Monday, May 31, 2010

Honoring ‘American heroes’

The American Legion - May 26, 2010

Already an Army veteran, Joseph Proctor joined the National Guard after 9/11. At Camp Ramadil, Iraq, he killed the driver of a truck filled with explosives, then died when the truck blew up. Proctor received the Silver Star posthumously.

The American Legion and Military Channel have teamed up to honor troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, including three soldiers who never made it back home. A series of 10 one-minute vignettes, "American Heroes" premieres Memorial Day on the Military Channel, which co-sponsored the production with The American Legion.

Produced by Creative Street Entertainment, "American Heroes" includes the dramatic and poignant stories of those who fell in battle, suffered severe injuries, helped repair war-torn communities or made it home to help other wounded warriors. Each American hero is honored with a Norman Rockwell Moments portrait at the close of the vignette. The profiles will air on the Military Channel for an entire year, starting with the network's live coverage of the National Memorial Day Parade on May 31 from 2-4 p.m. EST.

"The ‘American Heroes' stories are a collection that encompasses several different aspects of what it means to be a hero in wartime. First and foremost, we think of those who gave their lives - those whose memories we will honor forever," American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill said. "Then there are those who return home with severe injuries, yet go on to succeed in the civilian world. We have American heroes who take care of wounded troops at VA hospitals, who have helped Iraqi children in their devastated cities, or who have taught their own families how to be heroes. "These vignettes really highlight the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how veterans of those wars continue to serve our country."

"Partnering with The American Legion to create these ‘American Heroes' vignettes is emblematic of Military Channel's commitment to sharing compelling stories of heroism from within the U.S. Armed Services," said Henry Schleiff, general manager and president of Military Channel, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater. "And what better day to launch these poignant stories than Memorial Day, a hallowed day for our country to recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices of the men and women serving in uniform, who have preserved our freedom and liberties while bringing security to the world."

The 11 individuals featured in the "American Heroes" vignettes are David Brown, Tammy Duckworth, Dawn Halfaker, Nick Madaras, Jose Pequeno, Robert Posivio, Joseph Proctor, John Schatzel, Klay South, and Patrick Brady and his daughter, Meghan.

Madaras, Posivio and Proctor died in Iraq; Proctor received the Silver Star. Duckworth, an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs, was a pilot who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down. Halfaker, vice president of the Wounded Warrior Project, lost an arm when an RPG exploded near her Humvee.

South, who founded the Veterans of Valor service organization, was shot while clearing out houses in Fallujah. Pequeno, whose story was told in the May 2009 issue of The American Legion Magazine, suffered severe traumatic brain injury from an IED explosion.

Patrick Brady, a retired Army major general, is a Medal of Honor recipient for bravery in Vietnam; his daughter, Meghan, has served in Kosovo, Kuwait and Iraq. Schatzel helped rebuild the Iraqi scouting program in Baghdad, and Brown - twice injured in battle - now spends his days helping veterans recover from war and readjust to the world of peace.

For more videos, visit LegionTV.


HORNING-FOURNIER POST 418, PHOENIX, NY, had a flag-raising ceremony on Sunday, May 30th at the Post. Members of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Junior Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion were present to take part.

Floral arrangements were donated and placed at the base of the flag poles. 

Paul Hatch raising the Sons of the American Legion flag.

Legion members with flags and Auxiliary members with new red shirts.

On Monday, Memorial Day, members met at the Post to ride in the parade through Phoenix, NY. A very fine turn-out was present to remember our fallen heroes. We must always remember:



Cost is $6.00 each for Brunch served from 10 AM to 2 PM by the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion.Think you might be eligible for The American Legion? We will have applications for The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion. Members will be available to answer your questions.

There will be a 50/50 raffle and a $100 meat package raffle. Please get your ticket soon and you might win. The package is from Bosco and Geers market in Oswego. Their meats are delicious and always the best quality. 


Breakfast is only $6.00 each and all Dads eat FREE! How can you go wrong?
Serving will be from 9 AM until noon but the American Legion Auxiliary.


Sat AUGUST 14th AND 15th -
9 AM to 4 PM both days

YARD SALE will be Saturday and Sunday.

CAR SHOW will be on Sunday.

There will be lots more activities both days - Come on down and check it out.

We are looking for donations for our yard sale. Please bring only sellable items. For more information, please call the Post at 695-6357 or 695-1212.


Charles L. Butler, 5th District Commander 1991 has passed away. Here is the obit.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Johnson 9th at Toledo Speedway
The American Legion - May 25, 2010

The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car, 
seen in a race earlier this season, finished 
ninth Sunday in Toledo. James V. Carroll

Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car arrived at Toledo Speedway in Ohio last week with little knowledge of the half-mile paved short track. 
Johnson and the Team Johnson Motorsports crew left town Sunday with their first top-10 finish in the 2010 ARCA Racing Series. Prior to the May 23 race, Johnson told Toledo Blade newspaper reporters he didn't get his first look at the Toledo track until Saturday.

"I just hope I get out there and put in some practice laps and get a good feel of the place," Johnson said. "We'll talk to some of the veteran drivers who have been here before and gather as much information as we can."

Mission accomplished.
Johnson's ninth-place finish is his best in the four races he has run in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards. The 76 Freedom Car crossed the finish line 22nd at Salem Speedway in Indiana, 15th at Texas Motor Speedway, and 16th at Talladega Speedway in Alabama. Due to engine failure, Johnson failed to qualify in ARCA's season opener during Speed Weeks in Daytona, Fla.

The top-10 finish in the Menards 200 at Toledo elevated Johnson to 18th place in championship points - up one spot from 19th. Johnson has raced in four of six ARCA Racing Series events this year.

