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Full text of "Proceedings of the ... annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (summary of minutes)"

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Y 1.1/2:SERIAL 14647 

United States Congressional S 







106th Congress, 2d Session House Document 106-245 



PROCEEDINGS 

of the 

99TH NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE 

VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS 

OF THE UNITED STATES 

[SUMMARY OF MINUTES] 



San Antonio, Texas 
August 29-September 4, 1998 



May 23, 2000.— Referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and 
ordered to be printed 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
64-531 WASHINGTON : 2000 



U.S. CODE, TITLE 44, SECTION 1 332 

NATIONAL ENCAMPMENTS OF VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS; PROCEEDINGS 
PRINTED ANNUALLY FOR CONGRESS 

The proceedings of the national encampments of the United Spanish 
War Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the 
American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Veterans of 
World War I of the United States, Incorporated, the Disabled American 
Veterans, and the AMVETS (American Veterans of World War II), respec- 
tively, shall be printed annually, with accompanying illustrations, as sepa- 
rate House documents of the session of the Congress to which they may be 
submitted. 
[Approved October 2, 1968.] 



LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL 

VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI 

December, 1998 



Honorable Dennis Hastert, 

The Speaker U.S. House of Representatives 

Washington, D.C. 20515 

DEAR MR. SPEAKER: In conformance with the provisions of Public Law No. 620, 
90th Congress, approved October 22, 1968, I am transmitting to you herewith the 
proceedings of the 99th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States, held in San Antonio, Texas August 29 - September 4, 1998, 
which is submitted for printing as a House document. 
Sincerely, 




LARRY W./RIVERS 
Adjutant General 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAQ£ 

ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE 
SUNDAY. AUGUST 30. 1998 ^ 

Advance of Colors 1 

Pledge of Allegiance. 1 

Invocation 1 

In Memoriam 2 

Introduction of Speaker 2 

Memorial Address - - 3 

Introduction of Chaplain Billy Tate, 

Texas State Chapel of Four Chaplains 6 

Presentation of the Chapel of Four 
Chaplains, Legion of Honor Bronze 

Medallion 6 

Benediction 8 

Retiring of Colors 8 

JOINT OPENING SESSION 
MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 1998 

Call to Order 9 

Advancement of Colors 9 

Invocation - - 9 

Video Presentation 10 

Introduction of Commander-in-Chief Moon 10 

Remarks by Commander-in-Chief Moon 11 

Introduction - The Honorable Howard W. Peak, 

Mayor, City of San Antonio 13 

Greetings - The Honorable Howard W. Peak, 

Mayor, City of San Antonio 13 

Introduction - The Honorable George W. Bush, 

Governor of Texas - - 14 

Greetings - The Honorable George W. Bush, 

Governor of Texas 14 

Introduction - The Honorable Kay Bailey 

Hutchinson, United States Senator - Texas - 15 

Greetings -The Honorable Kay Bailey 

Hutchinson, United States Senator - Texas 16 

Presentation of American Flag Sets 18 

Presentation of Awards to 1998 All American 

Department Commanders - - 18 



IV 



Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation 

to the 98th National Convention Committee 19 

Introduction - General Lloyd W. Newton, 
Commander, Air Education and Training, 

Randolph Air Force Base, Texas 20 

Remarks - General Lloyd W. Newton 20 

Presentation of VFW Gold Medal of Merit and 
Citation to Ladies Auxiliary President, 

Connie Atkinson -- 24 

Response - Ladies Auxiliary President, 

Connie Atkinson - 24 

Presentation of Youth Essay Contest Winner, 

Heather R. Hull 25 

Youth Essay Contest Winner - 

Heather R. Hull 25 

Presentation of Eagle and Savings Bond by 

Commander-in-Chief Moon 26 

Introduction of Jeff Golimowski - 1998 

National Voice of Democracy Winner 26 

Voice of Democracy Winner - Jeff Golimowski 27 

Presentation of Eagle to VOD Winner 

Jeff Golimowski 28 

Introduction of General Yang Ting-yun, 

Chairman, Veterans Affairs Commission - 29 

Response - General Yang Ting-yun 29 

Introduction of Keynote Speaker - 
The Honorable Paul Wellstone, 

United States Senator - Minnesota 31 

Response by Senator Paul Wellstone 32 

Introduction of Helen Putnam Blackwell 40 

Introduction of Lawrence Alexander, Supreme 

Commander, Military Order of the Cootie 40 

Remarks by MOC Supreme Commander Lawrence Alexander 40 

RECESS - - - 41 

FIRST BUSINESS SESSION 

MONDAY AFTERNOON, AUGUST 31, 1998 

Call to Order - - - - - 41 

Invocation 42 

Salute to the Colors and Pledge of 

Allegiance - 42 

Report of Committee on Convention Rules - -42 

Report of Credentials Committee 45 

Report of the Committee on National By-Laws, 

Manual of Procedure and Ritual - 45 



V 



Report of Committee on National Security 

and Foreign Affairs 64 

Report of Subcommittee on POW/MIA 64 

RECESS 72 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS BANQUET 
AUGUST 31, 1998 

Welcome 73 

National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance 73 

Invocation 73 

Introduction of Commander-in-Chief - 73 

Remarks by Commander-in-Chief Moon - 74 

Presentation of VFW Commander-in-Chief Special Award 75 

Response - The Honorable James A. Endicott, Jr. 76 

Presentation of VFW Americanism Award 77 

Response - The Honorable Gerald B. Solomon 78 

Introduction of General Barry R. McCaffrey 81 

Principal Address - General Barry McCaffrey 81 

RECESS 86 

SECOND BUSINESS SESSION 

TUESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 1, 1998 

Call to Order - - -87 

Opening Prayer - 87 

Salute to the Colors 87 

Report of Credentials Committee 87 

Presentation of VFW News Media Award, Gold 

Medal and Citation 88 

Response - Mr. Ken Hamblin - - 89 

Introduction of Major General John P. Herri ing, USA (Ret.) 90 

Remarks - Major General John P. Herri ing, USA (Ret.) - - 91 

Report of Committee on Finance and Internal 

Organization - 93 

Introduction of Lieutenant Claude Kicklighter, USA (Ret.) 101 

Remarks - Lieutenant General Claude M. Kicklighter 101 

Introduction of Patrick J. Mulvey, CEO, the 

Military Channel - 106 

Remarks - Mr. Patrick J. Mulvey - 106 

Introduction of Sergeant Russell R. Rieke, Jr. 107 

Remarks - Sergeant Russell R. Rieke, Jr. 108 

Introduction - Mr. Mark Titlebaum, IDT Corporation 108 

Remarks - Mr. Mark Titlebaum of IDT Corporation 109 

Report of Committee on Finance and Internal 

Organization (Cont'd.) 109 



VI 



Introduction -The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr., 

Secretary, Veterans Affairs 1 22 

Address by The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. 1 23 

Presentation of Award by the PAC to 

Commander-in-Chief Moon 1 30 

Insurance Drawings 131 

Salute to the Colors - -131 

Benediction - - 131 

RECESS - 131 

THIRD BUSINESS SESSION 

WEDNESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 2, 1998 

Call to Order - - 1 31 

Salute to the Colors 131 

Pledge of Allegiance 131 

Opening Prayer - - 131 

Report of Credentials Committee - 1 32 

Presentation of the VFW Armed Forces Award, 

Gold Medal and Citation - - 1 32 

Response - General Edward Philbin -1 33 

Report of Committee on Veterans Service Resolutions 1 33 

Presentation of VFW James E. Van Zandt 

Citizenship Award, Gold Medal and Citation -134 

Response - General Wilma Vaught 1 35 

Presentation of the VFW Hall of Fame Award, 

Gold Medal and Citation - - 1 38 

Response - Mr. Dennis Franz - 1 39 

Presentation of Commander-in-Chief's Gold 

Medal and Citation to Dr. Samuel Lin 139 

Response - Dr. Samuel Lin 1 40 

Presentation of VFW Distinguished Service 

Medal and Citation to Joseph Ross 1 41 

Response - Comrade Joseph Ross 1 42 

Report of Committee on Veterans Service 

Resolutions (Cont'd.) 1 42 

Introduction of The Honorable Marcy Kaptur 147 

Address - The Honorable Marcy Kaptur - 147 

Report of Committee on Veterans Service Resolutions (Cont'd.) 151 

Report of Committee on General Resolutions - 155 

Presentation of VFW Distinguished Service 

Medal and Citation to Past Commander-in-Chief James E. Nier 160 

Response - Past Commander-in-Chief James E. Nier 161 

National Marching Units and Parade Committee Winners — - - -161 

Insurance Drawings - - 1 62 

Salute to the Colors 1 62 



VII 



Benediction - - 162 

RECESS 1 62 

FOURTH BUSINESS SESSION 

THURSDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 3, 1998 

Call to Order - -1 63 

Salute to Colors and Pledge of Allegiance 1 63 

Opening Prayer - 1 63 

Report of Credentials Committee 1 63 

Presentation of VFW Emergency Services Award, 

Gold Medal and Citation to Captain Gregory Rogers 163 

Response - Captain Gregory Rogers - 164 

Presentation of VFW J. Edgar Hoover Award, 

Gold Medal and Citation to Officer Frank F. Rizzuto 166 

Response - Officer Frank F. Rizzuto 166 

Presentation of James C. Gates Distinguished 

Service Award to Mr. Richard C. Wormwood 168 

Response - Mr. Richard C. Wormwood 168 

Presentation of National Large Employer of 

the Year Award - 1 70 

Response - Mr. Monte B. Johnson 1 70 

Presentation of National Small Employer of 

the Year Award - 171 

Response - Mr. Paul D. Stelzner -172 

Presentation of the National Local Office 

of the Public Employment Service Award 1 73 

Response - Mr. Sal Cantu 173 

Presentation of Outstanding VA Health-Care 

Provider of the Year Award 1 74 

Response - Mrs. Judy Hamilton 1 75 

Presentation of Outstanding Community 

Health-Care Provider of the Year Award 175 

Response - Mrs. Catherine O'Dougherty 1 76 

Presentation of Outstanding Volunteer of 

the Year Award - - 177 

Response - Mr. Charles Napier - - - 1 77 

Introduction of Mr. Jim Chancellor - 1 78 

Presentation - Mr. Jim Chancellor 1 78 

Presentation of Distinguished Service MedalX 

and Citation to George F. Sarver - - 1 81 

Response - Comrade George F. Sarver - 182 

Introduction of Past Commanders-in-Chief 184 

Presentation of Gold Medal of Merit and Citation 185 

Response - Adjutant General Rivers --185 

Introduction of Ladies Auxiliary 

National President Connie Atkinson 1 87 

VIII 



Remarks - National Ladies Auxiliary 

President Atkinson 1 88 

Visit of National Home Representatives - - - 190 

Remarks by President of the National Home 190 

Remarks by 1998 Buddy Poppy Child - Tyler Willett 191 

Remarks by Executive Director Shoultz - - 192 

Introduction of Sergeants-at-Arms 193 

Nomination of Officers 1 94 

Nomination of Commander-in-Chief 194 

Nomination of Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief 195 

Nomination of Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief 197 

Nomination of Quartermaster General 200 

Nomination of Judge Advocate General. 201 

Nomination of Surgeon General 202 

Nomination of National Chaplain 204 

Closing Ceremonies - 204 

RECESS 204 

FIFTH BUSINESS SESSION 
SEPTEMBER 4, 1998 

Call to Order - 205 

Salute to the Colors 205 

Pledge of Allegiance 205 

Opening Prayer 205 

Presentation of Commander-in-Chief's Gold 

Medal and Citation to General Thomas A. Schwartz 205 

Response - General Thomas A. Schwartz 206 

Final Report of Credentials Committee 210 

Nominations for National Home Trustees 211 

Introduction of VFW National Band 212 

Introduction of Honor Guard - - - 212 

Introduction of Commander-in-Chief's Family 212 

Election of Officers - 214 

Announcement of Council Members-Elect 218 

Announcement of Appointments by Commander-in-Chief-Elect - -218 

Installation of Officers - - - - - 219 

Presentation of Past Commander-in-Chief 

Lapel Pin and Gold Life Membership Card 223 

Acceptance Address by 

Commander-in-Chief Pouliot 224 

Closing Ceremonies - 229 

Closing Prayer — 230 

Adjournment 230 



IX 



COMMANDERS-IN-CHIEF, VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS 
OFTHE UNITED STATES 

(Including societies that amalgamated to form Veterans of Foreign Wars) 

The Veterans of Foreign Service and the Army of the Philippines amalgamated 
at Denver, CO, August 1913, forming the Veterans of Foreign Wars as it is today. 
However, the birth of the order dates from September 29, 1899, when the first 
national officers were elected and the eligibility clause adopted. The original chap- 
ter was granted October 11,1 899. 

• indicates deceased 

American Veterans of Foreign Service 

1899-1900 James C. Putnam* Elected at Columbus, Ohio. 

1900-1901 Maj. Will S. White* Elected at Columbus, Ohio. 

1901-1902 Maj. Will S. White* Elected at Columbus, Ohio. 

1902-1903 James Romanis* Elected at Washington Courthouse, Ohio. 

1903-1904 James Romanis* Elected at Cincinnati, Ohio. 

1904-1905 James Romanis* Elected at Cincinnati, Ohio. 

1905-1906 George Metzger* Elected at Altoona, Pennsylvania. 

1906-1907 Charles H. Devereaux* Elected at Cincinnati, Ohio. 

1907-1908 David T. Nevin* Elected at James Exposition Grounds, Virginia. 

1908-1909 J. Alfred Judge* Elected at Lebanon, Pennsylvania. 

1909-1910 J. Alfred Judge* Elected at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

1910-1911 Robert J, Woodside* Elected at Jersey City New Jersey 

1911-1912 Robert J, Woodside* Elected at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

1912-1913 Robert J, Woodside* Elected at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

American Veterans of Foreign Service 

(Eastern Branch) 

1903-1904 Capt. Robert S. Hansburg * Elected at Altoona, Pennsylvania. 

1904-1905 H.O. Kelly * Elected at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

(The above two organizations amalgamated September 1905, at Altoona, Pennsylvania.) 

Army of the Philippines 

1900-1901 Gen. Francis V. Greene * Elected at Denver, Colorado. 

1901-1902 Gen. Irving Hale * Elected at Salt Lake City Utah. 

1902-1903 Gen. Irvin Hale * Elected at Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

1903-1904 Gen. Charles King * Elected at St. Paul, Minnesota. 

1904-1905 Gen. Wilder S. Metcalf * Elected at St. Louis, Missouri. 

1905-1906 Col. Alfred S. Frost * Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1906-1907 Gen. Arthur MacArthur * Elected at Des Moines, Iowa. 

1907-1908 Capt. H.A. Crow * Elected at Kansas City Missouri. 

1908-1909 Maj. P.J.H. Farrell * Elected at Galesburg, Illinois. 

1909-1910 Col. Charles L. Jewett * Elected at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

1910-1911 AH. Anderson * Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1911-1912 F. Warner Karling * Elected at Detroit, Michigan. 

1912-1913 F Warner Karling * Elected at Lincoln, Nebraska. 



VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES 

1913-1914 Rice W. Means* Elected at Denver, Colorado. 

1914-1915 Thomas Crago * Elected at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. 

1915-1916 Gus Hartung* Elected at Detroit, Michigan. 

1916-1917 Albert Rabin* Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1917-1918 William Ralston* Elected at New York, New York. 

1918-1919 F. Warner Karling* Elected at Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

1919-1920 F. Warner Karling* Elected at Providence, Rhode Island. 

1920-1921 Robert G. Woodside* Elected at Washington, D.C. 

1921-1922 Robert G. Woodside* Elected at Detroit, Michigan. 

1922-1923 Tillinghast Huston* Elected at Seattle, Washington. 

1923-1924 Gen. Lloyd M. Brett* Elected at Norfolk, Virginia. 

1924-1925 John H. Dunn* Elected at Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

1925-1926 Fred Stover* Elected at Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

1926-1927 Theodore Stitt* Elected at El Paso, Texas. 

1927-1928 Frank! Strayer* Elected at Providence, Rhode Island. 

1928-1929 Eugene P. Carver* Elected at Indianapolis, Indiana. 

1929-1930 Kezekiah N. Duff* Elected at St. Paul, Minnesota. 

1930-1931 Paul C. Wolman* Elected at Baltimore, Maryland. 

1931-1932 Darold D. DeCoe* Elected at Kansas City, Missouri. 

1932-1933 Adm. Robert E. Coontz* Elected at Sacramento, California. 

1933-1934 James E. Van Zandt* Elected at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

1934-1935 James E. Van Zandt* Elected at Louisville, Kentucky. 

1935-1936 James E. Van Zandt* Elected at New Olreans, Louisiana 

1936-1937 Bernard W. Kearny* Elected at Denver, Colorado. 

1937-1938 Scott P Squyres* Elected at Buffalo, New York. 

1938-1939 Eugene I. Van Antwerp* Elected at Columbus, Ohio. 

1939-1940 Otis N. Brown* Elected at Boston, Massachusetts. 

1940-1941 Joseph C. Menendez* Elected at Los Angeles, California. 

1941-1942 Max Singer* Elected at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

1942-1943 Robert T Merrill* Elected at Cincinnati, Ohio. 

1943-1944 Carl S. Schoeninger* Elected at New York, New York. 

1944-1945 Jean A. Brunner* Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1945-1946 Joseph M. Stack* Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1946-1947 Louis E. Starr* Elected at Boston, Massachusetts. 

1947-1948 Ray H. Brannaman* Elected at Cleveland, Ohio. 

1948-1949 Lyall T Beggs * Elected at St. Louis, MissourL. 

1949-1950 Clyde A. Lewis Elected at Miami, Florida. 

1950-1951 Charles C. Ralls* Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1951-1952 Frank C. Hilton Elected at New York, New York. 

1952-1953 James W. Cothran* Elected at Los Angeles, California. 

1953-1954 Wayne E. Richards* Elected at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

1954-1955 Merton B. Tice* Elected at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

1955-1956 Timothy J. Murphy* Elected at Boston, Massachusetts. 

1956-1957 Cooper T Holt Elected at Dallas, Texas. 

1957-1958 Richard L. Roudebush* Elected at Miami Beach, Florida. 

1958-1959 John W. Mahan Elected at New York, New York. 

1959-1960 Louis G. Feldmann' Elected at Los Angeles, California. 

1960-1961 TC. Connell Elected at Detroit, Michigan. 

1961-1962 Robert E. Hansen Elected at Miami Beach, Florida. 

XI 



1962-1963 Byron B. Gentry* Elected at Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

1963-1964 Joseph J Lombardo* Elected at Seattle, Washinton. 

1964-1965 John A Jenkins' Elected at Cleveland, Ohio. 

1965-1966 Andy Borg' Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1966-1967 Leslie M. Fry' Elected at New York, New York. 

1967-1968 Joseph A. Scerra Elected at New Olreans, Louisiana. 

1968-1969 Richard W. Homan Elected at Detroit, Michigan. 

1969-1970 Raymond A. Gallagher* . .Elected at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

1970-1971 Herbert R. Rainwater* Elected at Miami Beach, Florida. 

1971-1972 Joseph L. Vicites* Elected at Dallas, Texas. 

1972-1973 Patrick E. Carr* Elected at Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

1973-1974 Ray R. Soden Elected at New Olreans, Louisiana. 

1974-1975 John J. Stang Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1975-1976 Thomas C. Walker Elected at Los Angeles, California. 

1976-1977 R.D. Smith Jr Elected at New York, New York. 

1977-1978 Dr. John Wasylik Elected at Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

1978-1979 Eric Sandstrom Elected at Dallas, Texas. 

1979-1980 Howard E. Vander Clute Jr. . .Elected at New Olreans, Louisiana. 

1980-1981 TC. Selman' Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1980-1981 Arthur Fellwock Succeeded TC. Selman, Oct. 21, 1980. 

1980-1981 Arthur Fellwock Elected at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

1982-1983 James R. Currieo Elected at Los Angeles, California. 

1983-1984 Clifford G. Olson Jr Elected at New Olreans, Louisiana. 

1984-1985 Billy Ray Cameron Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1985-1986 John S. Staum Elected at Dallas, Texas. 

1986-1987 Norman G. Staab Elected at Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

1987-1988 Earl L. Stock' Elected at New Orleans, Louisiana. 

1988-1989 Larry W. Rivers Elected at Chicago, Illinois. 

1989-1990 Walter G. Hogan Elected at Las Vegas, Nevada. 

1990-1991 James L. Kimery Elected at Baltimore, Maryland. 

1991-1992 Robert E. Wallace Elected at New Orleans, Louisiana. 

1992-1993 John M. Carney Elected at Indianapolis, Indiana. 

1993-1994 George R. Cramer Elected at Dallas, Texas. 

1994-1995 Allen F. "Gunner" Kent Elected at Las Vegas, Nevada. 

1995-1996 Paul A. Spera Elected at Phoenix, Arizona. 

1996-1997 James E. Nier Elected at Louisville, Kentucky. 

1997-1998 John E. Moon Elected at Salt Lake City, Utah. 



XII 



VFW NATIONAL OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, 1997-98 

Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon 

Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Thomas A.Pouliot 

Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John W. Smart 

Adjutant General Larry W. Rivers 

Quartermaster General Joe L. Ridgley 

Judge Advocate General Brian J. Kennedy 

Surgeon General Henry F. Sexauer 

National Chaplain Dean Derieg 

National Chief of Staff James J. Thiel 

Inspector General Daniel Bartholomew 

Assistant Adjutant General & 

Executive Din, Washington Office Kenneth A. Steadman 

Assistant Adjutant General, Administration John J. Senk, Jr. 

Assistant Adjutant General, Programs W. Benny Bachand 

Assistant Adjutant General, Marketing Ronald G. Browning 

Assistant Quartermaster General Lawrence M. Maher 

Director, Administrative Services Lawrence LeFebvre 

Director, Americanism & Community Activities . . . .Michael J. Gormalley 

Director, Emblem & Supply Department M. L. "Bud" Cale 

Director, Finance and Human Resources Robert B. Greene 

Director, General Services David L. Swindler 

Director, Life Membership Dues Processing Gary Housknecht 

Director, Membership Thomas L. Kissell 

Director, National Convention Joseph D. Ross 

Director, Operations Robert Crow 

Director, Post Services & Buddy Poppy James R. Rowoldt 

Director, Publications & Editor, VFW Magazine Richard K. Kolb 

Director, VFW Foundation Steve Van Buskirk 

Director, VFW Properties Billy R. Weissend 

Director, Voice of Democracy, 

Youth Activities & Safety Gordon R. Thorson 

Deputy Executive Director, Washington Office Robert E. Wallace 

Director, Action Corps & 

Deputy Director, National Legislative Service Sidney Daniels 

Director, Administrative Services - Washington . .Edward L. "Leo" Andrew 

Director, Communications and Public Affairs William G. Smith 

Director, Employment Service James N. Magill 

Director, National Legislative Service Dennis Culiinan 

Director, National Security & Foreign Affairs Bruce Harder 

National Service Officer & 

Director, National Veterans Service Frederico Juarbe, Jr. 

Administrative Assistant, Kansas City Russell R. Cutright 



XIII 



DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 10 

DISTRICT 11 

DISTRICT 12 

DISTRICT 13 

DISTRICT 14 

DISTRICT 15 

DISTRICT 16 

DISTRICT 17 

DISTRICT 19 

DISTRICT A 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 

DISTRICT 



REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL 
OF ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS, 1997-98 



ME, NH, VT) Robert W. Madigan 

MA, CT) William J. Madera 

MD, Rl) Raymond J. Boyle 

DC, DE, EU) Bruce A. Withers 

IN, MO) James R. Mueller 

VA, WV) Scottie E. King 

TN, KY) Leroy Ford 

GA, AL) Oliver W. Dial 

SC, NC) William J. Hendren 

OK, AR) Leslie F. Thone 

(Wl, lA) William R Shannon 

SD, ND, WY) William F. Cerny, Jr. 

NE, KS) Lewie B Cooper 

MT, WA, ID) Earl E. Chase 

NM, CO, AZ) George H. Ralmateer 

LAT AM/CAR, PAC, AK, HI) Dannie Cooper 

UT NV, OR) Frank R. Risewick 

LA, MS) Richard J. Fruge 

Pennsylvania) Charles R. Feitenberger 

Illinois) Rick Frank 

New York) T. William Bossidy 

Ohio) George W. Marks 

Minnesota) Gordon W. Kirk 

Michigan) Richard L. Lehner 

(California) Richard R. Pignone 

(Texas) Ferrell E. Warden 

(Florida) James DePass 



Past Commander-in-Chief James E. Nier 



XIV 




John E. Moon 

Commander-in-Chief 

1997-98 



XV 




Thomas A. Pouliot 

Commander-in-Chief 

1998-99 



XVI 



VFW NATIONAL OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, 1 998-1 999 

Commander-in-Chief Thomas A. Pouliot 

Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief John W. Smart 

Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John F. Gwizdak 

Adjutant General John J. Senk, Jr. 

Quartermaster General Joe L. Ridgley 

Judge Advocate General R. Earl Lord 

Surgeon General Kenneth S. Snow, Jr. 

National Chaplain Fr. Thomas W. Neville 

National Chief of Staff Randall E. Russell 

Inspector General Norbert K. Enos 

Assistant Adjutant General & Executive Dir., 

Washington Office Kenneth A. Steadman 

Assistant Adjutant General, Administration Lawrence LeFebvre 

Assistant Adjutant General, Programs W. Benny Bachand 

Assistant Adjutant General, Marketing Ronald G. Browning 

Assistant Quartermaster General Lawrence M. Maher 

Director, Administrative Services - Kansas City 

Director, Citizenship Education & 

Community Service Michael J. Gormalley 

Director, Emblem & Supply Department M.L. "Bud" Cale 

Director, Finance and Human Resources Robert B. Greene 

Director, General Services David L. Swindler 

Director, Life Membership & Dues Processing Gary Housknecht 

Director, Membership Thomas L. Kissell 

Director, Operations Robert Crow 

Director, Post Services & Buddy Poppy James R. Rowoldt 

Director, Publications & Editor, VFW Magazine Richard K. Kolb 

Director, VFW Foundation Steve Van Buskirk. 

Director, VFW Properties Billy R. Weissend 

Director, Youth Development, 

Scholarship & Recognition Gordon R. Thorson 

Deputy Executive Director, Washington Office . . . .Robert E. Wallace 
Director, Action Corps & Deputy Director, 

National Legislative Service Sidney Daniels 

Director, Administrative Services - 

Washington Edward L."Leo" Andrew 

Director, Communications and Public Affairs William G. Smith 

Director, Employment Service James N. Magill 

Director, National Legislative Service Dennis Cullinan 

Director, National Security & Foreign Affairs Bruce R. Harder 

National Service Officer & Director, 

National Veterans Service Frederico Juarbe, Jr. 

Administrative Assistant Russell Cutright 



XVII 



REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS, 

1998-99 



DISTRICT 1 



DISTRICT 2 
DISTRICT 3 
DISTRICT 4 
DISTRICT 5 
DISTRICT 6 
DISTRICT 7 
DISTRICT 8 
DISTRICT 9 
DISTRICT 10 
DISTRICT 11 
DISTRICT 12 
DISTRICT 13 
DISTRICT 14 
DISTRICT 15 
DISTRICT 16 
DISTRICT 17 
DISTRICT 18 
DISTRICT 19 
DISTRICT A 
DISTRICT B 
DISTRICT C 
DISTRICT D 
DISTRICT E 
DISTRICT F 
DISTRICT G 
DISTRICT H 
DISTRICT J 



ME, NH) Robert W. Madigan 

MA, VT) Bradley F. Reynolds 

MD, NJ) Raymond J. Boyle 

DC, DE, EU) G. R "Jerry" Miserandino, Sr. 

IN, MO) James R. Mueller 

VA, WV) Bobby Walls 

TN, KY) Leroy Ford 

GA, AL) Ray E. Brooks 

SC, NC) William J. Hendren 

OK, AR) Eugene H. George 

Wl, lA) William P. Shannon 

SD, ND, WY) Richard J. Belling. 

NE, KS) Lewie B Cooper 

MT WA, ID) George F. Riedel 

NM, CO, AZ) George H. F^lmateer 

LAT AM/CAR, PAC, AK, HI) Thomas I. Elliot 

UT, NV, OR) Frank R. Risewick 

CT, Rl) Ronald Rusakiewicz 

LA, MS) Richard J. Fruge 

Pennsylvania) Charles R. Feltenberger 

Illinois) Rick Frank 

New York) T. William Bossidy 

Ohio) Craig D. Swartz 

Minnesota) Donald L. Gates, Jr. 

Michigan) Richard L. Lehner 

(California) Richard R. Pignone 

(Texas) Alexander Vernon 

(Florida) James DePass 



Past Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon 



XVIII 



SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE 99TH NATIONAL 
CONVENTION 

OF THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES 
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 4, 1998 

ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE 
SUNDAY, AUGUST 30, 1998 

(The Memorial Service of the 99th Annual Convention of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, held at the Henry B. 
Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, was called to order at 
8:30 o'clock a.m., with Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon, presiding. The 
Gold Star parents. Gold Star wives. National Officers and Past National 
Chaplains were escorted by the Sergeants-at-Arms.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Sergeant-at-Arms, you will 
prepare the room for the Advancement and Posting of the Colors. 

ADVANCE OF COLORS 

(Whereupon, the VFW National Honor Guard advanced the 
Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the "Battle 
Hymn of the Republic" sung by the Fiesta City Chorus of Sweet Adelines.) 

INVOCATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Will you please stand for the 
Invocation by Father Dan Majeuris, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air 
Force, Retired. 

FATHER DAN MAJEURIS: Gracious God, our Heavenly Father, as 
we prepare for this Memorial Service, we honestly want to thank you for 
all the blessings you have entrusted to our use. So many, in fact, that we 
live as if they werejust part of our normal scheme of our life. 

Yet when we stop and think, as we do now, we know that this isn't 
exactly so. We thank you for life, for friends, for families and for freedom 
which have been given to us. Most especially we thank you for our 
comrades at arms who now rest in you. 

So many of them gave their lives that we might live in freedom. 
We pray and are inspired by their ultimate sacrifice that we may live lives 
distinguished for thankfulness and responsibility. We do not pretend to 
appreciate fully the pain, the loneliness and the suffering that they and their 
families endure, but we do entrust into your loving care all of those who 
have preceded us into your presence. 

May we, the living, also entrust ourselves to you. In this spirit we 



1 



commit to service this day in our lives. Amen. 

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS BARRY HOFFMAN: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, the Opening Ceremonies have been performed. 

IN MEMORIAM 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I would like to acknowledge 
the presence of Mrs. Patrick Carr, widow of Past Commander-in-Chief 
Patrick E. Carr, who passed away on June 1 st, 1 998, and some of the family 
members. Mrs. Carr. 

I would like to also acknowledge the presence of Mrs. Ray 
Gallagher, widow of Past Commander-in-Chief Ray Gallagher, who passed 
away on October 23rd, 1997, along with her daughter. 

Comrades, Ladies of the Auxiliary and Friends: We have met at 
this time to commemorate our comrades of the United States Armed Forces 
who have answered the last call. The VFW Ritual provides that the 
audience refrain from applauding. The Chief of Staff will see that there is 
no disturbance during this ceremony. 

NATIONAL CHIEF OF STAFF JAMES THIEL: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, your order will be obeyed. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I request that the National 
Chaplain preside. 

(National Chaplain Reverend Dean Derieg presided during the 
Memorial Services, performed by the National Officers in accordance with 
the Ritual.) 

INTRODUCTION OF SPEAKER 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I am pleased to introduce a 
distinguished member of the United States Air Force as our Memorial 
Service Speaker. 

Chaplain Lorraine K. Potter, a Colonel in the United States Air 
Force, is the Command Chaplain, Headquarters Air Education and Training 
Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. 

Chaplain Potter was raised in Warwick, Rhode Island, and is an 
ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches, United States of 
America. Since her commissioning in 1973, she has served at every 
command level within the Department of Defense. 

Chaplain Potter's achievements include the American Baptist 
Outstanding Military Chaplain's Award, the Honorary Doctor of Humane 
Letters, and the Reserve Officer Association Outstanding Officer Award. 
From 1994 to 1995, she served as the National President, Military 
Chaplain's Association. 

I am pleased to introduce Chaplain Lorraine K. Potter, Colonel, 
United States Air Force. 



MEMORIAL ADDRESS 

CHAPLAIN LORRAINE POTTER: Commander-in-Chief Moon, 
Honored Guests, Members of the VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary, Gold Star 
parents, Gold Star wives, it is a great honor for me as a chaplain to be here 
this morning and to represent the chaplain services of all of our armed 
services. As you begin your conference, your meeting, there is no better 
way to begin than to acknowledge who we are in the presence of Almighty 
God. 

So we come this morning to worship our Creator God. We take 
time now to remember, remember our many blessings, the blessings of life, 
the blessings of liberty and freedom, and the privilege of being a citizen in 
this great nation. I would like to read a few verses from the holy scriptures, 
Solomon 9, Verses 7 to 1 1 . 

"The Lord reigns forever. He has established strong judgment. He 
will judge the world in righteousness. He will govern the peoples with 
justice." The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of 
trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you for you, Lord, have 
never forsaken those who seek you. 

Sing praises to the Lord and sing joy and proclaim among the 
nations what he has done. So praise the nations what he has done. 

We, in the military services of the United States, continually do 
that around the world as we proclaim that all peoples are to live in a 
respected way. We proclaim what the Lord has done by establishing and 
maintaining peace. Here today, I call upon us to remember the gifts that 
God has given to us and also to remember those who have been 
responsible with those gifts. 

