Individual Awards

Gold Brigade Recruiter

A Legionnaire who recruits 50 or more new members (transfers do not count) by the May target date will qualify for enrollment in the elite Gold Brigade of The American Legion.

First time Gold Brigade members receive:

  • Gold Brigade patch
  • Special Gold Brigade cap pin
  • Gold Brigade certificate
  • Designer jacket or Polo shirt or Swater with Gold Brigade logo

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Silver Brigade Recruiter

A Legionnaire who recruits 25-49 new members (transfers do not count) by the May target date will qualify for enrollment in the elite Silver Brigade of The American Legion. A silver pin and certificate will be awarded.

Note: Silver Brigade and Gold Brigade awards cannot both be awarded to a recruiter during the same membership year.

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Department Recruiter of the Year

The top new member recruiter, properly nominated and certified from each department, will be awarded a framed certificate noting his or her accomplishment.

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National Recruiter of the Year

The individual certified with the highest number of new members recruited will be honored as National Recruiter of the Year. The award includes a trip to the national convention: six days and five nights for the Legionnaire and guest, round-trip air transporation, hotel accomodations and reserved seating tickets to the National Commander's Banquet for Distinguished Guests.

Monetary awards will be presented to the next highest 26 individuals:

  • One $1,000 check
  • 10 $150 award checks (third place)
  • 15 $100 award checks (fourth place)

Note: Department adjutants must nominate top recruiters on or before the last day of May.

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Pioneer Award

This award recognizes those directly involved with new post formation. However, recognition and awarding of this citation are the new post's responsibility.

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100% District Commander Pin

This special pin is worn only by those Legionnaires who as district commanders accomplished at least 100 percent of their assigned district membership goals. These commanders may be nominated at any time during the calendar year.

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New Post Development Pin

The New Post Development Pin is available to any individual who assists with the initial start-up of a new post. Volunteers can be nominated at any time throughout the year.

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Post Awards

Post Honor Ribbon

Honor ribbons will be awarded to all posts whose membership, as of December 31, achieves an advance membership (for the year about to begin) equal to or exceeding the final membership for the year then ending.

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All-Time High Post Award - Five or more consecutive years

This award is for posts who have set an all-time high in their membership for the year. After a post has won the award for five consecutive years of all-time membership highs, it may continue to win the award each year thereafter as long as each year's membership sets a new all-time high.

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5 year consecutive application »

Pioneer Award

This award recognizes those directly involved with new post formation. However, recognition and awarding of this citation are the new post's responsibility.

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Post Revitalization Recognition Letter

Individuals who assist in revitalizing a post will receive a recognition letter from the national commander for their hard work. The revitalized post will receive a letter from the national commander welcoming them back into The American Legion.

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District Awards

District Commander Race to the Top

Competition is divided into five categories based on the membership of the district without regard to geographic locations. District commanders will compete in each of the following categories based on final membership year totals and a top district commander for the national award will be selected from each of the five categories. Post ribbons will also be awarded to each top district commander for all posts in those districts. To win, a district commander must have at least 100% membership and the highest percentage of membership over the previous year.

Race to the top categories:

  1. Districts of 15 to 1,499 members
  2. Districts of 1,500 to 2,999 members
  3. Districts of 3,000 to 4,999 members
  4. Districts of 5,000 to 7,499 members
  5. Districts of 7,500 members or more

First place: Winner and guest will be awarded a trip to national convention as a distinguished guest of the national commander, including round-trip airfare, tickets to the National Commander's Banquet and hotel accommodations for six days and five nights. District commanders will also receive Legion caps signifying they are race to the top winners and recognition on stage at the national convention with ribbons for each of the district's posts.

Second place: $500 check.

Third place: $375 check.

District Commander Achievement Award & Honor Ribbon

All district commanders whose May target date membership exceeds the previous year's membership by at least the number of posts in that district will be awarded the District Commander Achievement Award framed certificate. In addition, the district will receive a District Honor Ribbon for its district colors.

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District Commander New Post Achievement Award

District commanders who create new American Legion posts in their respective districts and have the new post's temporary charter application on file at National Headquarters by the May target date will receive a framed certificate.

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Department Awards

General John J. Pershing Honor Award

This plaque is awarded annually to the department with the greatest percentage of posts receiving the Post Honor Ribbon for achieving 100 percent or more of their previous year’s membership enrolled for the coming year by December 31, and having reported the achievement to National Headquarters no later than January 31.

All-Time High Department Award - Five or more consecutive years

All departments that by December 31 have an all-time high in membership for the current membership year (DMS included) that represents five or more consecutive years will receive a special plaque recognizing the number of consecutive years all-time high.

