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THE AMERICAN LEGION

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Legion News

Veterans outeach effort headed to Delaware

American Legion national staff is teaming up with Department of Delaware Legionnaires for a district revitalization and veterans outreach effort Oct. 26-27 in the Harrington, Del., area.

Veterans from Kent and Sussex counties are invited to attend the effort, which will take place at Callaway-Kemp-Raughley-Tee Post 7, 17448 South Dupont Highway, Harrington.

The hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 26 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 27. A veterans service officer will be available both days to assist with Department of Veterans Affairs-related questions and other veterans benefits issues.

Membership effort set for Oklahoma

American Legion national staff is teaming up with Department of Oklahoma Legionnaires for a district revitalization and veterans outreach effort Oct. 25-26 in the Yukon, Okla., area.

Veterans from Caddo, Blaine, Canadian, Kingfisher, Comanche, Cotton, Grady Jefferson and Stephens counties are invited to attend the effort, which will take place at Yukon Inc. Post 160, 1010 W. Main St., Yukon.

The hours are 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; a veterans service officer will be available both days to assist with Department of Veterans Affairs-related questions and other veterans benefits issues.

California post ham club to participate in state preparedness drill

Tom McLean, Area 5 commissioner for the California American Legion Amateur Radio Service (CALARS) and a member of Owen Coffman Post 519 in Palm Springs, Calif., reports on the participation of Post 519’s ham club in a disaster-preparedness drill on Oct. 18:

At 10:18 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2018, millions of Californians will “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in the Great California ShakeOut (GSO), the state’s largest earthquake drill ever. All volunteer radio groups are encouraged to participate.

Major earthquakes may happen anywhere you live, work or travel. The ShakeOut is our chance to practice how to protect ourselves, and for everyone to become prepared. The goal is to prevent a major earthquake from becoming a catastrophe for you, your organization and your community. The American Legion Post 519 Amateur Radio Club (K6TAL) will again be operating a special event station as an Emergency Operation Center for the Great California ShakeOut. We will be testing our radio equipment, receiving incoming calls from amateur operators in the field. This is a drill simulating damage during an earthquake. The public and veterans are encouraged to join in and participate. About 60 percent of Americans are not prepared for a catastrophic event such as an earthquake, as reported by DHS and FEMA.

Please check in to the GSO Net on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m. from K6TAL on the following frequencies:

10:18-10:45 a.m.: 2-meters, 146.760MHz (-) (107.2) (San Jay)

10:45-10:50 a.m.: 70 cm, 445.860MHz (-) (107.2) WB6RLC

10:50-11:00 a.m.: 1.25 Meters 224.480MHz (-) (110.9) RATS 220

11:00-11:10 a.m.: Simplex 145.450

11:10- 11:18 a.m.: HF 7.278MHz

Note: The HF frequency will be receiving calls from 9:30 a.m. until the net shuts down.

Please show your support for this important event! The net will officially begin at 10:18 a.m. and will last approximately one hour. You may check in anytime during that hour. Also, someone will be on frequency at 9:30 a.m. for early check-ins. Normal operations will be in effect, but participants should be allowed to break in to check into the net, and transmissions should be kept short between 10:18 and 11:18.

To read more about the Great ShakeOut, visit www.shakeout.org/california.

Reistad remarks to NEC to stream live

American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad will kick off the Fall Meetings – at National Headquarters in Indianapolis – on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with remarks to the National Executive Committee. The remarks, scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m. Eastern time, will be streamed live, free of charge, through www.legion.org and www.facebook.com/americanlegionhq.

After the live stream, the comments – as well as past livestreamed events, from the Oratorical finals to national convention sessions – will be available for playback at www.legion.org/legiontv.

Kansas salutes its favorite son Eisenhower

About 200 American Legion Family members, military supporters and other guests honored Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower during the 37th annual Eisenhower Pilgrimage Oct. 13 in the general’s hometown of Abilene, Kan.

“I feel honored to be doing this,” said event organizer John Meyeres, a member of American Legion Post 392 in Bazine, Kan. “He was quite a statesman. Considering he grew up in Abilene, it means a lot to all of us. He is one of the most important presidents we’ve had.”

The Department of Kansas American Legion holds the pilgrimage each year at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum on the Saturday closest to Eisenhower’s birthday, which was Oct. 14. At the hour-long ceremony other departments were represented including Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri.

“It’s getting bigger and better every year,” said Meyeres, who has led the program since 2010. “It’s improving every year. Our attendance gets larger every year. I don’t know whether it’s word of mouth or what. Once they see it the first time, they want to come back.