As I call you to remember, are you good at remembering? The 
older I get, I am not sure. There are some times that are easy to remember: 
your own birth date, maybe how to ride a bicycle, maybe not as carefully 
or as well, but we remember. 

It is hard to miss the Christmas season with all that is about us and 
the many reminders. We need help in remembering lots of things, though. 
But we need to remember because it is in remembering that gives us 
encouragement and it is in remembering that we are able to maintain our 
hope. 

That's the purpose of this worship service today, to be encouraged 
and to be hopeful. The sounds about us and the smells and the items that 
we see are reminders. They help us remember. The music that we have 
already heard today, help us to remember. 

Our National Anthem, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and there 
is nothing that brings back more memories than to hear our service songs. 
Then there are our flags, our national flag, our unit flag, that reminds us of 
comrades who have shared our experiences, who help us to remember our 
history, where we have been and what we stand for. 

Then there is the poppy that reminds us of those who have fought 



for their country and the thousands who died on fields of flanders in World 
War I and throughout the world in countless battles. We see the poppies 
and we remember the sacrifice. 

We also need heroes, people who stand for something important 
to us and that we are willing to live and die for. Our national heroes to that 
force are symbols of people who have had a vision, who have had a dream 
and been willing to give, give until they have no more breath: George 
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, John 
F. Kennedy. 

But we also have our personal heroes that help us to remember 
and that represent to us our own personal hopes and the promises of a full 
life. In this time of worship, I am asking you to remember those people 
who have been your personal heroes. 

It may be a grandparent who loves you and cared for you when a 
parent was too busy. It may be a brother or a sister who gave up their own 
hopes and dreams for a college education so that you could have 
opportunities in education. It could be a friend who believed in you so 
much that they spoke up and were willing to give and sacrifice their own 
position on your behalf, or a teacher or a supervisor who saw your 
potential and encouraged you to be and to do all that you could to be that 
potential. 

The chaplain, or priest or pastor at homes who have shared their 
faith, their commitment and their claim of personal faith. These heroes are 
ones who put others before themselves, who have accomplished things 
that are great odds. They remind us. 

But as we come here today to remember, it is the meaning that we 
put to those individuals, those events, those times that gives meaning, gives 
meaning to those things, those people. 

Picture this: a child is born into this world screaming, wailing and 
crying, while all those who have been anticipating the great arrival of his 
child are rejoicing and smiling and around the bend of a virtuous old 
woman who dies peacefully with a smile on her face. All about her are 
crying. It is the meaning that we put to the experience that determines 
how we celebrate or how we grieve. How do you define your experiences 
with the armed forces, either as a uniform member or as a family member? 
What meaning do you put to those experiences, to the people that you 
shared with? 

For some, the meaning is great. There are some that you can sit 
with and their stories will go on forever as they share the experiences of 
comrades who have together bonded and accomplished something, being 
proud of what they have done and what they stood for, their willingness to 
pay the price for the privileges of the freedoms and the lives that they have, 
this great pride, and it is the meaning of that that puts everything in 
perspective. 

There may be others who hear of military service and have 
experienced it, and at the time of sharing, a time of fear, a time of great 



pain, because what they see in its experience only is the cost, the loss of 
life too young, the loneliness. But it is people of faith perhaps to look into 
and define our experience through the eyes of our creators, to see the big 
picture, to have the spiritual truth which says that a life given on behalf of 
another is never given in vain. 

It is up to us to look at our experiences of life, death through the 
eyes of our creator. There was a young mother who was sitting with her 
four-year-old little girl and her little girl was on her lap, and four-year-olds 
can be very, very honest. 

She said, "Mama, you are so pretty. Your hair is always so shiny, 
your face always has such a smile or a welcoming to me. But, mama, your 
hands are ugly." The mama smiled at her little girl and she said, "You know 
why my hands are like this? When you werejust an infant, I was out in the 
yard hanging clothes while you were napping, and I turned and I saw 
smoke coming from the house and I ran into the house and I grabbed you 
from your crib, and I wrapped you in a blanket and I carried you to safety. 
You were perfectly fine, but my hands were burned. That's why they look 
this way." The little girl took her mother's hands and she kissed them and 
said, "Mama, I love your hands most of all." 

It is the use of our lives and all that we have in giving life to 
another, in protecting and defending another, in loving another that turns 
those things that may seem terribly ugly into those things that are the most 
beautiful and most loved. 

Today, we remember our comrades, our heroes who faithfully 
served our nation, defending freedoms, establishing and maintaining the 
peace, loving others in their nation more than themselves, and we are here 
to remember and to celebrate. If we are faithful, faithful and stay the course 
in doing what God intends us to do, which is to love others, to serve others, 
to protect others, then we will become living testimonies to God's promises 
and to God's love. 

In Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verse 1, is a powerful picture and a 
powerful reminder as the author writes. "As for us, we have this large 
crowd of witnesses all around us, so then let us rid ourselves of everything 
that gets in the way. Let us run with determination the race that lies before 
us." 

Our comrades have run the race before them. They are now part 
of that cloud of witnesses who continue to encourage and remind us. They 
encourage us to live our lives to the fullest but selflessly. They encourage 
us to dream big, but be willing to sacrifice to make that dream come true. 
They encourage us to leave a legacy as they have left a legacy of service. 

Today, we celebrate the present because we remember the past. 
Pause with me now carefully as we remember. Remember the gift of life, 
the love of family, friends, country, God, and commit yourselves to never 
take that life or love for granted. We remember those who have gone 
before us on a cloud of witnesses who have worked to serve and encourage 
us today to live life as they have lived unselflessly. 



We remember here today those who served in the armed forces, 
who committed themselves to continue to serve the cause of freedom and 
democracy, and we commit ourselves to do the same. We remember the 
tragedies of war and commit ourselves to everything that we have and are. 

We commit that to keeping the peace. O, God, we are grateful for 
the class that sits around us and grateful for the challenges and 
opportunities that are ours to serve, to fly above and beyond our dreams. 
Lord, on our sorting through life, we know that it often becomes necessary 
to change our flight plans, to chart new courses, to get another route. 

Forbid, Lord, that any change in schedule should cause us to lose 
sight of our target to serve you, to serve our country and to become all that 
you intend us to be. Hear our prayers and make each of us here not only 
offer prayers but be part of the answer to these petitions. In your holy name 
we pray. Amen. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much, 
Chaplain Potter, for the inspiring words. 

(Whereupon, Comrade Bruce D. Anderson, United States Army 
Retired, played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes followed by "This Is My 
Country" by the Fiesta City Chorus of Sweet Adelines.) 

INTRODUCTION OF CHAPLAIN BILLY TATE 
TEXAS STATE CHAPEL OF FOUR CHAPLAINS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: It is my pleasure to Introduce 
Billy Tate, the Texas State Chapel of Four Chaplains, representing the 
Chapel of Four Chaplains. 

PRESENTATION OF THE CHAPEL OF FOUR CHAPLAINS, 
LEGION OF HONOR BRONZE MEDALLION 

COMRADE BILLY TATE: Commander-in-Chief Moon, Ladies 
Auxiliary President Connie Atkinson, Comrades and Sisters: 

No tradition of American society is more precious to, or 
characteristic of, our culture than that of voluntarily reaching out to 
neighbors in need. Such selfless service is part of both our civic and our 
religious heritage. 

The Chapel of Four Chaplains, a national non-profit organization, 
is founded upon one shining manifestation of our heritage - that of four 
Army Chaplains who, after giving their life jackets to soldiers who had 
none, linked arms with one another and went down with the US Army 
Transport Dorchester, after it was torpedoed on February 3, 1943. 

This historical event began at Torpedo Junction, the U-boat 
infested, icy water of the North Atlantic during World War II. On January 
23, 1943, the United States Army Transport Dorchester, an old coastal 
steamer quickly pressed into military service, left New York Harbor bound 
for Greenland. The Dorchester was escorted by three Coast Guard cutters. 



Two patrolled the flanks; the third, the Tampa, was 3,000 yards out front. 

Most of the men were seasick and green with nausea. The weather 
was bitterly cold with gale-force winds. Ice began building up on the 
decks, slowing the Dorchester to ten knots. 

Moving among them were four Army Chaplains: George L. Fox, 
Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington. The 
Chaplains talked with and listened to the men — soothing apprehensions, 
offering encouragement, sharing jokes. By their concern and their 
camaraderie with the men and one another, they brought solace. 

On February 2, 1943, the Tampa's sonar detected the presence of 
a submarine; she dropped back and swept the periphery of the convoy, but 
failed to find the submarine's position. That evening, the Tampa returned 
to the patrol area up front, and the other ships followed. 

The captain ordered the men to sleep in their clothing, with life 
jackets close at hand. They were only 150 miles from Greenland. With 
daylight, there would be air cover from the American base. 

It was just after midnight on February 3, 1943. An enemy 
submarine fired a torpedo toward the Dorchester's flank. The missile 
exploded in the boiler room, destroying the electric supply and releasing 
suffocating clouds of steam and ammonia gas. Many on board died 
instantly; some were trapped below deck. Others, jolted from their bunks, 
groped and stumbled their way to the decks of the stricken vessel. Taking 
on water rapidly, the ship began listing to starboard. 

Overcrowded lifeboats capsized; rafts drifted away before anyone 
could reach them. Men clung to the rails, frozen with fear, unable to let 
go and plunge into the dark churning water far below. 

The testimony of survivors tell us that the sole order and the only 
fragment of hope in this chaos came from the four chaplains, who calmly 
guided men to their boat stations. They opened a storage locker and 
distributed life jackets. Then they coaxed men, frozen with fear, over the 
side. Soon the supply of life jackets was exhausted. Several survivors 
report watching in awe as the four chaplains either gave away or forced 
upon other young men their own life jackets. 

These four men of God had given away their only means of saving 
themselves in order to save others. The Chaplains gathered together, and 
led the men around them in a prayer and a hymn. They linked their arms 
together as the slant of the deck became severe. In just that way, with their 
arms linked in brotherhood and their heads bowed in prayer, they sank 
beneath the waves. 

It was a heroic act. It was not the only heroic act aboard the 
Dorchester, but it was especially significant because of the identity of these 
four young men, two Protestants, a Catholic and a Jew. 

Today, as it has these many years, the Chapel of Four Chaplains 
serves the memory of these brave men, and carries their message of 
interfaith cooperation and selfless service to every part of our country. 

To recognize and encourage acts of volunteerism, brotherhood 



and sacrifice among Americans of every age and station of life, the Chapel 
established the Legion of Honor Program. The bronze medallion is an 
award given by the Chapel in recognition of exceptional selfless service on 
the part of an individual which contributes to the well-being of others at 
the national or world level, and to a spirit of interfaith cooperation. 

At this time, Commander and President Atkinson, I would like to 
present you with these awards. This is a plaque that goes with this award. 
Thank you very much, Commander. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. At this time we 
will have a musical rendition by the Fiesta City Chorus of Sweet Adelines. 

(Whereupon, the Fiesta City Chorus of Sweet Adelines sang "God 
Bless America.") 

BENEDICTION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Please stand for the 
Benediction by Reverend Eugene E. Allen, Colonel, United States Army, 
Retired. 

COMRADE EUGENE ALLEN: Let us pray. We give thanks, O God, 
for all of your praise, the grace that comes to us, the history of this country 
and those who have served and ultimately paid the ultimate sacrifice of 
life. We pray your blessings upon this great Convention. 

We thank you for the safety of those that are here and safety upon 
those that are now traveling. Now, may the grace and love of our Lord and 
Savior, Jesus Christ, rest and abide and be with each of you now and 
forevermore. It is my earnest and faithful prayer in the name of our Lord 
and Savior. Amen. 

RETIRING OF COLORS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: As the National Color Guard 
goes to the rear of the room, the Sergeant-at-Arms will escort the Gold Star 
parents and Gold Star wives from the room. We ask you to please be 
seated and remain until they have left. 

(Whereupon, the Retiring of the Colors was performed by theVFW 
National Honor Guard.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time I would like to 
acknowledge and thank the Fiesta Chorus of Sweet Adelines and all the 
participants in making this program a success. 

I would like to announce that tomorrow's Joint Opening Session 
will begin at 8:30 a.m. in this hall. Thank you very much for your kindness 
and consideration during this program. That concludes our Memorial 
Service. 



• ^ JOINT OPENING SESSION 

MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 1998 

(The Joint Opening Session of the 99th National Convention of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and the 85th National 
Convention of the Ladies Auxiliary was called to order on Monday, August 
31, 1998, at 8:30 o'clock a.m., in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention 
Center, San Antonio, Texas, by Past Commander-in-Chief James E. Nier, 
Chairman of theVFW 99th National Convention Committee.) 

CALL TO ORDER 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Good morning. Comrades 
and sisters, I welcome you to this 99th National Convention here in San 
Antonio. On behalf of myself, Vice-Chairman Ted Connell, Past 
Commander-in-Chief, Vice Chairman Glen Gardner, Jr., Adjutant 
Quartermaster of the State of Texas, Ted Blouin, Secretary-Treasurer, eight 
committee members and all of the volunteers who are working to make this 
our most successful Convention, we sincerely hope that the time that you 
spend with us this week will renew your pride in our nation, rededicate 
your commitment to American veterans and bring new excitement to your 
work as members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Ladies Auxiliary. 

Will you please rise as we officially open this Convention with the 
Advancing of the Colors. 

ADVANCEMENT OF COLORS 

(Whereupon, the National Honor Guard advanced the Colors at 
this time and the Pledge of Allegiance was given.) 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: And now for this morning's 
Invocation, the Past National Chaplain of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States, Father George Rinkowski. 

INVOCATION 

FATHER RINKOWSKI: Let us bow our heads. Sovereign Ruler of 
the Universe, who are the Lord of Host and the God of Peace, without Thee 
our efforts are in vain. Continue Thy blessings upon us and our families, 
we pray Thee, and guide us through our deliberations. 

We beseech Thee, O God, to bless the departed comrades and to 
comfort all that gave their loved ones for our nation's cause. Bless and 
strengthen the sick, the needy and the afflicted. Bless, we ask Thee, the 
widows and children in our National Home and help us to fulfill our duty 
toward them. 

Continue Thy favor upon our order and help us to practice the 
spirit of true comradeship, both in our Councils and with the world at 



large. Enable us to betterment the community in which we live to our 
devotion to duty as citizens. 

We shall have a moment of silent prayer for our departed comrades 
and for those missing in action and those held as prisoners of war. These 
and all other necessary blessings, we ask of Thee, Mighty Ruler of the 
Universe. Amen. 

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS BARRY HOFFMAN: Comrade Chairman, 
the Opening Ceremonies have been performed. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Thank you, sir. You may be 
seated, please. 

VIDEO PRESENTATION 

THE ANNOUNCER: Commander-in-Chief John Moon is from 
Grover Hill, Ohio, and this morning we have a short video from the 
Governor of Ohio, George V. Voinovich, with his greetings to this 
Convention and Commander-in-Chief Moon. 

(Whereupon, the video was presented at this time.) 

INTRODUCTION OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Comrades and Sisters, I am 
truly honored to make this next introduction. John E. Moon was elected to 
the position of VFW Commander-in-Chief at the organization's 98th 
National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 21, 1997. 

He served in the United States Marine Corps from July, 1968, to 
July, 1970. While stationed in Vietnam, he was assigned to the Second 
Battalion, Third Marine Division. In recognition of his service, he received 
a Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, the Vietnam Campaign 
Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions 
Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon and the National Defense Service 
Medal. 

He joined the VFW in April, 1970, at Post 5665, Sherwood, Ohio. 
A year later, he was elected Post Commander, and re-elected the following 
year. In 1975, he joined VFW Post 2873 in Grover Hill, Ohio. During 
three terms as Post Commander there, he twice earned the distinction of 
All-State Post Commander. He also served as Post Adjutant for 14 years 
and also served as a District Commander and as a County Council 
Adjutant. 

At the Department level, he has served as chairman of several 
committees, including Legislation, Membership, Vietnam Veterans, 
National Home, and the Ohio Caravan that visits the VFW National Home 
every year. He was an Ail-American Department Commander for the year 
1987-1988, and was elected to the National Council of Administration in 
1988. 

The National appointments have included Chairman of the 



10 



Americanism Committee, assignments to the POW/MIA, National Security 
and Foreign Affairs, Budget & Finance, Veterans Service, and Legislative 
Committees. He has also served as an Assistant Inspector General, Deputy 
Chief of Staff and National Aide de Camp. 

He attended Northwest State College where he earned degrees in 
Business Management and Human Resources. He is a member of the DAV, 
AmVets, American Legion, Military Order of the Cootie and the Marine 
Corps League. He served for 16 years as the Mayor of Grover Hill, Ohio. 

Comrades and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in 
welcoming a man I am proud to call my friend, the Commander-in-Chief 
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America, John E. 
Moon, from the great state of Ohio. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Commander-in-Chief, at 
this time I would like to present you with your official convention gavel 
and your official convention badge. I probably didn't do that as good as 
Susie would have. Commander-in-Chief, at this time the members of the 
committee and myself would like to wish you productive deliberations and 
a most successful convention. Thank you, sir. 

REMARKS BY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much, P&st 
Commander-in-Chief and Chairman of this wonderful Convention, Jim 
Nier. You know, the opportunity that came to me one year ago as I stood 
before you to begin the "Courage Under Fire" year was one of the greatest 
highlights, I guess, of my life, and I took on the responsibility with a lot of 
love and a lot of desire, and a lot of great will, I guess, as a result of the 
many people in this room today that felt that I had the abilities to carry 
through. 

To all of you, I thank you for your confidence, the goodwill, the 
great deed of sincere relationships that we have been able to, I guess, 
coordinate over the years. To allow me to have this position has been truly 
wonderful. I thank you for that. 

We started the "Courage Under Fire" year with many, many 
thoughts in mind. This past year we were able to deliver somewhat of a 
maximum effort when it was needed in many areas. The "Courage Under 
Fire" year is a courage under fire displayed today and that you are going to 
have to display in the near future. 

Veterans are better off today than what they were one year ago 
contrary to so many views that we see from time to time. We see in 
Hollywood where Private Ryan has been saved, but we see in today's small 
communities throughout America and the large cities there are many 
Private Ryans being saved as a result of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and 
its Ladies Auxiliary. 



11 



A few years back, a VFW Commander-in-Chief said that the 
purpose of this organization was to turn indifference into concern, and 
concern into action for America's veterans. I would like to thank you for 
doing that this year. 

But at the same time, we have deep concerns that while we are 
saving the Private Ryans, we have some great problems with those troops 
that are serving in parts of the world that may be or under conditions that 
we are not necessarily in favor of, that being in and around Bosnia. 

You know, we have resolutions opposed to our troops being there, 
but while those troops are stationed on foreign soil and possibly in harm's 
way, this organization, this VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary, will do 
everything, everything within our power, to make sure that they are safely 
guarded, that they are well prepared, and that they truly are America's 
finest and the world's best fighting machine. 

We spent a good time this year, many, many hours pertaining to 
the Arlington National Cemetery. We succeeded in having it reaffirmed 
that Arlington is, in fact, for those who deserve to be buried there and for 
no one else, period. 

One of the highlights of the year came in December when Fortune 
magazine listed our own VFW as the sixteenth most effective membership 
organization in the country when it comes to getting things done in 
Washington, D.C, and what was really nice is that there is no other 
veterans group ahead of us. 

In that respect, we are number one among veterans and we must 
continue to do everything possible if we are to maintain that number one 
position. Our Washington staff, for what they do, is just an outstanding 
group of individuals. To name one would be to be somewhat slightful of 
all those that have participated. 

So to the Washington staff, I thank you for your efforts, your 
contributions to America's veterans to keep us going, to keep us rated as 
number one. The grass roots that we have has really been the guiding light, 
because it is their ideas, their views, their examples and their feelings that 
have brought us to that number one ranking that we have, and we are very 
thankful. 

We have also been very fortunate this year to have the support of 
a very wonderful lady, a true friend, an outstanding National President, 
Connie Atkinson from the great state of Arkansas. I might say that Connie 
has my heartfelt thanks for all the work of the Ladies Auxiliary for our 
veterans this year. I know the work they do in Kansas City, too, and I am 
referring to the Ladies Auxiliary, what they did last month to get out the 
vote to save the Liberty Memorial. 

Now, those who served in World War I will always have a beautiful 
memorial to honor their courage, their bravery and the sacrifices on behalf 
of their country. 

Today, America is once again under attack on foreign shores. Our 
recent retaliatory strikes against terrorist bases carries a strong message, 



12 



that we will not tolerate attacks on American citizens anywhere, and if they 
are attacked, we will fight back. 

As a nation, we have displayed courage under fire many, many 
times during the past century, and as a veterans organization we have 
shown courage under fire in fighting for veterans rights, veterans benefits 
and in saving America's veterans from neglect, from rejection and from 
indifference. 

I say to you, now may God bless you, may God bless the VFW, and 
may God bless the United States of America. 

I would ask that you please rise at this time and join me in 
welcoming to our stage the President of the Ladies Auxiliary, Connie 
Atkinson, from the great Department of Arkansas. 

INTRODUCTION -THE HONORABLE HOWARD W. PEAK, 
MAYOR, CITY OF SAN ANTONIO 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: From the Alamo to the River 
Walk, San Antonio is a city of great charm, elegance and style. Its history 
contains one of the proudest chapters in the development of Texas and the 
United States, when brave men rallied under the battle cry "Remember the 
Alamo." 

Today from its air base and military posts a new generation of 
service people is ready to protect our freedoms at home and those of our 
allies abroad. From the frontier of the American West to the frontier of a 
new century, San Antonio has grown with the times and is poised for the 
opportunities and challenges ahead. 

Much of the recent success of this city is due to the imagination, 
talent and efforts of one individual. His diverse background includes many 
facets of government, civic activities, business and education. Most 
important, he brings to his present position a well-rounded background in 
long-range planning, water management, neighborhood planning, utilities 
development, and infrastructure policy formulation. 

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm VFW welcome to the 
man who has done so much to make our stay in San Antonio so erijoyable, 
His Honor, the Mayor, Howard W. Peak, from San Antonio. 

GREETINGS - THE HONORABLE HOWARD W. PEAK, 
MAYOR, CITY OF SAN ANTONIO 

MAYOR PEAK: Thank you very much. Boy, this is a big crowd. It 
is great to see everybody here in San Antonio. It is a pleasure to be here 
this morning, and on behalf of the City of San Antonio we are honored to 
have been selected as the site of the VFW 99th National Convention. 

Yes, we are a city that values our tourism and convention business. 
It is an important component of our local economy. But more importantly, 
your presence here allows Military City USA to be your host and to share 



13 



with you the hospitality that has brought back to San Antonio many 
thousands of military retirees and others who have passed through one of 
more of our Installations during their career. 

The title "Military City USA" was earned not just because of our 
good fortune to be the home of five bases, but also because of the 
genuinely friendly relationships between the military and San Antonio that 
has developed over the years. We have welcomed the military as our 
friends, neighbors as important partners in our economy and in our 
community as a whole. 

It is fitting that you were in San Antonio this week giving us the 
opportunity to thank you for your contributions and sacrifices to and for 
our country. So thanks to those who are here, to veterans everywhere, and 
to all those who have not given just your service but their lives, too. 
Welcome to San Antonio. 

INTRODUCTION -THE HONORABLE GEORGE W. BUSH, 
GOVERNOR OF TEXAS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: As the Governor of the State of 
Texas, George W. Bush has earned a reputation as a principled 
conservative who shapes public policy based on his belief in limited 
government, local control, strong families and individual responsibility. 

He receives high approval ratings from the people of this great 
state, in large part, because of his ability to set clear goals and work 
constructively with Republicans and Democrats to achieve those goals. 

Ladies and gentlemen, pleasejoin me in a warm VFW welcome for 
the Governor of the great state of Texas, Governor George W. Bush. 

GREETINGS - THE HONORABLE GEORGE W. BUSH, 
GOVERNOR OF TEXAS 

GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you all very much. John, thank you 
for that kind introduction. I want to welcome you all to San Antonio, a 
great Texas city, and the State of Texas is honored to host the 99th National 
Convention of the VFW. If you are from Texas, it is great to see you. I love 
being your Governor. And if you are not fortunate enough to call yourself 
a Texan, welcome. We are really glad you are here. 

If you stay here long enough, you will know what I know, that this 
is a place full of decent, loving and hard-working people. The people in 
this state appreciate our veterans and we support the military. We know 
that we can never repay you for what you have done, but we try every 
chance we get. 

As General Douglas MacArthur once said, "No one knows the true 
cost of peace like a soldier." I am vividly reminded about what peace has 
meant and sacrifice has meant a couple of years in Fredericksburg, Texas. 
Perhaps some of you were there. 



14 



There were 30,000 people that had gathered in Fredericksburg to 
say thanks to the veterans who had fought in the Pacific theater in World 
War II. You see, it would be plus 50. My dad was there. He was the Grand 
Marshal of the parade. My mother was there and my wife was there, and it 
was during this parade two things came to mind first and foremost, how we 
can never forget history and sacrifice made, and secondly, I learned that 
you can never escape your mother. 

You see, I got up to speak and I said, "Mr. President, welcome to 
Central Texas." There was a nice round of applause. I said "mother" and 
the place went wild. I said, "Mother, it is clear that the people of Texas still 
love you and so do I, but you are still telling me what to do after 50 years." 

Honest to goodness a guy in a big cowboy hat stepped out in the 
middle of Main Street of Fredericksburg and said, "You better listen to her, 
too, boy." I do listen to her. I listen to my dad who not only taught me the 
importance of military but taught me the importance of values, values 
represented right here in this hail: duty, honor and country. 

There is no question that we are the freest nation in the world 
because of men and women just like you in this room who put duty ahead 
of self so that freedom and democracy could triumph over tyranny and 
oppression. I want to thank the VFW for its continued support of American 
soldiers by providing important LINKS to home, by smoothing the 
transition into civilian life at the end of service, and by funding a memorial 
to those who have served or died in battle. 

There is a movie which I have not been able to see that is out right 
now. I am sure some of you have seen it. It is called "Saving Private Ryan." 
I have been reading about it and I have been listening to the reaction of a 
lot of people who have seen the movie, both veterans and non-veterans 
alike. 

All people say it is a terrific reminder, and for some the first vivid 
testimony of how the soldiers of my parents' generation, how the soldiers 
such as yourself in this audience sacrificed for us, and what all soldiers 
have done for us. The movie is a good reminder that freedom carries 
responsibility, the responsibility to live a life of decency and compassion 
that is worthy of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the 
responsibility, as the captain says in a movie, to earn It. 

All Americans must never forget the lessons of war but must always 
strive for peace and we must do all we can to live up to your noble 
sacrifice, to truly earn the freedom with which we have been so richly 
blessed. Thank you all very much and God bless you. 

INTRODUCTION -THE HONORABLE KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, 
UNITED STATES SENATOR - TEXAS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I am most pleased to introduce 
our next speaker. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, elected to the United 
States Senate in 1993, is the first woman to represent Texas in the United 



15 



States Senate. 

In January of 1997, Senator Hutchinson joined the key Senate 
Appropriations Committee. Her Defense and Military Construction 
Subcommittee assignments have a direct impact on crucial decisions on 
federal defense spending. 

During her more than two years on the Armed Services 
Committee, Senator Hutchinson was an effective advocate not only for our 
military personnel and their families but for increased readiness and 
support for our armed forces. 

In 1996, Senator Hutchinson chaired the 30-member Senate 
Steering Committee, an informal caucus of conservative advisors to the 
Senate Majority Leader. 

Named Texan of the Year by the Texas Legislative Conference in 
1997 and entered into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame that same year, she 
brings to her current position the same confidence and concern that 
marked her tenure as member of the Texas House of Representatives and 
as Texas State Treasurer. 

Please join me in giving a very warm VFW welcome for the 
distinguished United States Senator from the great state of Texas, the 
Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchinson. (Applause) 

GREETINGS -THE HONORABLE KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, 
UNITED STATES SENATOR - TEXAS 

SENATOR HUTCHINSON: Thank you. What a great, wonderful 
way to start Monday morning. Welcome to Military City USA. In Texas, 
we love and respect everyone who has pledged their lives so that all of us 
can be free. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

My staff in Washington gets a little tired of me bragging about 
Texas all the time, because I do come home every weekend, and then I go 
back to Washington and I talk about how great God's country was. Well, 
I came back about six months ago and I said, "Oh, I had a perfect 
weekend. On Saturday, I rode a horse in the Houston Rodeo Parade. That 
same night I went to a Mardi Gras Mask Ball in Galveston and it was 
perfect." 

One of my staffers, who had had it up to here, said, "I don't know 
what is so perfect about that. You deal with horses of all kinds and people 
with two faces right here in Washington every day." (Laughter) So, I know 
that many of you probably feel the same way. 

But let me say just a couple of things to you about what we are 
trying to do in Congress. We are very concerned about the state of our 
military today. We are worried that we may be going to the hollow force 
of the '70s. Here are the indicators. 

The Army had its worst recruiting year last year since 1979. The 
Navy is 13 percent low in its recruiting. The Air Force was only able to 
entice 29 percent of our pilots that had experience to take the $60,000 



16 



bonus to sign up for five more years. 

We cannot continue to be the greatest military in the world and the 
only super power left if we don't keep our experienced people and recruit 
the best as we have done over the last 200 years. 

There is only one place that I am going to advocate that we 
increase spending in the next four years, and that is in our military. Our 
defense budget is too low and we must beef it up. We are going to start to 
target our spending so our military people will get the health care they 
deserve and our veterans will as well. 

We are going to force the deployment of the Ace Missile system for 
our country. That is unconscionable that we don't have a defense system 
while we are watching the Middle East erupt in missile testing. We cannot 
stand without our own missile defense system and we are going to force 
the issue with this administration. 

We are going to fight to make sure that the sacrifices that all of you 
and your comrades have made are not in vain. I will never forget, and this 
is a true story and I am going to end with it because it made such an impact 
on me. It has really been the leading force for what I have done in the 
United States Senate ever since this happened. 

It was early in my term, about four and one-half years ago, and I 
was coming back to Dallas one Friday afternoon. A man walked up to me 
on the airplane. He said, "Hi, Senator. I am Larry Joyce. I am one of your 
constituents." 

I said, "Well, hi, Larry. What were you doing in Washington? Did 
you have a good time?" He said, "Senator, I was burying my son in 
Arlington National Cemetery." I said, "Did he die in Somalia?" He said, 
"Yes, Senator, he did." The tears streamed down his cheeks. 

He said, "Senator, I am a military man. I served two terms in 
Vietnam and I came back, and now my oldest son in his first mission as an 
Army Ranger is not coming home and I can't tell you why." I vowed then 
and there on that very spot that as long as I am in the United States Senate, 
I am never going to feel that I can't answer a Larry Joyce or Mrs. Larry Joyce 
any time I am asked that question. 

There is only one answer to Larry Joyce and to Mrs. Larry Joyce, 
and to all of you who have made the sacrifice to let us stand here today, 
and that is that your son or daughter died securing the freedom of the 
citizens of the United States of America, and that is the only answer that 
we can give if we are responsible stewards of our military in our country. 

So because of the son of Larry Joyce and because of all of you in 
this room, we live in the greatest, freest and fairest country that was ever 
put together on the face of the earth. 

I respect you, I honor you and I thank you. 

THE ANNOUNCER: It is our pleasure to introduce Rebecca 
Pernol, the Ladies Auxiliary National Patriotic Instructor, presenting flag 
sets to Mayor Peak, Governor Bush and Senator Hutchinson. 



17 



PRESENTATION OF AMERICAN FLAG SETS 

NATIONAL PATRIOTIC INSTRUCTOR REBECCA PERNOL; It is a 
great honor and privilege for me to be here making this presentation today. 
We are a symbol of a rallying point for all the brave men and women. The 
flag is the Lone Star, is flown over both nation and state. 

We are grateful that the Lone Star has joined with other 49 states 
tojoln the great flags of ours. That flag has grown from 13 stars to 50, and 
a nation that started out along one-third of the East Coast and now stretches 
from the Atlantic Ocean to one-third distance across the Pacific Ocean, 
and a nation whose influences is felt around the world and today in outer 
space. 

I hope you will display this flag in your office and think of the 
consequences that your actions will have upon it in everything that you do 
in that office. 

Governor Bush, will you please step to the podium. On behalf of 
the National President, Connie Atkinson, of the Ladies Auxiliary of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars, it is my pleasure to present to you this flag set. 

GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you. 

NATIONAL PATRIOTIC INSTRUCTOR PERNOL: Senator 
Hutchinson, will you, please, come to the podium. It is with great honor 
for me, on behalf of the National President, Connie Atkinson, of the Ladies 
Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars to present a symbol of our nation 
to a lady that has one of the highest offices in our nation and who knows 
and understands what this flag means to us. We hope that you will display 
it proudly in your office. 

SENATOR HUTCHINSON: I will. 

NATIONAL PATRIOTIC INSTRUCTOR PERNOL: Mayor Peak, will 
you, please, come forward. Mayor Peak, it is with great pleasure that I 
present to you the American flag sets on behalf of the National President, 
Connie Atkinson, of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 
We hope you display it proudly in your office and remember the flag 
should always be displayed in a proper and dignified manner. 

MAYOR PEAK: Thank you. 

THE ANNOUNCER: Please sit back and relax as we present a 
video. 

(Whereupon, a video presentation was had at this time.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time, if you will please 
rise and give one great round of applause to three great Americans, Mayor 
Peak, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and the Honorable Governor George 
W. Bush. Thank you very much. 

