A retired U.S. Army and Marine Corps veteran has been elected national commander of the nation's largest veterans organization.
Delegates to The American Legion's 92nd National Convention here chose Jimmie L. Foster of Anchorage, Alaska, to lead the 2.5 million-member organization of wartime veterans for a one-year term.
A native of Delaware, Okla., Foster is a 1972 graduate of Northeastern A&M College in Miami, Okla., with a degree in agriculture education. After working in the textiles and grocery business, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he served at the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif. from 1973 to 1976. Following a short break in service, he reenlisted in the U.S. Army, ultimately retiring with 20 years of military service on Aug. 1, 1994 as the chief legal noncommissioned officer at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Foster's 29 years of American Legion experience include offices and appointments at all levels. He served American Legion Spenard Post #28 as adjutant for many years, as well as other offices, ultimately serving a post commander in 1989-1990. He served on many state -level committees including Americanism, the Citizens Flag Alliance, Economics, Veterans Employment, Internal Affairs, Legislative, Membership & Post Activities, Military Affairs, National Security and Naval Affairs. During his term as membership chairman, the Dept. of Alaska finished number one in the nation for membership. He served as state commander in 1999-2000.
Nationally, he served on the organization's board of directors as National Executive Committeeman from 2002 to 2006 for the Dept. of Alaska as well as the National & Homeland Security Council, Economics, Internal Affairs and Legislative Commissions and, most recently, served as chairman of the National Legislative Commission from 2006-2008.
Foster and his wife Rehta have two sons, Christopher and Michael and five grandchildren who have been active members of The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of The American Legion in Anchorage. Rehta is a past American Legion Auxiliary unit, district and department president in Alaska.
Cmdr. Foster took the oath of office along with five other national officers. Serving as national vice commanders are John M. Mella of Gladwin, Mich.; Eugene R. Pytka of Cumberland, R.I.; Russell J. Henry of Sulphur, La.; Carlos Orria-Medina of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and William F. Schrier of Sedro-Woolley, Wash.
National Historian James Fratolillo of Quincy, Mass.; National Sergeant-at-Arms Ernest L. King, Sr., of Anchorage, Alaska; and National Chaplain Rev. Daniel J. Seehafer of Beaver Dam, Wis., were appointed to their positions by Cmdr. Foster following the close of the national convention.
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