indiana General Assembly amend these bills to strike the language so that the Indiana National Guard continues to follow the UCMJ as it has for over 200 years.
Department of Indiana
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