More than 150 wreaths and individual flowers were laid one by one at the base of an Eisenhower statue that is the focal point of the sprawling campus. It includes the presidential library, museum, visitors center, his boyhood home and a chapel called “The Place of Meditation,” his final resting place.

Jeremy Ehart, commander of District 7 and Hutchinson Post 68, laid a wreath on behalf of the district. “It’s pretty special,” said Ehart, a native Kansan who visited the presidential museum and library during school field trips. “It gives you a different perspective when you are a little older and can appreciate it more.”

Navy Capt. Mark Oberley, a native of Kansas, served as the guest speaker.

“Even though I haven’t lived in Kansas in a long time I am still proud of my upbringing,” said Oberley, who grew up in the small town of Ness City (population: 1,449). “President Eisenhower was kind of the same way when he left; he only came back to visit. As a proud Kansan, I like the tie to Eisenhower. Everyone from Kansas who serves looks to him as a role model about what service means. I’m honored by that.”

Eisenhower is known for his leadership in the European Theater during World War II, as well as his two terms as U.S. president. As the nation’s 34th president his accomplishments included creating the interstate highway system, signing the historic Civil Rights Act and establishing NASA.

“It’s great to honor President Eisenhower’s memory,” Oberley said. “He did a lot of great things, leading us through World War II, president of Columbia University and eventually president of the United States. He did a lot of things to bring the country together. We give him a lot of credit today for what he did and I think rightly so. And that’s why we come here to honor him.”

As a youth, Oberley was an American Legion Boys State participant and played Legion Baseball. “I’d like to thank The American Legion community for the positive influence on my life.”

Chuck Shoemaker, department vice commander, was among those who laid a wreath at Eisenhower’s tomb. Shoemaker said his father served in World War II as a commander in the 6th Armored Division and his mother was a Red Cross nurse in England and France.

“Whenever Dad spoke of his experience — when he was asked — his praise for Gen. Eisenhower was unabashed,” Shoemaker recalled. “To be part of the tribute occurring today holds a very special meaning for me.”

Dawn Hammatt also found special meaning via a family member’s service.

As director of the presidential library, Hammatt thanked the Department of Kansas for its support of Eisenhower’s legacy.

“It is really an honor to be part of this weekend,” she said. “Thank you so much for making the journey each year to honor the favorite son of Kansas. Your presence here shows an admiration we still hold for Dwight. We’re very proud here. We’re very militaristic here, in a good way. For the dedication to duty, honor and country by all those who served — including my son right now — and their family members, we sincerely thank you.”

Like many who call Kansas home, Meyeres is proud of the connection to Eisenhower.

“Kansas is a very patriotic state,” he said. “We’re going to honor him in the very best way we can. Honor him, his legacy, everything about him for what he did for Kansas, for the United States and for the world.”

Waiting for word after Hurricane Michael

Two days after Hurricane Michael’s devastating landfall in Florida, the Department of Florida was still waiting to hear from posts in the storm’s path.

Department of Florida Assistant Adjutant Bruce Comer said there had been no word from District 1 regarding damage to Legion posts there. District 1 includes Mexico Beach and Panama City, two of the hardest-hit areas of the storm.

Comer and other department officials are concerned not only because there are four Legion posts in the immediate vicinity of Panama City and Mexico Beach, but because of what they’ve seen of the destruction Michael left behind.

The department is also waiting on updates from District 2, which includes Tallahassee and was also hit by the storm. Comer said that a collection point for donated supplies is being set up at the Lowe’s store at 5500 Commonwealth in Tallahassee.

At least one Legion post, Post 375 in Southport, Fla., just north of Panama City, sustained major damage. Pictures shared on social media show the post’s roof and at least two walls down after Wednesday’s storm.

The Department of Florida’s website includes links to donate to hurricane relief and how to apply for assistance through the National Emergency Fund, at https://www.floridalegion.org/hurricane-relief/.

In Georgia, Legion Family members in District 12 were looking for resources for disabled residents with medical problems requiring electricity. Some 300,000 had been without power in Michael’s immediate wake, but that number was down to about 72,000 on Friday afternoon.

Alabama, Virginia, and North and South Carolina were also impacted by the storm, with flooding and tornadoes. The death toll from the storm had reached 13 by Friday afternoon — five in Virginia, four in Florida, three in North Carolina and one in Georgia.

NEF funds are available for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members who have been impacted by the hurricane, as well as Legion posts. NEF provides up to $3,000 for Legion and SAL members with an active membership, and up to $10,000 for posts that have been damaged by a natural disaster.

For individual NEF grants submitted for Hurricane Michael, applicants:

• Must have been displaced from their primary residence which sustained damages from the hurricane and/or flooding.