Johnson's race results outperformed his practice and qualification efforts. His 17th-place practice lap average was 106.528 mph. And his 105.436 mph qualification run was good enough for 23rd place in the 32-car starting grid - 7.43 mph slower than Chris Buescher, who captured the pole at 112.867 mph. Buescher won the 100-mile race.

While at Toledo, Johnson said his mission was two-fold - running in the race and spreading the word about The American Legion and Legion Racing.

The next stop for Johnson and the 76 Freedom Car is Pocono Raceway at Long Pond, Pa., where he will compete in the Messina Wildlife Stopper 200. Qualification runs are scheduled to begin June 4 at 1:45 p.m., and the 80-lap race on the 2.5-mile tri-oval is schedule to start Saturday, June 5 at 1 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED.
Johnson also generated positive press for The American Legion as the subject of an article in the Toledo Blade.


The National Commander … and all of us, I’m sure … would like to receive another $250,000 from Pepsi so The American Legion could award several full-ride scholarships to the deserving children of men and women who lost their lives doing their duty since 9/11.  To do this, we need to each vote every day ( for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.  Please do it now, and encourage your friends and associates to vote also.  There are many worthy charities in the competition, but certainly none more worthy than the Legacy Fund.  “It’s not what we do; it’s who we are!”


Republican Herald (PA)

What Memorial Day means
Published: May 27, 2010

JOHN E. USALIS/Staff Photo From left, North Schuylkill Elementary School sixth-graders Samantha Brown, Alexus Washington and Kimber Eye place a flag at the Christ Church Cemetery gravesite of Michael Puglia, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of World War II, during Wednesday's flag distribution.

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - The meaning of Memorial Day, the American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and other patriotic traditions were the focus of a special program Wednesday for the students in the North Schuylkill School District.

For some students in the district's elementary school, the lessons learned lead to a hands-on experience as they placed American flags at the graves of U.S. veterans in local cemeteries.
Members of veterans posts in Ashland and Girardville visited the elementary school in the morning and the high school in the afternoon to speak to the students in what has become an annual program.

During the elementary school program, the students sat on the gymnasium floor and heard explanations about the traditions, rituals and items connected to Memorial Day and other patriotic holidays. The students were welcomed by Elementary Principal Neall Jones, who explained the purpose of the program.

"Today, we have a special program in honoring the veterans who fought for our country, especially those who died or were injured, to keep everybody safe and keep everybody free," Jones said.
Jones then handed the microphone to Thomas C. Dando, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

"This day is very important to all these men you see behind me," Dando said. "They came from whatever else they had to do because they wanted to talk to you and make you are aware of the importance of Memorial Day, which is the day set aside to honor all those who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country."

Dando asked each veteran to stand and introduce himself, and then each veteran spoke individually about topics such as the flag as an emblem, respecting the flag, the meaning of the poppy, a reading of "In Flanders Field," the meaning of the 21-gun salute and the playing of taps, and the story behind the POW/MIA flag.

Participating in the program were Ashland VFW Post 7654 and American Legion Post 434 Commander Harry Hause and Girardville American Legion Post 309 Commander William Gower.

There was also a display of emblems used to hold American flags at the graves of veterans. World War II veteran Daniel Trautman, who participated in the Normandy invasion, explained the different emblems.

Dando thanked the elementary students who would place the flags on the graves after the program, stating that they would be a great help in making sure that each veteran's grave would have a U.S. flag flying at it. He said what would take many hours for the veterans to place flags would take a very short time for the many students to do.

As the program ended, the students were each given a poppy before boarding buses to be driven to the cemeteries in the Ashland area. The students were given flags and instructed on how and where to place them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Congressman Tom McClintock tells Mexico to butt out.

Absolutely superb speech from a member in Congress, I wish more leaders would think like him!

YouTube - Congressman Tom McClintock Tells Mexico To Butt Out 

Click on line above to view the video.


This Memorial Day... you fire up the grill, go poolside or cheer on your favorite Indianapolis 500 racecar driver, remember the true reason for the holiday. The American Legion Auxiliary salutes all of America's heroes, past and present. 

Wherever You Are at 3pm on Memorial Day, Pause for National Moment of Remembrance

Established by Congress, the National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute) at 3pm local time on Memorial Day. The time 3pm was chosen because it is when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather, it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Los Angeles Daily News (CA)
Dennis McCarthy: War vet returns home to 50 grandfathers
Posted: 05/24/2010 03:34:15 PM PDT
Updated: 05/24/2010 03:43:41 PM PDT

 Corporal Rebekah Nelson-Dedafoe, right, presents an American flag previously flown over the United States Headquarters in Iraq, to American Legion Commander, Joe Lazano. Legion members Gene Denny and George Herczak, view the presentation. ( Photo by Dave Denny)

