As director of the Selective Service System, Hershey was responsible for the veteran status of many of the Legionnaires he addressed at the 1946 convention. Presenting him with the Distinguished Service Medal, incoming National Commander Paul Griffith recognized Hershey for growing the military during World War II.
"When certain factions attempted to weaken our national defense by demolishing our Selective Service System, you were quick to pick up the gauntlet," Griffith said. "Those parties are still attempting to destroy America's defense during a period of international unrest and political friction. I am confident that they recognize one of their strongest opponents, just as we recognize you as the veterans' staunchest supporter."
Hershey, in turn, praised those who served on local boards during World War II: "Six years ago, you came by the hundreds of thousands to help register 16 million of our manhood ... young men who left school, job and home. Men who left mothers, sweethearts, wives and children to meet the foe. Men who offered their time, their bodies, their lives so that America might be spared the fate of much of the rest of this world."
In 1940, President Roosevelt promoted Hershey to brigadier general and named him an executive officer of the Selective Service. The following year he became director, serving through World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Amid antiwar protests, President Nixon removed him from office in 1970.
An Indiana native, Hershey joined the National Guard in 1911. His unit served at the Mexican border in 1916. After World War I, he moved to the Army and became a captain in 1920. He also taught military science at Ohio State University and, as a active volunteer, earned several prestigious Scouting awards.
Hershey retired in 1973 and died four years later, at 83.
For more on Hershey, click here (http://carl.army.mil/resources/ftlvn/postww.asp#hershey).