Thursday, April 29, 2010

4 Troops: Singing For The Soldiers

From NPR Radio: 

The group 4 Troops got its start performing for military audiences.

The members of 4 Troops first made a name for themselves while in the military, singing pop and country songs for soldiers overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that they're all out of the service, they're also singing for veterans, as well as recording an album. The proceeds will go to veterans' charity groups such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

They're about to begin a tour of military bases around the U.S., but first, they stopped by NPR's studios to talk to Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Jacki Lyden about their project.

Capt. Meredith Melcher, Sgt. Daniel Jens, Staff Sgt. Ron Henry and Sgt. David Clemo met through army programs such as Operation Rising Star, a military version of American Idol. As musically gifted soldiers in combat, their stories are unique, though they share what Henry describes as "the common bond of music."

The album is set to be released in May, and is rooted in a pop sound. But, as Melcher says, there's a diversity to the soldiers' tastes.

"That's the cool thing about the Army: Everybody comes to the table with different loves of different genres of music," Melcher says. "When you're out there and you're deployed and singing songs together, people who start out just liking R&B and hip-hop end up singing some country stuff along the way, too."

"Usually, after missions, I'd grab my guitar and start singing," Jens says. "After a while, my buddies started requesting stuff and singing along. It was really cool."

Their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are heavy influences on the music of 4 Troops. Though the songs are overwhelmingly patriotic, the group's members say they seek to highlight the personal struggles endured by soldiers and their families.

"That's really what gets you through," Clemo says. "Having the strength of the family support, knowing that you're going to get back home."

4Troops New CD Album - Legion Discount

Special Presale Offer to members of The American Legion:  Good from Tuesday, April 27 until Monday, May 10.

4TROOPS  - Four US Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans – all Legionnaires - sing uplifting songs on behalf of troops everywhere as seen on Good Morning America and Fox & Friends. A portion of the proceeds of this, their first album go, in part, to The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.

Use coupon code al4troop for $2 off the new CD at at:

The 4Troops are Iraq-Afghanistan veterans who will open The American Legion’s 92nd National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in August.  Their first CD goes on retail sale on May 11.  Legionnaires can purchase advance copies up until that time with a two dollar discount using the coupon code above.

For more information about the 4Troops, go to their website at:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



5th Dist. Cmdr. Tilman Colston and 
National Commander Clarence Hill

To view a photo video of the visitation dinner, click here

Then click on "Pictures from the Department Commander's Visitations". Next choose "American Legion Nat Cmdr Visit 5th Dist".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Subject: USMC colonel who is right on

Interesting ........if you've got 10 minutes !      

Subject: PLEASE watch this ten minute video

This is a message so on target and so very important it should be made compulsory to be viewed by every American. If you have any love for your freedom, listen to what this USMC Colonel said on February the 9th of 2010. While watching, keep in mind that he media has had a couple of months to report on this speech but have said nothing about it. We, as society, are are being spoon feed information; living in a world where information is filtered. If you are sick, or are tired, or have had a bad day and want to get some sleep ---- Don't do anything until you watch this very short message! And if you are of liberal leaning, you need to listen to what this man has to say at least once a day for a week.


April 20
The Military Wages War On Obesity

Mission: Readiness group joins fight for healthier school food

By Nanci Hellmich

The obesity epidemic is threatening national security, so schools — which are on the front lines in battling the problem — need to boot out junk food and serve healthier snacks and meals, a group of retired military leaders is announcing today.

About three-quarters of today's young adults, ages 17 to 24, would be unable to join the military if they wanted to because they are either too heavy, didn't graduate from high school, have criminal records or have other health problems, says Mission: Readiness, Military Leaders for Kids, a non-profit group of 130 retired generals, admirals and other senior military leaders. They are advocating for policies that would help young Americans get ready to serve.

At least 9 million 'too fat to fight'

The leading medical reason why so many young people are unqualified to serve: A fourth of adults in this age group — at least 9 million young men and women — are too heavy, according to military entry standards, the group says in its new report, Too Fat to Fight.

"When that many young adults can't fight because of their weight, it affects our national preparedness and national security," says retired rear admiral Jamie Barnett, a member of Mission: Readiness. The group supports a strong reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which calls for providing free and reduced-priced school meals for more kids and for serving more nutritious foods. About 31 million children eat lunch at school every day, and 11 million eat breakfast. Kids consume about 30% to 50% of their calories in school.

