OCTOBER 20, 2011 NATIONAL ADJUTANT’S MESSAGE
A tradition for 60 years ... and going New Jersey post has achieved all-time high
in membership for 60 consecutive years.
By Daniel S. Wheeler During the recent Fall National Executive Committee
(NEC) Meetings, Past National Commander Jake Comer told the NEC about an American Legion post in New Jersey that has managed to put together quite an accom- plishment – one now going on 60 years. Stevenson-D’Alessio American Legion Post 12 in
Somerville was chartered in May 1921, at fi rst named for U.S. Army Sgt. John Roland Stevenson, who was killed in action in France in 1918. In the 1940s, the name of Seaman First Class James W. D’Alessio – killed when torpedoes hit the U.S.S. Juneau – was added to the post. Nine years later in 1951, the post had a membership of 121. And over each of the next 60 years, including 2011, the
post has increased its membership. Now at 861 members, the post recently celebrated its accomplishment at an event that also doubled as the post’s 90th birthday party. National Commander Fang Wong attended, making a presentation to the post on behalf of immediate Past National Commander Jimmie L. Foster. Also attending the ceremony was Comer, who has a
personal attachment to Post 12. His wife, American Legion Auxiliary Past National President Elsie Bailey-Comer, is a member of the post’s auxiliary unit. “I think it’s just an amazing accomplishment,” Comer said of the all-time high streak. “It’s a great group of guys in that post, and they do a good job of getting the younger guys into the post. T ey just work at it, and they’ve been working at it for 60 years.. It’s really something.” One of those younger guys, 42-year-old Tommy Keller
Jr., is a U.S. Army Ranger veteran who brought in more than 60 new members in 2010-2011, earning a Gold Brigade award.
AMERICANISM Samsung scholarship winners announced T e American Legion National
Committee on Education recently selected nine students to receive $20,000 each for the 2011 Samsung American Legion Scholarship. An additional 89 students were awarded $1,100 each.
T e nine 2011 Samsung Scholars are:
Alex Jolley - Cedar City, Utah Jessica Ziniel - Iowa City, Iowa Troy Cunio - Titusville, Fla.
Andrew Lawrence - Ponca City, Okla.
John McCallum - Farmerville, La. CUTS from Page 1
“Frankly, I am shocked by the apparent ease with which our veterans advocates have compro- mised on the promises they made to me personally during our recent talks,” Wong added, referencing recent private meetings he had with House Veterans’ Aff airs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller and Senate Veterans’ Aff airs Commit- tee Chairman Patty Murray, both signatories to the letter in question.
Marie Goerger - Wyndmere, N.D.
Lauren Wheeler - Bridgeport, W.Va
Steven Spellmon - Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Summer Stout - Hurricane, Utah T e Samsung American Legion
Scholarship is available to high-school juniors who participate in and complete the Boys State or Girls State programs, and who are direct descendants (or legally adopted children) of wartime veterans eligible for Legion membership. Students who
“Admittedly, a few of the
waste-eliminating propos- als make sense; but from our point of view, hard budget cuts or reductions in – or eliminations of current benefi ts – do not,” Wong said. “T e tepid statement that
‘we should not balance the budget on the backs of veterans’ simply does not square with some of the harsh, cost-cutting mea- sures the House and Senate Veterans’ Aff airs committee leaders suggest.” Legion leaders say they plan to draſt a strong and
qualify for and are interested in the scholarship must submit a completed application to program staff upon their arrival to Boys State or Girls State. Recipients of the scholarship must
use the funds for undergraduate studies (e.g., room and board, tuition and books). Each applicant is selected according to his or her school and community activities, academic record and fi nancial need. On the Web: www.legion.org/scholarships
detailed response to the proposals submitted to the supercommittee. Recently, the Legion’s board of directors warned that proposed fi scal cuts to the Department of Defense and VA would not only hurt the economy, but would also do “irreversible and irrepa- rable harm to the military capability of the U.S. to defend the nation ...” On Oct. 12, the National
Executive Committee unanimously passed an offi cial statement that the Legion “encourages Congress and the adminis-
tration to cease all eff orts to reduce the defense budget from its current level.” At the time, Legion
offi cials indicated that they were extremely concerned about the work of the congressional supercommittee, which is charged with identifying $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in overall federal-defi cit reductions over 10 years. If the bipartisan group does not agree to a plan by Nov. 23, automatic spending cuts will be triggered, including $1 trillion less in defense spending.
