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Department Newsletter March 2007

 THE AMERICAN LEGIONDepartment of France Editor/PublisherFrank J. Hanchak Department CommanderLiam Kane AdjutantMaxwell Rice National Executive CommitteemanWilliam Marshall Alternate NECmanMichael Umland Department Vice-Commander At LargeCarl Hale  The Department of France is not a USAREUR & 7th Army approved private organization.      Any Department Officer, Committee Chair, Program Director or Post can input material to this newsletter. Input is due the Last week of the month for next month’s newsletter.   Department Calendar March 1 > Ash Wednesday

March 10 > DEC in Bastogne

March 15 > American Legion Birthday (March 15-17, 1919)

March 17 > St. Patricks Day

March 19 > Start of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)

April 1 > All Fools Day

1st Sunday > Day Light Savings Time

April 6 > U.S. Entry into WWI (1917)

2nd Sunday > Palm Sunday

3rd Sunday > Easter

                  Department Commander’s Corner                  
                  "For the Good of the Legion".               
The 3rd DEC is upon us already and our Vice Commander At Large; Carl Hale has everything in order for our venture into Belgium. A full house has been booked and we will all get the opportunity to express ourselves at the meeting.  The finals of the oratorical competition were a great occasion hosted by Stuttgart Post GR-06 under Commander Ml.Sloan and the Department Oratorical Chairman, Doug Clemence. We owe a great debt of thanks to all involved from the competitors, parents, posts, judges, time keepers, and audience for the most successful competition in many years. I was honored as your commander to be present at GR01, GR05, and GR07 for their finals and at the department final. Brittany Mefford, Katherine Hill, Thomas Giovingo and the Department winner for the second year in a row; Dominique Simon did themselves proud, good luck to Dominique at the National Finals.     A number of "jobs" are in progress or about to start in the department.  We need your help to get the best results in them.  1) Completion of up to date department and post rosters for distribution at the 3rd DEC. Please let Department Adjutant, Max Rice have any changes now.  2) I will be seeking funding to have the Historian go to St. Avoid to carry out a complete inventory (long overdue)I also believe that there is an amount of legion property in the possession of legion members please let Bob Hale have details of this too .  3) Post Data forms should be completed NOW and returned to Max it would save everyone time and expense if you brought THESE to the 3rd DEC.  4) We need details of all posts that were granted a charter since 1973 and up to-date list of post officers, and their addresses. Again Bob Hale is your man here.  I would ask everyone, especially Post Officers, VCAL, and Vice-Commanders to read John Odom recent correspondence referencing Eagle Scout and boy state and act on same. John is trying hard to get boys involved. WE NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE MAKE THE EFFORT! THANK YOU IN ANTICIPATION OF A BIG RESPONSE. On renewals Max has written to all posts about the mix up of renewals, i.e. the notices received from national about the increase.  Please remember that POSTS SET THEIR MEMBERSHIP FEES and not national. The itinerary of the National Commanders visit to our Department is available from NECMAN Bill Marshall and I would ask everyone to make an effort to attend at any post where National Commander PAUL MORIN will visit during his trip which takes in Poland Germany and Ireland. Recently I was in LANDSTHUL and Fisher House on one of my trips and I was thrilled to be there. The reception given to me as the Department Commander had to be seen to be believed! Members the high esteem in which the American Legion is held is very heartening to me as your Commander.  NOW WE MUST GET OUT AND VISIT ALL MILITARY INSTITUTIONS!  Like the two I just mentioned, we will be made very welcome and there are many people just waiting on us to join the legion and to help us to solve the many day to day problems that we come across for our members. Let’s get out there and meet these people e.g. the people in VA. Comrade Robert brought me around when I visited the GR01 area, and I will be back again to visit the hospital before June. We still can make 100% in membership for this year. Let’s get out and do as our National Commander says. Go back to basics and Knock on Doors; it will work. Mike Umland is always available to take remittals. At the 2nd DEC meeting we had several reports available at a special table set aside to facilitate officers and chairmen who submitted details of what they had done since the previous DEC we want to continue this way of reporting as it gives a permanent record and of course it gives a chance to read reports and ask questions. It also saves time so please send in your reports to Max over the weekend in order to give him a chance to have copies for all. Has your Post finalized your entry for the Awards this year we want to have the highest number entry ever .It’s easy to enter for post awards or individual awards .Please get down to it if you haven’t already done so. VCAL Carl Hale is the man to contact.  While on the subject of awards etc. don’t forget that your post could win another unwanted "award" of paying a fine if you turn up without your Post Colors at the DEC meeting don’t say that you weren’t warned.  VC Charley Brown has informed me that everything is on course for our Department Convention in June, don’t forget to BOOK!                I receive regular news from our Chaplain Ron Moore about happenings.  Unfortunately we hear of the deaths of our fellow legion members. Please keep these people in your prayers and also please keep our chaplain informed of people who are ill either at home or in hospital. Make the effort to visit these people. Thank you.  Looking forward to meeting you at the 3rd DEC  For God and Country! Liam KaneDepartment Commander  