The military has been concerned about school nutrition for years and was instrumental in persuading Congress to pass the original National School Lunch Act in 1946, Barnett says.

The recession has temporarily reduced the challenges the nation's military recruiters face in meeting their quotas for signing up qualified Americans, the report says.

"We are hitting our recruitment needs, but we know that some of that has to do with the economy, and those of us who have served are concerned about the trends for the future," Barnett says. "Our national security in 2030 is absolutely dependent on reversing the alarming rates of childhood obesity."

A large pool of recruits, he says, is "good for the country overall. It's good for our economy."

Just 'a safety pin'

About a third of children and teens are obese or overweight, the government says. Those kids are at a greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems.

Recruiters work with young people to help them get into shape so they are ready for boot camp, Barnett says. "But given the fact that so many more kids are carrying so many more pounds, asking recruiters to fix the problem is like asking for a safety pin after the seams have burst," he says.

For more information, go to


Camp Verde Bugle (AZ)
4/17/2010 3:33:00 PM

Editorial: Hats off to the American Legion Riders

When it comes to the American soldier, the days of ticker-tape welcome-home parades are long gone. They go off to war quietly, waving good-bye to family and interested parties at the base, and come home the same way, often even less conspicuously, a few at a time.

In the Verde Valley we have had men and women leave for and return from the battlefield with hardly a ripple of notice.

So hats off to the American Legion Riders, especially our local posts, who have made a concerted effort in recent years to make a fuss out of military personnel coming home. The roaring parade of motorcycles offers a spin around town and a big welcome at the American Legion post in Camp Verde or Cottonwood.

Our military personnel are in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan as well as nearby volatile areas that can turn deadly on a dime. Only our veterans truly know how both stressful and humdrum life can be for those just trying to do their jobs and get back home.

Some of our service members are lifetime military, but many have joined up since 2001, fully aware that this is wartime and they were quite likely to be in a dangerous field at some point. These were not just kids out to get a cheaper education or to see the world. This was sacrifice and risk. And, oh, yes, they were representing their country.

It is more than a relief to see them come safely home. The American Legion Riders want to welcome them back heartily and publicly. If a member of your family is in the military and will be returning home, the Riders would love to be part of the celebration. Give them a call (567-0224). It's not a duty for the Riders; it's a pleasure.

It also offers the rest of us an opportunity to show up and say thanks when there is no ticker-tape parade.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


National American Legion Commander
visits Central New York

By Sarah Moses / The Post-Standard
April 14, 2010, 4:28PM


Clarence Hill (right), the national commander of The American Legion,
talks with Paula Wilcox, the Onondaga County family support coordinator
of the Legion, during an informal lunch at the Legion's Post 1832 in Mattydale.

Mattydale, N.Y. - American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill said today his goal for this year has been to increase membership and connect members across the country on social networking sites.

Hill, who was at the American Legion Post in Mattydale today meeting with members, often visits posts across the nation.

"When I visit posts we talk about whatever the members want to talk about," Hill said. "It can be global issues or how to reach out to younger members. But I like to come to posts like this because you can see the history. You walk around and look at the walls and you can see what this post has been doing over the years."

Hill said he has been speaking to posts across the country about gaining new membership by reaching out to veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hill said all veterans have the fact that they served in common and legions should open their doors and adapt to the needs of the younger veterans.

"It’s no different from when the World War II vets came in and the World War I vets had to adapt to them." Hill said. "We just have to adapt to this younger generations and their needs."

Getting members to connect is also important to Hill.

"My other goal for the year is to get the members to embrace the Internet, participate on blogs and have a presence on social networking sites," he said.

Hill has a Web site at where he chronicles his journey across the country. He also is active on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit for more information.

5th District Cmdr. Keith Colston with
National Commander Clarence Hill

Oswego Co. Cmdr. Richard Palmer,
past department vice commander David V. Walker,
Fulton Post 587 Cmdr. John Young

Central Square Cmdr. Herb Pelton (back to camera) and wife Mary

 Among those attending from Oswego County were: past department vice commander David Walker, past 5th district commander Delos Rowlee, past 5th district president Betty Rowlee, Oswego County commander Richard Palmer and his wife Lynn, Fulton Post 587 commander John Young and Oswego County Veterans Service Officer Donna Kestner. Also attending was Central Square Post 915 commander Herb Pelton and his wife Mary.