It was like have 50 grandfathers sitting at home worrying about you. Counting off the days until you made it home safely from a 10-month tour of duty in Iraq.
Marine Cpl. Rebekah Dedafoe had never met the members of American Legion Post 581 in San Fernando before she went to Iraq in 2009, but she had become one of them.
Her dad, Pastor Jeffrey Nelson of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Granada Hills, wrote her a letter telling his daughter what the guys from the local American Legion post wanted to do - make her their first woman member.
Was that okay with her, Nelson asked? Absolutely, Rebekah said. She'd be honored.
"We took a photo of her in uniform and put it up on the post wall," Gene Denney says. "Everytime we walked by it, we gave her a salute. She was our only member on active duty.
"We're all World War II and Korean War guys, 50 years or more her senior. Old enough to be her grandfather. We were proud that she was a member of our post.
Proud and worried everytime news reports flashed across their television screens saying there were more US casualties in Iraq today.
Rebekah's 50 grandfathers sat at home praying she wasn't one of them.
"It meant so much to me knowing they were back home thinking of me, praying I'd stay safe," she said Saturday in the parking lot of her dad's church.
"I can't wait to meet and thank them."
In a framed case, Rebekah carried one of the last American flags to fly over Camp Al Taqqudum (cq) in the Al Ambar Province of Iraq where she was stationed for 10 months.
It was her job to help close down the camp and make sure all the supplies were forwarded to camps in Afghanistan where the fighting had shifted. 
The men from American Legion Post 581 gathered around her Saturday as she presented the flag to the post's commander Joe Lozano.
"It's my honor to bring home this flag for you," Rebekah said.
Joe's own granddaughter did two tours of duty in Iraq, so he knew the feeling of welcoming back family.
"Thank you," he said, accepting the flag. "It's going up on the wall in a place of honor, right next to your picture. Welcome home."
With that, Rebekah's grandfathers from American Legion Post 581 began to applaud - the relieved looks on their faces saying the same thing.
She's back. She's safe.
Standing off to the side, Pastor Nelson smiled as the men took turns giving his daughter a hug.
"I can't understand it," he said. "I come from a long line of cowards. I don't know what happened to her."
Next week, Rebeckah and her husband, Cpl. Christopher Dedafoe, report back to duty. She returns to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, while Chris returns to San Diego where he is stationed.
Both have reenlisted for another four years, and the hope is that by the end of this summer, they'll be stationed together.  


Toledo Blade
Driver heeds call to country
Johnson promotes American Legion


Jerick Johnson intends to wheel the No. 76 Freedom Car into the starting grid for today's ARCA race at Toledo Speedway, and part of the push behind him will be the support of the world's largest veteran's organization and the weight of knowing he represents all those that have served this nation.

"Driving the American Legion car is a tremendous honor, and it is also a huge responsibility," Johnson said Friday night, shortly after arriving in Toledo. "You're really visible out there, hoping to bring more recognition to all of the troops and the veterans and also to let people know how important the American Legion is in this country."

Johnson and the No. 76 team made the move into the ARCA Racing Series presented by
RE/MAX and Menards this season after running in the ASA Late
 Model Challenge Series last year, when Johnson won "Rookie of the Year" honors. He also has two ARCA races from the 2002 season on his resume and ran in five NASCAR Busch Series races in 2007.

Johnson didn't get his first look at the Toledo Speedway half-mile oval on Benore Road until yesterday.
"I just hope to get out there and put in some practice laps and get a feel for the place," he said. "We'll talk to some of the veterans who have been there before and gather as much information as we can."
Johnson is 19th in points in the ARCA Series but has competed in just three of the five events to date. He was 22nd at Salem, 15th in Texas, and finished 16th at Talladega. His duty in Toledo will be customarily two-fold - running in the race and working to spread the word about the American Legion. 

 "A lot of our military services sponsor cars, but it's not just about racing - it's about utilizing a powerful marketing tool," Johnson said. "We're trying to get the message out that the American Legion is not just a building or a place. It's an organization that is involved in a lot of good causes. We want to encourage the next generation of members to come join the American Legion." 

Johnson is a member of the Sons of the American Legion, while his father and team owner Jack Johnson is a Legionnaire, and Jerick's mother, Debbie, is an American Legion Auxiliary member.

"The theme of patriotism and service is everywhere," Jerick Johnson said. "Then you get to the track on race day, and there's a prayer, the national anthem, and a military flyover. There's an awful lot of pride involved in this, and I want to make sure we do the best job of representing the people who stand behind this car and this team."

The field for the Menards 200 will present Johnson with considerable challenges, since it is loaded with skilled veterans and talented young drivers.

The starting grid should include nine-time ARCA Series champion Frank Kimmel, NASCAR vet Ken Schrader, current ARCA points leader Justin Marks, and Camping World Truck Series regular Matt Crafton. Kimmel will be making his 30th consecutive start in Toledo Speedway ARCA Series events.

"Toledo has been such a good track for me over the years, and I like short track racing," Kimmel said. "Short track racing goes back to the driver a little more; if the car is off a little bit, you can drive it a little different and make it competitive. It's the type of track I was born and raised running. Toledo is a good place to come racing."

The Toledo Speedway gates open at 11 this morning, but the Fan Fest in the parking lot next to the track gets going a half hour prior to that. The Fan Fest event is free and offers interactive displays and activities and gives racing fans the chance to interact with ARCA officials, drivers, teams, crew members, and sponsors.

There will be an on-track autograph session with all of the drivers from noon until 1:15, with driver introductions at 1:30, and the 200-lap Menards 200 Presented by Federated Car Care race starting at 2 p.m.

Buescher won the pole for today's race by turning the half-mile Toledo Speedway oval in 15.984 seconds (112.867 mph) in yesterday's qualifying. Mikey Kile will start second after posting a 16.106 seconds lap.

NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader qualified third, while Talladega ARCA winner Dakoda Armstrong will start fourth, followed by ARCA points leader Justin Marks. Camping World Truck Series regular Matt Crafton qualified seventh, while 10-time ARCA Series champ Frank Kimmel will start ninth.

Sunday, May 23, 2010



Boy from Afghanistan gets surgery at Michigan State. please click here to view the video of Mohammed.

Friday, May 21, 2010

News from New York State Office of the Governor

For more information contact: Morgan Hook, 518-474-8418/212-681-4640; Division of

Military and Naval Affairs Contact: Eric Durr, 518-786-4581

Governor Paterson Directs Flags to Be Flown at Half-Staff

ALBANY, NY (05/20/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson has directed that flags on New York State government buildings be flown at half-staff on Monday, May 24, in honor of two Fort Drum soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan on May 18.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas P. Belkofer and Lieutenant Colonel Paul R. Bartz were killed when enemy forces attacked their convoy with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. The officers were assigned to Headquarters Battalion of the 10th Mountain Division and lived at Fort Drum with their families.