PRESENTATION OF AWARDS TO 1998 ALL AMERICAN 
DEPARTMENT COMMANDERS 

THE ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great 

18 



pleasure that we present to you the 1997-1998 team of All American 
Department Commanders. The selection of All American Commander was 
based on each achieving their assigned quotas in new and reinstated 
members as well as Life Member conversion. 

From the Department of Alaska, Horace D. Johnson. 

From the Department of Arkansas, Odell Stricklin. 

From the Department of Delaware, Robert A. McGowan. 

From the Department of Europe, Richard A. Maryland. 

From the Department of Hawaii, Lawrence H. Sakamoto. This 
award will be accepted by his widow. 

From the Department of Kansas, A. Lynn Hall. 

From the Department of Minnesota, Donald L. Gates, Jr. 

From the Department of Mississippi, William H. Long. 

From the Department of Montana, Joseph W. Brand. 

From the Department of North Dakota, Theodore Will. 

From the Department of Vermont, Merlin T Doyle. 

From the Department of Wyoming, Kenneth E. Weber. 

Will all of the All American Post, District and Department 
Commanders please stand and be recognized. Let's give them a round of 
applause. (Applause) 

At this time Commander-in-Chief Moon will present a very special 
citation to the Department of Arizona. For 31 years, the members of the 
Department of Arizona have worked together as a team to increase VFW 
membership throughout the state. Each member of the Department of 
Arizona can take pride in their many years of dedication and hard work 
that went into reaching this milestone. 

Now, in recognition of those efforts, I would like to call on Greg 
Woodring, the Immediate Department Commander of Arizona, to accept 
this "Consecutive Years of Membership Growth" citation. Congratulations 
to the Department of Arizona. 

The citation reads as follows: 

"In recognition of thirty-one consecutive years of membership 
growth, evidencing the attainment of three decades of continuous 
membership gain by a Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 31st 
day of August, 1998." 

This has been signed by Commander-in-Chief Moon. 
Congratulations to the Department of Arizona. 

PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION TO THE 
98TH NATIONAL CONVENTION COMMITTEE 

THE ANNOUNCER: The Commander-in-Chief Moon will now 
present a Certificate of Appreciation to the 98th National Convention 
Committee for their work in planning and conducting last year's National 



19 



Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

To accept the award on behalf of the Committee is Ben Russo, who 
was Chairman of the Committee. 

The citation reads as follows: 

"In sincere appreciation and grateful recognition of their 
dedication and tireless efforts to ensure the success of the 98th National 
Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States held in Salt 
Lake City, Utah, August 16-21, 1997." 

This has been signed by Commander-in-Chief Moon. 

INTRODUCTION - GENERAL LLOYD W. NEWTON, COMMANDER, 
AIR EDUCATION AND TRAINING, RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, 

TEXAS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Ladies and gentlemen: We are 
proud to have with us today General Lloyd W. Newton, the Commander of 
Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, 
headquartered here in San Antonio, home of the famous Alamo. 

Not only does San Antonio house Randolph Air Force Base, but it 
is also the home to four other military installations that train men and 
women who defend our nation: Lackland Air Force Base, Brooks Air Force 
Base, Kelly Air Force Base, and Fort Sam Houston. These bases in the 
communities of San Antonio include more than 178,000 active-duty, 
reserve, civil service personnel and military retirees. 

Together, they contribute approximately $3.7 billion to the local 
economy each year. 

Ladies and gentlemen, pleasejoin me in a warm VFW welcome for 
General Lloyd W. Newton of Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. 

REMARKS - GENERAL LLOYD W. NEWTON 

GENERAL LLOYD NEWTON: Thank you very much for that warm 
introduction and thanks for the warm welcome, ladies and gentlemen. 
Indeed, it is a great honor as well as a terrific pleasure for me to have the 
opportunity to come and share some of your time during this very 
important event, which is taking place in this great city. 

I know that the leadership of both the state as well as the city, the 
Governor and the Mayor, as well as our great Senator, Senator Hutchinson, 
have been with you already, and I just want tojoin with them as well as on 
behalf of all of the other soldiers, sailors, airmen. Marines and Coast Guard 
personnel that are in the local area and say welcome to San Antonio, Texas. 

To your Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon, you have done a 
terrific job of gathering an outstanding audience for this important 
convention. Interestingly enough, I have been out of town and I came back 
in on Saturday, and en route from Houston back to here I had the 
opportunity to share a plane ride with a number of your colleagues. 



20 



I happened to be in uniform so immediately they wanted to know 
who was this General that was joining our crowd here. I told them that I 
would certainly be on my best behavior because I was looking forward to 
joining you here this morning. 

Again, indeed, it is a real honor to welcome you to San Antonio. I 
think if you have not already been, and I know some of you have been here 
for a few days, that you will find that San Antonio is certainly a warm and 
wonderful city. That's why we in the military call it Military City USA, not 
only because of the number of bases that you heard that we have here but 
because of that great relationship that I along with my military personnel 
have with the great citizens here in San Antonio. 

You will find that culturally this is one of the most diverse and 
probably one of the most visited cities in the State of Texas. So if you find 
some time, get out and enjoy this great culture and great heritage that you 
will find here. 

Let me say to you in way of a few words this morning, we certainly 
do live in a different world today than that which many of you might have 
served in just a short ten years or so ago. Back during that period of time, 
we were engaged in the cold war and our national strategy was one of 
containment very simply put, and we wanted to contain Communism. 

As all of you were aware, as you were part of it, the United States 
did an exceptional job because we won the cold war. But things have 
changed certainly from 1989 until now when the wall came down. Today, 
we subscribe to a new strategy, one which can be summed up in three 
words: engagement and enlargement. 

Under this strike of the United States that is actively engaged 
around the world in a concerted effort as we try to enlarge the family of 
democratic like-minded nations because we feel the free world certainly 
flourishes when we are engaged in this kind of environment. 

This strategy will call for our armed forces and air force to continue 
to be in high demand as we move into the turn of the century and into the 
new millennium. We are in high demand as we speak right now, as a 
matter of fact, and today our United States Air Force, we have permanently 
overseas some 80,000 personnel. 

As we speak, because I just reviewed my morning brief, we have 
over 1 5,000 men and women deployed to various crises and engagements 
around the world. We are experienced in Operation Tempo that is 
certainly four times, at least that much, more than we did in the eighties. 

Because of that, our forces are feeling that strain. You see, we have 
downsized the forces, as well as a lot of our equipment has been 
downsized over 36 percent since the mid-eighties, and again our military 
men and women are feeling that strain. 

But in spite of this strain, as I traveled around and meet with our 
folks, and I have just returned from a trip to Europe of about two weeks 
ago, I can tell you we are getting some of America's best and brightest. 
These men and women are totally dedicated to serve you and I and this 



21 



great nation that we live in. 

You will find that their morale is as high as it has ever been, and 
let me assure you that they are some of the smartest that I have ever seen. 
I, along with my colleague in the leadership environment, must be sure 
that we are reading fast and walking very tall if we expect to stay out in 
front of them. 

They are some of the best that we can have and because of that I 
am extremely proud and most honored to have the opportunity to serve in 
the leadership capacity. Now, I will tell you that as I mentioned things 
have been changing, things certainly have been changing and you have 
continued to play a significant role in the well-being of our armed forces 
and, consequently, that resulted in the well-being of our nation. 

Your efforts, like those of continuing with great Americanism and 
community service programs have been very helpful in keeping in the 
forefront the value of our armed forces. Furthermore, you have your 
Auxiliary program, like your Ladies Auxiliary program, which has been the 
backbone of your volunteer efforts that has been extending a helping hand 
throughout our various communities and making America continue to be 
the world's only super power. 

You continue to support the military in a very critical way, known 
as our national security, and our national defense. Whether that is 
supporting in quality of life kinds of programs or whether it means that you 
are serving to ensure that our readiness stays with ties that need to be and 
we should keep it. 

You have been there as the watch dog to ensure that our comrades 
have before them the important facts of how our military forces are doing. 
As a result, you are over two million individuals strong as well as more than 
776,000 ladies in your Auxiliary group that have been wearing the badge 
of courage under fire very, very proudly, and for that I can tell you our men 
and women that are in uniform greatly appreciate what you have done. 

More important than that, those who have been veterans and who 
may not have had the opportunity to appreciate the best that America has 
to offer, you have kept in the forefront the need to continue to be a support 
to each of them. 

Let me tell you, your support today is even more important than it 
ever was. It is more important because of a great downsizing which we 
have had and because there are fewer and fewer Americans who are now 
serving in your armed forces. Because of that, there are many who have 
very little knowledge of what it really means to serve the nation. 

The link between us that are in uniform and our citizens in the 
community are largely through you, the members of theVFW. So for that, 
on behalf of all my colleagues I say to you thank you very, very much for 
being an important arm for our armed forces. 

Now, over the last five years, you certainly know that America has 
been enjoying a great life. It has been a great life because our economy 
has been doing exceptionally well, except maybe for a few days last week. 



22 



But clearly the stock markets are higher than they have ever been in a long 
period of time. 

The unemployment rate is the lowest it has ever been. We have not 
heard of anything about inflation here in recent times, and certainly 
interest rates are in the single digits. Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest to you 
that much of this great enthusiasm that has a bearing on our economy is a 
direct result of what you have done in the service of your nation as well as 
those men and women that are still in the uniform today. 

You see, I think that it is clear that when there is more security and 
stability around the world, free markets flourish and ours has been moving 
steadily along with all of those around the rest of the world. Our men and 
women in uniform have helped to build that security and that stability that 
we find out there, even though the world is still a rather dangerous place. 

But with that, we, too, want to help you enjoy that great economic 
benefit that has been coming to this great nation of ours. So we clearly 
recognize that we are in a global market and because of that we have to 
ensure that kind of security and stability remains because an economic 
crisis anywhere in the world can certainly mean an economic crisis 
everywhere in the world, including our United States. 

So, we want to ensure that those men and women that are in 
uniform are clearly supported as you have done so well over the years. I 
will tell you, it is through their efforts that we continue to be the world's 
greatest armed forces. You help to ensure that those resources that are 
needed for our national defense continue to come our way. 

So, as you continue in this convention, this milestone convention, 
I might add, you will find that as you begin to enter into the new 
millennium of the 21st Century that there are still many things to be done 
to ensure that we will continue to be a viable economy and a viable 
nation. 

So as your armed forces move into much more of an expeditionary 
kind of force and environment, we will be a force that will be on the move, 
and when you call we want to be ready. So, whether it is an attack on 
terrorists that will take aim at American citizens, or whether it is helping 
with the natural disasters, either here in these United States or wherever we 
are called around the world, we want to ensure that our armed forces are 
ready. 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is through your efforts that we continue 
to be ready. So, again, welcome to San Antonio. I wish you the very best 
as you continue with this convention. I know that you deliberate on 
extremely, extremely important issues that deal not only with our own 
forces but deal with our great United States. For that, we owe you all that 
we can. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome and thank you very much. I 
salute you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Let's give him a round of 
applause. (Applause) 



23 



PRESENTATION OF VFW GOLD MEDAL OF MERIT AND CITATION 
TO LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT CONNIE ATKINSON 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For 84 years, the Ladies 
Auxiliary to the VFW has been an active partner in everything the 
organization has been able to accomplish. This partnership has seen the 
development of programs and projects that serve members, their 
communities and our nation. 

"Catch the Spirit" is the theme of this year's National President, 
Connie Atkinson of Conway, Arkansas, and with it she has led the Auxiliary 
to new records and new milestones. Conniejoined the Ladies Auxiliary on 
the eligibility of her husband, Carroll, who served in Vietnam as a 
helicopter crew chief. 

A Life Member of Jesse W. Grisham Auxiliary 2259, Connie has 
been named an Outstanding Auxiliary President, Outstanding District 
President and runner-up Outstanding Department President, 1989-1990. 

She has served as Southern Conference Meeting Chairman, 
National Chairman on the Southern Conference Safety and Rehabilitation 
Programs, and five times earned the status of National Aide-de-Camp for 
Recruiting New Members. 

And now, as she comes forth to accept the VFW Gold Medal of 
Merit and Certificate, please give her a warm VFW welcome. 

THE ANNOUNCER: The citation reads as follows: 

"In special recognition of her untiring dedication to our country 
and in sincere appreciation for her enthusiastic leadership as evidenced by 
the exceptional contributions of the Ladies Auxiliary to the programs and 
purposes of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and, by their deeds, fulfillment of 
the commitment of the Ladies Auxiliary as they 'Catch the Spirit.'" 

RESPONSE - LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT CONNIE ATKINSON 

LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT ATKINSON: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief Moon. To you, the National VFW Officers and the 
Officers of the Ladies Auxiliary, Comrades, Sisters and our Guests: 

Thank you for this very special award from the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars. I shall cherish it always. You know, this convention marks the end 
of 84 years that the Ladies Auxiliary has partnered with the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars to serve veterans and other members of our community 
throughout our great century. 

We are beginning our 85th year. I think it is time maybe for us to 
pause and tell you, the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, how 
proud and how honored we are to have served as your Ladies Auxiliary for 
the last 84 years. 

On behalf of the nearly 728,000 members of the Ladies Auxiliary, 
we want to say to the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars thank you 
for the service that you rendered our country in its time of need. Thank you 



24 



for allowing us to serve as your Ladies Auxiliary. We are here to assist you 
in any of our joint programs in any way that we possibly, possibly can. 

This year we worked together on the new projects, such as the 
raising of funds for the World War II Memorial, and the efforts to restore the 
original Star Spangled Banner. Once again, we have participated in making 
a difference day. We also provided outstanding scholarship opportunities 
for our young people. I am so proud to have been able to play a role in 
the legacy of service. 

This morning I would like to say again a very special thank you to 
each VFW member on behalf of our nearly 728,000 members of the Ladies 
Auxiliary. 

Commander-in-Chief Moon, it was a pleasure to serve with you 
and on behalf of all of our members of the Ladies Auxiliary I wish for you 
a very successful convention. I might add that I know every National 
President has stood here and said she has had the very best Commander- 
in-Chief, and as we progress through the years, the Commanders-in-Chief 
only get better, so I know that I have the very best Commander-in-Chief. 
Thank you. 

INTRODUCTION OF YOUTH ESSAY CONTEST WINNER, 
HEATHER R. HULL 

THE ANNOUNCER: The Youth Essay Contest is a nationwide 
program designed to give seventh, eighth and ninth-grade students the 
opportunity to express their opinion on a patriotic theme, "What Patriotism 
Means To Me." 

The Youth Essay Contest was again very successful in this, the third 
year of the program. We can all be very proud of the results. Over 58,300 
students entered the competition. All 54 Departments submitted a winner. 
Savings bonds and other incentives, totalling over $447,000, were 
generously given by our membership to young people throughout our great 
nation. 

We are very pleased to have the 1998 National Winner of the 
Youth Essay Program competition with us this morning. Heather was a 
ninth-grade student at Los Alamos High School in Los Alamos, New 
Mexico, when she wrote her winning essay. She is sponsored by VFW Post 
8874 and its Ladies Auxiliary from Los Alamos, and is accompanied by her 
father, mother and sister. 

Here to present her award-winning essay: "What Patriotism Means 
To Me", the 1998 First Place National Youth Essay Winner, Heather Hull. 

YOUTH ESSAY CONTEST WINNER - HEATHER R. HULL 

MS. HULL: Thank you, Commander-in-Chief, and thank you all 
from the Ladies Auxiliary and veterans. 

Patriotism, to me, is the spirit and soul of a country. It is what 



25 



keeps a country together not only through war and hardships, but also 
through the victory and triumph. What else could keep a soldier from 
losing heart and hope in battle? A disheartened country from losing the 
burning desire to rebuild itself? A nation of divided citizens from losing 
each other? 

It is patriotism that keeps our love of freedom alive. It is not money 
or wealth; it is not social acceptance. It is the pure goodwill of every true 
American that keeps our nation's dreams alive. Every day we show our 
patriotism in large and small ways: by proudly saluting the flag, by saying 
the Pledge of Allegiance, by celebrating the Fourth of July with its bursts of 
fireworks. Americans show their patriotism when soldiers give their lives 
serving our country and when citizens cast a vote in support of a candidate 
whose ideals represent their own. 

Behind our many freedoms, including the freedoms of speech and 
religion, stand all the men and women who, through dedication to their 
dreams and perseverance through their struggles, have made so many 
opportunities ours. Although we may only recognize their sacrifices and 
suffering on certain holidays, such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, 
their legacy is all around us every day. In every military cemetery, the 
gravestones there represent hundreds of our patriots who have served our 
country and who continue to do so. 

To me, patriotism is a kind of heroism. When I saw my face 
reflected in the shiny granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) 
in Washington, D.C., I was reminded of the valor of those whose names are 
etched there and of the courage of their loved ones. 

We Americans have always shown our patriotism by honoring our 
values and by envisioning freedom for all. To me, patriotism is the 
optimistic spirit and the deep-rooted soul of our country, the United States 
of America. Thank you. (Applause) 

PRESENTATION OF EAGLE AND SAVINGS BOND 
BY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON 

THE ANNOUNCER: Commander-in-Chief will present Heather 
Hull with the First Place National Youth Essay Award, a $5,000 U.S. Savings 
Bond, and a Silver Eagle Trophy, to recognize the excellence and 
significance of her participation. 

Thank you. Heather Hull, for coming to our National Convention 
and for expressing your patriotism. 

INTRODUCTION OF JEFF GOLIMOWSKI - 
1998 NATIONAL VOICE OF DEMOCRACY WINNER 

THE ANNOUNCER: Over the past 51 years, the Voice of 
Democracy Program has encouraged high school students from across 
America and in American communities overseas to think, write and speak 



26 



out for freedom and democracy. 

Students currently compete for over $128,500 in national 
scholarships, as well as over $2.6 million in awards and scholarships given 
annually by Posts, Districts, Departments and their respective Ladies 
Auxiliary. 

VFW and Auxiliary scholarships enable many young Americans 
the opportunity to seek an education in colleges and universities of their 
own choosing. 

We are pleased to have the 1998 First Place National Winner in 
the Voice of Democracy Program with us today. He graduated from 
Newport High School in Newport, Oregon, and will attend Willamette 
University in Salem, Oregon. He is sponsored by VFW Post 2624 and its 
Ladies Auxiliary in Newport, Oregon. 

Here to present his award-winning essay, "My Voice In Our 
Democracy" the 1998 First-Place National Voice of Democracy Winner 
and recipient of the $20,000 T. C. Selman Memorial Scholarship, Mr. Jeff 
Golimowski. 

VOICE OF DEMOCRACY WINNER - JEFF GOLIMOWSKI 

MR. GOLIMOWSKI: Good morning. Before I begin, I would like 
to take this opportunity to extend my most heartfelt thanks and gratitude to 
all the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Ladies Auxiliaries. 
It is easy to forget in this generation of peace the costs of the freedom that 
my generation now enjoys. 

After spending the last three years working with the veterans, they 
have been some of the kindest and most decent people I have ever met. I 
will give you this promise right now that for the rest of my life I will do 
everything within my power to guarantee that my generation will not forget 
the sacrifice of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (Applause) 

Thousands of years ago, on a small peninsula jutting out in the 
Mediterranean, amidst sun-drenched orchards and rocky plains, there 
arose a city that would change the course of history. The city of Athens 
became for hundreds of years, the center of the Greek world and from this 
mighty city of marble temples and broad avenues, came a principle that 
the world had never seen before, the principle of one citizen, one vote. 

Under the great leadership of the great Pericles, the city of Athens 
achieved the dream of many civilizations - a stable and just government 
controlled by its citizens in a direct democracy. 

More than 2,000 years later, another great city has risen. Standing 
between a mighty river and the Atlantic Ocean, another city of marble 
temples and broad avenues stands as a beacon to the rest of the world. 
And it is from this city, this Washington, that another principle has been 
given to the world, the principle of one citizen, one voice. 

For although the ancient Greeks and her descendants attempted to 
build an equal Democracy, and her citizens thought themselves to be free, 



27 



in reality Athens was not a democracy but a hypocrisy. Only her adult 
male citizens were granted the right to vote, and only the opinions of a few 
influential people were given any weight. Women and children were 
regarded as little more than slaves. 

But here, today, the United States of America is truly a nation of 
voices. And within this mighty conflagration of sound, any individual can 
influence the course of our nation and the course of history. But so many 
individuals in this mighty nation cannot see the incredible importance their 
voices have to all of us. So many are unable to see that their apathy, their 
lack of thought and care, are causing their political vocal cords to atrophy, 
and it is this apathy that is slowly starting to erode away the foundations 
upon which Washington, and the nation were built. 

However, there is one group of people in America that hold within 
its hands the ability to hold back the apathy, if only they could see their 
own influence and power. This group of people is the youth of America, 
and it is to this group that my voice belongs. 

For centuries, our ideas have been ignored, and our words have 
been lost in the sea of speeches and writings by adults. But today, with the 
advent of the digital age, our age is no longer a boundary. Archimedes 
once wrote that if you gave him a long enough lever and a place to stand, 
he could move the world. To the youth of America, I can tell you this: 
Today you stand with the level in your hands and the strength to push it. I 
challenge you to find the courage to use it. 

You see, in today's world of instantaneous communication and 
Internet technology, you are no longer bound to your social strata by your 
age or by your size. Those older than you will shout loud and long to 
protect their interests. They will lower their taxes and raise their services 
without regard for your interests, for when you are staggering under the 
weight of a system long past its feasibility, they will be long gone. The time 
to speak is now. 

But I will warn you: A single voice in this great nation is almost 
immediately lost. Today, that's all I am, a single voice. But if I persuade 
just one person, convince just one person of the importance of our 
involvement, then tomorrow, my voice will be amplified by another. 

As the days and weeks go by, our message will continue to grow 
until it rings from every household, and from every street corner, that the 
youth of America will no longer stand as a silent minority, waiting for 
others to take command of us. We have our own ideas, we have our own 
voices, and we will be heard. 

It is then, when our voices, when our ideas are finally given the 
weight they deserve, then that dream of Athens, that dream of Washington 
and that idea of one citizen, one voice will finally be realized. (Applause) 

PRESENTATION OF EAGLE TO VOD WINNER JEFF GOLIMOWSKI 

THE ANNOUNCER: Commander-in-Chief Moon presents Jeff 



28 



Golimowski with a Silver Eagle Trophy to recognize the excellence and 
significance of his participation. 

Thank you, Jeff Golimowski, for coming to our National 
Convention and for expressing your patriotism. Let's give Heather and him 
another big hand. (Applause) 

INTRODUCTION OF GENERAL YANG TING-YUN. CHAIRMAN, 
VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMISSION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For years the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars has enjoyed a warm relationship with the Veterans Affairs 
Commission and the Republic of China on Taiwan. They have truly been 
our friends. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has consistently pledged its support 
through resolutions for our friends in the Republic of China. That support 
was recently reinforced on July 10th following the President's visit to 
Beijing, when the United States Congress, by a vote of 92 to 0, affirmed its 
long-standing commitment to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan 
Relations Act. 

Today, we share with the citizens of the Republic their pride, their 
success and their economic achievement. Certainly, that success in large 
part can be attributed to the employment and development programs that 
the Republic conducts for its veterans. 

The tremendous care, support and vitality of its veterans programs 
have been an inspiration to the VFW. We wish to thank our friends in the 
Veterans Affairs Commission for their long and beneficial friendship. 

Joining us today to reaffirm their pledge of brotherhood and 
comradeship is the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Commission. 
Comrades and Sisters, please give a warm VFW welcome to General Yang 
Ting-yun. 

RESPONSE - GENERAL YANG TING-YUN 

GENERAL YANG TING-YUN: Commander-in-Chief Moon, 
Madam President Atkinson, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

It is a great honor for me to represent the veterans of the Republic 
of China on Taiwan at the Joint Opening Session of your 99th National 
Convention. I am exceptionally pleased to be among such a distinguished 
group of allied veterans here in this historic city of San Antonio, and I am 
very happy to once again see Madam President Atkinson and Commander- 
in-Chief Moon, who respectively visited our country last November and 
last July. 

Since your 1997 National Convention, the Far East has 
experienced some severe economic upheavals. Countries, whose 
economies were thought to be stable and growing, unexpectedly found 
themselves in extreme difficulties. Certain currencies depreciated to one- 



29 



half of their former values of just one year ago, leading to political 
instability and the ouster of presidents and prime ministers. 

The Republic of China has been comparatively less affected in 
these circumstances. We believe that the main reason our prosperity has 
continued is the fact that our economic strength is based on the firm 
foundation of a free enterprise structure under democracy. 

Our economy is actually composed of over one million three 
thousand medium and small businesses, which accounts for 97.92 percent 
of our nation's business activities. Consequently, the capital in our society 
has been so widely and popularly distributed that we can flexibly meet the 
challenges and absorb the impacts from different directions. 

And our founding father. Dr. Sun Yat-sen originally promoted this 
system. 

As many of you know. Dr. Sun lived in Hawaii and absorbed the 
best ideals of American society, which he transplanted to China. It is, 
therefore, little wonder that the people of the Republic of China have 
maintained a great deal of respect and admiration for the United States. In 
fact, the friendship resulting from our common goals and aspirations led to 
our formal alliance during World War II and subsequent conflicts in Korea 
and Vietnam. 

Names like MacArthur, Chennault and Wedemyer are as much a 
part of our history as they are of yours. 

The growth of freedom and democracy in the Far East region in 
recent years should be large attributed to the United States' military power 
and resolve. Therefore, American veterans can be truly proud of their 
inestimable contribution to world peace. You have clearly and consistently 
articulated your positions to the executive and legislative branches of the 
United States Government on a number of vital issues, including the sale 
of advanced military equipment to our country. Your efforts are most 
appreciated by the people of the Republic of China. 

The Veterans Affairs Commission of the Republic of China is 
dedicated to furthering our excellent cooperation with the VFW to enhance 
our mutual interests, promote comprehensive and effective veterans 
assistance programs, and advance the goals of justice, freedom and 
democracy around the world. 

In closing, I give you and every one of you my best regards for your 
health, happiness and a most successful convention. Thank you. 

MR. CHARLES KAN: Now, ladies and gentlemen, please be 
seated. On behalf of the Republic of China on Taiwan, I would like to 
present the Order of the Cloud and Banner with Cravat to your 
Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Moon. Now, let me have the honor to read the 
citation that accompanies the Banner. 

"Mr. John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States, has distinguished himself by his outstanding 
contributions to the promotion of friendly relations between the people of 
the United States of America and the Republic of China in his support of 



30 



readmission of the Republic of China into the United Nations. 

"In appreciation of his nneritorious service, Commander-in-Chief 
Moon is presented the Order of the Cloud and Banner with Cravat by the 
Government of the Republic of China, in accordance with Article 1 1 of the 
Armed Forces Decoration Regulation." 

Secondly, I will now present a commemorative plate to the 
Commander-in-Chief. Let me have the honor to read the inscription on the 
plate. 

"Presented to Mr. John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief, Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States, in recognition of these outstanding 
contributions to the enhancement of friendship and cooperation between 
the VFW of the United States and the veterans of this Commission of the 
Republic of China. This is presented this 31st day of August, 1998." 

Last but not least, on behalf of the veterans of the Republic of 
China on Taiwan, I would like to present a similar commemorative plate to 
the National President. The inscription reads as follows: 

"Presented to Mrs. Connie Atkinson, National President of the 
Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, in 
recognition of her outstanding contributions to the enhancement of 
friendship and cooperation between the VFW of the United States and the 
Veterans Affairs Commission of the Republic of China on Taiwan." 

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. It has been our 
pleasure to have attended the Opening Ceremonies of the organization's 
99th Convention. Thank you very much. 

INTRODUCTION OF KEYNOTE SPEAKER - 

THE HONORABLE PAUL WELLSTONE, 
UNITED STATES SENATOR - MINNESOTA 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We are pleased to have with 
us today, our Keynote Speaker, Senator Raul Wellstone, from the great 
North Star State of Minnesota. 

Senator Wellstone has received numerous awards for his advocacy 
on behalf of the nation's veterans and their families.. In 1995, he received 
the "Legislator of the Year" award from the Vietnam Veterans of America as 
well as the "Patriot of the Year" award from the Minnesota Chapter of the 
Paralyzed Veterans of America. 

As a member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, he has worked 
to improve the treatment of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress 
disorder and has fought to improve veterans' health-care services. 

A leader in seeking to reform the nation's health-care system. 
Senator Wellstone helped lead the fight to ensure that people would be 
able to take time off from work to care for a sick child or aging parent 
without losing theirjobs. 

We are pleased to introduce our Keynote Speaker, United;States 
Senator Raul Wellstone, the Senior Senator from the great North Star State 



31 



of Minnesota. 

RESPONSE BY SENATOR PAUL WELLSTONE 

SENATOR WELLSTONE: Thank you. Let me, first of all, thank the 
Commander for his kind introduction and let me thank each and every one 
of you for the invitation to speak at this VFW 99th National Convention. Al 
Loehr from Minnesota tells me that I am lucky and I can consider this to be 
a huge honor to be the first Minnesotan from our congressional delegation 
to have a chance to speak at the National Convention of the VFW since 
Hubert Humphrey in 1965, and that puts me in a great tradition. 

I thank you for your commitment to courage, for your commitment 
to country and for your commitment to community. But I also want to tell 
you that I am especially honored because I admire your service to veterans 
and their families. I admire your service to communities and I admire your 
service to the nation. 

Before I start thanking some people that are here, let me start out 
with a Minnesota story, if I can, because I love having a chance to be a 
Senator from my state. I know that part of the focus of this convention has 
to be VFW unity. Those of you who are here, you may not agree on all 
issues, but we come together around the issues that matter. 

So let me tell you a Minnesota story that speaks to this. In the mid- 
1980's, many Minnesota farmers were being driven off their land. They 
were being foreclosed on. It was a crisis. I fear, by the way, for those of 
you that are from agricultural America that we are going to go through this 
again. 

These farmers had no empowering explanation as to why they 
were losing their farms. They not only worked there, they lived there. This 
became fertile ground for politics of hatred. It was the politics of hatred 
that was racist and it was anti-semitic and all the rest. Some scary groups 
were out there organizing the farmers. 

So my friend said to me, "Raul, you are Jewish. You have got to 
stop speaking out at these farm rallies. You have got to stop organizing the 
farmers." But if you are five-five and one-half, you don't pay any attention 
to such advice. Some of you know what I mean. 

So, I went out to speak at a community that those of us in 
Minnesota call Alexander, Minnesota. I gave a speech at the big farm rally. 
As soon as I finished, a big guy, a lot of guys look really big to me, came 
up and he said, "What nationality are you?" 

I said to myself I can't believe this. I said, "I am an American." He 
said, "Where are your parents from?" I said, "Well, my father fled 
persecution in Russia and my mother's family fled Ukraine, although she 
was actually born in New York City." 

He looked at me. He said, "Then you are a Jew?" Now, I want to 
tell you, I went to the University of North Carolina and I was ready. I said, 
"Yes, I am." And he stuck out his big hand and he said, "Well, buddy, I am 



32 



a Finn and us minorities have got to struggle together." That is one of the 
reasons why I love Minnesota. 

National Commander-in-Chief Moon, thank you. Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief Tom Pouliot, thank you, and Adjutant General Larry 
Rivers, thank you. Auxiliary National President and Executive Director of 
the National Washington Office, Ken Steadman, thank you. 

Thank you for the National staff and for all my VFW friends from 
Minnesota, too many to name. Thank you very much for all of your 
support. Without your support, without all that you have done for me, I 
would never have a chance to be a United States Senator. 

To Jim Shaw, who somewhere is here, a Korean War veteran, a 
member of my staff, a member of the VFW Post 8510, thank you so much 
for all of your help. To our affiliate members, for your great work, and the 
special guests, I thank you. I thank you also for the 99th Convention. 

You have a rich history and what I want to say to you today at this 
99th Convention, as we move to the 100th Anniversary, we need you. The 
VFW has been about service to community and service to country. The 
VFW has been about citizenship with all of the citizens. 

I worry for my country. We need a new century of citizenship, a 
new century of patriotism, a commitment to our country as a whole, and I 
come here to honor you because you have the attitude, you have the kind 
of commitment and you have got the time to work that is needed for 
Americans. 

Please help me, VFW, in calling our nation to move forward with 
citizenship, patriotism and love of country. That is why we are here. 
Because of you, we have a veterans health-care system and service- 
connected benefits. Because of you, we help homeless veterans, though, 
not enough. 

Because of you, we provide job training to veterans. Because of 
you, we have veterans' preference in employment. Because of you, we 
have assisted the dependents and survivors of veterans, service to veterans. 
That's what the VFW has been about for 99 years. 

Because of you, millions and millions of dollars have been 
contributed to worthwhile civic projects from sea to shining sea. Because 
of you, youngsters can participate in sports. Boy Scouts and Voice of 
Democracy. Because of you, we have more support for cancer research, 
VFW service to community. Because of you, we have prosperity. Because 
of you, we have freedom. Because of you, we have democracy: VFW 
service to nation. 

I will say to you in a very personal way as a United States Senator, 
that giving back to veterans strengthens our nation and for many of us 
when we give back to veterans, those who have served our country, who 
have risked life and limb, that is the single best thing I can do as a United 
States Senator. 

I am probably more proud of your asking me to speak at this 
gathering than almost anything I have ever done in my life, and I mean that 



33 



without exaggeration. Now, I pose the question for you at this 99th 
Convention. Have we, as a nation, have we, as a country, done enough to 
give back to our veterans? Have we done enough? 