Department Adjutant 
Do not forget your Delegates letters for the DEC on the 10th of March. Also do not forget to have your awards packets. It is 4 months away till the Department Elections so you have time to get your DD-214 if you are running for a Department position. Staff, do not forget to get your reports to me before the DEC so I can put them in the Post packets. I would also like say great job to the Oratorical Chairman and Post GR06 for a job well done.  
Maxwell RiceDepartment Adjutant   
Vice Commander’s Corner 
Vice Commander at Large Carl Hale
BE02, NL02, FR05, IT01, National Commander’s Message:  Why We Exist  Earlier in the week, The American Legion released the following statement to the press regarding media reports of deplorable living conditions some of our wounded warriors were placed in at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center:                                                                 “Every American serviceman and woman     wounded or injured in the line of duty deserves the    absolute best care, under the best circumstances, for as              long as necessary to affect a complete recovery.        Certainly, according to the Washington Post, it appears    that those military men and women assigned to Building          18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are not receiving                 that level of care.                                The American Legion is giving those allegations         the utmost priority and is investigating conditions at    Walter Reed.  Our professional staff will prepare a comprehensive and documented report of its findings and       will release those findings to the cognizant committees in             Congress and the US Army.                                Under no circumstances will we be satisfied with        less than a full and immediate resolution of the problem                 alleged.”                  In 1864 at his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln challenged all future generations of Americans - “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.”                Yet, despite this call to engage in acts of veteran fellowship, we continue to find some of our wounded soldiers and veterans in situations like the one at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.                When World War I ended, our society had very little in place to handle the needs of veterans returning from the trenches in France.  The government set up temporary hospitals and rehab clinics at a number of military installations but there were soon discontinued due to the influx of wounded and the cost of running these facilities.                Soon, newspapers were reporting incidents of disabled veterans, starving and ignored by the government, collapsing on street corners.                  Over 300,000 soldiers returned home with debilitating physical and mental disorders.  Having put an enormous amount of its financial resources into mobilizing the army and navy, the government paid little attention to the problems of rehabilitation or long-term medical care for wounded veterans.                It was during this period of despair and disillusionment for our veterans that The American Legion began its work.                 Through the Legion’s hard work and efforts, the U.S. Veterans Bureau was created - forerunner of the Veterans Administration and later, the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Yet despite our best efforts, we soon found ourselves in a painful deja vous experience in the next World War.                In 1944, E. Roy Stone Jr. walked through a Naval hospital ward in Oakland, Calif., and saw the mutilated bodies of his fellow World War II GIs.  After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he visited the only veterans’ hospital in his home state of South Carolina.  He was shocked to see men suffering from horrendous injuries lying about in the hallways.  He later learned that the VA had a waiting list of over 800 GIs and no place to house them.                  Later, Stone attended funerals of some of those men who were stored in the halls because VA didn’t have the space to treat them.                  Stone-- who eventually became a national commander of The American Legion -- said, “After seeing all of this, I became an active Legionnaire - determined that I would try to alleviate crowded conditions in our VA hospitals; give sympathy to the suffering; give strength to the weak; and to keep faith with my fallen friends.”                 Sixty-three years after Stone visited that hospital in South Carolina, we learned this week from the news media that some of our wounded warriors have been placed in deplorable and life-threatening conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.                  Comrades, whether it is dealing with a military hospital system or the VA’s, one of our biggest challenges is the same one we faced 89 years ago --- government bureaucracy.                   In my experience as an officer in The American Legion and as the Superintendent of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass., I can tell you that the first step to cutting through bureaucracy is to create “face time” with our wounded and disabled veterans.                 Through one-on-one dialogue between the Legionnaire and the soldier and his or her family, we learn for ourselves their most dire needs.   With that information in hand, we can better tell their story as we fight to correct any injustices they may have suffered as a result of red tape or a break down in the system.                