"I join with all New Yorkers in expressing our sympathy to the family and friends and fellow soldiers of Lt. Col. Thomas Belkofer and Lt. Col. Paul Bartz," Governor Paterson said. "These officers served their country with distinction. We join the Fort Drum community in mourning their loss but we will honor their service to our nation."

Governor Paterson has directed the flags on all State buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor and tribute to our State's service members who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The Washington Post (blog)
Should soldiers get a medal for holding fire?

The idea of issuing a medal for "courageous restraint" may sound like a noble idea, especially during a war where it's often hard to differentiate between combatant and civilian. But when news recently broke that military commanders in Afghanistan were kicking around the idea of honoring those who hold their fire, the reaction from veterans groups was swift and forceful.

In a press release, Clarence E. Hill, the national commander of the American Legion, called the idea "misguided." "The proposal to award medals for holding fire is troubling because it is symptomatic of a growing culture in the military that will punish troops for making split-second decisions while they are expected to defend themselves and their comrades," he said. "This proposal is an insult to our men and women in combat who already do an extraordinary job of exercising restraint. Too much restraint will get our own people killed."

He also said it would imply that those who do "fire their weapons are somehow failing in their mission."

But Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, a military spokesman in Afghanistan, said by email that "there's no proposal for a new medal." He said it was an idea floated by Britian's Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, the commander of Regional Command South.

"The modest backlash by some to this idea -- which was never more than an idea -- as putting our troops at risk kind of misses the point," Sholtis wrote. "By being in a combat zone, our forces are by definition at risk. In this environment, they retain and are expected to exercise the right to defend themselves and their buddies. To say that we should value restraint in potentially dangerous situations is only to promote the ethics our forces have always taken with them to war. That position is not now -- any more than it has been in the past -- incompatible with the right of troops to employ lethal force when circumstances dictate."

So what do you think? Should the military award those who go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This year's Girls Staters from Oswego County will be Samantha Chesnut, Kelsey Darou and Margaret Williams.
SAMANTHA CHESNUT, Mexico High School,
Sponsor is Wm. S. Monaghan Unit 268, Oswego

Samantha Chesnut says, "I believe Empire Girls State is an amazing opportunity to learn about the government, make lasting friendships, and to grow as a person."

KELSEY DAROU, Sandy Creek High School
Sponsored by Pulaski Auxiliary Unit 358, Pulaski

MARGARET WILLIAMS, Pulaski High School
Sponsored by Russell Horning Auxiliary Unit 601, Parish

The three candidates were selected and given an orientation after the dinner at Raymond-Faulkner-Cook American Legion Post 858 in Cleveland. Over 100 attendees enjoyed a buffet meal that was delicious.

Each year last year's attendees are urged to return to give the new candidates a heads-up on what to expect when they get to Girls State. This year only one could make it and that was Olivia Sluzar who attended with her parents. Olivia gave a brief report on her experience. After her comments, Oswego County Girls State Chairman Betty Rowlee presented her with a framed certificate of appreciation from the Oswego County Auxiliary. 

Betty Rowlee presents Certificate to 
2009 Girls Stater Olivia Sluzar


Calling the information provided inside them The American Legion's "collective voice," National Commander Clarence Hill stressed the importance of filling out Consolidated Post Reports during his closing remarks to the National Executive Committee during the Spring Meetings.

"The American Legion needs these reports when we go before Congress and testify about issues facing our veterans and our active-duty military," Hill said. "These consolidated reports help members of Congress realize just how much The American Legion really does for our veterans and the amount of service we provide in our community. They serve as our collective voice. Full participation is critical for us to provide an accurate picture of our achievements and accomplishments."

"We also need to do better in getting our posts to turn in their Consolidated Post Reports," Hill said. "We had a rate of only 59 percent at the end of last year. That simply isn't good enough.

"So far, I have visited 40 departments and 196 posts. I know that our posts are doing wonderful things in their communities, because I've seen it firsthand."

Monday, May 17, 2010


John Hudzina (past commander Post 858) checking out the arrangements

The annual Oswego County Girls and Boys State dinner and orientation was held on Sunday, May 16th at Raymond-Faulkner-Cook Post 858 in Cleveland, NY. Watch for pictures of candidates in the near future. A full menu consisted of roast pork and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and salad. Punch and lemonade was available as well as coffee. Over 100 persons attended and pictures were taken of all candidates for the program.

A short program followed the dinner and this year's candidates heard from last year's attendees as to what to expect at Boys State and Girls State. It is a week-long practical course in government where the teens get to practice politics and run for governor, mayor or judge as well as participate in sports, music and producing a newsletter.

In job and college applications, the attendance at Boys or Girls State carries a lot of weight and can influence whether you are accepted for the position or school. Many presidents of the United States have been Boys Staters in the past.


Eagle Scout of the Year named
The American Legion - May 6, 2010

The American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 2010

Eighteen-year-old Joe Phillips of Fond du Lac, Wis., is The American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 2010. The St. Mary's Springs High School senior will receive a $10,000 college scholarship for the award, announced Wednesday at The American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis.

The award recognizes Phillips' practical citizenship at school, scouting, and his passion and commitment to the U.S. flag and all that it represents. His project included planning, coordinating and executing a community drive for unserviceable U.S. flags, culminating in a formal flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, 2008, at Izaak Walton Conservation Club in Fond du Lac.

He organized, publicized and set up collection points for the three-week drive that resulted in the acquisition of 2,900 flags. Working with The American Legion, he coordinated the formal flag retirement ceremony where U.S Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), State Assemblyman John Townsend and City Manager Tom Herre provided remarks. Phillips enlisted 57people along the way to ensure the success of the project.