Let mejust put it to you this way. I get so tired of all this discussion 
about politics, left, right and center. I don't care about the labels and 
nobody in Minnesota ever comes up to me and talks in those labels. 
Politics is about trying to do well for people. 

While many of you, you were living proof of this, you served our 
country, you came back and you have been enormously successful in the 
private sector, the public sector, the community, you name it. I know this. 
I know this from Jim Shaw in our Minnesota office, from all the calls that 
we get and from all the people we try to help, there are veterans who had 
a war injury that has changed their lives forever. 

There are many veterans that are hurting. There is a lot of pain. 
There is a lot of people that have fallen between the cracks, and our 
country has not done our best in honoring our commitment and moral 
obligation to the veterans in the United States of America. 

The concern, how much more needs to be done? Listen to the 
Persian Gulf veteran. He has returned home with a long and complicated 
list of ailments. He used to be a runner. He could run five miles before 
service in the Gulf. Now, he can't walk one block. 

I will tell you today at this VFW gathering, and I will be 
disappointed in you if you don't make the same commitment, except I 
know you already have made this commitment, and we should do 
everything in our power to support the Persian Gulf veterans and we 
should not rest until they get the answers and the health care and the 
compensation that they deserve. 

Have we done enough for our veterans? Listen to the aging World 
War II veteran who worries about losing touch with friends and families 
after having been placed in a nursing home. We can and should develop 
a national long-term health-care policy that is truly in the best interest for 
veterans and their families. 

Look, part of this is obvious. We make the commitment to 
veterans' nursing homes, but, you know what else we have to make a 
commitment to, we have to make a commitment to a veterans' health-care 
system whereby we say to our veterans as they reach the age of 70, 75, 80 
or 85, we, as a nation, will do everything possible to make sure that as long 
as possible you will be able to live at home in as near as normal 
circumstances as possible with dignity. 

We ought to make a commitment to home-base compassionate 
community care for our veterans. That should be a part of the veterans 
health care in the United States of America. Have we done enough? Have 
we done enough for our veterans? 

Listen to Smokey Parish from the forgotten 216th. It was his job to 
measure radiation. Some of you know where I am going with this. During 
the military nuclear bomb tests in the '50s in Nevada, atomic veterans were 



34 



sent to ground zero with little or no protection. 

They were not given any warnings about the danger to the 
exposure to radiation, and I will tell you today at thisVFW gathering I have 
met these veterans from all across the country and their families. The 
number of these veterans that have died from cancer, the number of their 
children that have been ill, the number of their grandchildren that have 
been ill, this is a national disgrace. 

I know that the VFW has been supportive, but I have got to say it 
because you invited me to be here: do you realize this is almost half a 
century ago and we finally passed a bill out of the Senate Veterans 
Committee? It will go to the floor this month, and it expands the illnesses 
of cancer that became a part of presumptive service-connected diseases. 

I am not going to rest and I hope you won't rest until we right this 
injustice and make sure that these atomic veterans get the care and get the 
compensation that they deserve in our country. Is it enough? Listen to 
American ex-prisoners of war who were still coping with the effects of 
being held in captivity. 

We cannot forget our POWs and their families. We must treat and 
compensate them for the diseases that they have that we don't, for being 
held against their wills. Listen to the veterans whose claim is for service- 
connected disability. 

You know where I am coming on this. It took years of red tape, 
paperwork, appeals and remands to get it approved. On the average, 111 
days for claims of benefits to move through a regional office; 881 days for 
an appeal to move through the Board of Veterans Appeals. 

Forty-one percent of the cases at the Board of Veterans Appeals in 
1998 were remanded, sent back to the regional offices for further work. I 
say to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that this is too long. There have been 
too many mistakes. Justice delay is justice denied for veterans. 

We must get the decision right the first time. We must get the 
decision right the first time. We have got to change this system and make 
sure the people get the compensation that they deserve. Of course, the VA 
must re-enter, must re-engineer its claim responses. 

Of course, the VA will use new technology. Secretary West will be 
talking about this. I think it is so important that he be in the tradition of 
Secretary like Jesse Brown and be a strong advocate for veterans, and I 
know he will do so. But we have got to stop this practice of cutting staff 
when we add new computers. 

Computers can't replace trained professionals, especially in 
adjudicating complicated claims for benefits. We ought to fully fund and 
staff our regional VA offices. Have we done enough? Listen to the veteran 
living and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

He has been back from the war for several decades now, but he 
still is drowned in pain and alcohol, access to treatment is critical. Listen 
to the homeless veteran who is living on the streets in our cities. Here we 
are in the United States of America today at our peak economic 



35 



performance doing so well economically, and we are still being told that 
we don't have the resources to help homeless veterans. 

One-third of the homeless people in our country today are 
veterans. That is a national trend. It is critical forVA treatment for mental 
illness and chemical dependency. We can do that. Better access to 
transitional housing for these veterans is critical. We can do that. Better 
access tojoin training is critical. We can do that. 

I believe that at this gathering the VFW, given your service to 
community and your service to veterans, we should make the commitment 
to make sure that our country meets the challenge of dealing with this 
disgrace of one-third of the homeless people in our country being veterans. 

It is unconscionable, it is unacceptable, and we can do better as a 
nation. Yes, we can do better as a nation. Have we done enough? Listen 
to the veteran who depends upon the VA medical system for health care in 
an era of cutting staff and a no vote budget. 

I say today at this 99th VFW Convention that it is time for Congress 
to put veterans' health-care back on the agenda, back on the table. It is 
time for the Congress to take positive actions on veterans' health-care 
legislation and stop squeezing money out of ourVA Hospitals. 

I will introduce a bill in the next week or so. I don't say this to 
brag. I hope there will be strong bipartisan support. I am certainly working 
with Senators on both sides. Our legislation will be simple. It will say (a) 
begin the planning so that we know what we are going to do to deal with 
our veterans population as more and more veterans, thank God, live to be 
the age of 85. 

I will say (b) fully fund the VA medical system. The flat line budget 
won't work. Third-party payments will not give us all the resources we 
need. Go on record to fully fund the VA medical system. Third, we should 
have a nationwide Medicare reimbursement program so that Medicare 
veterans will have the right to choose the VA for their health care. 

It will say, first of all, give veterans a stronger voice in ensuring 
higher quality care. We have set up veterans Review Boards to go with 
these, so that veterans are involved in helping to shape the kind of health- 
care system that we are going to have for veterans, and finally it says let's 
make sure that in all of this discussion about patient protection, we may 
have to legislate in the fall, in September, that veterans are included. 

There should be a veterans' health-care bill of rights, high-quality 
care, timely access to care, access to specialists, and making sure that we 
get the best care possible in the country. It is time to put the pressure on 
the Congress to move forward with a really good health-care system for 
veterans in the United States of America. That should be a top priority for 
our nation. 

Anyone in the Congress, Democrat or Republican, who is willing 
to work with veterans, who is willing to work with the VFW, will come 
away from that experience feeling more patriotic and more grateful with 
the renewed sense of commitment to our country. 



36 



I know that, because that has been my journey as a United States 
Senator. During World War II, 400,000 Americans died on the battlefield. 
If you can see this movie, and for some of you it may be too painful, but I 
hope many of you will see the movie "Saving Private Ryan." I think it is an 
extremely important movie and I think you will think so. 

Now, 700,000 returned home wounded. During the Korea War, 
50,000 Americans died; 100,000 wounded. During the Vietnam War, 
58,000 Americans died; 300,000 were wounded. You and I know that 
when ordinary people step forward and make the ultimate sacrifice or 
return home wounded or disabled, they deserve the admiration of the 
American people. They have earned it. 

You know, because you truly understand patriotism, you more than 
any other Americans have demonstrated your love for our country. 
Patriotism is reflected in the thousands of yards of sacred purple and 
thousands of raw cast profiles of George Washington that you have earned. 

Patriotism is in the memory of those brave Americans who fell on 
Omaha Beach, at Heartbreak Ridge, on Hamburger Hill. Patriotism wavers 
in the bars of red and sticks of white that snap in the wind and tear at the 
heart, and to be sure that if the patriotism is to mean anything, it must mean 
keeping faith with those who the nation fought from their youth and 
transported to distant shores to fight in the unspeakable horror of war. 

Patriotism is also believing like you do in the inherent goodness 
and greatness of our nation with a deep faith in the ability of Americans to 
work together and create a better country. But today in Washington, we 
are confronted with another philosophy. I call it the new isolationism. 

Not as in foreign affairs, but as in new human affairs and as in 
veterans affairs. This new isolationism makes individual pursuit the 
primary goal, not commitment to the nation as a whole. This new 
isolationism represents a very difficult philosophy than I think is best 
represented by the VFW. 

With you, I think about the Erickson family, a letter I received from 
a 14-year-old girl. "Senator, my dad served in Vietnam. He has been fine, 
but then last week he took a shower in the morning getting ready to go to 
work. He came out of that shower and has not spoken a word since. What 
can be done to help my dad?" 

I think of the atomic veterans who are still waiting for 
compensation. I think of the homeless veterans. This new philosophy says 
you are on your own. If you are a Vietnam veteran and you have a 
substance abuse problem, let's be honest about it. Many of those veterans 
that live in the street do. This philosophy says you are on your own. 

If you are struggling with post-traumatic stress syndrome, this 
philosophy says you are on your own. If you are Lisa Gilmore and Tim 
Gilmore, Timothy has now passed away, it was so important to him, he had 
Agent Orange, a Vietnam vet, and he wanted to get that compensation to 
his family before he passed away because otherwise he was sure his family 
would not have the economic support. This new isolationism says you are 



37 



on your own. 

If you are 60 years old or you are 70 years old, and you have 
Parkinson's disease — both of my parents have Parkinson's disease, I know 
what that is about — this new Isolationism says you are on your own. If 
you are poor and you can't put food on the table, this new isolationism says 
you are on your own. 

If you are one of 42 million Americans with no health insurance, 
this new isolationism says you are on your own. Whatever happened to 
there by the grace of God go I? Whatever happened to that sense of 
community? I said at that VFW gathering, I pain you to say at this VFW 
gathering that we must challenge new isolationism and instead we must 
talk about a new devotion to country. 

We must talk about a renewed commitment to our nation as a 
whole. We must talk about communities. We must talk about service; we 
must not be a part of the cynicism that says we cannot do better as a nation. 
We must call on all Americans to be their own best souls. 

Whatever happened to the idea that we all do better when we all 
do better? Now, this patriotic attitude, I have got to say this, has not been 
on display recently in Washington. Let me give you a case in point. I am 
going to talk about, even though it is not pleasant, but I am going to talk 
about it and you know about it, what I refer to as the great highway 
robbery. 

You remember what it was like, the military handed out cigarettes 
like candies, soldiers were encouraged to smoke to relieve stress. 
Remember the thinking that smoke them if you have got them. Well, 
regardless of those facts, the Congress and the administration changed the 
rules of veterans and they denied tobacco-related benefits. 

Worse yet, did they not only deny tobacco-related benefits, but 
they did not put the savings into other veterans' programs. Did they use 
the $17 billion to make sick Gulf War veterans better? No. Did they use 
the savings to invest in long-term care for veterans? No. 

Did they use the savings for justice for atomic veterans? No. Did 
they use the savings to cut back on the back board of claims and get these 
decisions made in a prompt manner? No. Did they use the savings to fully 
fund veterans' health care? No. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of our nation's 
transportation infrastructure. But I would say this: if you want to invest in 
more highways, you go ahead and do it, but you take monies out of the 
benefits that you give to tobacco companies and the insurance companies 
and the oil companies: Don't take the benefits from veterans and their 
families. 

I think people in Minnesota can understand. I think, on the final 
highway bill, we worked hard to have a good bill. There must have been 
two or three of them that voted against it. I voted against the bill. I want 
nothing to do with this highway robbery. 

Then Senator Rockefeller and I wanted to come back with another 



38 



amendment yet, and they wouldn't let us do it. They did kind of a slick 
move and they put it in a conference report on the tax reform bill. I think 
there were two of us, not such a good thing, veterans to vote against tax 
reform, but there were two of us that voted against the IRS bill because 
again I don't want a thing to do with it. 

You know, they told us that they couldn't do as much as we need 
to do for veterans, because we had a deficit. We don't have a deficit any 
longer. Then they took $17 billion from the veterans budget and they put 
it into transportation. Where is the commitment to veterans? 

I think that politics in Washington, the administration and the 
Congress have run out of good excuses, and I hope that at this 99th 
Convention that there will be a demand that a positive veterans agenda be 
put back on the table with a real focus on good health care for veterans. 
And I hope that the VFW will lead the charge. You have done it before. Do 
it again. 

Let me conclude with a quote from a great American. Before 
taking command of the Continental Army, George Washington told the first 
Continental Congress, "When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside 
the citizen." I know that you having been steadfast soldiers and will always 
be great citizens. 

Lest you join us today in a call for a new century of American 
citizenship, the memorial to Colonel Robert Shaw that stands in Boston 
Common, is the praises of "The Pride, Courage and Devotion of the 
Patriotic Soldier." I call upon, America to convince the pride, courage and 
devotion to the patriotic citizen. 

Let us see if Americans truly honor veterans. Let's see an America 
where we can be proud of every single person that our country turns out. 
Let us see if America, wherever infant I hold in my hand, they are all God's 
children regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of whether they are 
rich or poor, regardless of religion or creed. 

Every individual in our country has the same chance to reach his 
potential, full potential. Let us work in America to earn the sacrifice 
reflected in those thousands of yards of sacred purple. Let us strive in 
America to be even more worthy to stand beneath those seven bars of red 
and stripes of white. 

Let us strive for an America that will truly portray the new 
constellation represented by those stars of white on that field of blue. 
Pleasejoin me and let us together fashion a new patriotic America. 

VFW members, families, honored guests, veterans, auxiliaries, the 
future of our nation will not belong to those who are content with the 
present. The future of our nation will not belong to the Senate. The future 
of our country will not belong to those that stand on the sidelines. 

The future is going to belong to women and men who have passion 
and who work hard to make our country better. The future will belong to 
all of us who believe in the duty of our dream. I thank you. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 



39 



ovation.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Again, thank you very much, 
Senator Wellstone from the great state of Minnesota. 

INTRODUCTION OF HELEN PUTNAM BLACKWELL 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: If I may at this time, I would 
like to introduce to you an individual who is very special to the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars. Please welcome Helen Putnam Blackwell, daughter of 
James C. Putnam, the first President of the American Veterans of Foreign 
Service. Helen is a Past President of the VFW Department of Arkansas 
Ladies Auxiliary. Thank you, Helen, forjoining us this morning. 

We are always glad to have you with us and to be a part of our 
Convention. 

INTRODUCTION OF LAWRENCE ALEXANDER, SUPREME 

COMMANDER, 

MILITARY ORDER OF THE COOTIE 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Since 1922, the Military Order 
of the Cootie has been conducting operations that have brought 
recognition and appreciation to their own members and to the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars, as well. I can say that I truly appreciate what they have done 
during my year as Commander-in-Chief. 

From their hospital work to their annual trek to Arlington National 
Cemetery, the Cooties do an outstanding job of honoring America's 
veterans and their families. 

This year they were most fortunate in having Larry Alexander, from 
the great state of Oregon, as their Supreme Commander. Larry earned his 
VFW eligibility in the waters off the coast of Vietnam on the USS Flint, an 
ammunition ship. Once ashore, he not only joined the VFW, he became 
very active very quickly. 

In the VFW and in the MOC, Larry has served in almost every chair 
and has served on several committees. 

Please give a warm VFW welcome this morning to our next guest, 
Larry Alexander, Supreme Commander, Military Order of the Cootie. 



REMARKS BY MOC SUPREME COMMANDER LAWRENCE ALEXANDER 

MOC SUPREME COMMANDER ALEXANDER: Good morning. 
Commander-in-Chief John Moon, National President Connie Atkinson, I 
bring you my best wishes for a successful and continued successful 
convention of the 99th Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States. 

To my fellow VFW comrades, it is a pleasure and honor to bring 



40 



the greetings from the Supreme Organization of the Military Order of the 
Cootie and our Auxiliary, the MOCA. I would like to ask the Cooties in the 
audience to give John, Commander-in-Chief John Moon, a round of 
applause for his courage, leadership and inspiration for this year. 
(Applause) 

I would like to ask those same Cooties to extend your hand to the 
new leadership, Tom Pouliot, that he will know that you are there working 
for him also. As VFW members, I would like to refer to them as VFW 
Cooties, we did over $9.5 million of hospital work for the veterans in the 
hospitals. We did this as VFW members. I wish you all a joyful and 
successful convention, and I thank you for this opportunity to speak here. 

THE ANNOUNCER: Now, let's sit back and eryoy a video on 
Tribute to the VFW 100th Anniversary, 1899 to 1999. 

(Whereupon, the 100th Anniversary Video was presented at this 
time.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: On behalf of National 
Auxiliary President Connie Atkinson and myself, we would like to thank all 
of you for joining us in the Opening Session this morning. We know we 
are going to have a great convention. I wish to pay tribute to the many, 
many recipients of awards this morning and to the Ail-American 
Departments, Districts and Post Commanders again. 

We will now have our Closing Ceremonies. I call on Past National 
Chaplain Father George Rinkowski for the Closing Prayer. 

(Whereupon, Past National Chaplain Father George Rinkowski 
gave the Closing Prayer.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Sergeant-at-Arms, please lead 
us in the Salute to the Colors. 

I now declare this Joint Opening Session closed. 

(Whereupon, the Opening Session was recessed at 11:15 o'clock 
a.m.) 



FIRST BUSINESS SESSION 
MONDAY AFTERNOON, AUGUST 31, 1998 

(The First Business Session of the 99th National Convention of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, was called to order in the 
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, at 1 :30 o'clock 
p.m., by Commander-in-Chief Moon.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, 
we will now conduct the Opening Ceremonies for the 99th National 
Convention. If I could, please, have you and the Sergeant-at-Arms to 



41 



maintain order, I will call to the podium Sam Elson, Department Chaplain 
from Michigan, for the Invocation. 

(Whereupon, Comrade Samuel Elson, Chaplain for the 
Department of Michigan, gave the Opening Prayer followed by the Salute 
to the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will ask you to, please, move 
to your seats as quickly as possible. Again, I will report to you that today's 
session is being held here only. Tomorrow we will go back to normal 
seating in the other section of the convention area. So, please, bear with 
us today as we try to move as far as we possibly can so that you can get 
out and get back to your respective hotels. 

At this time I call forward to the microphone for the Report on the 
Convention Rules Robert Hansen from Minnesota, Chairman. Past 
Commander-in-Chief Hansen. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON CONVENTION RULES 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HANSEN: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief. I would like to take this first opportunity to thank the 
Commander-in-Chief for the appointment as Chairman of the Rules 
Committee and also on behalf of my Vice-Chairman, Darrell Bencken, we 
have concluded our business and we are ready to present to the 
convention the following report: 

To the 99th National Convention, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States, San Antonio, Texas. 

Your Committee on Convention Rules met Sunday afternoon, 
August 30, and agreed on the following recommendations which are 
respectfully submitted for your consideration: 

1. That, with exceptions noted below, Demeter's Manual be 
recognized as parliamentary authority for this Convention. 

2. That when a registered delegate desires to make a motion or 
address the Convention, he shall rise, address the Chair as 
"Comrade Commander- in-Chief", and after being recognized, 
shall state his name. Post number and Department, before 
proceeding. 

3. A registered delegate shall be permitted to speak but twice on 
any one sutDject, or any pending resolution for a period of eight 
minutes each, except by consent of two-thirds of the voting 
strength of the Convention present; provided, that chairmen of 
Convention Committees may speak as frequently as necessary 
in connection with reports of their committees; and in the event 
of controversy, the presiding officer shall not entertain any 
motion which will curtail further debate without affording the 
maker of the motion or a member of the particular group 
presenting the resolution an opportunity for five minutes of final 
rebuttal. 



42 



4. All resolutions offered by individual registered delegates must 
bear the endorsement of the Department Commander or in his 
absence the Department Adjutant. All resolutions must be 
submitted to the office of the Adjutant General for numbering 
and referral to committee no later than 9:00 a.m. 
Thursday,September 3, 1998, and must be accompanied by a 
written explanation as to why the resolution was not presented 
to the Department Commander for consideration. 

5. All resolutions offered on the floor at the Convention, or 
otherwise, shall be in writing, and shall automatically, and 
without reading, be referred to the Adjutant General for 
assignment to the proper committee. 

6. Committee chairmen, in reporting on, resolutions referred to 
their committee, shall first read those resolutions on which 
favorable action is recommended. Specific resolutions shall be 
set aside for individual action at the request of any delegate, the 
others being voted upon collectively. After action has been 
taken on all such resolutions, the chairman shall read the 
number and title of those resolutions which the committee has 
disapproved. A resolution disapproved by the committee shall 
be automatically rejected unless a motion is made and 
seconded that it be approved, in which case it shall be brought 
up for debate and Convention action. 

7. This Convention will not consider any resolution dealing with 
race, creed or religion, or endorse anyone for public office. 
This Convention will not consider any resolution calling for the 
expenditure or appropriation of organization funds. 

8. This Convention will not consider any resolution endorsing 
legislation sponsored by any other veterans organization, or 
requesting us tojoin with any other organization in sponsoring 
legislation not expressly proposed by the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States. 

9. No person not a duly registered delegate or member of the 
National Convention shall participate in debate, directly or 
indirectly, in a viva voce report on any sutyect before the 
Convention. 

10. Unit rule of voting shall not be allowed in this Convention. 

11. Voting strength shall be determined as those delegates 
registered as those delegates registered as of the close of the 
credentials registration booth the previous day and as reported 
by the Credentials Committee each morning. The Department 
Commanders will receive, prior to the beginning of each 
Business Session, a list of Posts that have properly registered 
delegates. Only delegates representing those Posts listed on the 
report will be accorded voting privileges. 

12. On roll calls, the Chairman or acting Chairman of each 



43 



delegation shall poll his delegation's registered delegates on the 
floor and shall announce the vote of his delegation. 

13. Registered delegates of a delegation may arrive at a vote in any 
manner they see fit, but shall announce it in terms of full units 
and not in terms of a fractional part of a vote. 

14. Reconsideration of a motion or resolution upon which final 
disposition has been made shall not be allowed after the 
session at which it was acted or has been recessed unless the 
body is notified of such contemplated action prior to the close 
of that session 

15. When the report of the chairman of the delegation is not 
acceptable to all registered delegates of the delegation and a 
poll of the Department registered delegates is demanded by 
three registered delegates of said Department, the Adjutant 
General shall poll the registered delegates, without discussion 
of question. 

16. Voting shall be by acclamation, except when a roll call be 
demanded by ten registered delegates representing Posts in ten 
separate Departments. 

17. Nominating speeches for the National Officers shall be limited 
to five minutes each. Not more than two seconding speeches 
shall be made for any candidate and such speeches shall not 
exceed two minutes each. Nomination and election of 
National Officers will be held according to the Congressional 
Charter, By-Laws, and Manual of Procedure, Article VI, Section 
609. 

18. Registered delegates and persons recognized by the Chair shall 
be entitled to a respectful hearing and the Chair shall have the 
authority to clear the gallery or the floor or have the Sergeant- 
at-Arms escort from the floor any person or persons who may 
create any disturbances which interfere with the orderly 
procedure of the Convention. 

19. Consent of two-thirds of the voting strength of the Convention 
present is necessary for suspension of the rules of this 
Convention. Respectfully submitted, Robert E. Hansen, 
Chairman, and Darrell Bencken, Vice-Chairman. Commander- 
in-Chief, I move the adoption of these rules for this convention. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrades, you have heard the 
motion. Is there a second? 

COMRADE DARRELL BENCKEN (Post 2981 - Kansas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Darrell Bencken, Post 2981, Kansas, seconds the 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any discussion? The question 
has been called for. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all those 
opposed will signify by saying "no". The motion carries. 

To you, Mr. Chairman, and to you, Darrell, Vice-Chairman, thanks 



44 



for everything. We appreciate it. 

At this time I call to the podium the Chairman of the Credentials 
Committee for the first report. 

REPORT OF CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE 

COMRADE RICHARD TROMBLA (Post 1174 - Kansas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Richard Trombia, Department of Kansas, Post 1174, 
Chairman of the Credentials Committee. Comrades, this is a temporary 
report as of the close of business last night. 

Total delegates, 11,277; Department Commanders, 44; Past 
Commanders-in-Chief, 25; and National Officers, 30. That is for a grand 
total of 11,376. 

Commander-in-Chief, this is a temporary report of the Credentials 
Committee. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. At this time I 
would like to release the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Convention 
Rules Committee. 

We will call at this time to the podium for the Report of the 
Committee on National By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual, 
Chairman John M. "Jack" Carney, Past Commander-in-Chief from the great 
state of Florida. 

I have a couple of things real quick, if I may. To my right, in the 
upper level, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, 
Delaware, West Virginia, D.C., Alabama, Rhode Island, Central America. 
To my left in the upper tier, Louisiana, Maine, Connecticut, Arkansas, 
Massachusetts, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and Kentucky. 

Again, comrades, this is only for today. Tomorrow we will be back 
in the normal seating arrangement. A request has been made by some of 
those in the room, can we please remove our jackets? I have no problem 
with that whatsoever. 

Comrade Chairman. 

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL BY-LAWS, 
MANUAL OF PROCEDURE AND RITUAL 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Thank you, 

Commander-in-Chief. The national officers and delegates to this 
convention, I, first, would like to take this opportunity to thank the 
Commander-in-Chief for having appointed me to this distinguished 
committee. 

I wish to thank him also for appointing Al Loehr from Minnesota 
as the Vice-Chairman, and to each and every one of those members that 
served on the National By-Laws Committee yesterday I am extremely 
proud of their decisions and I want to commend the Chief for appointing 
them. 



45 



I would like to read, Commander-in-Chief, with your permission, 
the suggested order of my presentation, if you would agree with this. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Please proceed. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: In making the report of 
the committee, I am going to follow the following procedure. I will read 
the list of those by-laws which the committee recommends be adopted, or 
adopt, and move the adoption of these resolutions. 

After that motion and a second, the Commander-in-Chief will ask 
if there are any resolutions which a comrade wants to set aside for 
discussion and debate. Note will be made of those resolutions to be set 
aside and a vote will be taken on those resolutions which have not been 
set aside. 

After the vote on those resolutions, which were not set aside, we 
will take up those by-laws which have been set aside for debate. They will 
be taken up in the order in which they have been set aside and each by- 
law will be voted on by the convention as a motion to adopt the 
resolutions. 

The committee has recommended referral of several resolutions or 
by-laws to permanent committees of the VFW for review. The motion to 
make the referrals to the committee will be made after the complete action 
has been taken and set aside. After action is completed on the resolutions 
recommended for adoption or referral to a standing committee, I will read 
the list of those resolutions to which the committee recommended 
rejection. 

After the list is read, you will have the opportunity to move the 
adoption of any of these by-laws. Each motion will be taken up and 
disposed of in order. If no motion is made by a comrade with respect to a 
specific resolution or by-law, the resolution or by-law is, under the 
convention rules, automatically rejected. 

By the way, I don't have to read this. These are the way the by-laws 
and the resolutions will be introduced to this convention. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I will now read the Proposed 
Amendments to the National By-Laws approved by our committee. If you 
are ready, B-1, Section 215 - Eligibility To Office. 

B-2, Section 220 -Vacancies And Removal Of Elective Officers. 

B-3, Section 222 - Delegates, County Council, District, 
Department And National Conventions. 

B-4, Section 309 - Surrender Or Forfeiture of Charter. 

B-5, Section 603 - Convention; Quorum; Authorized Attendees. 

B-6, Section 610 - Officers, Powers And Duties. 

B-7, Section 617 - Regional National Council Of Administration 
Members - How Elected. 

B-8, Section 617 - Regional National Council of Administration 
Members - How Elected. 

B-9, Section 1101 - Formation, Control And Disbandment Of 
Auxiliaries. 



46 



B-10, Section 1201 - Formation And Control. 

B-17, Section 615 - National Committees. 

Commander-in-Chief, I move for the adoption of these by-laws. 

COMRADE AL LOEHR (Post 4847 - Minnesota): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, A! Loehr, Post 4847, Minnesota, I second the 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There has been a motion and 
a second to adopt those previously read resolutions. Are there any that 
someone wants to set aside? 

Let me start with Microphones 1, 3 and 5, which will be to my 
right or your left. Microphones 2, 4 and 6 will be on this side. 

Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Ron Rusko from Post 9460, New Stratford, 
Connecticut. I ask that B-5 and B-7 be set aside. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: It is noted that B-5 and B-7 
have been requested to be set aside. Are there any others? Hearing no 
comments, we will call for a vote. All those, other than B-5 and B-7, in 
favor will signify by saying "aye"; all opposed will signify by saying "no". 
The motion carries. 

Mr. Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: B-5, Commander-in- 
Chief, Section 603 - Convention; Quorum; Authorized Attendees. The 
committee reviewed this and it was based on the effect of this proposal was 
to require a two-thirds vote rather than the majority vote to change the sites 
or dates of future national conventions once the Council has voted to select 
a certain site. 

The purpose of this proposal is to discourage the switching of 
convention sites that have occurred in the last several years. These changes 
have undermined the VFW's credibility in the industry. Convention 
planning needs to proceed without concern that the site might be suddenly 
changed, wasting previous work and expense, and requiring new efforts 
directed to a new location. There must be some type of consistency in the 
manner of the site selection. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): I make a 
motion that B-5 be rejected. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion is out of order. 

ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER GENERAL MAHER: As you 
understand, Ron, the motion on the floor is to adopt B-5 as a committee 
recommendation. You can object and ask the delegates to vote against B- 
5, but the motion is to adopt B-5. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Thank you 
very much, Mr. Maher. Comrades, this motion to have the Council of 
Administration to take a two-thirds majority vote to change the site 
selection plays somewhat into the resolution that will be coming before 



47 



you in a day or two and has been approved in committee. 

As you know, in the year 2000, we are scheduled to go to 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for our National Convention. In 2001, you are 
scheduled to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for your National Convention, 
with an option of a third year for your National Convention in Milwaukee, 
Wisconsin. 

If you approve this by-law amendment, then what will happen is 
that resolution might become moot, because the by-laws supersedes a 
resolution. This by-law says only the sites need be selected. So we have 
not needed that two-thirds majority vote on the first 99 years in this 
organization to have great national conventions. They will all be good. 

I have been hearing and I think so many more of you have heard 
that we really simply don't want to continue to go to the same site year 
after year after year, because many of our good comrades use it as a 
vacation time. It gives many of our good comrades the opportunity all 
around the country to attend and participate in a National Convention. 

If you would adopt this by-law amendment, you will make it more 
difficult to have your voice said as to where this convention is going to be, 
and I urge you to reject this by-law. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any other discussion on B-5? 
Any other discussion on B-5? Hearing none, then we will proceed to vote 
on B-5 as the set aside. The committee's recommendation was passage. 
We will now call for a vote. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; 
all those opposed will signify by saying "no". B-5 is defeated. 

There was a request that B-7 be set aside. 

Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Ron Rusko from Post 9460, New Stratford, 
Connecticut. The way that the by-law amendments were proposed, we are 
to go through each and every one of the ones that were approved by 
committee, vote on them, and then go through the ones that were 
disapproved. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief and my fellow comrades, if we do 
that, where you have the resolution or By-Law Amendment B-7, if you 
adopt that, you will not be able to discuss any of the other by-law 
amendments that were rejected because they will be moot. 

You will not have the opportunity to debate the merits of the other 
resolutions concerning the realignment of the National Convention. That's 
exactly what happened in the committee in that the first B-7 was adopted 
and none of the other ones could be addressed. 

So, Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I would ask with unanimous 
consent, because we would hope to be able to discuss and debate B-19, if 
we could simply have B-7 set aside until these comrades have the 
opportunity to debate the merits of B-19 and others. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Chairman Carney 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrade Commander- 



48 



in-Chief and delegates, I will read why the committee felt that we should 
do this. The effect of this proposed amendment, which is supported by the 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief and many Departments is to realign 
Council representation in the Eastern Conference to afford New Jersey a 
seat without otherwise changing and/or rearranging the Council of 
Administration. 

This is by far the simplest and most direct way to resolve the 
problems that arise when Departments are unable to maintain membership 
at a level sufficient to justify separate representation of the Council. 
Commander-in-Chief, it is my understanding that the Department of New 
Jersey is in support of this amendment. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Any 
other comments? B-7 has been asked to be set aside. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): I ask there be 
unanimous consent for B-7 to be set aside until we have had the 
opportunity of debating the other by-law amendment proposals that deal 
with the realignment of the National Council of Administration, so these 
comrades can make their mind up as to which way they would like to go. 

...Cries of "What did he say?" ... 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: They have asked you to repeat 
it. Evidently, the microphone is not feeding through. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I ask for unanimous consent on B-7 so that these 
good comrades could debate the issues of B-19 and the other by-law 
amendments that are going to be presented to realign your National 
Council. 

With all due respect to the Chairman, New Jersey is not the only 
one affected by B-7. There are other states affected in B-7. Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, with unanimous consent, I would hope that we 
would hold those by-laws or B-7 until we can take in this debate on B-19 
and others. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Unanimous consent has been 
asked for by Microphone No. 4, Ron Rusko. I will call for a vote. Those 
in favor of unanimous consent will say "aye"; those opposed say "no". The 
call for a vote to passage for B-7, all those in favor will signify by saying 
"aye"; all those opposed signify by saying "no". B-7 is passed. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Commander-in-Chief, 
the next list of National By-Laws have been recommended for rejection. 

B-11, Section 101 - Eligibility. 

B-12, Section 102 - Applications - Affiliate Of New Members. 

