In addition to the national commander and vice commanders, six national constitutional officers are appointed annually by vote of the National Executive Committee. They are the adjutant, treasurer, judge advocate, historian, chaplain and sergeant-at-arms. Officers elected by the national convention take office upon adjournment and serve until the end of the next convention.
Responsibilities of national officers:
Daniel S. Wheeler, National Adjutant
The administrative head of the organization, the adjutant oversees National Headquarters and all other national offices. He is charged in the Legion by-laws with administering the policies and mandates of the national convention and the National Executive Committee.
Daniel S. Wheeler is the national adjutant of The American Legion, a post he has held since October 2008. Prior to becoming national adjutant, he served as executive director of National Headquarters in Indianapolis (1995-2008). He joined the National Headquarters staff in 1979, during which time he served as The American Legion Magazine assistant editor (1979-1980), managing editor (1980-1981), assistant publisher/editor (1981-1985), publisher/editor in chief (1985-1995) and (2001-2007).
From 1994-2009, Wheeler also served as president of the Citizens Flag Alliance, devoting significant time to managing and administering this not-for-profit, nonpartisan coalition of civic, fraternal, veteran, business and labor organizations. The Citizens Flag Alliance's goal is to pass a constitutional amendment returning to Congress the power to protect the U.S. flag from intentional acts of physical desecration.
Wheeler was a U.S. Navy sonarman and journalist during the Vietnam War. His previous professional positions include staff writer for the U.S. Navy magazine All Hands; editor of the Navy Editorial Service; and staff member of Direction magazine.
Wheeler, a native of Richmond, Va., lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Kathy. He is a past president of the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis, and a member of American Legion Post 137 in Virginia, the Indianapolis Rotary Club, and Mensa.
George A. Buskirk, National Treasurer
The treasurer is custodian of the Legion's funding. Duties include signing checks, making financial reports and performing other duties appropriate to the office.
George A. Buskirk Jr. was appointed national treasurer of The American Legion on Sept. 10, 1998, during the 80th National Convention in New Orleans.
Buskirk, a major general in the National Guard, currently serves as legal counsel to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and served as adjutant general of the State of Indiana under Governor Frank O'Bannon from 2001-2004. He is a member of The Historic Ft. Benjamin Harrison Post 510 in Indianapolis. Buskirk, who joined the Guard in 1977, served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps during the Vietnam War. He is a retired senior vice president and trust officer for Union Federal Savings Bank, and past president of the Indiana War Memorial Commission.
An Indianapolis native who resides in Zionsville, Ind., Buskirk holds a bachelor's degree in business from Butler University and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Indiana University Law School. He and his wife, Maureen, have three children.
Kevin J. Bartlett, National Judge Advocate
Father Philip G. Salois, National Chaplain
Father Philip G. Salois was appointed national chaplain of The American Legion on Aug. 30, 2018, at the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis. Salois is a U.S. Army veteran, serving in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He continued to serve in the Army reserve and retired as a captain in 2003. Salois was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1984, and served as the chaplain for The American Legion Department of Massachusetts for 30 years and retired as the chief chaplain of the VA Boston Healthcare System.
He lives in North Smithfield, R.I., and is a member of American Legion Post 20 in Attleboro, Mass. He also serves at the national chaplain of Vietnam Veterans of America and is a founder of the National Conference of Vietnam Veterans Ministers.
The chaplain performs spiritual nonsectarian services as may be necessary, adhering to ceremonial rituals as approved by the Legion. The chaplain oversees memorial services at each national convention, opens and closes national meetings with appropriate prayers, and frequently gives guidance and leadership to the religious-emphasis program of the Americanism Commission.
Fred Doten, National Historian
Fred Doten was appointed national historian of The American Legion on Aug. 30, 2018, at the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis. Doten has been an American Legion Paid Up For Life member since 1963, and is a member of Richard Springston Post 60 in Laughlin, Nev., where he serves as the post historian and the director of its Legion Riders chapter.
Doten joined the U.S. Army after high school. While in service, he was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, where he earned a bachelor of science in military art and was commissioned into the infantry. Upon completing his compulsory obligation, Doten went into Army aviation flying both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. He was accepted into the U.S. Naval Experimental Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and after graduating, served as an experimental test pilot for the Army at Edwards AFB, Calif. Doten retired from the Army while stationed at Edwards. He received a Ranger tab, commanded an Airborne Infantry Company, served as the Assistant G-3 for the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and served as a battalion advisor in Vietnam.
Willie D. Ransom, National Sergeant-at-Arms
The sergeant-at-arms preserves the order at national meetings and performs such other duties as may be assigned by the National Executive Committee or national officers.
Willie D Ransom was appointed national sergeant-at-arms of The American Legion on Aug. 30, 2018, at the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis.
A Vietnam-era veteran, he retired from the U.S. Army as a master sergeant. Willie is a member of Maj. Charles A. Ransom American Legion Post 186 in Midlothian, Va. The post was named in honor of Willie's son, U.S. Air Force Maj. Charles A. Ransom, who was killed in action on April 27, 2011, while serving in Kabul, Afghanistan. Willie is a past department commander of Virginia and has also served as the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation chairman for the department.