During the Fall Meetings of The American Legion National Executive Committee in October, FODPAL President Robert Fuelling presented a $200 donation for Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) to National Commander James E. Koutz. The money came from a combination of FODPAL dues, pin sales and personal contributions. Afterward, Fuelling vowed to present another donation at the 95th National Convention in Houston next August, in support of both OCW and the Legion Legacy Fund. All this support is, as always, gladly accepted. But the presentation may have raised a question or two among Legionnaires: What is FODPAL?
A new area of the National Headquarters website is dedicated to answering that question and building awareness of the Legion’s place and influence outside the continental United States. It also offers handy tips and opportunities for Legion family members to share their personal impressions from travels.
FODPAL stands for Foreign and Outlying Departments and Posts of [The] American Legion. It was organized in the early 1950s as a way of connecting members who may make their homes, pursue their careers or continue their service outside the continental United States. It currently boasts more than 15,000 members and more than 250 posts around the world. The “foreign and outlying” Legion departments are Alaska, Hawaii, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. FODPAL posts can be found in Canada, Ireland, Greece, Germany, Costa Rica, Panama and beyond. There is even China Post 1, the only Legion post currently operating in exile (it was chartered in 1920 in Shanghai, but evacuated in 1948 in the midst of the civil war that ended with communist control of mainland China). Although it has no post home in China, it remains active.
Regardless of where they call home, FODPAL Legionnaires are dedicated to promoting the organization’s Four Pillars, goals and programs. Operation Comfort Warriors, for instance, began in 2007 as Operation Landstuhl, centered around Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The nearby Kaiserslautern Post GR01 has long been involved with the hospital and its patients.
The new landing page on www.legion.org includes a special FODPAL calendar, organization information and the latest news from FODPAL departments. All Legion family members are encouraged to submit stories and tips from their travels, learn more about Legion Riders chapters abroad, and “like” FODPAL’s Facebook page for even more news and interaction.