B-13, Section 102 - Applications - Affiliation Of New Members. 

B-14, Section 610 - Officers, Powers And Duties. 

B-15, Section 610 - Officers, Powers And Duties. 

B-16, 17, 18. 19, I am going to group these together so you all 
know, but I will go with B-16, rejected. Section 
61 - Officers, Powers And Duties. 



49 



B-18, Section 617 - Regional National Council Of Administration 
Members - How Elected. 

B-19, Section 617 - Regional National Council Of Administration 
Members - How Elected. 

B-20, Section 617 - Regional National Council Of Administration 
Members - How Elected. 

B-21, Section 617 - Regional National Council Of Administration 
Members - How Elected. 

B-22, Section 717, Resolutions. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You have heard the report of 
the Chairman asking these resolutions be rejected. You have heard the 
report of the Chairman recommending that these changes to the by-laws be 
rejected. 

COMRADE ALBERT THOMAS (Department of Pennsylvania): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Al Thomas, Commander of the 
Department of Pennsylvania, seconds the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Hearing no motion to set 
aside, the resolutions are, in fact, rejected. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Proposed Amendments 
to the Manual of Procedure. 

The committee recommends adoption of M-1, Section 
217 - Nomination, Election, Installation And Term of Office. 

M-2, Section 222 - Delegates, County Council, District, 
Department and National Conventions. 

M-3, Section 516 - Nomination, Election, Installation and Term of 
Office. 

M-4, Section 517 - Officers And Chairmen, Duties And 
Obligations. 

M-6, Section 704 - Relief Fund. 

M-7, Section 711 - Buddy Poppy. 

M-8, Section 1101 - Formation, Control, And Disbandment Of 
Auxiliaries. 

M-9, Section 1101 - Formation, Control, And Disbandment of 
Auxiliaries. 

M-10, Section 1101 - Formation, Control, And Disbandment of 
Auxiliaries. 

M-11, Section 1101 - Formation, Control, And Disbandment of 
Auxiliaries. 

M-1 2, Section 1201 - Formation And Control. 

M-1 3, Section 1201 - Formation And Control. 

M-1 5, Section 1201 - Formation And Control. 

M-1 6, Section 1301 -Amendments. 

Commander-in-Chief, I move that these amendments to the 
National Manual of Procedure be approved. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been properly 
made. Is there a second? 



50 



COMRADE AL LOEHR (Post 4847 - Minnesota): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I second that motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There has been a motion 
properly made and seconded. Are there any requests to have any of these 
proposed amendments to the Manual of Procedure set aside? 

The Chair recognizes Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE JIM MUELLER (Post 5077 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I ask that M-6 and M-7 be set aside, please. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: It is so noted that M-6 and M- 
7 have been set aside. 

Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE EDWARD BANAS (Post 10004 - Connecticut): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Ed Banas, Post 10004, Jewett City, 
Connecticut. Were B-5 and B-14 inadvertently missed? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will ask for a comment real 
quick. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: M-5 and M-14, we 
recommend adoption. That will be a part of the original motion that M-5 
and M-14 be included, and I will move, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMRADE AL LOEHR (Post 4847 - Minnesota): I will second that 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: To return to Microphone No. 
4, those are included in the motion as part of the proposed amendments to 
the Manual of Procedure to be accepted. Are there any other requests for 
set aside? Any other requests? We will then proceed to vote. 

On the proposed amendments to the Manual of Procedure, the 
motion has been properly made and seconded, all those in favor will 
signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify by saying "no". The 
motion carries. 

Mr. Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Commander-in-Chief, 
M-6, the reason was the existing provision is inconsistent with other 
sections of the by-laws which fully address the employment of directors 
and other — that is the wrong one. I am sorry. Guess what, I was on by- 
laws and I should be on the Manual. Allow me the opportunity to goof up 
a couple of times. We got that one approved, and I don't want that one 
brought up again. I apologize, Commander-in-Chief. 

Section 3 of the Congressional Charter provides, and I quote, "That 
the purpose of this corporation shall be fraternal, patriotic, historical and 
educational, to preserve and strengthen comradeship among its members, 
to assist worthy comrades, to perpetuate the memory and history of our 
dead and to assist their widows and orphans; to maintain true allegiance to 
the government of the United States of America and fidelity to its 
Constitution and laws, and to foster true patriotism; to maintain and extend 
the institution of American freedom; and to preserve and defend the United 
States from all of her enemies whomsoever." 



51 



The proposed amendment to Section 704, (f) "To foster true 
patriotism through historical and educational programs" would honor the 
intent of Section 3 and allow Posts to use relief funds for such things as 
scholarships and flag education. 

A positive effect resulting from this amendment would be a 
renewed interest in the Buddy Poppy Program. A recent survey of 54 
Department Headquarters revealed the Posts Relief Funds currently contain 
approximately $10 million to $15 million. 

Why not unencumber these funds by adopting this amendment, 
get more positive attention to the VFW and help the hospitalized veteran 
assembler of the buddy poppies in the process? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any further discussion on M- 
7? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE JIM MUELLER (Post 5077 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, let me first state I am not against change and I am 
not against promoting or fostering patriotism. But to open our Relief Fund 
up to promote patriotism in different ways is going to open a can of worms. 

I have served as Department instructor for three years and I have 
seen some of the uses that have been done with the Relief Fund. The Relief 
Fund has always been there to use for our veterans and their families. This 
has been one of the basic principles of this organization. 

I think that if we do this we are going to take it a step in the wrong 
direction to allow this to be done. There are other means that we can fund 
these very worthwhile projects. An example, suppose my Post wanted to 
take $4,000 out of the Relief Fund to paint the outside red, white and blue. 
Is that promoting the cause of patriotism? I ask this delegation to reject 
this. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will ask if there is any other 
discussion on M-6. I will do that because I can't see some of the mikes in 
the upper tier. Hearing no more discussion, we will call for a vote on M- 
6. All those in favor of passage of M-6, the Proposed Amendment to the 
Manual of Procedure, signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify 
by saying "no". 

This time I have got a problem and my hearing is not that good. To 
me, it is almost a tie. I think it is, which would result in passage. Let me 
hear it again. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all those 
opposed "no". The motion passes. 

M-7 has been requested to be set aside. Is there any discussion on 
M-7? 

COMRADE JIM MUELLER (Post 5077 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I have got to have a 
microphone. Where are we? We are again at Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE JIM MUELLER (Post 5077 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I appeal the decision of the chair on M-6 and call for 



52 



a roll-call vote on M-6. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Jim, it only requires a majority 
on the Manual of Procedure. I felt that there were enough votes to be in 
the affirmative. That's why I made that decision. We will call for a 
divisional vote. I need ten states. 

COMRADE DENNIS CLARK (Post 7367 - New Jersey): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Dennis Clark, State Commander of New Jersey, I call 
for a roll-call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: That's one. 

Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE RAY LUPO (Post 1761 - Maine): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Raymond Lupo. I call for a roll-call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Where are you from? 

COMRADE RAY LUPO (Post 1761 - Maine); Maine. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The name, please. 

COMRADE RAY LUPO (Post 1761 - Maine): Post 1761, State 
Commander from Maine, Ray Lupo. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: That's two. 

Microphone No. 3 again. 

COMRADE TONY BORJAS (Post 2866 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Tony Borjas, Post 2866, Missouri, I call for a roll-call 
vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: That is three. 

Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE ROGER BAKER (Post 6841 - Indiana): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Roger Baker, State Commander of Indiana, I call for 
a roll-call vote. 

COMRADE EDWARD LAVILETTA (Post 793 - Vermont): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Ed Laviietta, State Commander of Vermont, calls for 
a roll-call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE WILLIAM ROBBINS (Department of Delaware): Bill 
Robbins, State Commander of the Department of Delaware, calls for a roll- 
call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE JOSEPH ROSETTA (Post 9619 - Maryland): I am 
Joseph Rosetta, Department Commander of Maryland, and I call for a roll- 
call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE ANTHONY GALLARDO (Department of Nebraska): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Tony Gallardo, State Commander of the 
Department of Nebraska, calls for a roll-call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Have we got ten? 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE DONALD PORTER (Post 454 - Illinois): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Don Porter, Department of Illinois. I call for a roll- 



53 



call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is that ten states? We need 
another state. 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE ERNEST MEYERS (Post 4090 - Michigan): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Ernest Meyers, Commander of the Department of 
Michigan, calls for a roll-call vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We have ten states that have 
called for a roll call vote. It will take a little time for this. Comrades, if I 
could have your attention for a minute. I have been informed, unless there 
is a motion on the floor to challenge my decision of the majority vote and 
a proper second, then my decision would stand. 

So that we all have a sense of fairness in this room, is there a 
motion against my decision? 

COMRADE DENNIS CLARK (Department of New Jersey): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Dennis Clark, State Commander of New 
Jersey. I move that we appeal the decision of the chair. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a second? 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE EDWARD LAVILETTA (Post 793 - Vermont): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, the Department of Vermont seconds the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We have a motion and a 
second. All those in favor of appealing the decision of the Commander-in- 
Chief will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify by saying 
"no". We are going to have what is called a wedding contest before this 
convention is over, so let's do it and get things out of the way. We will 
proceed with the roll-call vote. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Comrades, can I have 
your attention for a minute, please. In order to expedite this, we have roll- 
call sheets that will be handed out over here to my right. If one person 
from each delegation will come down and get a sufficient supply for your 
delegation, we would certainly appreciate it. We can move this thing a 
little faster. 

Also while I am here, let me remind you of the rules of the 
convention and what the Commander-in-Chief has said. During this 
convention, only those who have credentials stamped "Registered" will be 
allowed to address this convention or allowed to vote at this convention. 

At this time we have a few National Council members who have 
not yet registered. So when we get into the vote, their name will not be 
called. If there is any question, come see me. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: If you would, please, take your 
seats. We are ready to start the roll-call vote. Comrades, we have about 
another ten or fourteen minutes before the calculator gets here. We can go 
ahead and start. Do you want me to call for a vote to see if we want to 
start or wait? 

We will probably get a tie again. What is your feeling? I guess that 



54 



will have to depend upon me. We will start the roll call at this time. 
...As Assistant Adjutant General Senk 
called the roll, the following votes 
were cast; ... 

OFFICERS YES NO 

Commander-in-Chief Moon X 

Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Pouliot X 

Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Smart X 

Quartermaster General Ridgley X 

Judge Advocate General Kennedy X 

Surgeon General Sexauer X 

National Chief of Staff Thiel X 

Inspector General Bartholomew X 

COUNCIL MEMBERS YES NO 

District No. 1 - Robert W. Madigan X 

District No. 2 - William J. Madera X 

District No. 3 - Raymond J. Boyle X 

District No. 4 - Bruce A. Withers X 

District No. 5 - James R. Mueller X 

District No. 6 - Scottie E. King X 

District No. 8 - Oliver W. Dial X 

District No. 9 - William J. Hendren X 

District No. 11 - William Shannon X 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Districts 7 and 10 have 

not registered as of 4:00 o'clock, the close of the registration yesterday. 

Therefore, in accordance with the rules of the convention, they are not 

considered for a vote. If it will make it easier for everyone. District No. 7 

is not registered. District No 10 is not registered. District No. 12 is not 

registered. 

COMRADE WILLIAM CERNY (Council Member - District 12): i am 

registered. I registered yesterday morning. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Come to the side and 

bring up your stamped card. 

YES MQ 
District No. 13 - Lewie Cooper X 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: District 14, Earl Chase, 

is not registered. 

District No. 15, George Palmateer, is not registered. 

District No. 16, Dannie Cooper, is not registered. 

District No. 17, Frank Risewick. 

District No. 19, Richard Fruge, is not registered. 

District A - Charles Feltenberger. 

COMRADE CHARLES FELTENBERGER (District A - Pennsylvania): 

I voted with my Post. 

YES NO 

' District B - Rick Frank X 



55 



District C 


T William 


Bossidy 


X 




District D 


George W. 


Marks 




X 


District E 


Gordon W. 


Kirk 


X 




District F 


Richard Lehner 




X 


District G 


Richard Pi 


gnone 




X 


District H 


Ferrell Warden 


X 




District J 


James DePass 


X 




ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: 


We will 


begin 


Departments at this time. 








STATE 






YE5 


NO 


Alabama 






232 


25 


Alaska 






75 




Arizona 






200 


10 


Arkansas 






196 




California 






46 


476 


Colorado 






66 


65 


Connecticut 








178 


Delaware 








113 


District of Columbia 




25 


2 


Department of Europe 




31 


31 


Florida 






409 




Georgia 








191 


Hawaii 








43 


Idaho 








48 


Illinois 








662 


Indiana 








362 


Iowa 






131 




Kansas 








286 


Kentucky 








177 


Latin America/Caribbean 




14 




Louisiana 








188 


Maine 








140 


Maryland 








241 


Massachusetts 






259 


77 


Michigan 






68 


214 


Minnesota 






146 


253 


Mississippi 








151 


Missouri 






1 


276 


Montana 








74 


Nebraska 






17 


215 


Nevada 






17 


55 


New Hampshire 




104 


1 


New Jersey 








237 


New Mexico 








133 


New York 






15 


326 


North Carolina 






170 


96 



56 



North Dakota 


96 




Ohio 


400 


212 


Oklahoma 


96 


64 


Oregon 




74 


Pacific Areas 


88 




Pennsylvania 


586 


70 


Rhode Island 




53 


South Carolina 




159 


South Dakota 


16 


115 


Tennessee 




139 


Texas 


681 


15 


Utah 


22 


25 


Vermont 




90 


Virginia 




163 


Washington 




186 


West Virginia 


175 


4 


Wisconsin 


34 


200 


Wyoming 


46 


2 


PAST COMMANDERS-IN-CHIEF 


YES 


NO 


Billy Ray Cameron 


X 




George Cramer 




X 


James R. Currieo 


X 




Walter G. Hogan - (Voted with State) 






Cooper T. Holt 




X 


Allen F. Kent - (Voted with State) 






James L. Kimery - (Voted with State) 






Clyde A. Lewis 


X 




Clifford G. Olson 


X 




R. D. Smith 


X 




John S. Staum 


X 




Howard Vander Clute, Jr. 




X 


Robert E. Wallace 




X 


James Nier 


X 




ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: 


That concludes the roll 



call. Give us a few minutes and we will have it tallied. 

Commander-in-Chief, the results on the ballot that was taken, 
5,966 yes; 5,391 no. The majority needed was 5,688, so the motion 
passed. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: If I may have your attention, 
please. There has been a question as to some of those that did or did not 
register. Again, if you registered yesterday, you would have had the right 
to have voted. 

Leroy Ford contended that he did. We will take that into 
consideration and give him the option once we verify that and let him 
either vote "yes" or "no" on this situation. George Palmateer was not 



57 



registered. We checked. He did, in fact, register this morning. George will 
be available to vote tomorrow. Thank you. 

It has been a while, but I think we are now on M-7. They requested 
it be set side. I believe it was Microphone 3, Jim Mueller, from the 
Department of Missouri. 

Mr. Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, the Committee stated that deleting the first two paragraphs is 
merely housekeeping in nature since these two paragraphs are identical to 
Section 711 of the By-Laws. The change to Section 711 will allow VFW 
Posts to use youth groups, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Pop Warner 
football players and others to distribute buddy poppies for the VFW as long 
as they are recognized as a 501(a) not-for-profit group. 

We currently sponsor many youth groups with monies from our 
general funds. Why not ask them in return if they would help us with the 
distribution of buddy poppies. This process would also educate the youth 
about the VFW Buddy Poppy program. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any discussion on M-7? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE JIM MUELLER (Post 5077 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I would ask this organization here, have we grown 
so complacent in this great organization to allow other not-for-profit 
organizations to assist us in distributing our trademark, our VFW Buddy 
Poppy for us? 

If our Posts and Auxiliaries don't care enough about our veterans 
to get out and distribute buddy poppies to show the community that we 
care about our veterans, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. I think we 
need to stay with the basics of this organization. 

I have always told my Post and Auxiliary if you do nothing else 
during the year, you ought to come out and sell buddy poppies for an hour 
or so. It is our duty, it is our honor to honor these who have served with 
us, who have gone before us and made the supreme sacrifice. 

We need to show the communities that we as veterans care, not as 
other organizations. I feel that if we opened this up, you are going to have 
lawsuits if one of the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts get hit by a car, or 
something happens to them we will be sued. 

I would say there is probably Posts and Auxiliaries that are doing 
this now, and I will go along with saying what we do with the gays in the 
military "don't say anything if you are doing it." Thank you. I ask this 
motion be defeated by this body. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ALLEN KENT (Post 9972 - 
Arizona): Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I am Gunner Kent. I rise to 
speak in favor of this. As the comrade said, I don't think we are getting 
complacent, but our membership is getting older. 

It is hard for these members to stand on corners for four or five 



58 



hours selling buddy poppies. Now, we heard this morning about how this 
organization wants to get involved with the youth of this country. We 
heard the Voice of Democracy winner state that three years ago he didn't 
know anything about the VFW. 

How better to educate America's youth about the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars than having them sell buddy poppies and make them 
understand that this money goes to help the veterans that defended this 
great country? How better to let these children know what this great 
organization is about? 

If we don't involve the youth, if we don't show our colors, nobody 
is going to know what we are doing. All this by-law change is doing is 
allowing these Posts that have older membership to use the youth that they 
already sponsor, their Boy Scouts, their Girl Scouts, their Junior ROTC, and 
allow these children to get out and give back to the veterans of this country 
that have given so much to this country. Thank you, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE JOHN SENK (Post 3355 - New Jersey): Comrades, I rise 
to speak in favor of this Proposed Amendment to the Manual of Procedure. 
At the meeting yesterday, I simply asked the question how many people in 
this room have Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other groups out distributing — 
I never used that word "sell", distributing buddy poppies for you? 

Three-fourths of that room raised their hands. All I am asking, 
comrades, is that we make what we are doing legal. If not, then we have 
to uphold the Manual of Procedure and take the actions that are necessary 
to stop other Posts that are doing that. I urge you to vote in favor of this 
resolution. Thank you, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE JOHN DAHMAN (Post 1421 - Indiana): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I rise in opposition. I agree with Past Commander- 
in-Chief Gunner Kent and John Senk that we need to get the youth 
Involved. I am going to speak on the liability. I am part of the By-Laws 
Committee and I brought this question up. John Senk was there and Joe 
Ridgley. 

Neither one could give me an answer if the Post would be liable, 
which I am sure they would be, if the child got hurt out there selling a 
poppy on the street or poked one in their eye. As many of you comrades 
know, if a comrade slips in your Post or something happens, everybody is 
sue crazy today, and I agree with you today somewhere down the road this 
is going to happen if we approve this resolution. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 4 again. 

COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Glen M. Gardner, Jr., a delegate from Post 3359, 
Garland, Texas. I, too, rise in favor of supporting this change in the Manual 
of Procedure. I think that somewhere along the line we have lost sight of 
the fact that just because we changed the by-laws doesn't mandate that 
your Post has to do anything different than they are doing today. 



59 



On the last one, we discussed like it was going to be a mandate 
that all of a sudden you had to use your poppy money for something other 
than what it is being used for. As John said, we probably have 70 percent 
of our Posts today that are already violating the by-laws by having other 
groups help them with their poppy sales. We need to change the by-laws 
and allow this to be done and in a legal manner. I ask we support this by- 
law change. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE GEORGE REED (Post 9400 - Arizona): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I rise to support this. The one comrade that was 
against it stated something about liability. Well, if you have a function 
going on with non-members, if you have bingo, if somebody slips and falls, 
you are going to be liable. You darn better well have enough insurance to 
cover it. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF R. D. SMITH (Post 4346 - 
Georgia): Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Bulldog Smith, a delegate from 
Post 4346, Georgia. I call for the question. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The question has been called 
for. All those in favor of M-7 will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed 
will signify by saying "no". Bob Wallace, I don't need my hearing aids 
today. It passes. The motion carries. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, the committee recommends rejection of M-17, Section 101 - 
Eligibility. 

M-18, Section 101 - Eligibility. 

M-19, Section 803 - Manufacture And Use Of Seals, Emblems, 
Badges, Insignia And Uniforms. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE DON ROMANO (Post 7330 - Connecticut): I move 
that M-18 be set aside, and I would move its adoption. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: M-18 has been moved for 
adoption. Is there a second? 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): I second that 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion and the second on 
the floor is in order. That is M-18. 

Comrade Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrades, the 
discussion in our committee was based on the purpose of this proposal is 
to add the National Defense Service Medal to the list of qualifying medals. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We are open for discussion. 

Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE DON ROMANO (Post 7330 - Connecticut): Once 
again, for the eighteenth time, I rise before you and recommend that we 
accept the National Defense Service Medal as eligibility in the Veterans of 



60 



Foreign Wars. I expect to have the courtesy of listening to me. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The microphone is on at the 
present time. Allow the individual to speak. 

COMRADE DON ROMANO (Post 7330 - Connecticut): 
Comrades, as we have known in many ways the National Defense Service 
Medal is similar to that of the American Campaign Medal, whereas, it was 
given or awarded to our service personnel for overseas duty and non- 
overseas duty. 

We are now at a point where it has been told to us by our parent 
organization that within the next decade one-half of our World War II 
members, including myself, will no longer be with us. I am also bringing 
to your attention that if one-half of our group is not going to be with us, 
half of the so-called group that is eligible tojoin theVFW will no longer be 
with us. 

I am a person who believes in the traditions of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars. When the Posts in Ohio merged, they were the American 
Veterans of Foreign Service. When the three Posts in Pennsylvania, 
Altoona, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia merged, they were the American 
Veterans of Foreign Service. 

When they merged in Denver, Colorado, they became the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars with no other change. As far as I am concerned, many 
people served under atomic bombs, et cetera, warheads in Eastern Europe, 
sen/ed in submarines all over the world and are not eligible tojoin the 
VFW, but yet every man and woman who went to Hawaii after December 
7th is eligible tojoin the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

I want to know how many hazards there were in Hawaii at that 
time. Every person here knows that when you are at the front lines for 
every individual who is fighting, there are ten in the rear echelon, and the 
eleven are eligible tojoin the VFW. 

If you talk about cheapening the eligibility, comrades, that has 
already been done. Right now we have more ineligible people in the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars than in the history of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars, and that is because of this at-large program. 

Ten million young men and women from the ages of 18 to 50 
something would be eligible tojoin, and we need this blood transfusion, 
and I recommend that the Veterans of Foreign Wars accept this resolution. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. 

Microphone No. 1. 

COMRADE JIM CARLYLE (Post 10097 - Florida): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I am Jim Carlyle, a delegate from Post 10097, Fort 
Myers Beach. I have been coming to conventions for 20 years and we have 
been bouncing this around, voting this down every year. 

I realize that the VFW is a dying organization because we are 
losing a lot of members. I would rather for the VFW to be a dying 
organization by losing a lot of members as long as we are dying proud that 
we are a VFW member, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Thank you. 



61 



COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will comment on this a little 
bit before we look for another mike. I am 50 years old and I plan on living 
another 35 or 40 years. I don't look for it to die that quick. Any other 
comments? 

Microphone No. 1 . 

COMRADE WARREN GASCON (Post 792 - Vermont): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief and Comrades, I agree with everything the comrades 
have said. Everyone has a right to their opinion. It is, however, the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars. It is not the American Legion. 

I have nothing against the American Legion. I have many friends 
that belong to the American Legion, and I also belong to the American 
Legion. The Veterans of Foreign Wars means exactly that. That is my 
statement. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 4. 

COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I stand in opposition to this proposed change in the 
by-laws, not because I don't believe that it is about time for open and 
honest debate about the future eligibility of the membership of the VFW. 

We have many military personnel stationed overseas today, many 
who were killed in the last three or four weeks that would have been 
eligible for the VFW because they were on duty. I disagree with making 
the National Defense Service Medal eligibility criteria because, as all of 
you know, the first thing that will happen someone will walk in with a 21 4 
and it will say "National Defense Service Medal" and no one will ever look 
any further to see if they had overseas duty. 

That is why I stand in opposition to this by-law change and I hope 
that in the future we will have open and honest debate about the eligibility 
criteria of our organization. Thank you, Commander. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. 

Microphone No. 1 again. 

COMRADE TIM SMITH (Post 1733 - Tennessee): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I agree with the comrade that just spoke. At one of 
our recent meetings that we have already had, one of our past officers tell 
us that the National Defense Medal was recognized by the VFW at one 
time during the Persian Gulf. 

The whole point I am trying to make is this, they are already 
looking at some people who have the National Defense Service Medal as 
a qualifying medal, which is not and it shouldn't be. As a Persian Gulf 
veteran and one of the younger members, I disagree with the National 
Defense Service Medal as a qualifying medal. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE KENNETH PIKE (Post 4876 - Oklahoma): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I call for the question. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I refer back to Microphone 
No. 4. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Comrade 



62 



Commander-in-Chief and my comrades, I have been to this microphone 
many times trying to put across our idea that the National Defense Service 
Medal with 30 consecutive days and 60 non-consecutive days overseas 
would be good for the organization and would allow good people, good 
comrades, to join this organization and participate in the fate of all 
veterans by working together. 

We know that the organization is having a tough time filling its 
ranks. If you read the National magazine, there are constantly articles in 
there saying that we need to build up the VFW or we are going to lose it. 
I don't care, under any circumstances I would rather see this as veterans of 
foreign service in name again rather than lose this organization. 

Not everything is perfect in this organization. We argued for years 
that the people in Korea should be allowed to join the VFW without a 
medal and that happened. I am so happy that it did. Comrade 
Commander and comrades, I am somewhat confused. 

Last year at the National Convention, you adopted a resolution for 
a charter change to allow non-service members into the VFW in the form 
of Merchant Marines. Now, hang on a second. That resolution passed. 
There was a resolution in this year's committee, and the resolution was put 
in by the Commander-in-Chief John Moon, and what it says was to not do 
that. 

Well, that resolution was rejected, which means that it now goes 
forward on the charter change to allow the Merchant Marines into the 
VFW. You are going to have a chance to talk about that resolution again. 
But that is why I am confused. You want someone to belong to this 
organization and you have rejected a resolution that would have stopped 
it, to stop the Merchant Marines. 

At this point in time you are saying yes, we want it in, but 
comrades that have served overseas in harm's way we can't find in our 
hearts to let them in this organization and be a part of this great 
organization and determine its fate and their future and their health care. 
I think we should. Thank you very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. The proponents 
have spoken at this time. The question is in order. We will call for the vote. 
All those in favor of passage of M-18 will signify by saying "aye"; all those 
opposed to the passage of M-18 will signify by saying "no". The chair is 
not in doubt. The motion is defeated. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, the Proposed Amendments to the Ritual, the following are 
recommended for adoption: R-1, R-2, R-3. Comrade Commander-in- 
Chief, I move that these amendments to the Ritual be approved. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any requests for set 



asides? 

motion. 



COMRADE AL LOEHR (Post 4847 - Minnesota): I second the 
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Having been properly made 

63 



and seconded, are there any requests to set aside? Are there any requests 
to set aside? I don't hear any requests at this time. I cannot see up there, 
so I am assuming there are no requests. 

We will call for the vote. All those in favor will signify by saying 
"aye"; all those opposed will signify by saying "no". The motion carries. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, the Committee recommends rejection of R-4. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The recommendation is for 
rejection of R-4. Again, are there any requests to set aside R-4? Hearing 
none, R-4 is rejected. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CARNEY: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, that completes the Report of the National By-Laws, Manual of 
Procedure and Ritual Committee. Thank you very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and 
Mr. Vice-Chairman, Jack Carney, Past Commander-in-Chief, and Al Loehr. 

Comrades, we wanted to get out of here early. We have some 
things we must do because of some travel constrictions and some problems 
with some weather-related areas, I guess in North Carolina, Billy Ray 
Cameron must leave the convention tomorrow to attend to some duties 
regarding the flood victims. 

At this time I will call for the Report of the National Security and 
Foreign Affairs Committee. The Chairman is Wally Hogan. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN 

AFFAIRS 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF WALTER HOGAN: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief. To the distinguished national officers and to all the 
delegates at the 99th National Convention, first of all, I would like to thank 
the Commander-in-Chief for the appointment to this great committee, and 
thank you for the appointment of the gentleman you chose to serve with 
me. 

That will be F^st Commander-in-Chief Billy Ray Cameron, who is 
Chairman of the Subcommittee on POW/MIA, and my Vice-Chairman, Jim 
Kimery, and Billy Ray's Vice-Chairman from the great state of Ohio, Roger 
Taylor. 

At this time I would like to introduce Billy Ray, and he will go 
through the POW/MIA Resolutions. 

REPORT OF SUBCOMMITTEE ON POW/MIA 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CAMERON: Thank you very 
much, Wally. Commander-in-Chief, I want to once again thank you for the 
opportunity to serve as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on POW/MIA, 
and I would like to thank the committee and my Vice-Chairman, Roger 
Taylor, who did a tremendousjob, and to Rocky and his staff in Washington 



64 



for their support. 

I will go through the resolutions on the POW/MIA Committee. 
First, I will read the resolutions that the committee recommended that we 
adopt, and there were three or four that were adopted, as amended. So the 
first one you will find is 401, Support Public Awareness Projects. The 
committee recommends adopt. 

Resolution 403, VFW Supports Kuwait's Demand For An 
Accounting Of Its MIAs. That is recommended for adoption. 

No. 418, Assist Vietnam's Recovery Of MIAs As A Sign Of Good 
Faith. This is a resolution that we have had for several years and we ask 
that you adopt. 

No. 433, Interment Of An Unknown From Vietnam. We 
recommend adoption. That was one that was added to the committee after 
the convention. 

Roger, come up and read that one. 

COMRADE ROGER TAYLOR (Post 2873 - Ohio): Resolution No. 
433, Interment Of An Unknown From Vietnam. 

"WHEREAS, on Memorial Day, 1984, a set of remains of an 
unknown serviceman from the Vietnam War was ceremoniously interred in 
the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery and 

"WHEREAS, those remains lay in that place of honor until 1998 
when new evidence and new identification techniques led to their 
exhumation and the subsequent identification of Lieutenant Michael 
Blassie, and since then the Tomb of the Unknown from the Vietnam War 
has been empty; and 

"WHEREAS, this Tomb represents the sum of all the sacrifices of 
those who served and suffered in the Vietnam War, as well as those families 
who lost a loved one and especially including the sufferings of our MIAs 
and their families; and 

"WHEREAS, this Tomb reminds all Americans of the extreme 
sacrifice sometimes required to defend our country and our freedom; 

"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States, that we view the Tomb of the Unknown 
Serviceman of the Vietnam War as a powerful place, symbolic of the 
sacrifices of all who served in that most divisive war and believe the Tomb 
has become to be recognized and revered by the American people as the 
place they can come to honor all of America's military heroes; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if there are any remains that in 
all likelihood cannot be identified by known forensic medical techniques, 
and after all means of identification have been exhausted, the U.S. 
Government make every effort to inter one of our unknown honored dead 
from the Vietnam War to rest in peace alongside his comrades from World 
War I, World War II and the Korean War in this hallowed ground." 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CAMERON: That was Resolution 
433. We recommend that it be adopted. 

Moving along, the next three resolutions the committee 



65 



recommended be adopted but were amended because of language and to 
clarify some language in the resolutions. 

Resolution 402, Seek Opportunities To Resolve The Korean War 
POW/MIA Issue. The committee recommmended to adopt as amended. 
That was Resolution 402. 

Resolution 431, Americans Who Are Prisoners Of War Or Missing 
In Action, we amended that one and the committee recommended adopt 
this one. 

At this time, Commander-in-Chief, I make a motion that we adopt 
these resolutions. 

COMRADE ROGER TAYLOR (Post 2873 - Ohio): I second that 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been properly 
made and seconded. Are there any requests for any to be set aside? 
Hearing none, we will call for a vote. All those in favor will signify by 
saying "aye"; all opposed "no". The motion carries. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CAMERON: There were two that 
the committee recommend that we reject. The only reason we rejected 
these was a similar resolution was already in place, and that was 
Resolution No. 425, Americans Who Are Prisoners Of War Or Missing In 
Action, is the same as Resolution 431. So the committee recommended 
that we reject that in favor of Resolution 431 . 

There was another resolution that was submitted late about the 
Unknown Soldier From Vietnam In The Tomb. That was Resolution 440. It 
was basically the same as 433, so we asked that be rejected. No. 440 was 
rejected in favor of No. 433. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any request to have this set 
aside? Hearing no request to have it set aside or a motion to adopt, the 
report of the committee then for this one is rejected. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOGAN: Thank you, Billy Ray. I 
would like to now call on Past Commander-in-Chief Jim Kimery, who will 
read first those resolutions that were approved, then those resolutions that 
were approved as amended. 

Past Commander-in-Chief Jim. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF KIMERY: Thank you very much. 
Chief Wally. I would like to thank the Commander-in-Chief for this 
appointment. I am very happy to serve. I am going to read to you now the 
resolutions that were approved as written, approved by the committee 
yesterday afternoon in session. 

They are No. 404, The Lessons Of The Cold War. 

No. 405, Limit Foreign Ownership Of U.S. Businesses And 
Properties. 

Resolution No. 406, Take Action On The Immigration Problem. 

No. 407, Time Is Running Out For Castro. 

No. 412, Maintain An Effective U.S. Coast Guard. 

No. 413, Standing Firm For Democracy And Liberty. , 



66 



No. 414, National Strategy Of Peace Through Strength. 

No. 415, Halt The Erosion Of Intelligence Services. 

No. 416, Support For The Republic Of Korea. 