Phillips is listed in the Who's Who Among American High School Students, a publication and Web site that earmarks high school students who have excelled in academics, extracurricular activities and community service. A recipient of the Young Adult Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award, he is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the recipient of awards in national speech and drama; history and government; fine arts, mathematics, leadership and service from the United States Achievement Academy.

A member of the Maximillian Singers, a professional young adult song and dance troupe, he performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at Uihlein Hall. The valedictorian of St. Mary's Springs Class of 2010, he plans to pursue a double major in choral and general music education with a minor in theater at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire and eventually obtain a doctorate and become a professor of music.

Phillips has been an Eagle Scout since 2008 and a runner-up in The American Legion's 2009 Eagle Scout of the Year competition.

The American Legion also awarded $2,500 scholarships to Robert B. Rasmussen of Hutchinson, Minn.; Justin R. Knoll of LaPorte, Ind.; and Michael T. Smith of Alpharetta, Ga.


Norwegian blood, U.S. flag
Posted: May 17, 2010
1:00 am Eastern

By John Eidsmoe
WorldNetDaily© 2010 

Today is Syttende Mai, the 105th anniversary of Norwegian independence, the day on which Norway, in Garrison Keillor's words, "threw off the heavy yoke of Swedish oppression."

In truth, the separation was peaceful. After the Norwegian storting (parliament) voted to adopt a constitution, declare independence and secede from Sweden, there was some ill feeling between Norwegians and Swedes, both in Scandinavia and among those who had immigrated to America. But today, except for a little good-natured kidding and rivalry, relations between Norwegians and Swedes are very cordial.

In some parts of this country, especially the upper Midwest, people will celebrate Norwegian Independence Day. That is part of my own heritage, as my great-grandfather Amund Eidsmoe emigrated from Norway in 1852. Traveling to Wisconsin, they endured a disaster on Lake Erie when another ship collided with theirs. About 300 people drowned, but as Amund wrote, "My wife and children and I were miraculously saved; although swept into the water as the ship sank, with much swimming around with my wife and children on my back, we were picked up by the other ship. When I discovered that my family was alive, I was full of joy, as if I had become the richest man in the world, despite the fact that we had lost all of our goods." (Anthropologists say every society has a flood tradition in its history; I guess that's ours.)

Instead of applying for a stimulus package, Amund went to work. At age 87 he wrote that a school was organized in Wisconsin.

"I was the first teacher and taught for four years. After I had been in America six years I was elected justice of the peace and held this office for 28 years. I was also in this time town treasurer for two years, town clerk for three years and 'Norsk-lokker' [reader of scripture in Lutheran church services], together with many other small offices, so I have had plenty of business. But farming has been my mainstay, and for my living, it paid best." He wrote further, "I thank God earnestly for his care over me so far. If he has laid a burden on me he has also, fatherly, helped me to carry it. If I could prepare myself for a blessed departure from this world and my passing away be as my dear wife's, my wish would be fulfilled. God help me. Amen."

As a past president of the Sons of Norway chapter in Grand Forks, N.D., now living in Alabama, I will quietly celebrate Syttende Mai. I may even wear my lapel pin with the American and Norwegian flags crossed.

But I will not fly the Norwegian flag above the American flag, and I will not fly the American flag upside down.

I will not insist that people salute the Norwegian flag, and I will not demand that anyone who is so "insensitive" as to wear an American flag in my presence be sent home.

I will not demand that Norwegians be given immediate American citizenship (unlike my great-grandfather, Amund Eidsmoe, who acquired his citizenship in the usual painstaking way).
I will not demand that people learn to speak Norwegian so they can communicate with me. (Thankfully, Amund required his 10 children to learn English.)

I served in the United States Air Force for 23 years, and now, as then, Old Glory and Old Glory alone waves on the flagpole of our rural Alabama home.

I'm proud of my Norse heritage. But I will not even demand that the Norwegian and American flags be given equal status because I recognize something that many seem to have forgotten: This isn't Norway. This isn't Mexico. This is America.

And I thank God for allowing me to live in the greatest country on Earth.

( Lt. Col. John Eidsmoe is counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery, Ala., and a pastor with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.)


Monday, May 17, 2010
A new kind of battle tests wounded veterans

 (Generic photo - not Marc Esposito)


An Afghan insurgent's homemade bomb shattered Marc Esposito's lower legs, broke his back and knocked him cold for four days. But the Air Force staff sergeant says the worst part was being torn from his Special Operations teammates who stayed in the field after he was evacuated.

A year later, Sgt. Esposito said, he's found a new team fighting a different kind of battle — the U.S. military's first Warrior Games for wounded servicemen and women at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

"Just like you would in a wartime scenario or a battlefield, you want to get back into play," Sgt. Esposito said Wednesday before winning his preliminary heat in the 50-meter freestyle swimming competition. "This is a new battlefield, really. It's a friendly battlefield — no one's getting hurt, no one's in a war, but we're competing with each other."

Sgt. Esposito, 26, from Cameron, N.C., was among nearly 190 servicemen and women who competed in the Warrior Games last week. Some used wheelchairs or artificial legs and others have scars from shrapnel or burns. Some, like Sgt. Esposito, have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Some have left the military but others are still active duty.

Coached by trainers from the military and the U.S. Olympic Committee's Paraylmpics division, they competed in cycling, volleyball, shooting, archery, track and field, and basketball as well as swimming.

They say the competition renews their sense of brotherhood, gives them goals and motivation and keeps them healthy. For many, it's an invigorating alternative to the anger, listlessness or depression that can settle in after a life-changing injury.

