Legion executive director talks veteran advocacy on podcast

Legion executive director talks veteran advocacy on podcast

Chanin Nuntavong appeared recently on episode 132 of the podcast, Scuttlebutt, to talk about his role as Executive Director of The American Legion’s Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. 

Nuntavong, a Marine Corps veteran, discussed how The American Legion is more than individual posts in the community. He oversees The American Legion Headquarters in D.C., which is responsible for advocacy and policy work. He discusses the challenges in fighting for veterans’ benefits and having to deal with the frustrations of bureaucracy and red tape. 

“My team and I fight for benefits every day,” he said. “I have folks going up the Hill to talk to members and offices every day. I have folks talking to VA and DoD about how we can do things better. And that’s what you get when you join The American Legion,” he said. 

Nuntavong lists some of the bigger priorities for The American Legion, including transition assistance, veteran homelessness, education benefits and military quality of life. He gives an example of how The American Legion helped in 2018 when the government shutdown caused the Coast Guard to not get paid. 

“Back in 2018 when we had the government shutdown, members of the Coast Guard weren’t paid,” he said. “So, The American Legion gave out over $1 million in grants to junior enlisted families. We are still, to this day, fighting to make sure that the Coast Guard gets paid if the government gets shut down,” Nuntavong stated. 

He also talks about the Be the One mission and how easy it is to focus on the negative number of 22 veterans dying by suicide every day. He says that Be the One is about shifting focus to helping one veteran at a time and being that one person for someone else, changing and saving lives, one person at a time. 

He explained, “’22 veterans’ was a big thing for a long time,” he said. “People are always fixated on the negative number. The most important number is one. If we can save one veteran’s life, what a difference that would make.”  

You can listen to this episode of the Scuttlebutt podcast on here: Scuttlebutt Ep 132: Advocating for Veterans with Chanin Nuntavong - Marine Corps Association (mca-marines.org)