• Should have receipts for out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., temporary housing, food while displaced, and other essentials to survive during the displaced period). The intent of the NEF grant is not to replace household goods or the living facilities, as these are insurance items. The grant is to be used to offset expenses needed in order to survive during the disaster period.

• Should have photos of damaged home, as well as hotel, gas and food receipts, or testimony from post, district or department officers attesting to damages or extraordinary circumstances.

For American Legion post NEF grants, posts must state why they will cease to perform their duties and activities in the community due to losses sustained. Legion posts that served as community service centers during the disaster may also be eligible for a grant to offset their costs in providing food and other services to members of their community during these disasters.

To apply for an NEF grant, please visit www.legion.org/emergency.

Since Jan. 1, 2018, the NEF has provided more than $166,000 in grants. These grants are made possible by donations to the fund. To donate, visit www.legion.org/donate.

Additionally, The American Legion's Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program is available to help meet the basic needs of minor children of eligible veterans. These needs include shelter, food, utilities, clothing and health expenses. TFA grants are available to children (17 years or younger) of active-duty servicemembers or American Legion members. No child can be considered eligible until a complete investigation is conducted at the post or department level, a legitimate family need is determined, and all other available assistance resources have been utilized or exhausted.

To apply for a TFA grant, contact your local American Legion post or department (state) headquarters. For post/department contact information, click here.

How to help, and how to get help, in Hurricane Michael's aftermath

One of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the continental United States, Hurricane Michael, roared ashore near Mexico Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, killing at least two people and leaving thousands without power.

“Due to the frequency and the power of hurricanes which have occurred during the last couple of years, it is possible to become de-sensitized to these natural disasters. I implore people to avoid that mentality,” National Commander Brett P. Reistad said. “Each of these storms are deadly and if it is your house that is under water or ravaged by devastating winds, the sense of loss and despair can be unimaginable. Those who are in harm’s way, please make personal safety priority one. Items can be replaced, but people cannot. Together, we will get through this."

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it crossed Georgia overnight, but it was still expected to cause plenty of damage as it moved across the Carolinas Thursday on its way to the Atlantic on Friday. North and South Carolina are still recovering from September’s Hurricane Florence.

The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF) provides immediate cash grants for Legionnaires, posts and Sons of The American Legion members who are impacted by natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding.

“Local American Legion posts have always stepped up and assisted their communities during times of disaster, and I have faith that they will continue to do so," Reistad said. "No matter where you live, some type of natural disaster can strike. We remain committed to helping the people of the southeastern United States recover from these storms.”

How you can help

In advance of the storm, the Department of Florida updated its home page to include links to hurricane relief and was already asking for monetary donations at https://www.floridalegion.org/hurricane-relief/. That page also includes links on how to apply for assistance as well as how to help those affected by the hurricane.

To donate to The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund, go to https://www.legion.org/emergency.

How to get help

NEF funds are available for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members who have been impacted by the hurricane, as well as Legion posts. NEF provides up to $3,000 for Legion and SAL members with an active membership, and up to $10,000 for posts that have been damaged by a natural disaster.

For individual NEF grants submitted for Hurricane Michael, applicants:

• Must have been displaced from their primary residence which sustained damages from the hurricane and/or flooding.

• Should have receipts for out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., temporary housing, food while displaced, and other essentials to survive during the displaced period). The intent of the NEF grant is not to replace household goods or the living facilities, as these are insurance items. The grant is to be used to offset expenses needed in order to survive during the disaster period.

• Should have photos of damaged home, as well as hotel, gas and food receipts, or testimony from post, district or department officers attesting to damages or extraordinary circumstances.

For American Legion post NEF grants, posts must state why they will cease to perform their duties and activities in the community due to losses sustained. Legion posts that served as community service centers during the disaster may also be eligible for a grant to offset their costs in providing food and other services to members of their community during these disasters.

To apply for an NEF grant, please visit www.legion.org/emergency.

Since Jan. 1, 2018, the NEF has provided more than $166,000 in grants. These grants are made possible by donations to the fund. To donate, visit www.legion.org/donate.

Additionally, The American Legion's Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program is available to help meet the basic needs of minor children of eligible veterans. These needs include shelter, food, utilities, clothing and health expenses. TFA grants are available to children (17 years or younger) of active-duty servicemembers or American Legion members. No child can be considered eligible until a complete investigation is conducted at the post or department level, a legitimate family need is determined, and all other available assistance resources have been utilized or exhausted.

To apply for a TFA grant, contact your local American Legion post or department (state) headquarters. For post/department contact information, click here.