"You had some sort of a plan for your life at some point, and now it's like somebody threw a big wrench in the cog, and now you've got to figure out how to pull that wrench out and how to straighten that cog up so that you can move on with your life and do something different," said Marine Sgt. Michael Blair, who suffered serious knee injuries along with mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder from a mine in Iraq in 2006.

"Every one of us, I believe, goes through that where we're [mad] because we can't be with our boys, we can't be with our brothers. We're angry because we can't take the fight back to the enemy who got us," Sgt. Blair said.

With the anger comes emotional strain, partly because of the constant medication for pain and infections. "There's just a whole lot of psychological stuff that goes on," he said.

Sgt. Blair, 35, from Dallas, said things began to turn around for him about two years ago when he took up kayaking and again felt the physical exhilaration that exercise can bring, along with an emotional release.

"That's really what turned all that emotional stuff around for me," said Sgt. Blair, who competed in hand cycling and basketball at the Warrior Games.

For Bradley Walker, a 29-year-old ex-Marine from White Pine, Tenn., the Warrior Games are a chance to fold into the Marine Corps' tight-knit brotherhood again.

"As soon as you meet another Marine, its like you have that instant connection," said Mr. Walker, who lost his lower legs to an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2006. "I'm enjoying it immensely."

Mr. Walker competed in sitting volleyball, sitting shot put and hand cycling.

Sgt. Esposito said being in the company of highly motivated athletes is a kind of medicine on its own.

"Its a very contagious thing. It just spreads. That motivation's what's going to get you better," he said.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


USS Cole survivor finds his future in the wrestling ring
By Erik Slavin, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Thursday, May 13, 2010

Courtesy of Jesse Neal
Jesse Neal, as a sailor in 1998.

Courtesy of TNA Wrestling
Wrestling star Jesse Neal greets fans at a recent event.

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Jesse Neal heard the fans shouting his name after a frenzied night of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
The former sailor had come a long way in the more than nine years since his ship, the destroyer USS Cole, was attacked by terrorist bombers in Yemen.
On this February night, fans gathered around the six-sided ring at Old Dominion University’s Constant Center in Norfolk, Va., hoping for an autograph, or just an acknowledgment, from the wrestler.
Neal scanned the crowd, doing a double-take when he spotted his friends Tyrone McNeil, Bill Kramer and Matt Sanders.
“Oh my God, you guys came!” Neal said.
To the fans surrounding him, Neal was the wild man of the ring from Spike TV on Thursday nights — billed as 6-foot, 240 pounds, with a punk black Mohawk, piercings and ominous tribal tattoos.
But within that circle of friends, Jesse Neal was Pretty Boy Neal, the name McNeil gave him when they all served aboard the USS Cole 10 years ago.
“It was like five seconds had passed,” McNeil said. “For the first time in my life, I understood the way the older vets are, where they have that brotherhood bond, that look in their eye that says, ‘We were all there.’ ”
As Neal’s star rises as a pro wrestler, he says he will never forget what motivates him — and what has kept him from succumbing to a cycle of despair common to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. On his right forearm, among the tattoos that snake along his muscled upper back and shoulders, are the initials of best friend Marc Nieto, one of 17 sailors killed in the attack on the Cole.

The explosion

On Oct. 12, 2000, at 11:18 a.m., an explosion slung Neal out of his sleeping rack and against the metal wall. A sailor in another rack fell on top of him.
Two men aboard an explosive-laden boat in the Yemen’s Port of Aden had blown themselves up alongside the Cole.
The impact blew a 40-foot hole through the ship’s mess hall during lunchtime, turning the ship’s midsection into a tangled mass of crumpled steel, spattered fuel and broken machinery.
As the ship listed to its left, Neal threw on his coveralls and rushed toward the mess hall. Thick smoke blotted out nearly everything in front of him, but not the smells of singed wiring nor the sounds of his injured crew mates.
Fifteen men and two women died aboard Cole. Neal did not know until later that night that one of the dead was Nieto, who had been eating in the mess hall.
Neal had to break the news to Nieto’s fiancee, Jaimie Deguzman, also a crew member.
While Neal helped carry Nieto’s body off the ship, Neal’s Bulova watch got caught on the handle of the body bag.
Neal still has that watch — a Christmas gift from his father — but he never got it fixed. It remains a symbol, he says, of things that will always be broken.

In the ring

After the Cole’s sailors returned to Norfolk, each dealt with the tragedy as best they could. Many developed quick tempers or drank too much, Neal said.
He didn’t fall quite that far, but those who knew him say his personality changed.
“He was definitely a jokester on the ship,” said Kris Dettloff, a close friend of Neal and Nieto. “After the bombing, he kind of shut himself off. He wasn’t his normal, cheery self for sure.”
Neal was diagnosed with PTSD. He got counseling, but says he didn’t feel like it helped.
“Ten years and it hurts like it was still yesterday,” Neal said. “Some nights are worse than others, but the majority of nights I still lie awake. I still relive it when I close my eyes.”
Neal spent about a year on shore duty before leaving the Navy in 2002 and returning to his home in Orlando, Fla.
He thought about becoming a firefighter, but that never happened. He took a series of odd jobs.
In 2007, he was sitting in a parking lot with a couple of guys at the Blue Martini, where he worked as a bouncer. He began thinking about his life and about Nieto.
“What the hell am I doing here?” Neal remembers thinking. “This isn’t me. This wouldn’t make Marc happy, because I know I’m not happy. I need to do something huge to make up for that.”
Soon after, Neal found the Team 3D Academy of Professional Wrestling in nearby Kissimmee, Fla.
He met Brother Ray and Brother Devon, two wrestlers he idolized while growing up.
“Right there on that first day, I knew I was home,” Neal said.
He spent a year at the academy and then traveled along the independent circuit, where he wrestled in front of small-town crowds.
Ninety-nine percent of professional wrestlers never make it big. Neal knew the odds, but he also had his supporters at the academy — and those supporters had connections.
When TNA Wrestling president Dixie Carter heard Neal’s tragic tale, she thought someone had made it up as a wrestling storyline.
“Then I met him and he was the sweetest, most humble kid. And I realized it was all true,” said Carter by phone from her home in Nashville, Tenn.
TNA signed Neal to a contract in 2009. He became popular after a few appearances on the televised “TNA iMPACT!” shows.
“There are two ways that can happen: You write a story that makes it happen and forces fans to either cheer or boo,” Carter said. “In his case it happened organically. Fans saw something about him and really gravitated to him in a short period of time. ... It’s really something special.”
As part of Ink Inc., Neal is now a contender for TNA’s tag-team title. Sometimes the 30-year-old can’t believe he gets to wrestle in the big leagues.
“I was that little kid watching them, just wishing I could shake their hands,” Neal said. “Now I’m going to be beating their asses for the belt.”
Looking back, moving on