At this moment, The American Legion has a task force on the ground at Walter Reed Army Hospital conducting our own investigation into the allegations surrounding the now infamous Building 18.  But Legionnaires at the post level can also be instrumental in diffusing bureaucratic red tape and providing valuable feedback on the needs of our soldiers.  By doing so, you are providing our wounded and disabled veterans an invaluable service by bringing their needs and concerns to those that they may not have access to, such as your community and state lawmakers as well as the local and state VA agencies.                  The American Legion has several programs in place to enhance our veteran outreach initiatives such as Heroes to Hometowns, Troop Support Service, and Reconnect.                  One group of Legionnaires I met during my visit to California last December has an admirable approach to gathering information about the needs of our wounded and disabled.                  Legion officers of Area II in California took the initiative to help start the Admiral William A. Moffett American Legion Post 881 during the last few months of 2006.  In addition to providing service to all veterans and their families, the newest American Legion Post in District 13 located in Moffett Field, Calif., focuses strongly on those men and women in uniform returning from their rotation from Iraq and Afghanistan.                  The idea here is to sensitize our servicemen and women to our charge of “veterans helping veterans.”  Part of that initial interface, which includes wounded warriors who are returning to their families in the area, is to learn first hand what their needs and concerns are.   Post leadership can assist them and convey their needs to local VA and military hospital staffs.                  That way, unlike the situation at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, the chain of command of any military or veteran hospital staff will be able to anticipate and correct issues that are an affront to the quality of life and safety of our brave wounded.                    The men and women of Post 881, through personal contact, have taken the initiative to observe and hear what our soldiers have to say.  They are not going to wait and learn from a newspaper article that a soldier requiring medical or rehabilitation or physical therapy was housed in deplorable conditions or was neglected.                  The men and women of Post 881 are going to be on top of it before it happens.                 Personal contact has been our methodology for righting the wrongs that our soldiers have faced since 1919.  We have the programs and initiatives in place “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.”                Comrades, this is why we exist, this is why we do what we do for our veterans, their families and their communities, this is why we must be ever vigilant when it comes to taking care our wounded and disabled veterans.  It is our charge, it is our destiny. May God bless, Paul A. Morin                  MY VIEW: Each Department of the American Legion should react to this information and act to support our brothers and sisters in need of quality medical treatment and quality of life after their return from service in Afghanistan or Iraq.  This cause is the exact reason a group of veterans assembled in Paris in 1919 to work together to create the American Legion.  Eighty-eight years later we must continue to gather in force for our combat comrades.                Our Country must plan for veterans returning from the war zone needing life long high quality health care, jobs and housing.  This must become a political issue in order to have Congressional action.  We must make it an election issue for 2008.  Support the troops at Home and in the Zone!                 Our troops are fighting for our freedom and liberties; we must fight to ensure they are not forgotten or sent to the street after they return.                Let’s jump up and down by writing our members of Congress and our President as veterans we demand our injured war veterans receive the best American health care.  We must insist if a veteran is injured in war then there will be compensation for war service and not accept zero disability ratings.  If a soldier/sailor/marine/airman was healthy enough to board the transport into the war zone then they should not have to suffer through a medical board to wonder if they can live after surviving war wounds.                The President is asking Congress for 10 Billion United States of America Dollars for Afghanistan.  We should insist on a $Billion for our returning troops!  We should insist on free college tuition for every troop returning from the zone.  We should demand no interest home loans for those who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.                Let’s have a serious reaction as a Veteran’s Service Organization to make right what is wrong.  We need to discuss ideas and plans of action.                I ask those Department of France Comrades with the most experience to lead us in drafting a fiery resolution of action this March 10th.                I ask you to act for our war veterans in VA clinics and hospitals who are not receiving the best quality American health care.                Think about this.  Discuss the issue amongst your colleagues at your Post meeting.  Come to Bastogne with a plan.  It’s time to act.                I will think more too.                 AWARDS REMINDER: As the chairman of the awards committee I strongly encourage each Post to submit an awards packet.  I would like the packets to include cover pages on each award category. For Instance, attach a clean page with the Post contact information (Commander & Adjutant name, phone number, postal address and email address) on the center of the page and then four lines down also type the award category, like COMMANDER OF THE YEAR AWARD.   