FALL MEETINGS “It was a good mix of ages, but he defi nitely brought in a
lot of younger guys,” said Tommy Keller II, the younger Tommy’s father and Post 12’s historian. “I’m really proud of the job he did signing up guys for our post.” But as in any successful, long-term undertaking, it’s a
team eff ort, as Keller II was quick to point out. Legion- naires like Post Commander John Miller and Membership Chairman Albie Wedderman were instrumental in last year’s membership drive. “It’s a huge source of pride for our post,” Keller II said.
“Our guys just work at it, and it takes a lot of work from a lot of diff erent people. It’s a team eff ort. You just need to ask people to join. And we’re already looking to next year. We want to keep this going. We started thinking about this year as soon as we fi nished up last year. T at’s always how we look at it.” It helps to have a reputation within its community like
Post 12 has gained. In addition to providing honor guard ceremonies and hosting an Easter party for children ages 10 and under, the post also allows other service clubs and organizations – such as the Jaycees, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS and Veterans of Foreign Wars – to use its facility free of charge. Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen
honored Post 12 on the fl oor of the House of Representa- tives, praising the post for its service and steady growth. “T ere are many who deserve much praise, who over the
years have guided this post to prominence – especially its 80-plus Membership chairs and past commanders, all of whom have given of themselves to the post.” Frelinghuysen said during his speech. “All have given outstanding service, some have accepted the demanding position of post commander more than once, and all have served with distinction.” T ere’s a tremendous amount of pride, deservedly so,
among Post 12’s Legionnaires. Its current Legionnaires have taken what the previous generations built, and they’ve grown it every year. My cap’s off to them.
Fall Meetings resolutions available online
While gathered in Indianapolis for Fall Meet-
ings earlier this month, the National Executive Committee passed a total of 50 resolutions, spanning Legion programs and positions both internally and externally. T e process of rescinding non-legislative policy
resolutions (some going all the way back to the 1920s) no longer coinciding with the Legion’s mission continued, as divisions and commissions seek to pare down the numbers of resolutions on their books. And numerous resolutions regarding annual Legion awards were presented by the Finance Commission for passage. One of the biggest topics of discussion during
the week was the federal budget, especially as it relates to national defense and military personnel. T is was taken up by the National Security Commission. Resolution No. 1 encourages Washington to keep the defense budget at its current level. T is resolution was accompanied by several addendums solidifying the message. Resolution No. 31 opposes changes to the current military-retirement system that lessen incentives to either enlist or remain in the military. Resolution No. 33 seeks a law to keep benefi t packages agreed upon at enlistment the same, and at the same value, throughout a servicemember’s career. Resolution No. 32, also from the National
Security Commission, arose from National Commander Fang Wong’s recent discussions in Washington about the Legion’s troop-and-family support programs. It calls for the creation of a Family Support Outreach Program that will work with the Department of Defense for greater participation, coordination and public awareness. Other key resolutions, by commission:
Economic Resolution No. 37: supporting regulation of for-profi t schools and state approving agencies. Resolution No. 39: supporting an investigation of hiring practices in the federal government. National Security Resolution No. 30: identify national interests before committing military forces and assets. Resolution No. 41: policy to expand burial benefi ts to all National Guard and reservists who received an honorable discharge, or those whose death occurred during service. On the Web: www.legion.org/resolutions
T is year's guidelines for sending holiday cards and packages to servicemembers deployed or
Holiday mailing standards released
based overseas have been released.
Express Mail Military Service is available at
some military post offi ces. If mailing to an APO/ FPO address, check with your local post offi ce to
determine whether this service is available.
or 60 inches in length and girth combined.
Space-Available Mail refers to packages,
mailed to APO/FPO addresses at parcel post rates, that are transported domestically by surface and overseas by air on a space-available basis. T e maximum weight and size limits are 15 pounds,
and 60 inches in length and girth combined.
Packages may not be mailed in boxes that have
markings related to hazardous materials, such as bleach, alcohol or cleaning fl uids.
Parcel Airliſt Mail is a service that provides air
transportation for parcels on a space-available basis for items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight,
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