No. 419, Oppose U.S. Forces Under Foreign Command. 

No. 422, Retain The Selective Service. 

No. 423, Monitor The Panama Canal Carefully. 

No. 427, Require All Eighteen Year Old Citizens To Register For 
Military Draft. 

No. 434, Improve Military Readiness. No. 434, I will read the 
Resolved. 

It is, "BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States, that we urge the President and the Congress of the United 
States to act now to reverse this trend in decreasing defense readiness by 
providing our military leaders with the resources required to accomplish 
their missions and the military strategy of the United States; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in order to improve the morale and 
retention of our high quality, dedicated American servicemen and women, 
that the Congress and the Administration take action to stop the erosion of 
military entitlements and benefits, and restore military retirement benefits 
to the level that existed prior to 1986." 

The intent of this resolution is to urge the President and the 
Congress of the United States to improve the readiness of our armed forces 
by providing our military leaders with the resources required to accomplish 
the military strategy of the United States, and to encourage the Congress 
and the Administration to take action to improve the morale and retention 
of our servicemen and women by stopping the erosion of military 
entitlements and benefits, and by restoring military retirement benefits to 
the level that existed prior to 1986." 

Does that clear 434 up? 

No. 435, Tighten U.S. Policy On High Technology Exports. 

No. 436, National Missile Defense For The United States. We will 
read No. 435. It is titled Tighten U.S. Policy On High Technology Exports. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we strongly urge the President and the Congress to reverse the 
present U.S. policy on exporting American advanced 'dual-use' 
technologies and supercomputers to China and Russia, and strengthen the 
rules that limit the export of American 'dual-use' technologies to any 
country that poses a possible ballistic missile or any other significant threat 
to the U.S.; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Administration stop any U.S. 
commercial activity which facilitates the improvement of Chinese ballistic 
missile capability, and provides any information or technology that would 
provide new military capability, including any long-range missile 
technology, to any country that poses a significant threat to our nation 
without prior U.S. Government authorization." 

Now, No. 436, the National Missile Defense For The United States. 



67 



"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Administration and the Congress of the United 
States to immediately accelerate efforts to develop and deploy a National 
Missile Defense System to protect the United States against an accidental 
or unauthorized ballistic missile launch; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Administration and 
the Congress to take immediate actions to stop the proliferation of ballistic 
missiles and technologies to any potentially hostile or rogue states and 
terrace groups that may seek to target the United States directly with long- 
range missiles." 

Resolution No. 437, Increase The Defense Budget. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the President and the Congress of the United States to 
take whatever steps are necessary to increase defense spending and reverse 
the 14-year pattern of declining defense budgets; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in light of the first federal budget 
surplus in three decades, and the current strength of the U.S. economy, we 
urge the nation's bipartisan political leadership to reopen negotiations on 
the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 in order to provide for a reallocation 
additional of national resources to the defense budget, and to sustain 
period of real growth in defense spending." 

Resolution 438, Women In The Military. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we go on record as opposing assignment of women within the 
Armed Forces to jobs that call for them to aggressively seek out, be close 
with, and kill or capture enemy forces; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Congress to 
establish an independent commission to examine all facets of the security, 
training, assignments and role of women in the military and to withhold 
approval of any further personnel changes until the commission has time 
to make its recommendations; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support barracks 
improvements that provide for totally separate and secure sleeping areas 
and latrines for men and women in the armed services, but we believe that 
each Military Service should be free to determine how best to train their 
recruits in basic training." 

We go now to Resolution 441 , Restore Pre-Attack Ranks To 
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel And General Walter C. Short. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the President of the United States to restore the honor 
and reputations of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and General Walter C. 
Short; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the President of the 
United States to take necessary steps to posthumously advance Admiral 
Kimmel and General Short to their highest wartime rank of Four-Star 
Admiral and Lieutenant General. Such action would be appreciated 



68 



greatly to restore the honor of these two great servicemen." 

The last one, the resolution approved, as written, is 442, Support 
Of Self-Determination For Puerto Rico. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States that we request the Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and the rest of 
the members of the United States Senate to pass Senate Bill 472 before the 
adjournment of the 105th Congress." 

That completes those, Commander-in-Chief. I move adoption of 
the resolutions. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion to adopt. Is 
there a second? 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOGAN: I second that. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any requests for set 
asides? 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE DEBRA HERZOG (Post 5158 - Wisconsin): I ask No. 
438 be set aside. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The request for 438 to be set 
aside is noted. Any other requests to be set aside? 

Microphone No. 1. 

COMRADE CLIFF LEDYARD (Post 1079 - Ohio): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I would like to have you people, if it is possible, to 
make copies for the rest of us here from 432 on to where we stopped right 
now. We don't have any record of this at all. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: That is a very valid point. We 
have run into it in the past, that many of these resolutions are submitted 
after everything else has been copied for the convention and put in the 
booklet form. That is what we are running into. 

Then the amendments are made to those before they are even put 
into the books. That is what we have run into over the past few years. That 
is a very good point well taken. Thank you. Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a request for set 
asides? Okay I would ask, then, for a vote for all of those that have not 
been set aside. I will call for a vote. All those in favor will say "aye"; all 
those opposed say "no". Those that have not been set aside are hereby 
passed. 

Comrade Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOGAN: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, I will call on our Director of National Security & Foreign Affairs. 

COMRADE ROCKY HARDER: Well, there is really not much to 
explain. The resolution was read. The statement is pretty clear. We should 
hear from the floor, I think, to hear what the concerns are. This is 
Resolution 438, Women In The Military. I will read it. Resolution No. 438, 
I will read it in its entirety. 

"WHEREAS, as a result of the Gulf War experience in which five 
women were killed, fourteen wounded and one taken prisoner, women 



69 



now have gained unprecedented access to U.S. combat aircraft and 
warships; and 

"WHEREAS, now even the Army has been pressured into allowing 
women in combat engineer battalions and aviation units and the Marine 
Corps Commandant has expressed his misgivings about the physical 
strength and endurance of women in combat positions; and 

"WHEREAS, a series of incidents in several of our Armed Services 
has led many to question the current mixing of men and women in basic 
training, and in overseas combat assignments; and 

"WHEREAS, the VFW also notes these unprecedented personnel 
changes have occurred by Executive Branch edict without any legislation 
or serious debate within the United States Congress; 

"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States, that we go on record as opposing assignment of 
women within the Armed Forces to jobs that call for them to aggressively 
seek out, close with and kill or capture enemy forces; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Congress to 
establish an independent commission to examine all facets of the security, 
training, assignments and role of women in the military and to withhold 
approval of any further personnel changes until the commission has had 
time to make its recommendations. 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support barracks 
improvements that provide for totally separate and secure sleeping areas 
and latrines for men and women in the Armed Services, but we believe that 
each Military Service should be free to determine how best to train their 
recruits in basic training." 

That is Resolution No. 438. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Comrade. 

I will ask at this time for Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE DEBRA HERZOG (Post 5158 - Wisconsin): I believe 
that most of us in this room have the patriotism and belief in our country 
to fight for it. I don't believe that that freedom or that responsibility should 
be limited to men. I believe that a woman, if she is capable and she is 
trained, should be allowed the privilege of fighting for the freedom of this 
country regardless of whether she is a man or he is a woman. I am sorry 
about that. (Laughter) I am asking the VFW to believe that women have 
the same right to fight for their country as men do. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Microphone No. 
2. Any further discussion on this Resolution No. 438? 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE BARRY WALKER (Post 4579 - Ohio): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I agree with part of the resolution. Two of the 
women that were killed in my unit, I carried one of them out of the 
barracks and three of the women who won Purple Hearts were in my unit 
and I helped carry them out as well. 

I think you have to say from working with both up North and 



70 



South, the women did an outstanding job during the Persian Gulf. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any further discussion? I see 
no hands or comments. Hearing none, the motion originally made was to 
adopt Resolution 438. It had been asked to be set aside. At this time, those 
in favor of adoption of Resolution 438 will signify by saying "aye"; those 
opposed will signify by saying "no". 

The chair is in doubt again. The reason I say the chair is in doubt 
again, if we adopt 438, it restricts the women in the military. If we reject 
438, it allows women in the military, in the combat area. Does that clarify 
it. 

Again, we will call for the vote. I would ask those in favor of 
adoption of Resolution 438, restricting women in combat, to say "aye". 
We will call for a vote for those that are opposing No. 438. All those 
opposed say "no". No. 438 is rejected. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF KIMERY: The following 
resolutions are approved, as amended. All these resolutions are in your 
book. 

No. 408, Punish Terrorists Now. 

No. 409, Strategic Defense Is A Strategic Priority. 

No. 410, Honoring Those Who Serve. 

No. 411, Oppose Lifting The Defense Department Ban On 
Homosexuals In The Armed Forces. 

No. 417, Support The Withdrawal From The Former Yugoslavia. 

No. 420, Support For The Republic Of China On Taiwan. 

No. 426, NATO Enlargement. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I make a motion to adopt these 
resolutions, as amended. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOGAN: I second the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You have heard the reading of 
those resolutions recommended for passage as amended. Are there any 
requests for set asides? Seeing none, we will call for a vote. All those in 
favor will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify by saying 
"no". The motion carries. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOGAN: I will now read those 
that the committee recommended rejection. 

No. 428, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Navy Medical 
Augmentation Team Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada). 

No. 429, Issuance Of Cold War Victory Medal. 

No. 430, Special Medal For World War II Navy Armed Guards. 

No. 432, Support H.R. 432, To Provide For The Issuance Of A 
Nuclear Radiation Medal For Certain Members Of The Armed Forces. 

No. 439, In Support Of Army Medic Michael New. I don't believe 
you have No. 439, so I perhaps should read the Resolved. 

Resolution No. 439, "In Support Of Army Medic Michael New. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the National Officer's previous position against Mr. New be 



71 



rescinded and that in accordance with the wishes of the majority of VFW 
members, a resolution in support of Mr. New be passed by this convention 
with copies of the resolution to be sent to Mr. New and the Army Court of 
Appeals Judges considering his appeal." 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any requests for set 
asides? Are there any requests for set asides? 

Microphone No. 1 . 

COMFiADE LYLE KELL (Post 1561 - Washington): I speak to the 
Special Medal for World War II Navy Armed Guards. 

COMMANDER-IN-CFHIEF MOON: Do you request to have it set 
aside? 

COMRADE LYLE KELL (Post 1561 - Washington): I request to have 
it set aside. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. Resolution Nos. 
428, 429, 432 and 439, are there any requests to have them set aside? 
Hearing none, they are rejected. 

Now, Lyie, Microphone No. 1. In order to have action taken on 
this, you must make a motion to have Resolution No. 430 adopted. 

COMRADE LYLE KELL (Post 1561 - Washington): I make the 
motion that Resolution 430 be adopted. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a second to the 
motion? I will look at Microphone 1,2,3,4,5 and 6. I see no one at the 
microphone. Seeing no one at the microphone, there is not a second. The 
motion dies. Therefore, Resolution No. 430 is rejected as recommended 
by the committee. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOGAN: That concludes the 
Report of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee. I would like 
to again thank you for the opportunity to serve on this prestigious 
convention and to thank all those that have helped us yesterday afternoon 
at our security meeting. Thank you again, John. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHliF MOON: To the Chairmen, Past 
Commanders-in-Chief, and Vice Chairmen, thank you very much. To all 
those committees that have reported, they will be recalled for further 
recommendations or resolutions that are brought forth. 

Is there any other business or announcements that have to be made 
real quick? I know we are running late. It is raining. If you want to, we 
can go until 6:00 o'clock. I guess we don't have anyone that wants to stay. 

Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, we will prepare the room for the 
Closing Ceremonies. 

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS BARRY HOFFMAN: Please rise and stand at 
attention facing the flag of our nation. 

(Whereupon, the Salute to the Colors was given at this time, 
followed by the Benediction.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We will stand in recess until 
8:30 tomorrow morning. 

(Whereupon, the session was recessed at 4:50 o'clock p.m.) 



72 



DISTINGUISHED GUESTS BANQUET 
AUGUST 31, 1998 

(The Distinguished Guests Banquet of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
of the United States, meeting in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 
San Antonio, Texas, was called to order at 7:00 p.m., by Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief Thomas A. Pouliot.) 

WELCOME 

SENIORVICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Good evening 
and welcome to the Distinguished Guests Banquet for this, our 99th 
National Convention. 

I am Tom Pouliot, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief of the VFW 
and your Master of Ceremonies for this evening. I want to express our 
sincere thanks to San Antonio and Texas, the Lone Star State, for the fine 
welcome we have received. 

We have a tremendous program this evening. We are very pleased 
to have all of you with us, especially our VFW National and Department 
leaders and our VFW Ladies Auxiliary members. We are especially pleased 
to have our distinguished guests whom I will introduce after dinner. 

Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. 

(Whereupon, Pledge of Allegiance was given, followed by the 
singing of the National Anthem.) 

INVOCATION 



SENIORVICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Please 
remain standing. Now, our Chaplain Dean Derieg will give the 

Invocation. 
(Whereupon, the Invocation was given by National Chaplain Dean 
Derieg.) 

SENIORVICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT You may be 
seated. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the evening, erijoy your dinner 
and the fine music of Al Sturchio Orchestra. 

(Whereupon, dinner was served followed by the introduction of 
the distinguished guests by Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Pouliot.) 

INTRODUCTION OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 



73 



SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: I am 
privileged this evening to introduce to this very special audience the 
National Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States. 

Since its founding 99 years ago, the VFW has drawn together 
dedicated men and women who share the same concern and love for 
America and its veterans. With a long and proud history of 
accomplishments, the VFW has always been in the forefront of every 
constructive program to set forth, expand and protect the rights and 
privileges of America's veterans. 

Whether its efforts are for a strong national defense or concern for 
the nation's veterans, the VFW must have inspired leaders who will guide 
us wisely. 

We have been most fortunate to have a man of this stature to guide 
us this year. Through his 28 years of active involvement with the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars, John Moon has been a man on the move, helping his 
fellow veterans and his community. 

In keeping with his motto "Courage Under Fire", he has worked 
hard to address the concerns and the mandates of the VFW. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce to you a man 
dedicated to working for America's veterans and the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars, our Commander-in-Chief, John Moon, from the great state of Ohio. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

REMARKS BY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Tom, for that very 
generous and warm introduction. My remarks tonight will be very brief. 
You see standing before you a very proud man who for the last 12 months 
has had the wonderful privilege of leading the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States. Leading this great organization is very gratifying. 

I have seen the results of the work and services of our two million 
VFW members and the more than 750,000 members of the Ladies 
Auxiliary. In every city and town that I visited, I saw positive proof that the 
VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary are a dynamic force serving our nation's 
communities and our nation's veterans. 

This year has been a very pivotal year as the VFW works to ensure 
that veterans' programs receive proper funding. It has been a year of 
challenge as we work to maintain the integrity of the VA in these trying 
times. 

In responding to our "Courage Under Fire" theme, we have 
supported our armed forces and the need to maintain a strong national 
defense. 

I have been able to visit our military men and women around the 
globe. I have been with them in Europe, Kuwait and on the Militarized 



74 



Zone, that fragile line separating North and South Korea. 

How proud I was to bring your message of support to our troops. 
That message was made all the more clear and meaningful with those 
wonderful VFW telephone calling cards. They are a visible sign of our 
support. You are to be commended for this tremendous program. 

In visiting Southeast Asia and Korea, and other parts of the world, 
the fate of our Ml As was always with me. 

The VFW will continue to lead the way in what we believe to be 
the best means of achieving our goal of the fullest possible accounting of 
our MIAs. 

We take our role very seriously and will continue, as we monitor 
progress and results in working with Vietnam and the other governments in 
this region. To do less would be a disservice to our members, to those 
missing and their families and a disservice to what the VFW stands for. 

Your efforts in support of every program that we have undertaken 
in the past year, whether it be in community and youth activities. Voice of 
Democracy, Post development. Buddy Poppy, have been proven that 
working together we can be successful. 

Yes, it has been a very special year for me because I was proud to 
be with and served with the finest men and women of our nation — its 
veterans. 

Now, before my first mission as your National Commander-in- 
Chief comes to an end, I would wish to say on behalf of Susie and I that 
there is no way we will ever be able to repay this organization, to thank 
each of those that have been so much in the way of support and sincerity 
and kindness, for all the efforts that you continue to put forth on behalf of 
today's veterans and all that you are going to be able to do in the future 
ahead. Thank you very much. 

PRESENTATION OF VFW COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SPECIAL AWARD 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Ladies and gentlemen, I am 
most pleased to present the VFW Commander-in-Chief's Special Award to 
James A. Endicott, a veterans advocate from the great state of Texas. A 
former general counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Jim Endicott 
demonstrated keen insight, understanding and clarity of judgment in 
providing legal advice and services to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and 
the VA staff from November, 1991, to January 20, 1993. 

His keystone decision, rendered amidst controversy on January 1 3, 
1993, directed that service connection rating may be granted for tobacco 
use if evidence establishes that such use of tobacco was in the line of duty. 
With courage and an abiding sense of integrity, his decision to render such 
an opinion clearly establishes a moral obligation to compensate veterans 
for service-connected illnesses and injuries. 

Tragically, in its rush to secure additional dollars to pay for pork 
barrel projects, the Congress has taken away the authority to grant such 



as 



compensation. Buried in the conference report to the recently enacted 
Transportation Bill, was language denying smoking-related compensation 
for veterans and directing that the projected savings of some $15.4 billion 
be used to pay for transportation projects that were in violation of the 
balanced budget law. 

Currently, Mr. Endicott is in private law practice with offices in 
Central Texas and the Washington, D.C., area, where he concentrates on 
federal legal issues and health-care issues. He has produced and hosted 
the weekly G.I. Journal radio show and is a frequent speaker and panelist 
on veterans and military issues. 

A 22-year army veteran, Jim served in Vietnam. He is a Life 
Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3892, Harker Heights, Texas. 

Please join me this evening in welcoming a true veterans' 
advocate, James A. Endicott, Jr. 

The Resolution reads in part, "Commander-in-Chief's Special 
Award presented to James A. Endicott, Jr., in recognition of his outstanding 
contribution to America's veterans as General Counsel of the United States 
Department of Veterans Affairs. August 31, 1998, John E. Moon, 
Commander-in-Chief." 

RESPONSE - THE HONORABLE JAMES A. ENDICOTT, JR. 

COMRADE ENDICOTT: Comrade Commander-in-Chief Moon, 
Ladies Auxiliary President Atkinson, my Fellow Comrades and Sisters 
particularly in my own Department of Texas, I never planned to be the 
poster child for the long-standing military tradition "of smoke them if you 
have got them," but I guess that is what I have become. 

When I sat down to sign off on this decision that has become so 
much debated, it really wasn't all that hard because I knew I was shortly 
going back to Texas and I was going back to Killeen, Texas, to answer to 
Ted Connell, a great former Commander-in-Chief, if I made the wrong 
decision. 

If Ted wasn't enough, backing him up was Jim Nier, Glen Gardner, 
Alan Burton and Doug Bell, great Texas veteran leaders. I knew I had to 
make the right decision. I also knew if I made the wrong decision, it would 
just be one more alligator in that swimming pool in Washington that 
somebody would have to wrestle with. And over the years in Washington 
I learned from a very good Washington insider, my good friend, Larry 
Rivers, when I got to Washington about alligators. 

I said, "There are a lot of them up here and what do you do with 
them?" He said, "Jim, the secret is you just have to know which ones to 
train and those are the ones that you wrestle with." I said, "A Louisiana 
lawyer has to know about alligators." About the first three times I got in the 
pool, after he said they were trained, I learned there were not any trained 
alligators. 

Tonight, I have got four feelings I would like to share with you. 



76 



First, a very sincere feeling of thanks for thinking of me and what was to 
me part of doing thejob I was supposed to do, taking care of veterans. This 
evening, also this is to make me feel a little bit old, because our principal 
speaker tonight. General McCaffrey, was a fourteen-year-old teenager 
when I was a senior cadet at The Citadel, and his dad was my commandant 
cadet. 

You also make me feel very humbled to be recognized on the same 
program with Jerry Solomon, who was always there for veterans, a great 
leader of this country and for veterans. You also make me feel very proud 
of this organization, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

I have three uncles that served in World War II, each of whom 
came back to be active in this organization. They were the Kaul brothers 
of Kansas City, Missouri. My uncle David was in the Navy, served in the 
Rangers, was Commander and Quartermaster of Post 302. 

My uncle Bill served in the Air Force. He was a B-17 Crew Chief 
out of England, and I asked him one time, I said, "What did you do in the 
Air Force? What kind of ranking?" He said, "I was a zipper sergeant." I 
said, "I have never heard of a zipper sergeant. What does that mean?" He 
said, "I had had those generals on so many times and took them off, I had 
to put zippers on them." He was active in Post 1 829 in Kansas City 

My Uncle Clancey was an Army Private and went in on Omaha 
Beach, he was wounded on D plus two, had a leg injury that left him in 
pain for the rest of his life. He served as Department Commander of 
Missouri and also Commander of 1829. His wife, Helen, later served as 
our State Auxiliary President in Missouri. 

When I went to Vietnam in 1968, in my pocket was an application 
to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the first thing I did after writing 
back to my wife was to mail that back to my uncle. For our family 
tomorrow, the third generation of our family, Lieutenant Rod Alpono of 
Maryland will get on an airplane to go to Bosnia where he is with the Joint 
Task Force in Bosnia. He is also going with a VFW application in his 
pocket. 

To me, the VFW is a great family. We are a family who believes 
together and we stand together for veterans and for families and for 
winning. Comrades and sisters, thank you again for the honor to be an 
American veteran and for what you have done for me this evening. Thank 
you very much. (Applause) 

PRESENTATION OF VFW AMERICANISM AWARD 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my 
honor to present to this great gathering, a distinguished American who has 
been chosen to receive the 1 998 VFW Americanism Award for his untiring 
efforts in promoting the values of patriotism, commitment to service and 
love of country, values which contribute to the betterment of American 
society. 



77 



Congressman Jerry Solomon, throughout a distinguished 26-year 
career as a legislator, has remained steadfast in promoting the principles of 
responsible citizenship and Americanism. 

His efforts in advancing legislation to protect our nation's flag from 
desecration, coupled with his direct involvement in seeking the fullest 
possible accountability of our prisoners of war and missing in action, attest 
to his commitment to the principles of Americanism. 

Currently, he is Chairman of the powerful Rules Committee of the 
House of Representatives. He is a former member of the prestigious 
Foreign Affairs Committee and is on a leave of absence as the Senior 
Republican of the Veterans Affairs Committee. 

Congressman Solomon is a member of the House Task Force on 
National Defense Policy. He is the former Chairman and still a member of 
the POW/MI A Task Force. 

Since 1982, Congressman Solomon has served as a Congressional 
Delegate to the North Atlantic Assembly, the political arm of the NATO 
alliance. Presently, he serves as Vice-President of the Assembly. 

Congressman Solomon, a native of New York, enlisted in the U.S. 
Marine Corps at the onset of the Korean War. He served on active duty 
until July, 1952, and remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until honorably 
discharged in 1959. 

In 1992, he received the prestigious VFW Congressional Award for 
his outstanding service to the nation. 

1 am pleased to present the 1998 VFW Americanism Award, Gold 
Medal and Citation, to a great American, a veterans' advocate and friend 
of the VFW, the Honorable Gerald B. Solomon. If I may read the citation 
at this time. 

"Americanism Award, Gold Medal and Citation presented to 
Gerald B. Solomon, Congressman. 

"In sincere appreciation and grateful recognition for his many 
years of dedicated service on behalf of the citizens of his nation, currently 
serving as the Chairman of the powerful Rules Committee of the House of 
Representatives, and for his untiring efforts evidenced by his leadership on 
the prestigious Foreign Affairs and Veterans Affairs Committees. His 
exceptional service to our nation throughout a lifetime of public service 
has enriched our sense of history and our belief in the principles of 
Americanism. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States this 31st 
day of August, 1998. Approved by the National Council of 
Administration." It has been signed by John E. Moon, Commander-in- 
Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General, of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States. 

Congressman Solomon. (Applause) 

RESPONSE - THE HONORABLE GERALD B. SOLOMON 

78 



COMRADE GERALD SOLOMON: Commander-in-Chief John 
Moon, I am really humbled. Your lovely wife, Susie, and General Barry 
McCaffrey, and Jim over here and his wife, distinguished officers and 
members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Connie Atkinson and all of 
your Ladies Auxiliary: Yes, Commander, it was six years ago I did receive 
the Gold Medal Award from the Commander-in-Chief and six years ago the 
Congressional Award, and now I can just tell you I am extremely proud to 
be selected again to receive this coveted award this evening. 

I guess I would have to say I am proud because it allows me tojoin 
with those other select members who have received this award for what 
they have done for their country and more so for what they have done for 
the veterans of this great nation of ours. 

Commander-in-Chief Moon, I am even more proud because this 
award comes from an organization of over two million brave men and 
women who during times of peril they have risked their own lives for the 
defense of this country. Commander-in-Chief Moon, the men and women 
of your organization are really the true heroes in my eyes and the eyes of 
the American people, who not only serve their country in uniform but they 
continue to do so as members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

It is a troop that is always in the forefront of every development to 
maintain adequate veterans' benefit programs. Mr. Commander, the 
community work carried out by your local VFW Posts in hometowns all 
across America, it is legendary, and your promotion of pride and patriotism 
and good citizenship is exemplified by your nationwide Voice of 
Democracy Program is so inspiring and proud examples of the American 
people. 

That nation has a great memory and will never forego those who 
labored mightily in its cause and no Americans will not forget or veterans 
ever forget because those who wear the pride label of veteran have great 
memories. They are memories of pain, they are memories of glory, of 
sacrifice and honor, but more importantly, they are memories of horror of 
war. 

They are memories they must never forget, because those 
memories are the very leg and, yes, we are the greatest station on earth. It 
is those memories that brought about the VFW's greatest accomplishments 
back through the 1980s. That was your never-ending support of the peace 
restrict philosophy of a strong national defense second to none. 

That concept stopped Communism dead in its tracks. It brought the 
Soviet Union to its knees, and that is the very reason that democracy is 
breaking out all over Europe and all over this world today. I have to tell 
you something, my fellow Americans, that war is not over. 

The threat to America's freedom is still there and, yes, the Berlin 
Wall has fallen and the former Soviet Union is no more, but the cold fact 
is that tens of thousands of armed nuclear weapons are still aimed at the 
United States of America. 



79 



Two million Soviet troops still remain in uniform, and the new 
Russian Confederate is highly modified and unstable, as you read right in 
the papers today, and no one knows the future or who will control that 
former Soviet Union. There is also the very serious threat that no less than 
ten hostile American terrorist groups either have or are on the verge of 
having nuclear missile capability, and any one of them would not hesitate 
a moment to launch a terrorist attack on America, both here in America or 
overseas, as wejust recently witnessed with the cowardly bombing of our 
two embassies. 

Of course, we all know that deadly and Communism still enslaves 
almost half the world population in places like Cuba, in North Korea, 
Vietnam, Mainland China, with North Korea threatening another invasion. 
I was just up on the DMZ three days ago. China is now deploying 18 
intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at America's mainland. 

No, ladies and gentlemen, the war is not over. That is why we must 
never let our guard down. We must never again leave America 
undefended as we did back on December 7, 1991 . 

Many of you in this room remember that day. That is why we 
absolutely must continue to maintain a peace through strength, strong 
advocate defense that can guarantee the protection of American interests 
both here and abroad, and can continue to attract and maintain young men 
and women capable of handling today's high-tech strategic weaponry. 

We need to restore the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital and 
health-care programs to a funding level that will guarantee we meet our 
obligations to provide the highest quality medical care to any, and I repeat, 
any sick or disabled veteran, and do this in Veterans Hospitals where only 
veterans are served. Is that right? (Applause) 

Yes, yes, we must fight with all our might to see that our military 
budget is not decimated. We must fight to make sure that the future 
veterans of America, these young men and women serving in all our 
volunteer military today, continue to be the brightest, the best educated, 
the best trained, the best equipped, and the most highly-motivated soldiers 
ever to serve in our military. 

We must make sure that these volunteers coming from all across 
America have an opportunity to pursue an honorable and proud military 
career. Military careers are honorable and they are proud when they can 
accumulate up to $40,000 of educational benefits with the new peacetime 
G.I. Bill, and where they have learned, ladies and gentlemen, and I think 
you should all listen to this because it is so important, they can learn 
something greatly needed in America today, and that is how to be good 
citizens. 

In today's military, our young people learn things, all that is lost 
and neglected today in broken homes and schools, they learn discipline, 
respect. They learn teamwork and responsibility. They learn the 
importance of being polite and courteous in today's society. 

They learn to live within the law. They learn not to use illegal 



80 



drugs. General McCaffrey will tell you in a little while they learn the 
meaning of the word pride and the word patriotism, and more often than 
not they even get a little religion in our military today. 

Yes, every year hundreds of thousands of these kids join the 
military and become good citizens and they learn these important 
principles that somehow they missed in school or in their homes. Then, 
ladies and gentlemen, when their enlistment is over, when their service is 
done, they turn in their uniforms as you and I did and they return home 
bringing these ingrained principles along with them to be spread about in 
the community and taught to the younger generations to come. 

Yes, these men and women are no longer soldiers and sailors and 

Marines and airmen, they now have a new responsibility. They have now 

joined one of the most important groups of people in America, a group that 

is without a doubt the one most responsible for making America this great 

free nation of ours. 

It is the group represented by all of you gathered here tonight. 
Those of us who have earned the right to proudly call ourselves veterans of 
the armed forces of the United States of America. Thanks to you America 
is number one. We are going to keep it that way. 

Commander-in-Chief Moon, on behalf of all veterans, I gratefully 
accept this Americanism Award. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
God bless you and God bless America. Thank you. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

INTRODUCTION OF GENERAL BARRY R. McCAFFREY 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Ladies and gentlemen, we are 
pleased to have with us this evening General Barry McCaffrey, the Director 
of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. 

General Barry McCaffrey was confirmed by unanimous vote of the 
United States Senate for that position on February 29, 1996. 

Barry McCaffrey began his military career as a seventeen-year-old 
at the United States Military Academy at West Point. During his career in 
the military, he served four combat tours: one in the Dominican Republic, 
two tours in Vietnam, and commanded the 24th Infantry Division attack 
into the Euphrates River Valley during the Persian Gulf War. 

He continues to serve his country and community. He is active in 
veterans' affairs and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States. 

Please join me in a warm welcome for our special guest. General 
Barry McCaffrey. 

PRINCIPAL ADDRESS - GENERAL BARRY McCAFFREY 

GENERAL McCAFFREY: John, let me thank you for that very kind 

81 



introduction. Normally, you have to permit me to use sort of a standard 
gag line when I am introduced, such as the charitable way I explained that 
I am emotionally moved by the work you do. 

Of course, I am Irish and I am easily emotionally moved. My 
mother is Irish and she cries during beer commercials. As you might 
imagine, my staff, given my current responsibility, asked me to stop using 
that line. 

Let me thank your Commander-in-Chief for his leadership of being 
a Vietnam veteran, the incoming Commander-in-Chief Tom Pouliot, and let 
me thank Connie Atkinson for your leadership, almost 750,000 people that 
do so much for our veterans country-wide. 

Let me take notice of Deputy Secretary Hershel Gober for 20 years 
in the military sen/ice in both the Marine Corps and the Army, and another 
Vietnam veteran that is part of the team. Particularly, let me just publicly 
state how much respect I have for Congressman Jerry Solomon, a Marine 
Vietnam combat vet. He went on to serve the country for 20 years and has 
done so much and given a great example for many of us. Thank you for 
what you have done for America. 

Let me take notice of Jim Endicott, the recipient of the 
Americanism Award tonight. He was at The Citadel, a 21-year-old guy, 
when I was 14. Jim, you looked a lot older in those days to me than you 
do now. Thank you for all you have done for the Veterans Administration 
and for the country. 

A couple of other people I just want to very briefly mention. 
General John P. Herrling, and the great service that he now renders as 
Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Also to General 
Wilma Vaught, I have enormous respect for what she has done in putting 
together the Women in Military Service for the America Memorial 
Foundation. Thank you for your leadership. 

Lieutenant General Claude Kicklighter, who has done so much in 
uniform and now in civilian leadership for the Department of Army. 

First of all, I want to say how proud I am to be here tonight. I say 
that as the son of a veteran who served in combat with the United States 
Army for over seven years in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I say that 
as the father of two veterans, an Infantry Major son that served in the Gulf 
War in the 82nd Airborne and a daughter who is now a Captain in the 
Army National Guard. 

I say that as someone who has enormous respect for the VFW as a 
Life Member of the Hinesville VFW Post, Hinesville, Georgia, the center of 
the universe for those of you who are not familiar with it, right? Two 
million of you are gathered together in this Association, one million from 
World War II. What a generation, what leadership, what you did for our 
country, what incredible sacrifice, with over 300,000 deaths. 

Your generation had a keen understanding and responsibility and 
very little understanding of your rights. Thank you for what you did to 
defend America. The Korean War veterans, the forgotten war, the 



82 



incredible Korean conflict. For many of you, the Korean War vets who are 
in theVFW now, fought in World War II and were called back to service in 
those terrible years of '50 to '51 to provide the combat leadership we 
needed while we tried to rebuild the U.S. Armed Forces which had been 
allowed to fall apart. Thank you for the 300,000 Korean VFW members. 

Vietnam, 600,000 VFW members. Seven and one-half million of 
us served in uniform during that conflict. Over three million served in one 
of the branches of the armed forces. Over 300,000 of us were wounded 
or killed, or became missing in action. 