Following this procedure will enable the awards committee to quickly sort each packet by the individual award categories and then return all papers back to the original Post packet.                SO….to follow the timelines presented in the attached regulations please have your Post Award Packets sent to me with a copy to Dept Adjutant Max no later than Wednesday, 9 May 2007.  We’ll have to arrange a special trip to hold the Awards Committee meeting on Saturday, 12 May 2007.                If all the Posts that will participate in the Department Awards Program have already met their 100% Membership Goal please go ahead and send your packets as soon as possible. Respectfully yours, Carl Hale The American Legion Department of France Vice Commander at LargeThe American Legion Paris Post #1 First Vice   Carl HaleVice Commander at Large Vice Commander Joe D. BrownGR01, GR03, GR07, GR42, IR63                 This was indeed another busy month for me. I had the pleasure of visiting many post this past month and had the opportunity to speak with many of our fellow Legionaries. Here is a breakdown of the post, and Legionaries. On the 3rd of Feb I was in Heidelberg for the annual oratorical contest they had four outstanding contestants ,but Dominique Simons  won overall and went on to the finials in Stuttgart on the 24th of Feb.                I would like to thank Chaplin Peers and Commander Sherman for an outstanding job in organizing this event. On the 10th of Feb GR 07 hosted their Oratorical Contest; it was a nice turn out Katharine Hill went on to Stuttgart to represent Mannheim. I would like to thank John Odom for a job well done.       Kaiserslautern also hosted an oratorical contest; they also had a winner that appeared for the major event in Stuttgart (Thomas Giovingo). On the 24th   of Feb in Stuttgart the main Oratorical Contest GR01, GR03, GR06, and GR07 had contestants, I was most pleased that three of my post were represented, and most of all, all four contestants were impressive, and outstanding, and well spoken, but the winner Dominique Simons who was also the winner of last year’s contestant, will represent the Department again this year. In addition he has also won a scholarship for sports, and also helped the Basketball team win the European championship for this year. I wish Dominique the best in his future endeavors. I visited GR42 membership meeting on the 18th of Feb. The post is still going strong; they are still waiting for members to come from down range. The Finance Officer and the NECman (Bill Marshall) is doing much better. The post overall is doing great. I talked to IR 63’s adjutant and Commander, they assured me that they are doing great and the membership has been over the top for some time. Via E-mail I have corresponded with Commander Sears, from GR01 they have a new membership chairman who is actively involved in bringing up membership, hopefully they will make the %100 percent by National Convention time.                 I Talked to GR07’s 1st Vice Commander James Murray at the Oratorical in Stuttgart on the 24th of Feb, The post is moving very fast and membership is doing great! I would also like to thank the Adjutant Comrade Ginete for doing an outstanding job of providing info to all.  I would like to thank all the post for sending contestants to the Oratorical Contest, and supporting this wonderful program. Reference to Boys State, if you have questions please contact Comrade John Odom, he can answer all your question pertaining to Boys State.                 A word on award packages, if you are planning to submit awards I hope you have already started time is running out. If you have questions you can ask VCAL Hale at the 3rd DEC in March. If you are sending Delegates to the DEC make sure you have your Delegates report done, and submitted to the Department Adjutant, Comrade Rice, and bring one copy with you just to be on the safe side. If you have not already made your reservations for this event please contact VCAL Hale ASAP. If you plan on attending the 83rd Department Convention please make sure you bring at least % 50 percent of you package cost to the 3rd DEC.  Comrade Cramer from GR79 is recovering nicely after an extended stay in cure for recovery treatment, for his recent battle with cancer. Remember if you need to contact me I am just an E-mail away .                 In closing please keep those in harms way and their families, not only in your thoughts but your prayers as well.  Joe D. BrownDepartment Vice Commander                 Chaplain’s NotesChaplain’s Page                                                        March 2007Special Days/Legion Events: 10th- 3rd DEC in Bastogne, Belgium; American Legion Birthday Period (15-17th), Community Service Month.Christian Religious Days: 1st- St. David of Wales; 17th- St. Patrick’s Day; 25th Annunciation of the Virgin Mary; 31st- Lazarus Saturday (Orthodox)Jewish Holidays (Year 5767): 4th- PurimIslamic Holidays: 20th- Mawlid an Nabi Please visit the church, temple, synagogue or mosque of your choice. Post Everlasting reported in February: Peter Otersen GR-42 is survived by his wife Elka and son and daughter.  