Big Twelve Competition

The Big Twelve standings will be taken from the national roll call made at the Commanders’ and Adjutants’ Conference. Each department must maintain its own respective roll call pledge by having remittance forms and accompanying dues to equal the pledge made, received by National Headquarters during normal business hours The American Legion | National Membership Awards Points Manual 6 on or before the March target date. The department in each category that has pledged the highest percentage and meets this goal will be the winner.

Transmittals in excess of the pledge (at least 90%, not including DMS totals) will not alter the relative standing of the departments; however, defaulting among the Big Twelve by turning in a smaller number than pledged will completely disqualify the department. As departments default, others in the same category will move up. The winner in each category will be reimbursed for computer equipment purchases up to $2,000. Department runners-up in all six categories will be reimbursed for computer equipment purchases of up to $1,000.

The six categories in the Big Twelve Competition are:

  1. Departments of 100,000 or more members
  2. Departments of 65,000 to 99,999 members
  3. Departments of 40,000 to 64,999 members
  4. Departments of 25,000 to 39,999 members
  5. Departments of 10,000 to 24,999 members
  6. Departments of 9,999 or fewer members

Note: All departments winning Big Twelve awards in March must submit legible cash register receipts and request reimbursement from the National Membership Division by September 30 or lose all entitlements.

Henry D. Lindsley Trophy

All membership transmittals used in determining the winner of this plaque must be part of the March 31 turn-in and must be received at National Headquarters during normal business hours on or before March 31. The trophy is awarded to the department that on March 31 has attained the highest percentage of membership over its previous year’s final membership, without counting DMS in either year.

Jerry L. Hedrick Membership Award

A membership plaque for departments other than the 50 state departments and the District of Columbia. The North Carolina Trophy is to be awarded to the department that on March 31 has attained the highest percentage of membership over its previous year’s final membership, without counting DMS in either year.

Department Commander of the Year Award

Any department commander who meets or exceeds the 100 percent goal by the May target date will receive a framed certificate, presented by the national commander at the national convention. This award does not include a trip to the national convention.

Target Date Awards Points Program

The department commander and department membership chairman may earn checks up to $1,000 based on a points system for meeting national target dates and other target areas. Each department must accomplish its goal by the May target date, using traditional methods, to be eligible for awards. An additional $1,000 is awarded to the department for meeting all target dates.

National Convention Housing

Department housing at the national convention will be determined by transmittals received at National Headquarters during normal business hours on or before the May target date.

National Convention Parade Position and Convention Hall Seating

Seating in the national convention hall is determined based on the department’s standing on the Flag Day membership report. DMS-acquired members will not be considered in determining convention hall seating or parade position except as indicated below. National convention parade position is according to the following order of priority:

Foreign departments

In the order established for the domestic departments (see below), followed by:

O. L. Bodenhamer Trophy winner, awarded to the department whose standing is No. 1 on the Flag Day (June 14) membership report, followed by:

Domestic departments (all other)

  • All departments that have achieved an all-time high (DMS included) for the current year by the June 14 membership report. They will be in the order of attainment, followed by:
  • All departments that have achieved an all-time high (DMS included) for the previous year in order of consecutive years of achievement, followed by:
  • All other departments in order of their appearance on the June 14 membership report (DMS not included), followed by:
  • The host department.

O.L. Bodenhamer Trophy Award

This plaque is awarded annually to the department designated to lead the parade at the time of the ensuing national convention, and is limited to the 52 departments within the United States, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. DMS-acquired members will not be considered in determining the Bodenhamer Trophy winner.

Department Commander All-Time High Award

Specially cast all-time-high rings will be awarded to the commander, adjutant and membership chairman of each department attaining a new all-time-high membership (DMS included) for the current membership year by 30 days prior to the national convention. The national commander reserves the right to award a different but similar award to any commander, adjutant or membership chairman who has already received an all-time-high ring.

National Convention Delegate Strength

National Headquarters must receive transmittals for delegate strength during normal business hours on or before 30 days prior to the beginning of National Convention. Delegate strength is determined by total membership, including DMS members, in the hands of the national treasurer 30 days prior to the national convention. Total number of delegates for each department is based on five delegates at large, one delegate for each 1,000 members or major fraction thereof, and the members of the National Executive Committee.

Department Honor Ribbon

Each department equaling or surpassing its previous year’s final membership by opening day of the national convention will receive an honor ribbon for its department colors.

General Henri Gouraud Trophy Award

A plaque is awarded annually to that department in each of the six categories for first exceeding its national membership goal. These department categories will be the same as those used for determining Big Twelve winners, with one winner to be determined in each category.