This was a tremendous sacrifice which at the time was 
unappreciated, because of tremendous difficulty, which I hope all of you 
agree to try and reach out to bring into the VFW and the other great 
patriotic organizations, the veterans who served in uniform during that 
conflict. 

Finally, I am enormously proud to note that the VFW is now over 
100,000 members that served in the Persian Gulf, Grenada, Somalia, 
Operation Just Cause, Panama and other conflicts. They are probably the 
best military we ever fielded. I say that as someone that commanded 
19,000 soldiers and reinforced infantry division during the Gulf War. 

I might add a thousand of them women, went to stage for four days 
with tremendous support, one of the most powerful Air Force in the world, 
the Navy Air, the Marine Air, that was what alleged at the time the second 
biggest land Army in the Gulf region, which four days after the attack 
started was the second biggest Army inside Iraq. 

If I may say a couple of words about the current portfolio I have 
got. I was privileged to serve in uniform for 32 years and in four conflict 
situations. I was not a volunteer for this job. I tell people, "Mr. 
Congressman, I was propelled to the front ranks of all the American people 
for two reasons. One, I was confirmable by the Senate and, secondly, my 
dad told me to take the job." 

I am serious about that. I have been honored to take part in the 
effort. I work with a team that involves the Attorney General Janet Reno, 
Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health, Togo West of the Veterans 
Administration, the Education Secretary Dick Riley, and others. We have 
$17.1 billion in the '99 budget on the Hill right now. There is money in 
there, about $1.1 billion for the Veterans Administration drug prevention 
and research activities. 

We will fund 17,000 VA full-time drug resort personnel. There are 
1 26 VA medical facilities that offer substance abuse treatment. We need to 
remind ourselves that there are literally hundreds of thousands of our 
veterans who were wounded in body and spirit and others who went on to 
suffer intensely from drug abuse; and I include the most dangerous drug in 
America, alcohol. 

When we treat these veterans in the VA system, we are not doing 
them a favor. We, the country, owe these veterans sustainment and 
treatment to get them back to their families and their communities and into 



83 



a productive role, and we can do it. We are proud of what the Veterans 
Administration does. 

It is not clear to me that we have reached the optimum level of 
care, and I fully support, as I am sure Togo West and others do, who 
continue to care for veterans in the manner in which we have given them 
a promise when they set forth to serve. Some 2.2 million of those veterans 
are actually receiving disability compensation and 400,000 are disabled. 

Let me talk about the larger problem on drug abuse. Who is using 
drugs in America and who isn't? I might add the veterans actually have a 
lower rate of drug abuse in general than the American population. That is 
something to tuck away in the back of your mind. 

The active armed forces in the United States, starting about mid- 
1980, have now the lowest rate of drug abuse in American society. There 
is 1.7 million men and women in uniform, the best kids our country can 
put to defend us, have drug abuse rates that are probably a little more than 
one percent. That is essentially a drug-free institution. 

There are a lot of reasons for that. Many people misunderstand 
and think it is because of the drug test. That was a tool that we were 
grateful to get. It helped a lot, particularly in the early years when the Army 
almost fell apart, the armed forces. 

1976, around in there, sticks in my mind as the worst period when 
probably a third of the armed forces was using drugs. It was a nightmare. 
It was incredible. We worked our way out of it. It took almost ten years. 
Now, the biggest advantage we had over American society was sergeants. 

We had sergeants who were men and women in the their early 
thirties and late twenties who acted like parents to young people, who set 
standards. We finally, those of us who were the captains and majors, when 
the armed forces went through that terrible post-Vietnam period, we said 
we have had enough. No more drugs in our service. 

We finally did that after ten years of struggle. As you leave here 
tonight, I would ask you to look for some hand-outs that we have at the 
exits. One of them is the National Drug Strategy. It is a short document. 
It has what is my idea of what a centerfold is today, a fold-out, and it 
outlines on two pages for those of us who has an infantry mentality what 
we are trying to achieve. 

There are five goals. There are 32 otDjectives and, indeed, in some 
ways it is a management challenge. There is a lot involved in it. Clearly, 
we have got to work with foreign governments. We have to go work where 
cocaine is produced. We have to work with Thailand and areas where 
cocaine is produced, Afghanistan. 

We understand we have to do better on our borders. We are going 
to present, I hope to Congress in the coming year a better organized group, 
to give better tools to the men and women of the Customs Service, the 
Border F^trol, the INS, the DEA, to allow us to defend America more 
effectively. 

We also understand that some people will use drugs. They will 



84 



become compulsive drug users, not many. We have to remind ourselves of 
that. There are 270 million of us Americans, and four million are chronic 
drug users. 

I might add another ten million are addicted to alcohol, but four 
million are chronically addicted to illegal drugs, and they are a mess. They 
do an enormous damage. Many of you in this room know someone who 
is involved in that, a child, a college roommate, a buddy in the armed 
forces, a fellow employee. It is a desperate situation. 

People start using drugs because they bring intense pleasure. 
Almost anybody who uses them, the problem is, as you and I look at 
somebody using heroin, they are involved in this ultimate euphoria, what 
we see is the person we love, we admire, is someone who is wrapped in 
waves of nausea, whose skin is crawling, who is violently ill and who has 
lost their sex drive and are constipated. That is the good news about heroin 
users. 

The bad news is when they become addicted, which is very rapid 
with many of these highly drug use situations: methamphetamine, crack, 
the chemically-produced drugs. And ten years from now when my 
daughter is back here as the U.S. Drug Policy Director she will probably 
tell you that the cocaine is no longer the major drug threat throughout 
America. We are not going to be happy if we have replaced it with another 
chemically-manufactured drug. 

Now, we also have got to understand that the heart and soul of the 
drug effort, what this strategy sketches out is that the central component is 
prevention. You and I, the veterans as grandparents, as parents, as mentors, 
as advisors and community leaders, have to step forward and ensure our 
young people from about the age of nine on through age eighteen do not 
become involved in smoking pot, in abusing alcohol, in smoking cigarettes 
and the other drugs. 

Those three drugs fostered together are the predictors of whether 
you turn into a young adult with a lifelong drug problem. If you can get to 
age nineteen without being involved in that behavior, you will never have 
a drug use problem in your entire life. 

Now, the problem is in today's America we are not talking about a 
sophomore at college smoking joints. We are not talking about a law 
school student trying cocaine. In today's America, more eighth-graders 
than twelfth-graders use heroin. In today's America, eighth-graders have 
doubled their drug use rates in the last few years. 

So, I just suggest to you flat out as you look toward a decade that 
you look at this problem in America. The most dangerous drug in America 
is a 12 year old smoking pot on weekends, because that young person is 
79 times more likely to have a compulsive drug use problem. 

That is where we are going. We think we have a decent plan. We 
are getting bipartisan support out of Congress. I am enormously grateful 
for the leadership of Joe Biden, Senator Hatch and many others. There are 
a lot of people in Congress who understand what we are doing. 



85 



They understand this is a ten-year effort. This is not a military 
campaign. It is a war, but it is war for the value system of American 
families and children in schools and the workplace. The last 15 years drug 
abuse in America has actually come down by half. Cocaine use has come 
down by 70 percent. We are doing better. 

The armed forces, the police departments, the universities, the 
Fortune 500 companies are essentially drug free. We still have a long way 
to go. Six percent of the country are using drugs. We are going to have to 
cut that in more than half in the coming years. The real problem, though, 
is our children. 

If I may just end on a note, let me call again on all of you who 
came forward and served at the risk of your life. You showed discipline, 
you showed leadership, and you showed commitment, and America needs 
that commitment in the coming ten years or so. 

We simply have to reach out to our children after their school is 
out, on weekends, and during the summers, and they have got to have an 
example. If they don't get it at home, if they don't get it in the school, they 
will have to be counseled and mentored by a community coalition, by 
Boys and Girls Clubs, by the YMCA and by the Elks, and by the leadership 
that forms its own value system in combat serving its country. Thank you 
very much for who you are and what you stand for. (Applause) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: To the Honorable Jim Endicott, 
our former VA General Counsel, Senator Gerald Solomon, U.S. House of 
Representatives, and, of course, our keynote speaker. General McCaffrey, 
we deeply are indebted and honored to have all of you with us this evening 
and for the many remarks you gave us. It was greatly appreciated. 

At this time I will now return the program to our Master of 
Ceremonies for the evening. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Tom Pouliot. 

SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 
very much, Commander-in-Chief John Moon. Ladies and gentlemen, I 
would like to introduce to you three ladies from Weberly, Texas, who pay 
tribute to the Andrew Sisters with their music. We will now turn back the 
clock and enjoy some light-hearted, nostalgic entertainment. 

They like to sing. You have reached your musical destination. 
Ladies and gentlemen, at this time I give to you the Andrew Sisters Revue, 
Destination. 

(Whereupon, the Andrew Sisters Revue by the Destination was 
given at this time.) 

SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Let's hear it for 
the Destination. (Applause) 

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you, the audience and our 
honored guests, for being here with us this evening. This concludes our 
program for this evening. Will our National Chaplain, Dean Derieg, please 
come to the podium and give the Benediction. 

(Whereupon, National Chaplain Derieg gave the Benediction.) 

SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 



86 



and have an enjoyable evening. That concludes our Distinguished Guests 
Banquet. 

(Whereupon, the Distinguished Guest Banquet was concluded at 
9:30 o'clock p.m.) 

SECOND BUSINESS SESSION 
TUESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 1, 1998 

(The Second Business Session of the 99th National Convention of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, held in the Henry B. 
Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, was called to order at 
8:30 o'clock a.m., by Commander-in-Chief Moon.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Because we have to start the 
Tuesday session early, I would ask you to please take your seats as soon as 
possible. We will call this meeting to order. 

Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, proceed with the Opening 
Ceremonies. 

(Whereupon, National Sergeant-at-Arms Barry Hoffman led the 
convention in the Salute to the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance, and 
National Chaplain Reverend Dean Derieg gave the Opening Prayer from 
the Ritual.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, the Opening Ceremonies have been conducted. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. I have been asked 
to announce, and we will do it periodically through the day, due to the 
high heat and the high humidity you are encouraged to drink many fluids, 
particularly water. I knew that was going to happen. 

This will reduce the dehydration. A lot have had some concerns 
and a lot of individuals that have been weakened. It is not from the use of 
alcohol. They have got to get some more fluids in their system. 

I want to also announce at this time that the VFW Health Fair is still 
going on. It is free. It will be 8:00 a.m. to 1 2:00 noon. That is today and 
tomorrow. For today and tomorrow screening for glaucoma, blood 
pressure and so forth will be from 8:00 until 4:00. So, please, if you have 
the opportunity to stop off at the clinic, do so. 

Could I see a show of hands where Arkansas is? We can't begin 
without apologizing. But I am better this morning. Last night in the 
audience with us was an individual who during World War II received the 
Medal of Honor for his courage and his abilities to maintain this country's 
freedom. From VFW Post 2722, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Clarence Craft, 
Medal of Honor recipient. (Applause) 

Is the Credentials Committee here? 

REPORT OF CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE 
COMRADE RICHARD TROMBLA (Post 1174 - Kansas): Comrade 



87 



Commander-in-Chief, Richard A. Trombla, Department of Kansas, 
Chairman of the Credentials Committee. I want to remind you this is a 
temporary report. This includes everybody that has registered and turned 
in their credentials by 4:00 o'clock last night. According to the rules of this 
convention, the cut-off time is 4:00 o'clock. If you don't register by 4:00 
o'clock today, you will not show up on the report for tomorrow. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, the total delegates is 12,424. The 
Department Commanders is 52; Past Commanders-in-Chief is 26; total 
Officers, 33. That makes a grand total of the delegate strength of 12,536 
as of 4:00 o'clock yesterday afternoon. So be sure and register today 
before 4:00 o'clock to be counted for tomorrow. Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, this is a temporary report. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: What we are going to do is 
start with some of the various committee reports, and as time will allow we 
will have various guests and receive various reports. We beg your 
indulgence. Due to the heat, and so forth, if you want to take yourjackets 
off, by all means do so. I request those at the podium, that when the 
various guests do come, we put our jackets back on. 

PRESENTATION OFVFW NEWS MEDIA AWARD, GOLD MEDAL AND 

CITATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The Veterans of Foreign Wars 
News Media Award is presented for outstanding commendation to the field 
ofjournalism. This year's recipient is Ken Hamblin, a nationally-syndicated 
radio commentator for 2.5 million people on 125 radio stations. 

Known for his nature and, Mr. Hamblin, it may not be politically 
correct to do so, but he does speak his mind and in doing so he challenges 
his audience to think. Mr. Hamblin is also a newspaper columnist, whose 
commentary appears in fourteen cities across the nation through The New 
York Times syndicate. 

Whether on the radio or in newspapers. Ken Hamblin's 
commentary on U.S. society and politics has provided an open forum for 
the exchange of ideas and comments. 

He is a veteran. He has served in the United States Army. 

I am pleased to present this morning the 1998 VFW News Media 
Award to Ken Hamblin, who through his honest and forthright commentary 
has contributed to a better understanding of our American way of life and 
its institutions. 

Comrades, pleasejoin me in a warm welcome to a greatjournalist 
and fellow veteran. Ken Hamblin. 

The News Media Award, Gold Medal and Citation awarded to Ken 
Hamblin. 

"In special recognition of his distinguished career as a nationally- 
syndicated talk show host and journalist whose forthright commentary on 
U.S. society and politics has provided an open forum for the exchange of 



88 



ideas and comments thereby contributing to responsibJe citizenship while 
enhancing the democratic process. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 1st day 
of September, 1998. Approved by the National Council of Administration." 
It has been signed by John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. 
Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - MR. KEN HAMBLIN 

MR. HAMBLIN: Good morning. I salute you all. This is a special 
group to be among. Because of your contributions to the men and women 
you left behind, making those contributions, beginning at least in my 
lifetime with December 7, '41, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, the 
Persian Gulf, it is possible for me to be here today. 

I am a firm and committed first generation American to our 
republic. Now, there are some who would look at me and say, "Gosh, 
what makes a colored guy so high and so big on America?" I pause to 
allow that question to sink in because, ladies and gentlemen, there was a 
song that we used to sing at PS 41 back in Brooklyn that went, "This is my 
country, this is my country, the land that I love." 

I am a product of my grandfather's dream, a western laborer who 
left Barbados to work with his hands on the Panama Canal, who learned 
enough Spanish to go to Cuba long before Fidel, to be an English translator, 
and then on to Roxbury, Massachusetts, and then down to Brooklyn, New 
York, where my mother and father met and "whala". 

The American dream didn't work for my granddad, but he nurtured 
that dream and he kept the name alive, and he passed on to my mom and 
my aunts and my uncles, and I am not sure how well it worked for them. 
But I am an end product of that dream and it has worked for me because 
they never cheated me, they never stole by playing down my heritage. 
They never stole my inheritance. 

And I now will pass that dream on to my children, and I see it 
blossoming full in my children's children, my grandchildren. When I ask 
people what they are going to give me in place of the United States of 
America, they went through a myriad of reasons. 

They take a brick from here, a stone from there, to weaken the 
cornerstone and the foundations of the republic. They say "duh" and just 
because". Those are not sufficient answers. I am not a combat veteran. I 
am not begrudging of that. I think God blessed me and those of you who 
have been there know what I mean. 

But I fight on another field of battle in the civilian sector as a 
person who understands what poverty is and, in fact, I can say with full and 
first experience it sucks. I come from a different place where people once 
upon a time in America, our America, whether Italian or Polish, Jewish, 
Scots or German, African, Asian, they came to these shores and they said 



89 



to their children, "Be an American." 

I am living proof that that works. You are living proof that works. 
I have received awards before and they were awards from liberal 
organizations, and people say to me, "You were a liberal?" Yes, I was a 
liberal, a black kid growing up in Brooklyn, New York. What else would I 
be, Irish? No harm with the Irish there. Relax. 

But I began to ask some very hard questions that I would pose to 
this audience right now. I challenge any member within the confines of 
this organization, within the confines of this auditorium this morning to 
name one major American city that has prospered socially, economically, 
academically under black liberal political rule? You cannot answer that 
question. 

It is not, ladies and gentlemen, just a black problem, it is an 
American tragedy. Those are the questions that must be asked by the 
beneficiaries of the American dream. I am fighting on the front where the 
concept of bionics is challenged, as it must be challenged, where the 
concept of incompetence being an equal as qualifying must be challenged. 

During my liberal days, I received many awards, but they were 
liberal awards, and to that end I was never sure if I was entitled to that 
award. This award that I received today goes with another very coveted 
award that I have received. It is the other bookend that will parallel in the 
award from the National Rifle Association for defending the concepts of the 
Second Amendment. 

This says I have defended the concept of the First Amendment and 

I am honored to be among the men and women who have defended both 
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. God bless you. From my heart, I say 
this as one American to many others, God bless you, stay strong and never 
forget the challenge when they bitch and moan about the republic. Ask, 
demand, insist to know what will you give me in place of the American 
dream. I salute you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Mr. Hamblin, thank you very 
much. Along with your award goes an honorarium of $5,000. We 
appreciate everything that you have done. 

MR. HAMBLIN: Thank you all again. God bless you. 

INTRODUCTION OF MAJOR GENERAL JOHN P. HERRLING, USA (RET.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrades, the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars, which proudly includes one million World War II veterans 
among its membership, unanimously approved a resolution at our National 
Convention in 1994 strongly supporting the establishment of a World War 

II Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Support for the Memorial was reaffirmed at our 98th National 
Convention last August. On July 9th, I was proud to appear before the 
National Capital Planning Commission in Washington and voice our 
support, and urge that construction begin quickly. 



90 



The American Battle Monuments Commission, which was 
authorized by Congress in 1993 to establish a World War II Memorial in 
Washington, D.C., has maintained strict compliance with the applicable 
laws to see that this Memorial is appropriately located, designed and 
constructed. 

We, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, are fully committed to fulfilling 
our mandated pledge to support this Memorial. To reaffirm our 
commitment to this Memorial, our National Council of Administration 
approved a fund-raising campaign to take place over the next four years. 
This campaign is aimed at raising some $7.5 million toward the 
construction of the World War II Memorial. 

This morning, I am pleased to introduce a fellow VFW member 
and good friend of the VFW, the Secretary of the American Battle 
Monuments Commission. 

Please give a warm VFW welcome to Retired Army Major General 
John Herri ing. (Applause) 

REMARKS - MAJOR GENERAL JOHN R HERRLING, USA (RET) 

GENERAL HERRLING: Commander-in-Chief John Moon, ladies 
and gentlemen, good morning. It is a pleasure to be with you in San 
Antonio to celebrate your 99th Convention, the entry of the VFW 100 years 
of service to the country and its veterans. I think the American people 
would find it truly remarkable to know that all the VFW has accomplished 
in the last 99 years. 

You have certainly made a lasting and positive impact on the 
country and the lives of many, many people, particularly veterans and their 
families. Last night. General McCaffrey used the words "dynamic force" to 
describe what he felt the VFW had done with this country. I think that was 
appropriately stated. 

You are to be commended for your service. May the next 99 years 
bring even greater success to this wonderful organization. My purpose 
today is to give you a brief update on the World War II Memorial Campaign 
and the progress that we have made since I spoke at the mid-winter 
convention earlier this year. 

Before I begin, let me express a few well-deserved thank yous. 
First, to your organization for their enormous support for the World War II 
Memorial in establishing a goal of raising $7.5 million. Your commitment 
is still the single largest of any organization to date, including some very 
substantial gifts from corporate America. 

Senator Bob Dole, and all of us on the World War II Memorial staff, 
you have our sincere thanks and gratitude. Secondly, I want to publicly 
acknowledge and thank your National Commander-in-Chief John Moon, 
first, for his strong personal support over the past year on behalf of the 
World War II Memorial; secondly, for his address to the National Capital 
Planning Commission this past July in Washington in support of the 



91 



Memorial. 

His words to that commission were convincing and inspirational 
and went a long way towards gaining the commission's approval for the 
World War II Memorial design concept, which it did approve that same 
day. 

Last, but certainly not least, our thanks for the combined gift of 
$20,000 from the John Moon Homecoming Committee and the 
Department of Ohio. I understand that this gift will be matched by 
$10,000 from the VFW Trust, for a total contribution of $30,000 for the 
World War II Memorial. That is a great gift in the VFW campaign. Thank 
you, John, and thanks to the Department of Ohio. 

Last March, I was pleased to report that the campaign had raised 
nearly $18 million. As of today, I can report that that figure has grown by 
$10 million, to over $28 million. This does not include the VFW's $7.5 
million goal. A list of contributors grows daily and is now over 175,000. 

Following this summer's approval of the design concept, the design 
of the Memorial is moving forward to address specific architectural and 
landscaping elements. The design team is focusing on the Memorial's 
content, its sculpture. Memorial art, and inscriptive words that will be an 
integral part of the Memorial. 

The next time I have an opportunity to talk to you I hope to have 
the pictures, some pictures of the Memorial design and some of the specific 
design elements. This is all good news. But we still have a long way to go 
before we can break ground. 

By law, we must have all the funds necessary to build and maintain 
the Memorial before we can turn the first shovel of dirt. With that in mind, 
we have targeted ground breaking for Veterans Day in the year 2000. That's 
a fast-track fund-raising program, but being optimistic in our ability to raise 
the money and America's willingness to support the World War II 
Memorial, I think it is a reality. 

The campaign is to build a National Memorial, and we very much 
need the support on the national level. Each of you can play a role in that 
effort by help publicizing the World War II Memorial. You can do this in 
your communities, with your friends, with your neighbors, in your local 
newspapers and with your congressional representatives. 

The only way we can raise the remaining funds is to get the word 
out and get the American people behind this national project. I am sure 
many of you have seen Steven Spielberg's new film "Saving Private Ryan." 
It is an agonizing and startling portrayal of what many World War II 
veterans and many of you in this room have experienced firsthand. 

Hollywood may have recreated it with genius, but D-Day, June 6, 
1944, was no Hollywood, it was the real thing. The real thing wasn't just 
in Normandy, it was all across Europe, all across the Pacific and 
encompassed vast areas of the globe. It took place on land, in the air and 
on and under the sea. 

Over and over again, for nearly three years, there was death and 



92 



destruction on a scale never before seen. When it was over, 75 million 
people had died and large areas of the world lay in destruction. In the end, 
America and her allies had prevailed and the course of human history was 
forever changed. 

The World War II Memorial will preserve the memory of that 
extraordinary generation of Americans who fought and won that war on the 
battlefield and here at home. This was a generation who literally saved the 
world, preserved the freedom and prosperity that we enjoy today and the 
prosperity our children and grandchildren will enjoy tomorrow. 

The Memorial will be a reminder that future generations of 
America's determination to fight for what was right, America's sacrifice and 
courage during those dark days, and a reminder of what America can 
accomplish when it is united and bonded in a common and just cause. 

The World War II Memorial will represent America at its best in the 
20th Century. With your help, we will build this Memorial before the 
generation it honors passes into history. Thank you for your time this 
morning, but more importantly, thank you for your service to your country, 
to our country, for all you have done in the past 99 years and for all that 
you will do in the future, not only for our veterans but for our communities, 
our children and this home we call America. Thank you very much and 
God bless you all. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Again, the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars, I assure you, remain committed to making sure that this Memorial is 
done in a timely manner. We will do everything we can to assist you in 
your efforts. Thank you again. General. 

The first committee to report this morning will be the Finance and 
Internal Organization. Jim Nier, Past Commander-in-Chief, is the 
Chairman. Thomas Dougherty, the F^st Commander of Pennsylvania, is the 
Vice-Chairman. 

Comrade Nier. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND INTERNAL 
ORGANIZATION 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Good morning, comrades. 
I want to first thank the Commander-in-Chief for assigning me to this most 
important committee. As he just noted, the Vice-Chairman on this 
committee is Tom Dougherty from Pennsylvania. Where are you, Tom? I 
can't see you. Anyway, he is the Vice-Chairman. 

The Committee on Finance and Internal Organization met Sunday 
afternoon and acted on the 23 resolutions before it. I wish to commend 
the appointed committee members for their input and the quick 
deliberations that we had on these resolutions. 

In accordance with the rules of the convention, I will at this time 
read the number and title of those resolutions that the committee has 
recommended be adopted, or adopted as amended. They are the 



93 



following: 

Resolution No. 203, National Convention Site Selection. 

Resolution No. 217, Official March For The Veterans Of Foreign 
Wars. 

Resolution No. 223, Emphasize Changes to Congressional Charter, 
By-Laws, Manual of Procedure And Ritual. 

Now, I recognize that No. 223 is not in your book. Let me read 
that, if I may. That is a very short resolution. 

"WHEREAS, the National Headquarters publications 
'Congressional Charter and By-Laws and Manual of Procedure,' in general, 
is modified and produced annually and incorporated modifications are 
directive in nature to National, Department, Districts, County Councils and 
Posts, as well as all officers of same: with consideration to the thousands of 
officers accountable for various information within the publication; and 

"BE IT RESOLVED, requested through channels, that the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars National Headquarters italicize any new or revised text in 
the Congressional Charter By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual." 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I move that Resolutions 203, 217 
and 223 be adopted. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You have heard the motion. Is 
there a second? 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
As Vice-Chairman of the committee, I second the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: It has been moved and 
seconded. Is there any request to have any of those set aside? 

Microphone No. 1 . 

COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I am Glen Gardner, Post 3359, Garland, Texas. I 
would just like to ask a question of the chair regarding Resolution 223. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: All right. 

COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): When the 
Chairman explained that he did not say that you were going to italicize the 
deleted items. Did you take that out of there. Comrade Chairman? 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Comrade Gardner, the last 
"Be It Resolved" that I was handed by the staff is exactly what I read. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, requested through channels that the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars National Headquarters italicize any new or revised 
Congressional Charter By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual." That did 
change the previous "Be It Resolved", Glen. 

COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Thank you. 
Comrade Nier. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE BENNY BACHAND (Post 4287 - Florida): 
Commander-in-Chief, I am Benny Bachand, Post 4287, Orlando, Florida. I 
would like No. 203 set aside. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: No. 203 has been set aside. Is 



94 



there any other request to have any set aside? I am looking at Microphone 
1, to Microphone 2, to Microphone 3. Seeing none, we will call for the 
question on the motion. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all 
those opposed "no". Those resolutions previously read are passed. 

No. 203 was set aside. We will have discussion on 203. 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE BENNY BACHAND (Post 4287 - Florida): I rise this 
morning to give information to the delegates regarding the site selection 
process that was used in determination of Milwaukee as a site for the years 
2000, 2001 and 2002. Comrades and delegates to the convention. Past 
Commander-in-Chief Jim Nier appointed a National Convention Task Force 
that consisted of not only national staff but of members of the National 
Council of Administration. 

That Task Force met over a two-year period and made a report to 
the National Council of Administration last October that we consider a 
three-year package to effectively try to minimize the future cost to our 
delegates for this National Convention. 

The National Council of Administration in October approved the 
Task Force's report and instructed the Time and Place Committee to then 
select bids on a three-year basis. We had six cities that came in based on 
this three-year commitment, or two years and then the option for the third 
year. 

All room rates were then negotiated based on this three-year 
process. We went to the National Council meeting in Washington. It was 
then decided by the Time and Place Committee to actually recommend the 
City of Miami as the site for the National Convention. 

That recommendation was made to the National Council of 
Administration in Washington. The National Council of Administration 
deliberated on all of the six sites. In fact, there was a series of roll-call votes 
on all of the locations, and the City of Milwaukee was then given the three- 
year option. 

I want to tell you that as the individual held responsible for 
carrying out the mandate of the National Council of Administration that we 
have been in the process of negotiations with the City of Milwaukee. We 
do have hotel rates that have been negotiated based on this three-year 
basis. 

I caution this delegation to be careful in your deliberations of this 
resolution, because if this resolution is passed, then there is a very good 
likelihood that the entire package could be jeopardized and we could be 
In serious financial trouble because of commitments, contractual 
commitments that already have been made. Thank you, Commander-in- 
Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any other discussion on No. 
203? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE BILL RADIGAN (Post 3061 - South Dakota): Colnrade 



95 



Commander-in-Chief, I find, in my opinion, this resolution somewhat out 
of order. But I would like to move an amendment, sir, if I might, and that 
the resolution be amended in the first line of the "Resolved" portion after 
"United States", insert the word "recommend". 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You have the first, "Be It 
Resolved, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, that the 
scheduled site for the National Convention in the year 2002, in 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not be contracted for, and the selection site 
committee propose other locations for our national convention in the year 
2002 to the National Council of Administration for their consideration." 

Right after the comma, in the first line of the "Be It Resolved," you 
ask that "recommend" be inserted? 

COMRADE BILL RADIGAN (Post 3061 - South Dakota): That is 
correct. I believe it will be less offensive to the Council of Administration 
that did its job, recommend rather than positive. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a second to the 
amendment? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE LORNE RUZICKA (Post 3312 - South Dakota): Lome 
Ruzicka, Department Commander of South Dakota, seconds the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion and a 
second. I will call for discussion on the amendment. Hearing none, we 
will call for a vote on the amendment. All those in favor of the amendment 
will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify by saying "no". 
The "nays" have it. The amendment is rejected. 

We will go back to Resolution No. 203. That is to make the 
convention site selection. All those in favor of Resolution 203 will signify 
by saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify by "no". Gentlemen, I 
believe the "nays" have it. Resolution No. 203 is defeated. 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I doubt the vote. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Here we go again. I am going 
to ask all those in favor of Resolution No. 203 to please rise. All in favor 
of Resolution No. 203, please rise. Please sit down. All those opposed to 
Resolution 203, please rise. The chair is no longer in doubt. Resolution 
No. 203 fails. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Comrades, I will now read 
the number and title of those resolutions that the committee has 
recommended for rejection. 

Resolution No. 201, Provide Administrative Space Rent Free In 
VFW Washington Office ForTheVFW Political Action Committee. 

Resolution No. 202, Severance Package For Outgoing Adjutant 
General. 

Resolution No. 204, Annual Salaries Of National Officers And 
Employees. 



96 



Resolution No. 205, National To Absorb Membership Program 
Costs. 

Resolution No. 206, Continued Payment For Deceased Life 
Members. 

Resolution No. 207, Recognition Of The Military Order Of The 
Cootie. 

Resolution No. 208, Setting Post Membership Goals. 

Resolution No. 209, Age Limitation For Sons Of The VFW. 

Resolution No. 210, Direct National Council Of Administration To 
Urge Ladies Auxiliary To Amend Their By-Laws So Non-U. S. Citizens May 
Qualify For Membership. 

Resolution No. 211, Poppy Coin Collectors. 

Resolution No. 212, Repaying Bonus Benefits. 

Resolution No. 213, Membership. 

Resolution No. 214, Military Coalition. 

Resolution No. 215, Reinstate National VFW Americanism Record 
Book Program. 

Resolution No. 216, Endorse The National Purple Heart Hall Of 
Honor. 

Resolution No. 218, Limit Sites For Commander-in-Chief 
Membership Trip. 

Resolution No. 219, Severance Package For Outgoing Adjutant 
General. 

Resolution No. 220, Severance F^ckage For Outgoing Adjutant 
General. 

Resolution No. 221, Severance Package For Outgoing Adjutant 
General. 

Resolution No. 222, Deny VFW Membership To World War II Era 
Merchant Marines. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, those are the resolutions that this 
committee recommends be rejected. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Tom Dougherty, VFW Post 3474, Vice- 
Chairman of the committee. I would like to have No. 222 set aside. I don't 
know whether a motion is in order right now before I speak, but I would 
like to move for adoption of this particular resolution. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Which one? 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
No. 222, Deny VFW Membership To World War II Era Merchant Marines. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: What you are asking is that 
No. 222 be set aside? 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
Yes. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You have asked for 222 to be 
set aside. Are there any others to be set aside? Okay. 



97 



At this time we will go to Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
Yes, Commander-in-Chief. What I would like to do is give a little 
background of this first and then — 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You will need to make a 
motion, please. 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
Yes, I make the motion to adopt Resolution 222. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a second? 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE CARL AIELLO (Post 1645 - Massachusetts): I second 
the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion and a 
second to adopt Resolution 222. We will now go into discussion. 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
Thank you, Commander-in-Chief. I don't know whether everyone was 
really clear on this or not when it was rejected. First of all, I would like to 
remind all these delegates that are present that yesterday we rejected a 
resolution for the National Defense Service Ribbon. 

The thing you have to consider here is that these people served in 
the uniform of the various services of their country. They were a member 
of the armed forces. These people that we have, that we want to take into 
this organization, the Merchant Marines, they were totally separate. 

We have to remember that at the 1987 National Convention they 
were denied because this motion, Resolution No. 725, was approved in 
that particular convention. It says, "Whereas, the term veteran is presently 
defined by Section 101 of Title 38, U.S. Code, which reads the term veteran 
means a person who served in the military, naval or air service, who has 
been discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than 
dishonorable." 

This goes on and goes on. This was approved. They were denied 
at that time in 1987. The other thing I would like to bring to your attention 
is the American Merchant Marine veterans newsletter that was sent to a 
sister organization and was signed by the Assistant Deputy Administrator 
for Training. 

In that letter, he said in essence that, you know, in your 
communities if you have honor rolls and strictly for the services, et cetera, 
et cetera, they are not entitled. Even at that time, they knew that the 
Merchant Marines were not entitled to be one of the organizations such as 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars. So there is a lot there. 