Department of NY Adjutant Richard M. Pedro was discouraged at the turn-out and announced that each Post should have had at least the commander and one other member present for this occasion.

Friday, April 16, 2010


South Carolina junior tops Oratorical field
The American Legion - April 11, 2010

Tori Beth Black captured Sunday's National Oratorical Contest. James V. Carroll

Tori Beth Black - a home-schooled high school junior from Iva, S.C. - capped a busy weekend of competition in Indianapolis by earning an $18,000 college scholarship and first place in The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program - "A Constitutional Speech Contest." Her winning oration was titled "A Rising Sun."
Elizabeth Blessing, another home-schooled student from Auburn, Ala., earned a $16,000 college scholarship with a second-place finish, while Brooke Connor, of Bridport, Vt., earned a $14,000 scholarship and finished third.
Watch an interview with Black here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Local high school speakers vie for $18K
this weekend in Indy
        INDIANAPOLIS (April 9, 2010) -- This weekend 53 high school speakers will compete in The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program – A Constitutional Speech Contest on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI).  A student from your area eagerly traveled to the Hoosier capitol city today.

        The contest is being held in three phases beginning Saturday, April 10 with the opening round at 9:45 a.m.  Winners from this round will enter the semi-finals getting underway at 3:45 p.m.  The finals are Sunday, April 11 beginning at 11 a.m.  Results are generally available by noon.
        The final 53 come from a field that is thousands strong when the competition began.  They are all state champions and have earned scholarship funds. 

        The finals will be carried live on the Internet beginning Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



DON'T FORGET! Our huge ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT breakfast on Sunday, April 11th with a full menu of pancake, french toast sticks, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, coffee, milk, juice and more! Great price at only $6.00 for adults. Bring your appetite and leave fulfilled.
Serving starts at 8:00 AM until noon. Stop in before church and satisfy your hunger.

The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 418 of Phoenix is presenting spaghetti and meatball dinner for the public on Thursday, April 29th at the 
post located at 9 Oswego River Road, Phoenix, NY. This will be another ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT affair with Italian bread, butter and special sauce. Come on over and try it. You'll like it! Fair price and huge portions. Proceeds go to the post treasury, serving starts at 4:00 PM.

REMEMBER, we have live country music every Monday evening and Saturday evening for your public enjoyment, Come on down and dance a few steps. The kitchen is open for hamburgers, fries, cheese sticks, mushrooms, Hoffman hot dogs and coneys, Ice cream sundaes and more. Watch for our specials. We have the best prices in town!


OCW sponsors ‘Socks for Soldiers’
The American Legion - March 30, 2010
Recently, Operation Comfort Warriors worked with American Legion Emblem Sales to send 800 more pairs of wool socks to Afghanistan to keep wounded and ill servicemembers' feet warm in the field medical stations.

The socks cost about $6,000 and are made from SmartWool, which regulates foot temperature and reduces moisture to keep feet dry and comfortable. They won't shrink like other wool socks or harbor odors like synthetics do.

"I just wanted to let you know what a great job you have done," wrote Danielle Mantua, assistant station manager with the American Red Cross in Washington. "We have your socks at both the ICU and the CACF (triage holding unit). We also put them in the comfort kits that we use every day."

Three weeks ago, The American Legion sent 200 pair of these socks to troops in Afghanistan and, according to feedback the Legion received, the socks are providing incredible comfort for troops in military hospitals and on medevac flights, where temperatures tend to be rather frigid.

OCW provides direct assistance to patients at U.S. military hospitals and warrior-transition units in the form of comfort items and other goods that are not normally purchased through government channels. In 2009, The American Legion family, including the Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion, raised more than $300,000 for our wounded heroes. In years past, we have provided items such as sweat suits, DVDs, puzzles, electronics, books and calling cards for wounded servicemembers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


‘Need A Lift?’ now available on CD-ROM
The American Legion - April 4, 2010

The daunting process of searching for scholarships and applying for financial aid in pursuit of higher education is now just a click away, as The American Legion recently released the 2010 edition of its handbook 'Need A Lift?' on CD-ROM.

