American Legion National Commander responds to Washington Times article

Posted on October 23rd, 2014

American Legion National Commander Mike Helm sent the following letter to the Washington Times in response to its article, “Younger veterans bypass VFW, American Legion for service, fitness groups.”

To the Editor:

In reference to “Younger Veterans Bypass VFW, American Legion for Service, Fitness Groups,” I have to wonder why the growing footprint of American Legion posts on college campuses throughout the country – chartered and operated by the newest generation of war veterans – was not mentioned.

These Legion posts are emerging because they do so much to help student veterans and their families; one such post even helped to change a state law to make tuition rates more fair to those who have served our nation in uniform.

The article failed to mention American Legion National Emergency Fund collaborations with Team Rubicon at several disaster sites over the years. The Legion is working with several post-9/11 veterans groups right now, providing leadership on advisory councils in southern California to better connect veterans with services available to them.

The American Legion is, indeed, a service-oriented organization; last year alone, it hosted or sponsored more than 1,000 veteran job fairs nationwide. American Legion service officers are now working on the VA claims of more than 700,000 veterans of all ages, and fighting to protect VA benefits every day in Washington. Over the last four months, the Legion conducted a dozen Veterans Crisis Command Centers across the nation, in the aftermath of an all-out meltdown of trust between veterans and VA (which is only now beginning to heal, thanks to changes demanded by The American Legion).

At these crisis centers, The American Legion provided face-to-face, firsthand assistance to more than 3,000 veterans and their families along with nearly $1 million in retroactive compensation that had been delayed, thus denied, to veterans and their families of several wartime eras. These centers will continue to operate into 2015 because they are effective and relevant to veterans, particularly those leaving the service and coming home from war today and in months to come (about 1.5 million).

Much was missing in this disingenuous portrayal of The American Legion and VFW.

I can tell you what would be missing from the fabric of our nation if not for The American Legion and VFW. Missing would be the Department of Veterans Affairs, the GI Bill, livable wages for military personnel, recognition that veterans were poisoned by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and relevant education benefits built to serve the 21st-century student veteran.

Missing would be national and government awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder. Missing would be millions of community volunteers who save VA tens of millions of dollars in staffing, and raise millions of dollars in donations for veterans health-care facilities. Missing would be tens of thousands of youth programs, from baseball to Junior ROTC, from Boys State to scholarships for the children of service members who have given their lives for our country since 9/11.

In order to collect such information, the reporter of this piece should have investigated beyond interviews with a handful of veterans who did not have a positive experience at one American Legion post or another (from nearly 13,800 throughout the world), but that would have taken a willingness to tell the story fairly and accurately.

Michael Helm, National Commander

The American Legion

– See more at: http://www.legion.org/commander/224883/legion-commander-responds-washington-times-article#sthash.2twHiOYY.dpuf



Junior Air Rifle National Championship will begin on November 1, 2014!

Posted on October 21st, 2014

The American Legion National Headquarters is proud to announce that its Annual 3-Position Junior Air Rifle National Championship will begin with a
Postal Match on November 1, 2014!
What is a Postal Match?

“A Postal Match is a match in which competitor’s fire on their home ranges using targets which have been mailed to them by the American Legion National
Headquarters. The fired targets are then mailed back to the American Legion National Headquarters for scoring and ranking and awards”.

State and/or regional champions are determined and advance to a qualification round (also a postal match) to determine the athletes who will earn an expense-paid trip to compete in the national championship.

The American Legion’s Junior 3-Position Air Rifle Tournament provides American Legion Affiliated competitors an opportunity to test their marksmanship ability in competition with other junior competitors throughout the nation.

The Individual Tournament has three phases of competition:
1) Preliminary Round – State/Regional Championships; 2) Qualification Round; and 3) National Championships (Colorado Springs, CO).

The Preliminary Round – State/Regional and Qualification Round of the Individual Tournament are postal matches whereas the National Championship
of the Individual Tournament is a shoulder-to-shoulder competition.

The Team Tournament has two phases of competition: 1) Preliminary Round – State/Regional Championships and 2) National Championships. The preliminary round team tournament is a “paper” match and will be comprised of the top four athletes’ individual tournament scores. A club with at least four
individuals enters one team; at least eight individuals enters two teams; and so on.

The Preliminary Round – State/Regional and National Championship phases of the Team Tournament are postal matches.

Both the Individual and Team Tournaments will be conducted in accordance with the Official Match Program (OMP) and the National Standard Three-Position Air Rifle Rules (current edition).

