National Commander Jimmie Foster and Auxiliary President Carlene Ashworth recently finished up the National Commander's Troop Support and Friendship Tour of the Far East - a trip where both Legion officials represented The American Legion Family in travels through Korea, Taiwan, Guam and Hawaii. The tour is an initiative of the Legion's National Security/Foreign Relations Division, coordinated by Joseph Grassi, deputy director of the division, and Freddy Gessner, assistant director.
One of the main focuses of Foster's travel is to personally encourage and express thanks to the men and women of the U.S. military in each region for their patriotic service to the nation on behalf of The American Legion.
"Other important aspects of the trip," Grassi said, "are to gain a better understanding of regional security issues in Asian/Pacific region and meet with officials of the U.S. and host country governments to communicate the viewpoints of The American Legion."
Last week, Minister Tseng Jing-ling of the Veterans Affairs Commission in Taiwan welcomed Foster and Ashworth. Jing-ling presented them with medals of appreciation for The American Legion's long-term support of Taiwan and the Republic of China.
In regards to Hawaii, Gessner added, "The visit to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) located at Hickam Air Force Base near Honolulu is an integral part of The American Legion's POW/MIA agenda. The National Commander's visit to the JPAC headquarters allows The American Legion to have a first-hand look and a steady presence in this unique facility. These visits also serve as opportunities to interact with JPAC personnel, receive updates on international recovery operations and to observe the latest developments in the POW/MIA identification processes."
Before returning home, Commander Foster and President Ashworth will participate in the official observances and ceremonies at the USS Arizona Memorial on Pearl Harbor Day, honoring those servicemembers who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice on Dec. 7, 1941.