The user-friendly CD-ROM makes applying for college faster and more enjoyable, due to the informative material on how to:

* Apply for financial aid

* Pursue scholarships, grants and loans

* Calculate financial needs

* Review college and university profiles

* Find Web sites and other sources for career opportunities

To view more valuable topics on the '2010 Need A Lift?' CD-ROM or to purchase it for a $1.95, click here.

Ohio choir evokes happiness

Austintown Fitch Concert Choir members perform at 
American Legion Post 151 in Conneaut, Ohio.
Kolman Rosenberg

Spring break is a time when many students escape the cold by flying to a warmer destination. But for the Austintown, Ohio, Fitch Concert Choir, spring break is spent belting out Broadway tunes and patriotic lyrics to individuals often forgotten by family members and everyday people - U.S. veterans.

"So many people in VA hospitals go unseen," said Nicole Cirbus, a choir member. "It's sad to know that somebody is out there without that love, wondering if America still remembers what they have done for our freedom. I want to be that person who makes the veterans smile, who gives them happiness."

Undoubtedly, smiles, hope and happiness are what the choir has given to veterans for the past 39 years.

In 1971, two Austintown-Fitch High School colleagues - choir director Rosemarie Kascher and retired Navy Reservist Milton Kochert - wanted to show appreciation to the community for its support. As a Vietnam veteran, Kochert saw firsthand the loneliness veterans experienced in VA hospitals and wanted to change that. For this reason, the choir took its first show on the road in 1972.

Since then, the Austintown Fitch Concert Choir has been striking a joyous chord in the hearts of millions of veterans in VA hospitals from the Mississippi River to the East Coast. Each year consists of traveling to a new hospital with new faces and stories, but one thing remains the same: There's never a dry eye when the choir performs.

"One year we sang to a quadriplegic who had not shown any emotion from the time he had been in the hospital, which was over three months," said Kaye Williams, choir director for the past 20 years. "And he cried when the kids sang. So you know the music really affects the veterans and the kids."

The music performed consists of uplifting show tunes, as well as patriotic songs such as "God Bless the USA." Because of the happiness brought forth with the music, the choir is a welcoming change of entertainment for the veterans.

"While visiting a mental ward, one gentleman told me that our visit was the best thing that could have happened to them because they watch the movie ‘Grease' every night of the week, even though we happened to sing the ‘Grease' musical," said Tyler Hoffman, a choir member. "Being allowed to bring such a sense of hope and joy to these veterans is amazing."

These life-changing visits allow students to experience firsthand the joy they bring along with the stories each veteran holds. As they perform to veterans in a cafeteria or sing their way down hallways to the wards, students hear how some haven't had a visitor in six months, while others visually express missing the lives they once knew.

"There was a man in a hospice ward who was originally a radio broadcaster in California in the ‘40s before he went to war," said April Krempasky, a choir member. "He had photos of himself as a broadcaster all over his room, and it was amazing to see because you think of veterans as somebody who only fought in a war, but we have to remember that they had a life and a career previous to that."

The students do volunteer their free time to the veterans, but the yearly hospital trips come at a price. The total amount per student to cover lodging, transportation and food is $500. And while most of the money is raised through fundraisers, the 9th District
American Legion posts in Ohio sponsor and support the choir's humanitarian efforts. Last year, 9th District posts presented the choir with an American Legion banner as an award for bringing hope and smiles to millions of veterans; the choir proudly hangs the banner on the steps of each VA hospital they visit. This year, the 9th District recently hosted a dinner celebration at Legion Post 151 in Conneaut, Ohio, to recognize the choir for upholding the legacy.

The celebration involved many 9th District Legionnaires, Sons of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary members and the Ohio Department Chaplain Ben Aycock, who all showed appreciation to the choir through words, awards and monetary donations up to $500. The choir patriotically gave back to the celebration by singing "God Bless the USA," which initiated a hand-holding bond amongst all in attendance - something the choir is fondly used to.

"When the choir goes to VA hospitals to perform, they hold hands with our veterans, smile with them and give them hugs," said Joe Rockwell from 9th District Legion Post 737 in Lake Milton, Ohio. "What that message says to our veterans is that America cares, thanks you and supports you."

As the choir continues forward with its yearly tradition, the memories created will remain with the students and the veterans.

"Visiting the veterans touches you in ways you can't explain to anybody," Cirbus said. "Veterans are constantly thanking us, when we should be the ones thanking them."