To join simply copy and paste http://www.legion.org/shooting/postal_match into your browser and download the Affiliation Form, register, order Target
Sets and view the 2014-2015 Official Match Program!

For more information on this and other American Legion National Headquarters Youth Programs please visit us at http://www.legion.org/programs .



Legion to Obama: Pick Up the Phone and Call Mexico

Posted on October 2nd, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (October 3, 2014) — American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm called on President Obama to implore Mexican authorities to immediately release Marine Corps veteran Andrew Tahmooressi.

“President Obama released five hardened terrorists from Guantanamo to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Berghdahl,” Helm said. “Now we have a Marine hero, suffering from PTSD incurred from service in Afghanistan, who is being denied treatment for that PTSD because he mistakenly made a wrong turn south of our border. The United States provided $265 million in foreign aide to Mexico last year. It’s time for the president to call Mexican President Pena Nieto and demand an immediate release. This has gone on far too long.”

Although Helm said he is optimistic that Tahmooressi will be released soon, he called on American Legion members to contact the White House and members of Congress and urge national leaders to “pressure Mexico to do the right thing.”

With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation. -30-

Media contact:  John Raughter, (317) 630-1350 / (317) 441-8847; Marty Callaghan, (202)263-5758/ (202) 341-8900. A high resolution photo of the National Commander is available at www.legion.org.



State Commanders Homecoming

Posted on September 24th, 2014

Information and the registration form for State Commander Lynn Sparks Homecoming on November 22, 2014 can be found under the Commanders Homecoming Tab.



2014 Legion College Class Selected

Posted on September 23rd, 2014

Cheryl William of Beaumont Post 817 has been selected to attend the 2014 National Legion College in Indianapolis, IN. The week long course will begin Oct 26 and end on Oct 31st. Cheryl currently serves as Department Chaplain, she also serves as Adjutant and Boys State Chairman at the District and Post levels.

Department Adjutant Bill West has been selected as a facilitator for this year Legion College. Bill is a graduate of the 2001 Legion College class and has been a Department Adjutant since 1998 and has been employed with the Department of Texas since June 2006.



Renew your membership online

Posted on September 16th, 2014

Your annual dues help support the programs of The American Legion in your community, state and nation. American Legion programs and service include: Troop Support, Child Welfare Foundation, American Legion Baseball, our Department Service Officers, Family Support Network, Veterans Job Fairs and many other programs.

To renew your dues, simply click on the “Renew Your Membership Online” button at the right top of this website. You can also set up your dues to be automatically paid each year while you are on the renewal site.

Thank you for your continued support of The American Legion and ensuring that we remain the most powerful voice in American on behalf of our veterans, our servicemembers, their families and in communities across the nation.



National Commanders Membership Pin Award

Posted on September 1st, 2014

During the 2014-2015 membership year, National Commander Mike Helm will award his National Commander pin to any American Legion Family member who obtains three new members into The American Legion.

A new member is defined as any eligible person joining for the 2015 membership year who was not a member of The American Legion during the 2014 membership year. Follow the link for more details and for certification forms: http://www.legion.org/commander/pin



National Commanders “Legion Family” Membership Award

Posted on August 31st, 2014

During the 2014-2015 membership year, National Commander Mike Helm will award his National Commander Honor Ribbon to any American Legion Family that achieves 100 percent membership by June 30, 2015. For this award, the Legion Family is defined as a post and any combination of an Auxiliary unit, Sons squadron or Legion Riders chapter. Each branch must achieve 100 percent to qualify for the award.
Commander Helm’s Honor Ribbon incentive program will end June 30, 2015, or when supplies are exhausted.
For certification forms, go to http://www.legion.org/commander/ribbon



Online Enrollment is Now Available for LIT No Cost AD&D

Posted on August 4th, 2014

The Legionnaire Insurance Trust is pleased to announce that online enrollment is now available for the LegionCare No Cost Accidental Death benefit. Please be sure to let your Department know about this one-of-a-kind benefit offered exclusively to Legionnaires.

LegionCare provides all Legionnaires with:

  • $5,000 in Accidental Death Coverage for covered accidents that occur if you are traveling on official Legion business.
  • $1,000 for all other covered accidents.
  • 24/7 protection that covers Legionnaires at home, at work and while they are travelling away from home available for all Legionnaires in your Department.

To learn more or to sign up, please visit http://www.thelit.com/no-cost-legioncare.

 



Post/Squadron Commander & Adjutant Report

Posted on April 27th, 2014

The New Post/Squadron Commander & Adjutant Report form from National has been sent out to all Posts, please fill out and return the two copies to Department Headquarters. This form should be submitted with your Post Office Certification Form.