Friends like McNeil said they will make sure Neal stays grounded. After the show in Norfolk, they all went out for dinner and then hung out for a few hours. They remembered the good times and invited Neal to the annual USS Cole reunion in October.
Neal plans to go for the first time, and his friends say it will be good to have Pretty Boy back in the fold.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of him for not letting a bad situation control his life and define who he is,” McNeil said. “Too many people go down a dark path and let their past rule their future. That to me is what’s most amazing about it. Not that he’s a wrestler, but that’s he’s been able to use what happened to him in a positive way.


Baxter Bulletin
Don't Overlook The True Heroes

For the past few years, an e-mail surfaces every so often taking the media to task for overlooking the funeral of Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who jumped on a hand grenade to save the lives of his team in Iraq. At the funeral, fellow SEALs slapped their trident insignias into the lid of his casket in recognition of their fallen comrade's bravery.

While a few details, such as Mr. Monsoor's rank, aren't completely accurate, on the whole the e-mail is correct in detailing his heroism. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions. And, truth be told, until the e-mail surfaced we weren't aware of his story. We checked the wire services and the Internet for information, however, as a news item it's a little late since Mr. Monsoor's funeral was in 2006. Still, the story of his bravery should be remembered.

In fact, the heroism of our military men and women should be acknowledged by the national media (no doubt local media provides coverage of hometown heroes) so the nation is aware of them and what they've done in service to America. A story on one of the news channels about an upcoming biography about Lt. Michael P. Murphy, also a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient, started us thinking about the real heroes of the war on terror.

Mr. Murphy is distinguished by being the first SEAL to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War and the first recipient of the nation's highest military honor for valor in Afghanistan. Including Mr. Murphy and Mr. Monsoor, a total of six servicemen have received the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All six Medals of Honor were awarded posthumously. Four recipients were younger than 30.

During wars of the previous century, when someone received the Medal of Honor they got national attention. They were front-page news. School children knew their names. There were parades and ceremonies in their honor. During World War II, living recipients were called upon to help with the war effort on the home front through bond drives, too.

Now a Medal of Honor recipient may be front-page news in a hometown newspaper, but is more likely to be far down the story agenda of wire services and news outlets. Even with 24/7 news channels, a 30-second spot on a news broadcast is the most likely television coverage.

Beyond the Medal of Honor, what about those in military service who have received other honors of distinction? How often do we hear about those awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, other medals recognizing their service and sacrifice? Why isn't the public made more aware of these genuine heroes?

There is plenty of space and airtime for "celebrities" and gossip and falderal, yet little attention for those in harm's way. The public fawns over cinematic make-believe heroes, yet know little about genuine, real-life heroes.

It appears the national media has overlooked the heroes of the war on terror, or at least given them short shrift. There could be any number of reasons, such as an overall "out of sight, out of mind" attitude about the war, for this. Certainly it's not because heroes are out of style considering the coverage given people such as Capt. Sully who piloted the jetliner that crash landed in the Hudson River, or Wesley Autrey, the "Subway Hero" who saved a man who'd fallen on a subway train track in New York City.

Whatever the reason, we hope the national media, the wire services and the cable news channels will find some space and time to recognize those who give their all for their country, for freedom, and for their comrades.

For the record, the six Medal of Honor recipients in the war on terror are:

·      Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, U.S. Army, Iraq
·      Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, U.S. Marine Corps, Iraq
·      Lt. Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy, Afghanistan
·      Master-at-Arms Michael A. Monsoor, U.S. Navy, Iraq
·      Pvt. 1st Class Ross A. McGinnis, U.S. Army, Iraq
·      Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti, U.S. Army, Afghanistan.


Torch is lit on inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado
By Megan McCloskey, Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes online edition, Tuesday, May 11, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Many of them know each other from the halls of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

They might have rehabbed together. Or cheered each other on when they learned to run again.

This week the wounded soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are representing their service as athletes.
About 200 servicemembers with mostly combat-related injuries are participating in the inaugural Warrior Games, a Paralympics-style competition where the services compete against each other in events such as sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, shooting and swimming.

Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, head of the Army’s Warrior Transition Command, conceived the Games and has said he thinks injured servicemembers need to be pushed hard to set goals and constantly be moving forward.

Competition is a great motivator.

“Sports gives you a chance to focus on something else besides your injury,” said Army Sgt. Robert Price.
Price, who lost his right leg below the knee to an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007, said it was adaptive sports that kept him in the Army. Now he’s a noncommissioned officer with a Wounded Warrior Battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

“I’ve been way up and down in the dumps and then back up again,” he said. “Now I’m just riding a nice plateau.”