Colorado post basks in community service, camaraderie

As a child, Kendra Ryan and her military family moved frequently. For the past 19 years, Ryan has served her nation, currently as a captain in the Navy Reserve.

Ryan found her community at American Legion Post 119 in Estes Park, Colo., where she is assistant services officer and hosts a weekly yoga and stretching class.

“I never had a community that others might call their community,” Ryan said. “I went to seven different schools growing up, and moved seven times in my first five years in the service. I never had a sense of community until I moved to Estes Park. It was the first time I was able to experience what a community is all about, and The American Legion within that community is an even more special smaller group of individuals that I feel very fortunate to be a part of.”

Terry Rizzuti, a former commander, lured Ryan in by convincing her that the post was passionate about community service.

“One of the main reasons that I joined the Legion is to have a mission, or a continued obligation, of service,” she explained. “Once I do retire eventually, I would like to continue my service to my community and to the larger country. The American Legion post is a great way to do that.”

The post — chartered in 1920 — has sponsored Boy Scout Troop 8 since its founding 80 years ago. More recently the post began to support the troop’s Explorers club. “A young lady expressed how much she enjoyed the club last year,” said Loren Shriver, commander of Post 119. “We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

During October, Post 119 hosts a haunted house for children. After Thanksgiving, its Tiny Tots program allows children to visit Santa Claus. It also sponsors a Legion baseball team and is looking to add a second one next year. A Riders chapter has been launched with 17 members ranging in age from their 20s through 70s.

Post 119 was not always this engaged in its community. The post’s resurrection began to take shape when Rizzuti took office as post commander a few years ago. A 13-year resident of Estes Park, he was concerned about the post’s declining stature in the community but was optimistic for the future.

“I liked what I saw for the future but I didn’t like what I saw right then,” he says, noting the post was turning into a bar and away from its community. “I began to look at programs — what is the post doing? And I was stunned.”

Under Rizzuti’s leadership, the post prioritized its programs. “I believe that is what The American Legion is here for,” he said. “It’s not to operate a bar. The bar is to go and celebrate what we accomplished.”

The post has not only grown membership and become a more integral part of its community, it found a creative source for revenue. Four food truck owners now rent the post’s kitchen. “That brings in some income,” he said.

Post 119 is the only veterans organization in Estes Park, which sits at 7,500 feet of elevation about a 90-minute drive from Denver.

“I have always thought veterans were a cornerstone of the community and I feel that way about this post. We are not only a cornerstone in terms of people, we are a cornerstone in terms of location,” Rizzuti says, noting the post sits in the middle of town at the intersection of two main highways. “We are extremely visible to almost every visitor who comes into this town.”

Shriver credits Rizzuti for envisioning the post’s role in its community. Support for veterans, their families and the community is a prime mover of the post now.

“Our veteran and family support is now more noticeable,” Shriver said. “Membership has gone up for the post. We are getting more and more information about other veterans in the area. We'll go work on them a little bit and see if we can interest them in joining.”

Dick Life is among the post members charged with recruiting. “We want everybody — American Legion members, Auxiliary, Sons and Riders — to be recruiters,” he said. “Not just the three of us whose names are on the list.”

Life and Ryan talked about the importance of personal relationships with potential members. “Especially in our small town, it’s about building relationships,” she said. “Many of us already know so many veterans who are not members. When I think about how I joined the post, it was someone reaching out on a personal relationship and continuing that conversation.”

When Ryan joined the post she wanted to make a difference. Her weekly yoga classes are a combination of movement, breathing and meditation exercises that promote well-being among her comrades who participate.

Called Yoga for Resiliency, the six-week sessions began when another post member asked if Ryan would lead them. As a yoga practitioner for 19 years and instructor for a decade, she jumped at the opportunity.

“Yoga for Resiliency is about finding and learning techniques, breathing, movement and mindfulness techniques to overcome the stresses in our life, whether those were past stresses from the wars or current stresses that we face in our daily lives,” she said. “Our members are finding that just with an hour a week, they're learning these new techniques that they can take then out into their daily lives. It's not just about doing yoga on the mat or in the chair. It's about taking it, and applying it through your day to increase resiliency to those stresses we face.”

Ryan is resilient herself, balancing a young family, her yoga business, Navy duties and her American Legion volunteerism. Once she understood Post 119’s mission, she committed to the Legion Family community.

“It's a funny question when we ask ourselves, ‘Why do we continue to serve,’ and why we served in the first place,” she pondered. “I think it's something that's innate into us. There's just a driving mission to continue to serve. It feels great to do, and I love the relationships, and the community building, but it just feels like something I have to do. It just wasn't a choice.”

