Laura Bondurant, Chairman
The purpose of the National Security program is to support those currently serving to include National Guard and Reserve military and their families. We host programs recommended by the Department of Homeland Security that assist members and communities in preparing for and/or responding to natural or manmade disasters.
Military Support All across the country people are asking how can I help. This segment is designed to help. National Military Appreciation Month (May) was designated by Congress to include both history and recognition of our armed services. It allows Americans to educate each generation on the historical impact of our military through the participation of the community with those who serve encouraging patriotism and love for America. Departments, Units, and members are encouraged to effectively use grassroots lobbying to seek better and improved benefits for our military personnel. In particular, these items should head the list: increase pay, health benefits, and housing allowances. These are important “quality of life” issues for our men and women currently serving our country. Do what you can to make a difference.
USO The USO is a private charity organization that relies on the generosity of the public for the support of their activities. They provide morale, welfare, and recreational services to US military personnel and their families worldwide. The nearest USO can be found by going online to www.uso.org. This site has a locations directory by state. How can Auxiliary members support the USO? Volunteering and offering financial support are the two most prevalent ways to provide support. Due to the threat of anthrax following September 11th, DOD suspended its practice of forwarding personal care packages and correspondence by the American public to “Any Service Member”. In its place the USO created a care package program. These care packages bring a touch of home to our men and women in uniform. Through sponsorship of an “Operation USO Care Package”, and individual’s personal greeting will be transcribed onto an official postcard and included in the care package going to a service member. Please send checks ($25.00 per care package) and personal greetings to: USO-Operation USO Care Package c/o Pentagon Federal Credit Union PO Box 19221 Alexandria, VA 22320-9998.
Blue Star Banner This program was reintroduced in 2001 to recognize service members’ homes and businesses that support our troops, yet another way for members to have direct involvement with veteran’s and those in the service. Household banners, corporate banners and Gold Star Banners are available from the Legion’s Emblem Sales Catalog. Visit them at www.emblem.legion.org
Local Support Form your own network connecting local volunteers with families that need help at home after a loved one has been called into active duty. Ideas that might prove to be beneficial include: Email the Troops, through the Department of Defense, Members can send thank you messages for a job well done. Troop Support Rallies, give local communities the opportunity to express support for the troops. Adopt a National Guard or Reserve Unit, a great “Legion Family” project Fly the Flag, Old Glory sends a powerful message.
Coupon Clipping Another opportunity for our members to provide military support is to participate in the clipping coupons for service members project. These economic aides assist service families to stretch their grocery dollars providing a needed boost in their household operating budgets. DeCA (Defense Commissary Agency) reports that commissaries located in foreign overseas areas accept coupons up to three months after the expiration date stated on a coupon. At the recent Membership Workshop, it was mentioned that our coupon program was well received at some bases and recommended that we adopt a base or installation and mail the coupons to the Family Support Director. For Commissary locations please click here Coupon Clipping Program to view an Adobe PDF memo from our National Headquarters’. There are numerous commissary locations around the world.
POW/MIA As an organization, we continue to urge and press for the “Fullest Possible Accounting” for all POW/MIAs from all wars and conflicts as well as educating others as to the importance of such a undertaking. The United States commits unprecedented efforts to account for persons lost while serving our Nation, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is the US government agency responsible for “Personnel Recovery and Accounting.” A visible sign of our efforts is the display of the POW/MIA Flag at all meetings and on other occasions. Where to go for more information: The American Legion publication, The Dispatch, (subscription $15.00) The American Legion Dispatch, PO Box 1065, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1060.
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) maintains an Internet site that provides up to date information on the POW/MIA accounting effort at: http:/www.dtci.mil/dpmo. POW/MIA Flags can be purchased through The American Legion, National Emblem Sales catalog atwww.emblem.legion.org.
Civil Preparedness is a traditional part of our National Security program. The American Legion Family plays a vital role in communities across the nation and we can assist in preparing our communities for disaster and limiting damage by being informed and helping to inform others. DHS (Department of Homeland Security), In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks against America on September 11, 2001, President George Bush decided 22 previously distinct domestic agencies needed to be coordinated into one department to protect the nation against threats to the homeland. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was one of those agencies. Besides providing a better-coordinated defense of the homeland, DHS is also dedicated to protecting the rights of American citizens and enhancing public services, such as natural disaster assistance and citizenship services, by dedicating offices to these important missions. Still in existence, FEMA falls under the Emergency Preparedness and Response directorate. This directorate oversees domestic disaster preparedness training and coordinate government disaster response For additional information and to order FEMA publications call the FEMA Publications Distribution Center at 1-800-480-2520. Many popular FEMA publications are available on-line in Adobe Acrobat format. Check out the FEMA library on-line. Juniors can get involved too! FEMA for Kids is a site that teaches kids how to be prepared for disasters and how to prevent disaster damage. This site can be accessed at www.fema.gov/kids/. Local Agencies, Crime Prevention: Units are encouraged to work with local law enforcement agencies to offer assistance for crime prevention. Fire Safety: Statistics show that education and awareness are effective initiatives to help prevent fires. Members are encouraged to offer their assistance with local agencies to provide valuable services for their communities.
ROTC/JROTC Reserve Officers Training Corps! Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps The support of both The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for strong viable ROTC programs has been reaffirmed by numerous mandates adopted by National Convention action. Ideas for continued participation from our organization include: Encourage Units to adopt a ROTC/JROTC unit, Invite cadets to participate in American Legion Family Programs, Present military achievement/scholastic achievement medals, Urge Congress to further expand and continue to fund ROTC programs.