The weeklong event kicked off Monday night in Olympic fashion with an opening ceremony.
A soldier passed a torch to a Marine who handed it off to a sailor who in turn gave it to an airman who passed it to a Coast Guardsman. Then Hall of Fame quarterback and Naval Academy graduate Roger Staubach took the flame the rest of the way to light the torch at the entrance of the Olympic Training

Complex where the Games are taking place.

Servicemembers with physical or mental injuries were eligible to participate.

“I wanted to try what’s next. And this is what’s next,” said retired Master Chief Petty Officer Will Wilson, who lost his right leg below the knee in an accident on the USS Enterprise during his fourth tour in the Middle East. “We’re re-engaging in sport and finding out who we are again.”

Most of the athletes said they are excited to be back in a team environment.

Oklahoma National Guard Sgt. Kisha Mackerney, who lost part of her left leg in a motorcycle accident shortly after returning from her first tour in Iraq, said the Games offered camaraderie that wounded servicemembers crave.

“I’m not trying to be all inspirational, but they’re all like your soul mates, I guess,” she said.
Still, in a classic display of interservice rivalry, the sergeant, who deployed again after her amputation, said she was also looking forward to “kicking some Marine butt.”


Still at No. 54: Please vote today

The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund is back to 54th place this morning after a brief move to 52nd place yesterday.  Please vote today and everyday in the Pepsi Refresh grant competition.  Ask others to join us and vote daily:

Sunday, May 9, 2010


PLANS are underway for a


at Horning-Fournier Post 418 in Phoenix, NY. We have a storage area where you may bring any items you would like to donate as you do your spring cleaning.

The sale will run from 8 AM until 4 PM on Saturday AUGUST 14th and refreshments will be available such as hot dogs, coneys, hamburgers, etc. 

Come on down and search through the treasures on hand.

 Sunday AUGUST 15th

will be our second annual CAR SHOW and BREAKFAST. 
More details as they become available.


COMING JUNE 13, 2010.....

 WIN A MEAT PACK worth $100, 
or $75, or $50
Tickets are just $5 each

or you may take the worth
of the meat pack in a
gift certificate to be used
for whatever you wish
at the store.

MEAT PACKS provided by
Oswego, NY
Drawing will be held

at Horning-Fournier Post 418

You do not have to be present for the drawing..
You will be notified if you are a winner.  

Inquire at the Post for tickets 



Sunday, May 23 - Joint Installation Ceremony and Dinner. All groups - Auxiliary, Juniors, Legion and Sons of the American Legion will meet for their annual dinner and installation ceremony at the post in Phoenix at 5 PM. Yankee Pot Roast is the meal complete with veggies and drinks. All officers are required to be present for the ceremony. Please mark this date on your calendar and attend.

Thursday May 27 - Sons of the American Legion Squadron 418, Phoenix, will serve spare ribs with salt potatoes, applesauce, baked beans plus much more at 4 PM.

Sunday May 30 - Post 418 will hold their Memorial Day Service at the Post at 9 AM.

Monday May 31 - Post 418 will meet at the Post at 9 AM to prepare for the Memorial Day parade. 

Sunday June 13 - OPEN HOUSE - Members of Auxiliary, Legion and Sons of the American Legion will be on hand to tell what they are doing to help the veterans and to invite eligible veterans to join our group. There will be food and drink available and much more. We will have brochures and hand-outs for potential members.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

VIMs Now Called PUFLs

VIMs Now Called PUFLs
In the past, lifetime members of the American Legion Auxiliary were sometimes referred to as VIMs, an acronym for Very Important Members. In order to be consistent with the original NEC resolution for this program, these members will now be identified as Paid-Up-For-Life (PUFL) members. "We're not changing the name; we're simply calling the program by the name specified in the resolution," said National Treasurer Marta Hedding. "The name 'VIMs' was questioned in a recent survey, and as many members pointed out, every member is important."

Monday, May 3, 2010


 The American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund is competing for a $250,000 grant to be awarded by the Pepsi Beverage Company as part of its Refresh Everything Project this month. The winning charities are determined by the amount of votes received on the Refresh Everything Web site. The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors finished in first place during February's voting and has already been awarded the top grant of $250,000.

"I was very proud of those who supported us in February and enabled us to fund a program that directly supports our wounded heroes," National Commander Clarence Hill said. "Now it's time to come to the aid of another group of deserving people: those whose parents paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives while serving in our military during the war on terrorism. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund ensures that the children of these fallen heroes will be able to attend college and not have to worry about the rising cost of higher education. We can support the children of these heroes simply by voting every day throughout the month of May. The process will cost you nothing, but the reward can truly make a difference."

About The American Legion Legacy Scholarship

Goals - To provide scholarships to students whose parent died in the service

The American Legion is the largest not-for-profit wartime veterans service organization, federally chartered by congress in 1919. Through its various charitable programs, the main focus of The Legion is to Improve the quality of life for our veterans, active duty personnel, and their families.


The American Legion Legacy Scholarship benefits college-bound students whose mom or dad lost their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Forces since 9/11. As college tuition and expenses continue to increase it becomes increasingly difficult for a single parent to afford. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship provides assistance with the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board.

Estimates are that over 10,000 children have lost a parent in the US Military since 9/11. This number will continue to rise as more children graduate from high school. Funds from the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project will allow The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund to help meet this increasing need by providing assistance to deserving students. The American Legion and The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund will be there to help fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan…”

To vote for the American Legion Legacy scholarship program, click here.

How will the 250K be Used?

$ 110,000 scholarships awarded for the Fall 2010 semester

$ 110,000 scholarships to be awarded for the Spring 2011 semester

$ 30,000 will be used to promote the availability of additional scholarships

Budget Notes: The American Legion will cover the administrative costs so that all the money will go for scholarships.