 

Ten things you didn't know about the Navy

The U.S. Navy celebrates its birthday on Oct. 13. In 1775, a naval force was established by the Continental Congress to aid in the conflict with the British.

Here are some things you might not know about the Navy.

1. Five cities claim the right to be considered the Navy’s birthplace: Beverly, Mass.; Marblehead, Mass.; Philadelphia; Whitehall, N.Y.; and Providence, Rhode Island. The Navy takes no position on its place of origin. (via Mental Floss)

2. All submariners are volunteers who have passed rigorous psychological and physical tests. (via Mental Floss)

3. Navy ships named for individuals are christened by “the eldest living female descendent” of that individual. (via Mental Floss)

4. Humphrey Bogart, Bob Barker and MC Hammer all served in the Navy. (via Mental Floss)

5. Bill the Goat has been the Naval Academy mascot since the early 1900s. Legend has it that a Navy ship once had a goat for a pet, and on the way home to port the goat died. Two ensigns were entrusted to have the goat stuffed, but got distracted by a Naval Academy football game. One of the ensigns allegedly dressed up in the goat skin and pranced around at halftime. The crowd loved it and Navy won the game. (via USO)

6. The first version of the Navy was dissolved following the Revolutionary War, but it was reconstituted to deal with piracy. (via The Vintage News)

7. During World War II, the Navy produced six future presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Bush Sr. And before the war, there had been no naval veterans in the White House. (via The Vintage News)

8. Cadets and midshipmen played the first Army-Navy football game Nov. 29, 1890, on "The Plain" at West Point. Navy had been playing organized football since 1879 and defeated the newly established Army team 24-0. (via army.mil)

9. The Blue Angels – the Navy’s flight exhibition team – was established in 1946 by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Chester Nimitz to raise the public's interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. (via blueangels.navy.mil)

10. The Navy Marine Mammal Program trains bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions to detect, locate, mark and recover objects in harbors, coastal areas, and at depth in the open sea. (via public.navy.mil)

 

USAA Tips: How military intelligence builds business intelligence

Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

Military intelligence excels at gathering, assessing and analyzing information into actionable data (intelligence) and distributing it to key individuals and teams. The purpose of business intelligence is to understand customers, competitors, and markets to design, create, and deliver better products and service to new and existing customers. Military intelligence specifically focuses on the definition, identification, tracking, and systematic analysis of threats to the military force's primary and secondary objectives.

Combining the discipline and methodology of military intelligence with the needs of the business creates a solid foundation for business intelligence.

Business Intelligence Must Be Universally Distributed and Used to Focus an Organization.

Ask any of the top ten or so executives in a company what their top three threats are, and you may get a similar top threat from everyone. However, the remaining threats will be scattered and different. For a business to effectively plan and act against the competition, everyone needs to know what the same top threats are. Military intelligence excels in distributing a common threat picture to an entire organization. The same relative perspective on what the threat is, what the threat is working on, and what the threat plans to do is invaluable to coordinating an organization's activity. How many businesses give the same reports on the competition to the same groups in a regular fashion? The combination of the military intelligence process looking at external threats combined with the existing business intelligence process looking at key internal success measures is a powerful combination.

How to Create A Personal Business Intelligence Process – Start with Google Search.

The use of a simple web search tool such as Google News and Google Alerts helps collect key information on the competition, customer trends, and market influences from public news sources, the web, and social media. Using competitor names, product names, key customers, and associated technology are great starting points for regular Google Alerts. The Google Alerts can then be placed into a Business Intelligence Report which can then be pushed in an email to the company's leadership, sales, new product development, and operations. This process gives everyone in the organization the same view of what is happening, builds a news database on the competition, and is a great time saver for key leaders.

Adapt A Common Set of Themes & Regular Distribution.

Once you have a consistent delivery of information, then create an email or document format so the Business Intelligence Report is consistent every time in format and delivery schedule. Consistency in the format is critical so people can browse and read it consistently. Delivery timeliness is critical, so people can incorporate the Business Intelligence Report into their daily / weekly / monthly business process.

Ethics Must Guide the Business Intelligence Process.

A highly ethical focus must be your most important guide as you implement a business intelligence process. It is vital that as you collect information on the competition you follow good business ethics, complete adherence to the law, and a focus on never acting in any way that would embarrass the company. In addition, legal review and coordination with your company's corporate relations department is a must.

The key to building a competitive intelligence process is to start small, build success and consensus, and then expand the process to the entire organization. Improved products and services that “wow” customers are the greatest success from a solid company business intelligence process.

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