By: Gar Williams, Department Commander
Congratulations are in order for Col. Akam, Brigade Commander of the United States Army Recruiting Command and National Commander Dave Rehbein. Col Akam recently uncovered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), between the US Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), and the American Legion in Nebraska. The long unused MOU called for cooperation between USAREC and the Legion in several areas, with the legion and auxiliary mentoring future soldiers that were having difficulty with academic requirements, and recruiters assisting the local legion post with their activities.
Col. AKAM revised the MOU and sent it up his chain of command. On February 26th, the Commanding General of USAREC, LTG Benjamin Freakley and National Commander Dave Rehbein signed a new agreement on behalf of both organizations.
The MOU provides the Legion and USAREC with some very powerful tools we can use to improve the perception of the American Legion in our communities. The legion will have the ability to meet future soldiers and their families so that we can provide them with information on the programs we have available for them, Blue Star Banners, answering questions about the military, Family Support Network, Children and Youth Programs are just a few of the opportunities which we can utilize to be recognized in the community as a supporter of our service men and women.
We forged a very strong working relationship with the Denver Recruiting Battalion at our Mid Winter Conference. The MOU will serve to strengthen that relationship.
I am asking all American Legion Posts to become involved in Operation Reconnect or in this case Operation Connect, by welcoming new recruiters into your post and community. These soldiers are serving America away from the normal military support network, and it’s our duty to help them join our communities by helping them to get settled in the community, and being their “first friends in a new community.” Little things, like which daycare center can take their children, where the good restaurants are, where to get their car serviced or buy groceries, can be daunting tasks for a person new to the community.
The Denver Recruiting Battalion, which covers all of Colorado and local recruiters, will work closely with the American Legion to support and assist with legion projects in the community, military displays, color guards and support at special events.
The American Legion has developed a Certificate of Recognition, which can be downloaded from the Internet and printed for active duty members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
Headquarters will prepare these certificates for all the members of the Denver Recruiting Battalion; the certificates will be mailed to the posts where there are Recruiting Stations. The posts are requested to then present the certificates to their local Army recruiters; this is an excellent opportunity for the post to meet these soldiers and invite them to become active members of the American Legion Family.
Presentation of these certificates provides your post with an excellent opportunity to contact the local media for some publicity and recognition in the community. Additional public relations opportunities are available when presenting Certificates of Recognition to a local fire fighter, police officer, Eagle Scout or a business that displays the POW or American flag every day.
Its time for all of us to get out of the post and into the community, where the American Legion can be recognized for what we do.