Marty Justis, president of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC), reported in his message for the November Ham Radio Club e-newsletter on how staff movement in Indianapolis is moving forward the club’s vision for the future of ham radio within the Legion:
"Bill Sloan, NZ9S – trustee for K9TAL, vice president of TALARC, and longtime staffer in the Internal Affairs Division at National Headquarters – has decided to retire as part of a reorganization at The American Legion. Bill will retire at the end of November.
"Earlier this year, National Headquarters implemented a plan to reorganize and better align job duties with the organization’s priorities. It was done to provide better and more effective service to American Legion departments (states) and posts, and our veterans and their families who depend upon National Headquarters.
"As part of the reorganization, employees were offered an option to retire, take early retirement, or request a voluntary separation package based on years of service.
"Since the start of TALARC in 2011, Bill has been the linchpin in the club’s headquarters operations as well as the “techie” who has maintained K9TAL equipment over the years.
"Trusteeship of K9TAL will be passed along to American Legion national staff member Josh Marshall, KD9DHX. Josh is strongly interested in emergency communications and active with his club in Indiana. He looks forward to working with K9TAL and maintaining, even growing, the activities of TALARC. Bill will remain available, even in his retirement, for the newsletters, station repair and maintenance, and to be a resource for Josh.
"The reorganization also gave us the opportunity to examine the possibility of expanding the scope of TALARC from a local 'board of officers' to a national set of independent American Legion Amateur Radio Clubs. Looking back at the history of TALARC, we were reminded that the formation of a national club was not to be an end in itself. The concept of the club was not necessarily intended to be a long-term function of National Headquarters, but rather a mechanism to create awareness of amateur radio within The American Legion, and to promote among posts and departments an avenue for community service.
"I believe the momentum generated by the start-up of K9TAL has been exceptional over a relatively short span of time. K9TAL has been the spark that has rekindled interest in amateur radio within the Legion. The proof is in the numbers.
"Four years ago, TALARC 'boasted' more than 1,100 members with 13 FCC-licensed clubs among posts of the Legion. Today there are more than 3,500 members and more than 40 post-supported clubs – several with on-site stations – doing the great work of the Legion within the framework of amateur radio. And so, it’s time to transition coordination of the program away from National Headquarters and toward the posts and departments of the Legion.
"Many, if not all, departments are capable of steering amateur radio interest into their disaster preparedness efforts and National Emergency Fund activities without national guidance. If there should be a department that is not structured to handle amateur radio as a program, be mindful that posts can, with the authorization or approval of post leadership, conduct programs that fit the capabilities of their members and the needs of their community. That would include an amateur radio club.
"The TALARC website will remain in place. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org will be managed, again, for the immediate future, as will new member applications that include a membership card and certificate of membership. National Headquarters will continue to publish the TALARC newsletter, and will support the monthly net operations, although some of the current nets may change the schedules they have routinely followed. And we will continue our hugely popular special event activities each year, including the Legion’s birthday in March and Veterans Day each November.
"We are turning to the current TALARC membership to keep the momentum going for amateur radio within the Legion. As amateur radio operators we bring a lot to the table in the way of assistance in times of disaster when, as we like to say, “all else fails. But we also have a great deal to offer – and more often do – when in support of a Legion post and the community it serves.
"There are many things you can do to support The American Legion Amateur Radio Club. Continue with the great work you are doing, establish local networks in your area or region of the country, talk to children in your local schools about being a 'ham,' recruit Legion Family-eligible amateur radio operators for membership in your post and form a club, place yourself at the front of the line to volunteer your personal amateur radio abilities at the local or state level, and submit your success stories to the Legiontown website at www.legiontown.org.
"If you do any of these things, you will keep the momentum growing. For that, on behalf of the Board of Officers of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club, I say thank you."