Prayers for the Sick & Ill: Robert Crammer, GR-79 Keith Abernathy, GR-09George Hall, GR-03Shawn Asche, IR-Glen Foy, IR-02Doug Clemence- Dept Vice Commander & member of Post GR-06are undergoing, were undergoing or were scheduled for, medical treatment. No other deaths or other illnesses were reported to me, but we continue to pray for those comrades, family members and friends of the Legion who have passed away or are ill. ==================================================Greetings Comrades,Greetings Brothers and Sisters of the American Legion Family,                 My apologies, your chaplain got a little carried away last month in talking about flashbacks and the demonstrations going on against the war. As I said, I am not against demonstrations as an expression of free speech; I am however against demonstrating against the people who put their lives on the line to protect us. To a soldier, marine, airman/airwoman or sailor downrange, the fact that the demonstration is not against him/her personally may not be immediately apparent. I just want us to be sensitive to the feelings of those veterans and do all in our power to make them know how much we appreciate and acknowledge their sacrifice for us.                As minister and chaplain, I get a lot of requests for action from various online organizations who are involved in the fight for veteran’s rights. Since all of us are veterans, or the family members of veterans, this affects all of us. We help veterans, their wives and children, and by doing so, we help ourselves. We know of the problems that veterans face and how alone a person can feel when confronted with apparently insurmountable obstacles. Sometimes the difference between hope and despair or between life and death can be a kind word or gesture from one person to another.                 We, as the American Legion, are doing a valuable and laudable job in helping the veteran of all services. I know we can’t solve all of the problems facing veterans, but we can definitely show that we care and we can ask others to help where necessary. If you see a problem, report it to your Post and the department. We may not be able to solve it immediately, but we may be able to bring it to the attention of the right people.                How wounded servicemen and women are treated and quartered is now coming up as a big issue with the scandal at Walter Reed. The American Legion’s program, “Hero’s to Hometown”, should be something we are all involved in. Let’s make those vets feel like the heroes they are and make sure none are neglected. Rev. Ronald Moore, Dept of France ChaplainHome: 0049-(0)6196-569027Mobile: 0049-(0)172-7417812Email:             Department Service Officer’s News                The Post Service Officer’s Guide is available for download at: Please send any correspondence, questions, or requests to me at the address below. Frank J. HanchakCMR 457, Box 512APO, AE. 09033(M) 0178-858-8398  Frank HanchakDepartment Service Officer  Department of France Eagle Scout of the Year 2006-2007:                 This year all of our annual programs have been going very slow, I know that there are Eagle Scouts out thereand we just need to find them, Tomorrow I will be visiting with the North American Council to see were they are and if any post with in the Department would like to sponsor a Eagle Scouts and don't already have one to turn in now, because the dead line as reported by National was or is 1 March 07, but we the Department of France Boys Scout committee have until 1 Apr 07 to have the paper work into National, So if we can help you with your Eagle Scout then let us know we would be glad to help if we can. I can be contacted at 0174-6935296 or0170-1785054, or via email: Go Scouting!! John H. Odom., Sr  Department of France Boys' State 2006-2007:                 Currently I have four to five post that have responded as of this date, GR01, GR05, GR06, and GR07 have said that there sending someone to Boys' state this year and if any other post would like to send a boy this year please let me know the cost is 600.00 euro, other information you can find on the web or I can send you any information that you may need just let me know, we have ten (10) air line slots. for more information please call me or email me; 0174-6935296 or 0170-1785054, The first thing we will need is for you to say that you have someone or you would like to send someone, and we can help you we will try to help just let us know. Our young people are our future. John H. Odom., sr PDC John H. Odom.,Sr
Grand du Chef de Train/Local 1467 Aumonier/SAL Det Alt NECman/Dept Boys State,JROTC,Sacred Torch, & Boy Scout Dir/Post GR07 Americanism Chairman
49(0) 621-7245742 (New home Number)
49 (0) 170-1785054, or 0174-6935296
State Side Only: (719) 271-2046 Cell
        THE AMERICAN LEGIONDEPARTMENT OF  FRANCE83rd ANNUAL CONVENTIONHOSTED BY JOHN WAYNE POST GR 79 WHERE: Hotel Schönblick in Wüstenrot , Germany WHEN:      20 – 24 June 2007 Convention Package Consist of :5 Days and 4 NightsBreakfast BuffetDinner MealBanquet on Saturday  One convention coin per registered guest COST:Complete Pakage – Single Room            230.00 Euro Per PersonComplete Package – Double Room                       210.00 Euro Per PersonChildren 12 and younger                             60.00  Euro Per Person Three Nights / Banquet – Single Room    180.00 Euro Per PersonThree Nights / Banquet – Double Room    110.00 Euro Per PersonChildren 12 and younger                              50.00 Euro Per Person                                                                                                                             Two Nights / Banquet – Single Room       130.00 Euro Per Person Two Nights / Banquet – Double Room        90.00 Euro Per personChildren 12 and younger                              40.00 Euro Per Person              One Night / Banquet – Single Room     80.00 Euro Per Person One Night / Banquet – Double Room    60.00 Euro Per Person                Children 12 and younger                        30.00 Euro Per Person                Banquet Only ( no overnights )              20.00 Euro Per Person                                    Prices include Breakfast and Dinner Meals only Lunch is not included. *We need half of the money for your selected package for a down payment on all Rooms by the 3rd DEC in Bastogne