Notes from Legion College

—-The American Legion celebrates its 100th anniversary between August 2018 and November 2019. Thousands of state and local activities are planned to honor the organization’s first century of service. The motto of the centennial program is “Legacy & Vision” to concentrate both on the organization’s many accomplishments of the past and its mission of the future as the post-9/11 generation of veterans assumes leadership. The 100th American Legion National Convention is scheduled for the location of the first national convention, in Minneapolis. The 101st American Legion National Convention is set for Indianapolis, home of American Legion National Headquarters.

Organization Flow

The American Legion primarily consists of three separate but interconnected entities: posts, state departments and a national headquarters. Departments have authority to create and charter intermediate groups, which may be referred to as districts, counties, divisions or zones, between the posts and department. In no event may they invade the prerogatives vested with in the post, department or national organization.

At the post level, committees typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Americanism
  • Children & Youth
  • Education and Employment
  • Finance
  • House
  • Legislative
  • Membership & Post Activities
  • Public Relations
  • Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation
  • Security
  • Graves Registration
  • Sons of The American Legion

Post committees report and recommend directives to elected post officers who then report and recommend directives to the Post Executive Committee.

The Post Executive Committee reports to, works with, and provides directives to the Post Commander, an elected officer, and the Post Adjutant, an appointed officer, and to the post as a whole.

Posts provide information and coordinate efforts with District/County leadership.

District/County officers, such as district commanders and district executive committees, coordinate, inform and work with posts in specific geographic regions. They then inform and coordinate with Department Headquarters.

Departments, also composed of committees and officers, coordinate and work with National Headquarters, which also consists of commissions and committees with specific roles and purposes, an elected national commander and vice commanders, and appointed officers. The National Executive Committee (NEC) is the equivalent to a board of directors of the national organization. The NEC and the National Convention (similar to a stockholders meeting) are uniquely responsible for national resolutions decisions.

At the post level, chairmen are more commonly assigned to run programs, like Membership, Boys State, Oratorical Contest or American Legion Baseball, depending on the size and interests of the post.

Every year, posts present American Legion School Award medals to thousands of boys and girls in graduating classes of elementary, junior high and senior high schools. Winners are chosen based on the qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service. Post committees work with schools to select award recipients and present the medals.

Military families call the toll-free FSN number, 1-800-504-4098, or ask for assistance online at Requests are referred to the department, which in turn refers calls to local American Legion posts. The posts contact the families and, if able, provide assistance. If a post is unable to help, it refers the family to other local agencies. In cases of financial need, the post provides the necessary funds or helps the family apply for Temporary Financial Assistance if minor children are in the home.

which is the most important attribute of The American legion when it meets with top leaders in Washington?: Membership is the lifeblood of the organization. When the Legion delivers a message on Capitol Hill, it does so on behalf of nearly 3.5 million members of The American Legion family.

The American Legion Magazine is the largest publication for veterans, with a readership of over 3 million per month.

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