The one thing they were approved for in 1988 was for benefits in 
the VA medical system. So there is a clear difference. They weren't given 
veterans status other than for care in the facilities. So that is the reason I 
am asking for approval of this resolution and that they be denied entrance 
into the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a very unique and a very proud 



98 



organization. Thank you very much, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE STAN LOWE (Post 9439 - Wyoming): I have the honor, 
sir, of being Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the great state 
of Wyoming. I am very proud that Wyoming is the home state of Admiral 
Emery S. Lang, who commanded the United States Merchant Marines 
during World War II. 

He built the ships, he enlisted Americans, he trained them, he put 
them through their boot camp. He put them through their armed training 
with guns, war survival and all the other elements of warfare. He put them 
on the ships he built and then turned over the control of the ships to the 
military and naval authorities in order to deliver the goods that had to be 
delivered all over the world to the far reaches of the world if we were to 
win World War II. 

Unfortunately, I am sorry, but Admiral Lang was so occupied with 
the fulfillment of his duties and responsibilities that he did not have a good 
public relations service and, consequently, the story of the Merchant 
Marines and the service performed by the Merchant Marines has not been 
told. 

As the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in my state, 
who must determine who is a veteran and who is not a veteran in order to 
receive the benefits of our office, I have had to make this study. More 
importantly, I have made it because of my great admiration for our great 
Wyoming citizen, Admiral Lang. 

I have to tell you that in all candor that the resolution that stands 
before us today is shot through and through with inaccuracies. I don't fault 
the sponsor of the resolution for it. As I said before, the information, what 
the Merchant Marines did, has been withheld badly from the public. 

It had to be during the war because they didn't want the word to 
get out that there were over 800 ships that were trying to supply our troops 
and sailors across the world being sunk by Hitler. Hitler knew his only 
way, his only chance to defeat the allies, was to cut off the supply runs. 

We were not about to give him aid and comfort by putting out that 
information. My friend, Captain Arthur Moore, who wrote the most 
comprehensive and complete book on the role of the Merchant Marine in 
World War II, had to go to the government, of course, in order to get the 
information about all these eight hundred plus ships that were sunk. 

That is 85 percent of all of the American flying ships during World 
War II. He had to do this. He went to the government in order to get this 
information. The government still some 14 years ago was maintaining at 
this time the secrecy they did in World War II. 

He had to resort to legal means in order to get this information 
freed up. This is incredible. So, I apologize in my capacity as best I can 
on behalf of Admiral Lang that this information has not been available to 
you. 

Let me go through quickly the legal effects. I am a lawyer. I have 



headed up the largest corporate law department in my state for the past 
quarter century. I have worked regularly with the federal statutes, the 
federal regulations, with federal court decisions, and let me tell you what 
my analysis is. 

First of all, in 1 936, Congress enacted the Merchant Marine Act. In 
doing so, they not only created a Maritime Commission, which during 
World War II was merged into the War Shipping Administration. But they 
also created the United States Merchant Marine Academy, one of five 
academies in our educational system for our service people. 

They also at that time declared that the Merchant Marines, in times 
of war and national emergency, shall be considered to be an auxiliary of 
the military and naval forces. An auxiliary of the naval forces, that means 
that the Merchant Marine in times of war change its status from peacetime 
to wartime status. 

That accounts for the change in training that was done for the 
people in the Merchant Marines in order to carry out their functions. 
During the war, of course, the Merchant Marines was not one of the 
recognized services, one of the armed forces, and so what happened was 
that in 1977 Congress passed the G.I. Bill Improvement Act. 

Now, we all know about the G.I. Bill. This is one of the many bills 
that was passed through the years in order to improve the G.I. Bill. Under 
this bill, provision was made for the establishment of a means of 
ascertaining who had served an active military service during the war in 
order to be qualified for the equivalent of law enforcement service. 

This amendment was sponsored by Senator Barry Goldwater. The 
bill was enacted, and pursuant to that law a Board of Review was created. 
Now, the Board of Review didn't right away accept the Merchant Marines 
In fact, the Merchant Marines had to go to court and prove the points that 
they had about their service in order to qualify to become recognized as 
active military service people. 

So, consequently, when they did it, and the court ruled in their 
favor, and, by the way, in doing so, the court ruled on many of the issues 
that are raised in this resolution. So the court's ruling then resulted in the 
Board reconvening, looking at the facts more accurately and truthfully and, 
consequently, they granted veterans status to the Merchant Marines. 

Now, the veterans status is something that is recognized by the 
other agencies of the government. For example, here is a letter from the 
United States Coast Guard. It is a letter to one of the Merchant Marine 
veterans that says, "Enclosed are documents that establish your status as a 
veteran." 

Here is another letter from the Maritime Administration. "We in 
the Department of Transportation of the Maritime Administration strongly 
support the efforts to provide veterans status for World War II." 

Here is another letter — 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 3, your time 
has expired. Your time has expired. Microphone No. 3. I look to the 



100 



various microphones. I look to Microphone No. 1, to Microphone No. 2 
and Microphone No. 3. I ask the Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms to write those 
comrades' names down that are standing there. 

We are going to suspend this discussion for the present time. We 
have one announcement to make and then we have another guest. This 
evening there will be a food drive at the Patriotic Rally. It is going to feed 
San Antonio's hungry people. 

We ask those in attendance to please bring some type of dry 
staples and canned foods to the rally. If you are unable to do that, a cash 
donation will be accepted. This is done to accord those in and around the 
San Antonio area the opportunity to get some good meals. The doors will 
open at 4:30 this afternoon. 

INTRODUCTION OF LIEUTENANT CLAUDE KICKLIGHTER, USA (RET.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrades, in two years we 
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. In an 
effort to recognize our Korean War veterans, their families and to provide 
the American public with a clear understanding and appreciation of the 
lessons and history of the Korean War, we are fortunate to have with us 
Lieutenant General Claude M. Kicklighter, the Deputy Under Secretary of 
the Army for International Security Affairs and formerly the Executive 
Director of the Department of Defense's 50th Anniversary of World War II 
Commemorative Committee. General Kicklighter and the Committee did 
a marvelous job. 

With preparations underway, it is fitting that we prepare to honor 
and recognize those who set the stage for America's determination at the 
start of the Cold War and whose service and sacrifices eventually led to the 
collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. 

I am confident that under General Kicklighter's leadersliip, and 
with the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 
commemoration of the Korean War and its veterans will be a memorable 
one. 

Pleasejoin me in a warm VFW welcome for a good friend of the 
VFW and a valued Life Member, Retired Army Lieutenant General Claude 
M. Kicklighter. 

REMARKS - LIEUTENANT GENERAL CLAUDE M. KICKLIGHTER 

LIEUTENANT GENERAL KICKLIGHTER: Commander-in-Chief 
Moon, President of the Ladies Auxiliary Connie Atkinson, Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief Tom Pouliot, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John 
Smart, and former Commanders-in-Chief, National Officers, Fellow 
Veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in our 99th Annual 
Convention. This morning I would like to briefly provide you an overview 



101 



of the planning for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 
Korean War. Congress has asked the Department of Defense, in 
partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to help our nation 
organize and prepare for this effort. 

But before I begin, I would like to express appreciation for all the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars did to assist the grateful nation in thanking and 
honoring our World War II veterans and their families as we 
commemorated the 50th anniversary of World War II. 

No organization worked harder or contributed more than theVFW. 
You recruited over 1,000 commemorative communities to assist us in 
honoring veterans in hometown America. You provided some superb 
educational materials for our schools, and you produced some great 
publications that are still in use throughout our nation. 

Your Past National Commanders-in-Chief, during this period, 
played a major role as I know the future Commanders-in-Chief will play a 
role in Korea. Bob Wallace, Jack Carney, George Cramer, Gunner Kent, 
Paul Spera, all were very much involved. 

Our National Headquarters helped plan and oversee the national 
effort. As this organization knows, the World War II generation was asked 
to fight the most destructive war in history, a war that we were not prepared 
for, but we had to buy time to get ready for that war and we bought that 
time with the lives of young Americans. 

Our World War II veterans fought and won that war and literally 
saved the world. When that war ended, our veterans came home, they 
took off their uniform. They said very little about what they had done, they 
rolled up their sleeves and they built this strong and free America. 

At the end of World War II, we were the most powerful armed 
forces that the world had ever known. In five short years, on June 25, 
1950, when a 200,000 manned Korean Army invaded South Korea with a 
surprise attack, we had almost dismantled the U.S. defense establishment. 

Again, we were not prepared to fight. Once again, we bought the 
time to get ready and bought that time again with the lives of young 
Americans. Many of you in this auditorium this morning bear the wounds 
of that unpreparedness and we should never be unprepared again. The 
lessons of World War II and the Korea War are clear. If we want peace, 
freedom and prosperity, we must remain strong, prepared and engaged. 

By the Korea War's end, three years one month and two days after 
it began, the United Nations forces from 22 countries led by the United 
States had fought to a standstill. The Soviet Union directed the North 
Korean-Chinese force which was three times the size of the United Nations 
forces. 

This victory in Korea stemmed Congress aggression in Asia and 
saved South Korea. This was a major turning point in world history and the 
beginning of the end of Communism. This was the first time that war had 
been fought under the United Nations flag. And had the United States and 
the United Nations not stepped in so in 1950, and in spite of the heroic 



102 



efforts by the South Korean efforts, that nation would have fallen within a 
few weeks. 

If South Korea would have fallen, this would have had extreme 
consequences around the world. The outcome of the Cold War and the 
world we live in today would have been greatly altered. By the time the 
Armistice was signed and the guns fell silent on July 27, 1953, the casualty 
toll of the United Nations forces allege more than 140,000 killed and 
295,000 wounded. 

United Nations prisoners of war suffered terribly. In addition to 
those who died from exposure and starvation, almost 12,000 were 
murdered by their captors. The millions of refugees, hundreds of thousands 
were killed or became casualties. 

Many are still unaccounted for. The death and destruction of that 
war was horrendous. Once again, American soldiers, marines, sailors and 
airmen were fighting a desperate war far from home in some of the worst 
weather and terrain imaginable. 

The U.S. service, many of them veterans from World War II, paid 
a severe price. In three years with that war, more than 35,000 U.S. soldiers 
were killed and more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers were wounded, and 
several thousands were missing in action. These are the official casualty 
figures. 

But as all of you know, no one who serves in war is left unaffected. 
The freedom of South Korea came at a high price. Just ask the veterans who 
fought there and their families who waited at home, especially the families 
that lost loved ones: the Gold Star mothers and fathers, the Gold Star wives 
and the Gold Star children. 

This group, like you, knows that freedom comes at a high price. 
Although the Korean War was a combined effort, it could not have been 
fought for very long without American service members. American men 
and women left a proud legacy in Pusan, Inchon, the Chosen Reservoir, 
Bloody Ridge, Pork Chop Hill and hundreds of other battlefields on that 
rugged peninsula, places that will forever live in the minds and hearts of 
those who served there. 

That war had not ended. For almost a half century, since the 1 953 
Armistice was signed, American and South Korean forces have been 
standing vigilant guard along a very heavily fortified and very dangerous 
militarized zone near the 38th Parallel. 

The passage of time has revealed much about the lasting legacy of 
those who fought in Korea. You will recall that many questioned our 
involvement in a war so far from home. How wrong they were. The results 
of that war speak for themselves. Today, South Korea is a strong, growing 
democracy of almost 50 million hard-working, productive people who in 
just two short generations have created an astonishing prosperity on the 
ashes of the Korean War. 

Compare that with North Korea, where for half a century the 
heavily armed police state ruled by a tyrannical dictator, and tried to 



103 



bankrupt Communism, is currently experiencing malnutrition and famine, 
and yet on the verge of collapse they still remain a very dangerous country 
with one of the largest military forces in the world today; and the recent 
missile firing over Japan illustrates how dangerous this nation is. 

What a contrast. The miracle of the South Korean people was 
brought about as a result of the courage, the valor, the selfless service and 
sacrifice of the United States, the South Korean and United Nations. 
Without them, South Korea would have been subjugated under 
Communism and the history of Asia and the rest of the world would have 
been changed for the worst. 

The light of freedom that burns so brightly in South Korea and 
many other nations today would have been extinguished. The collapse of 
the Soviet Union and the number of nations that enjoy freedom in the 
world today would have been greatly altered if we had not fought and won 
that war. 

The legacy of the Korea War veterans is a strong and free South 
Korea. The war was a major victory in ending the Cold War and making a 
much safer world for our children and our grandchildren to live in. Will 
the Korean veterans please stand and let us thank you and give you a round 
of applause. (Applause) 

In closing, let me briefly outline the planning for the 
commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. This is a very 
important mission that our nation is embarking on and we need all of us, 
especially theVFW, to help pull this off. 

Our goal together is to ensure that every Korean veteran and their 
families know that our nation, a grateful nation, remembers their service 50 
years ago. The Korean War veterans have never been properly thanked and 
honored, and this may be the last time to right that wrong. 

Together we must find our veterans in communities. Veterans 
Hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, wherever they are all across 
this nation, and ensure they know what they accomplished and remember. 
We must also ensure America knows that these veterans saved a great 
nation and the people from enslavement, and stopped Communism dead 
in its tracks. 

The world is a much safer place as a result of their service and 
sacrifice. We must make a special effort to remember the prisoners of war 
and the missing in action. Over 8,000 U.S. were captured. More than 
3,000 died in captivity. Many were executed. Many more were captured 
and 8,100 are still missing in action. 

We will make a special effort also to remember the service of 
women and minorities in that war, and this was the first time that we had 
fought as an integrated force. The most important part of our program will 
be organizing our efforts in hometown America. 

As we did the 50th anniversary of World War II, we are requesting 
communities, civic and veterans organizations all across this great nation 
to become part of the effort. There were more than 7,800 commemorative 



104 



communities when we ended the 50th anniversary of World War II. 

We need you and the VFW Posts to recruit your communities. Get 
them involved and help us support the local schools by providing 
educational materials, posters, lesson plans, teachers' guides and CD roms 
on the Korean War. Our role together will be to unite our nation in 
supporting this important mission. 

We will remember all the services, the Army, the Marines, the 
Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, all the components, active Guard 
and reserve. The commemorations will begin on July 25, 2000, with the 
50th anniversary of the attack on South Korea, and will end on July 27, 
2003, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice. 

Throughout the period, we will commemorate key events of the 
war. They will be commemorated in Korea and all across this great nation. 
We are asking organizers of annual events, such as Veterans Day and 
Memorial Day, during this period to ensure that the Korean War veterans 
are the centerpiece of those programs. 

We already have had many cities and states request that they be 
selected as sponsors for some of the major commemorative events in our 
nation. The Commander of the U.S. forces in Korea has already organized 
a task force and they are planning events in Korea. 

They are also organized to assist the veterans as you go back to 
Korea to visit some of the battle sites where you fought. We briefed the 
VFW National Commander this last November and will continue to 
provide annual updates to the VFW senior leadership. 

We are counting on the VFW to help organize and oversee this 
effort. Our partnership with the VFW and Department of Veterans Affairs, 
I will tell you our counterparts in the Veterans Affairs is Jack Carney and 
Gunner Kent. We are all working together with other veterans service 
organizations. We will recruit community organizations all across 
America, so we can honor veterans where they live in hometown America. 

Now is the time to get started. Our commemorative communities 
will be issued a flag as shown on the screen, I hope. I can't see the screen. 
Is the flag up there? Good. If you will look at that flag, you will see running 
through the center of it is a streamer, blue and white. This is the battle 
streamer for the Korean War. 

You will see 22 stars around the tagua. Those are 22 nations that 
have fought as allies in that. You will see at the bottom of that flag the 
words that our veterans asked to be put on there, and that is "Freedom Is 
Not Free." Also that flag is in both English and Hangul. 

South Korea has adopted that flag as their official flag. Each 
commemorative community will also be issued a certificate signed by the 
Secretary of Defense and will be provided with materials which will 
support commemorations in hometown America. 

Together we will produce educational materials to provide to the 
schools, and we will ask the VFW to help us do that. The World War II 
veterans, as you recall, were issued an honorable service lapel pin at the 



105 



end of World War II which they affectionately call the "ruptured duck". 

The Korean War veterans were never issued a Korean War service 
lapel pin, but working with the Veterans Administration we will plan to 
issue the lapel pin that I hope you see up on the screen. Those pins will 
be made available to all the veterans who served in Korea during this 
commemorative period. 

It has been said that any nation that forgets its veterans ceases to 
be a great nation. America and the VFW will ensure that this nation never 
forgets veterans. Thank you for the support that you provide every day to 
our men and women in uniform, to our veterans and all that you do to 
make this nation so great. God bless America. Thank you very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. Again, I assure 
you that every veteran, old or young, who belong to the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars will do his utmost to carry out the concerns and deeds of those 
serving in the Korean War. 

INTRODUCTION OF PATRICK J. MULVEY, CEO, 
THE MILITARY CHANNEL 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The success of the VFW's 
Operation Uplink rests in the support given by individuals and 
corporations. To date, we have given out tens of thousands of these phone 
cards, and let me assure you, the response from those receiving them has 
been outstanding. 

Imagine yourself in Bosnia and someone walks up and hands you 
a free pre-paid phone card, or you are a veteran in a VA Hospital and 
someone walks in and says, "Here, call home and let the family know how 
you are doing." 

That's what Operation Uplink is all about, people reaching out to 
friends and loved ones, and the VFW helps them to do it, and we in turn 
are assisted by many corporations like the one I am now going to present 
this plaque to. 

The Military Channel went on the air on July 4, 1 998, broadcasting 
to North and South America, Europe and the Far East. As the name implies, 
they will be carrying programs about the military and the history of military 
operations, many of which you will recognize because you were in them. 

As veterans, we wish The Military Channel great success. Now, to 
accept the plaque expressing our appreciation for what they have done for 
Operation Uplink is their Chief Executive Officer, Patrick J. Mulvey. 

Mr. Mulvey, it is an honor and privilege for me to present this 
plaque to you. 

REMARKS - MR. PATRICK J. MULVEY 

MR. PATRICK MULVEY Thank you, Mr. Moon, for those kind 
words. Thank you, all veterans, for being here and thank you for being 



106 



there when our country needed you. Congratulations to the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars on your 100th anniversary. 

It is a great honor to accept this award on behalf of The Military 
Channel. Many of our employees, including myself, are veterans, our 
producers, directors, our marketers. We look to veterans to bring that 
experience into our business so they can express and transmit that message 
to not only the country but to the world. 

On July 4th, when I flipped the switch to start the transmission of 
The Military Channel, it was our expectation that our network would 
positively promote the spirit of the military, that spirit that each of you so 
embodied so well. That is why we were thrilled to celebrate, The Military 
Channel, by participating in theVFW Operation Uplink. 

As many of you know, the recent floods in Korea took the lives of 
four of our servicemen, destroyed several VFW Posts and created great 
hardships. Assistant Adjutant Ron Browning tells me that our donation to 
Operation Uplink allowed 1,000 deserving soldiers to help in the rescue 
efforts to make a free phone call home. 

I can think of no better example than Operation Uplink to show 
the power of communication. At The Military Channel, we want to 
communicate and share the military experience worldwide. We do it 
every day, 24 hours, military programs on heroes, history and hardware. 

Our Web site militarydv.com is the gateway for our network 
programming for military news and for information and links to our 
military fraternal organizations, just like you, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 
To a great extent. The Military Channel is a celebration of your service and 
sacrifice and of the service and sacrifice of the many people just like you 
who could not be here today. 

In every society, there are men and women who know all too well 
the privilege of freedom must be purchased by the designation of the few. 
In America, you are that few. The Military Channel is about you. It is also 
about the millions of Americans who follow in your footsteps, the men and 
women of America's current active duty and reserve military who share 
your dedications and your values. 

Let me share some of that with you right now. The military family 
for your legacy has sacrificed valor and victory will live on. I hope you 
come to think of The Military Channel as your own. If you like what you 
saw, please call your local cable operator, your satellite provider, and let 
them know you want The Military Channel. 

Help us get your message out to the rest of the world, The Military 
Channel, we bring you here at home. Thank you very much. 

INTRODUCTION OF SERGEANT RUSSELL RIEKE, JR. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: About two years ago in 
Louisville at our National Convention that Operation Uplink, the program 
that provides pre-paid telephone calling cards to hospitalized veterans and 



107 



active duty service personnel, was introduced. 

Thanks to the generous contributions of its supporters, many of 
whom are sitting here today, we have been able to provide more than 
100,000 cards by the end of this year. That's quite an accomplishment. 

But the fact is, the number of cards, impressive as it may be, pales 
in comparison with the real measure of success: communication between 
a lonely soldier or veteran and someone back home. 

We have got a special guest today to tell you about that. Some of 
you may have already met him, at least in a manner of speaking, at the 
Washington Conference this past February. He was stationed in Hungary 
at the time, serving in Operation Joint Guard, and we had the privilege of 
listening in on a conversation with his father. 

Pleasejoin me in welcoming Sergeant Russell R. Rieke, Jr. 

REMARKS - SERGEANT RUSSELL R. RIEKE, JR. 

SERGEANT RIEKE: Thank you. Commander-in-Chief Moon, and 
Distinguished Guests, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Ladies Auxiliary for their continued 
support of U.S. armed forces and support of Operation Uplink. 

With this continued support of Operation Uplink, we can help 
soldiers and sailors and our disabled veterans in our VA Hospitals to make 
needed phone calls to their families back home. I know this because I 
received an Uplink phone card while I was stationed in Hungary for nine 
months. I was able to talk to my family on numerous occasions. 

With that in mind, I would like to introduce and thank my family 
for their support while I was stationed overseas. First of all, my parents. 
Past Commander of Illinois, Russell R. Rieke, Sr., my mother, Nancy Rieke, 
and last but not least, my wife, Rebecca, who is pretty tough. We had only 
been married for three months when I got shipped overseas. Being gone 
nine months, it was a nice welcome to come back home. 

I would like to also say thank you to my home Post, VFW Post 
5694, from Milan, Illinois, and its Ladies Auxiliary. They adopted my unit 
while I was stationed overseas and helped send a lot of gifts and phone 
cards and things of that sort to each soldier in my unit. 

Also thanks to the Department of Illinois VFW and its Ladies 
Auxiliary and members. Once again, I would like to say please keep 
supporting our troops and our disabled veterans with Operation Uplink so 
they may call home at a time of need. Thanks once again. 

INTRODUCTION - MR. MARKTITLEBAUM, IDT CORPORATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I have been very fortunate in 
having the opportunity to see the reaction myself a number of times this 
past year of the Operation Uplink program. In fact, over Independence 
Day weekend, I was a part of Operation Uplink's single largest distribution 



108 



to date, with more than 25,000 cards distributed to troops and veterans in 
the Washington, D.C., area. 

Sergeant Rieke's comments remind me of the reaction I saw there. 
These individuals arejust thrilled to be given that opportunity to call home. 

Today we have with us a representative from the IDT Corporation 
in Hackensack, New Jersey, one of the organizations that helped make the 
July 4th event possible. 

We are proud to have with us representing IDT, Mr. Mark 
Titlebaum, Senior Corporate Sales Director. The efforts of the VFW and the 
IDT team have provided over 250,000 minutes of free phone time to 
hospitalized veterans and active duty military personnel through Operation 
Uplink, including the effort mentioned earlier. 

In spite of this significant gesture, IDT has taken a secondary role 
allowing the VFW to advance the cause of veterans and those that still 
serve. 

Please welcome Mr. Mark Titlebaum of IDT Corporation. 

This is presented to the IDT Corporation, in recognition of their 
commitment and support to Operation Uplink. It is dated September 1, 
1998. 

Mark, it is an honor and pleasure to present this to you. 

REMARKS - MR. MARK TITLEBAUM OF IDT CORPORATION 

MR. TITLEBAUM: Commander-in-Chief Moon and Distinguished 
Guests: The President of IDT regrets that he was unable to attend your VFW 
Convention to accept this award. He asked me to accept this award on 
behalf of IDT Corporation, its Board of Directors and stockholders. 

IDT has now been a part of Operation Uplink for just a few 
months. We are aware that over one million minutes have currently been 
given out to veterans and active duty personnel, with many more on the 
way, as Commander Moon has indicated. We are proud to be a part of 
Operation Uplink in helping the active duty personnel and veterans keep 
in touch with family and loved ones. 

We believe that it is a great deed the VFW is doing in helping the 
quality of life, both mentally and physically, and we personally would like 
to thank Commander Moon and Ron Browning and his crew for allowing 
us to be a part of this. Thank you and have a good day. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND INTERNAL 
ORGANIZATION (CONT'D.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time I would ask those 
that were at Microphones 2 and 3 to please return to the microphones so 
we can continue with deliberations. For those of you who want to remove 
your jacket for a little while before our next speaker arrives, you may. 

At this time we will go to Microphone No. 1 . 



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COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, my name is Glen M. Gardner, Jr. I am a delegate 
from VFW Post 3359, Garland, Texas. I stand before the delegates at this 
99th Annual Convention in support of Resolution No. 222. 

My support of Resolution No. 222 is not to be interpreted as 
opposition to the Merchant Marines. I stand in support of this resolution 
because I believe there are many, many other veterans who served in the 
armed forces of the United States at the present time who are not eligible 
for membership in our great organization and who have served in harm's 
way during this service in the armed forces. 

I believe before we expand our eligibility outside the ranks of the 
armed forces of the United States that we should have open and honest 
debate about those who have been members. I would like to place in the 
record as testimony in favor of this resolution the following letter to the 
editor of The Galveston Daily News, which was printed in November, 
1987. 

It is headed, "Merchant Seamen are not Veterans. 

"This is in reference to the comments of Dr. Donald Willis, your 
guest columnist of November 12, 1987. I would like to comment on his 
question why will the federal government not grant veteran's status to 
American Merchant Seamen of World War II. 

"I went to sea out of Galveston at the age of 16 and sailed the 
world for six years. So, I know whereof I speak. The Merchant Seaman is 
a civilian and not military in any sense. I carried with me the conservatism 
of my father and on his advice tried to avoid the steamship companies or 
union contracts. Being unable to do so, I found myself on a union ship. 

"I saw little or no patriotism in the cruise. They were too busy 
demanding fresh strawberries, steak and ice cream while the Gl was eating 
sea rations. My starting salary was $87.50 as opposed to the Gl at $21. 
When my ship entered a war zone, my salary immediately doubled. They 
called it a 100-percent bonus. 

"If we were in port and there was an attack by the enemy, we 
received a $300 port attack bonus. I recall that in 1943, my ship was 
running between Algiers and Naples with Army cargo. We made a total of 
18 trips, and each time we were in Naples harbor the bombers came over 
and made us $300 richer. 

"We did finally lose the ship, and I got a free ride home and was 
more than compensated for my personal property. When a Merchant ship 
came back to the U.S. port, the crew was free to sign off and go home. As 
I progressed from the crew to officer status, I was adequately compensated 
and saved a considerable amount of money. 

"Mostly, the crews were what I considered second rate and were 
virtually all alcoholics. I was really embarrassed to talk to servicemen. We 
even had a U.S. naval crew aboard to do our shooting for us. I hesitate to 
mention the hazardous cargo bonus I received for hauling green beef hides 
from Argentina that smelled bad. That is the Merchant Seamen, Dr. Willis." 



110 



I think the words of this Merchant Seaman who served in 1942, 
speaks aptly for why we should support the adoption of this resolution. 
Thank you, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE GEORGE SEARLE (Post 2314 - New Jersey): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I am a member of Post 2314 from Carteret, New 
Jersey, and a Korean War veteran. That was about the most ridiculous thing 
I have ever heard in my life. 

I served six years in the Merchant Marines. On my first day, I went 
down to join the Navy. Of course, I couldn't get in because I was color 
blind. But the Army didn't seem to mind. What I want to do today, if I 
accomplish anything today, you know, you have heard me for three or four 
years now. 

When this man says we are not veteran status, it sounds like you 
are half crazy. He said we got only benefits. Well, the Korean Merchant 
Marine got benefits and he was not a veteran of the armed forces of the 
United States. That is what I am, a Merchant Marine. 

There is a certain group of us that were on ships in combat. One 
out of 32 of us died. Seven thousand men died. We have 4,000 men on 
the bottom of the sea, and I want these men here, my comrades and 
brothers, to say to themselves do we meet that criteria of being Veterans of 
Foreign Wars? 

I am not talking about any other dates after the war, before the war 
or not in the zone. Every one of us was in combat. Gentlemen, this is 
crazy right here. Here is my discharge. Any one of you can see this. I was 
honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States. 

I will admit to you that we are not part of an armed force. That is 
true, and we will never be part of an armed force. That is why the put us 
in the Coast Guard. That is why they put us in the Army and discharged us 
as a part of the armed forces. 

I have two bundles of proof here. Take a nickel or dime and call 
the Veterans Administration. We have support from the Pearl Harbor 
survivors. We have support from the Silver Star veterans. We have the 
resolutions from the Am Vets, the American Legion. Why is it we will not 
take five minutes to call our government, the VA, and say are they veterans, 
instead of spreading these ridiculous rumors that go on and on and on? 

Gentlemen, if you want to honor somebody, honor those men that 
died that are your brothers that are Veterans of Foreign Wars. There is no 
doubt. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE LYLE KELL (Post 1561 - Washington): I rise in 
opposition to this proposition. I joined the Navy on June 10, 1943. They 
said, "Where do you want to serve?" I said, since my brother was in the 
United States Navy Armed Guard, I said, "I am the younger brother and I 
said I think that I would like to go in the Armed Guard." 



111 



I didn't realize I had signed on to a suicide squad. That is exactly 
the term that was used by the U.S. Navy Armed Guard. Now, then, the 
people who have no idea about what the Armed Guard suffered and what 
the Merchant Marine suffered during World War II have got their eyes 
closed. 

The whole East Coast of the United States is a ship, is a graveyard 
of ships, a rifle shot away from our beacons. They wouldn't even turn off 
the lights there on the East Coast allowing those U-boats from Germany to 
shoot the ships down, and they did it by the hundreds. 

You go down to the Dutch West Indies, the oil is seeping still out 
of the ground where they sunk the ships around there. There is a video out 
now called "The Winter Winds of Hell." If you want to see a video, you 
ought to see that. Someone mentioned Chosin Reservoir. Take a look at 
that video if you want to see Chosin Reservoir. 

You will see convoys, as many as 30 in a convoy, five getting 
through to Merrimac, with ice hanging all over the ships, men standing out 
there freezing to death in the watch, or ships torpedoed, lasting as long as 
a minute in the water. I don't know where we are coming from. 

We have to know who saved this world, and we have got to know 
it was the Merchant fleets of our nation and other nations that really 
brought the materials to those who had the need for them in World War II, 
the food, the material to fight with, the troops and all that. They did it on 
and on and on. 

I had about 150,000 miles out there. I have every medal. That is 
the American medal, the Asiatic, Pacific, the European medal, and I was in 
the Persian Gulf before these kids ever thought of the Persian Gulf. We 
were almost sunk in the Persian Gulf. 

Those were Merchant Marines on those ships with us, but we 
guarded the Merchant Marine. The Merchant Marines were my friends. 
They were a good group of men. Drunks, hey, some of them were, that's 
true, but so were some of the Armed Guard. I was one of them. I know 
what I was talking about. 

I am your National Chaplain or was in '95 and '96. I am going to 
tell you if we want to help veterans, as it says right up there, "We'd do 
anything for this country." If you want to do something for this country, do 
something for these veterans who saved this country. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 1. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOWARD VANDER CLUTE (Post 
6467 - New Jersey): Had I stood at this microphone ten years ago, I 
suspect that I would have joined with those who were opposed to 
accepting members of the United States Merchant Marines for probably all 
the reasons that I have heard from previous speakers who are in favor of 
denying the membership. 

However, today I learned a great deal since that time about our 
organization and about those who have served in the Merchant Marines. It 
is my understanding that this resolution was submitted, and I have read the 



112 



comments following it in the book that you published, saying that you were 
concerned about the fact that last year the delegation was unsure of the 
resolution that they had adopted and deserved, I suspect, a second chance 
to review that decision. 

I don't think that was the case at all. I think it was very clear last 
year that those attending the National Convention were prepared to accept 
the Mariners in our midst. If I recall, on Thursday, there was even a motion 
to reconsider that died for lack of a second. 

So there was plenty of opportunity for those delegates attending 
that convention to reconsider should they have wanted to do so. 
Something else bothers me a great deal as well. This is information that I 
learned probably in the past few years in contact with many of the 
members of the Merchant Marines who had other service and who do 
belong to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

It seems that there were, and correct me if I am not accurate, about 
250,000 men that served in the United States Merchant Marines during 
1941 through 1945. Those are the ones that we are considering for 
membership. There is only 100,000 of them left at this point. 

But 7,000 Merchant Mariners, 7,000 American souls who were 
involved in the war effort, bringing materials to those World War veterans 
to sustain them on the battlefield, who died in the bottom of the ocean. 
When U-boats were attacking our merchant fleets, many of them 
unguarded, riding alone without benefit of convoy, over 800 Merchant 
ships sunk with the material that was necessary to sustain our effort and to 
save lives of the American servicemen. 

Now, our founder, James Putnam, if you look back in the history of 
our organization, continually said let's keep this membership brief. If we 
are to survive, if we are to strengthen our voice when we testify before 
Congress, we need all the help that we possibly can get. 

The Merchant Marines have proven that they are effective in 
testifying before Congress, because, as you know, they now receive care in 
VA medical facilities. Why not let themjoin us in support of our legislative 
initiatives. 

My comrades, particularly those of you who served in World War 
II, this resolution addresses war service. I don't know what will happen 
today. It may come to pass that you will be denying Merchant Mariners 
membership in this organization. If that does occur, that is sad. 

But even if it does occur, let us not forget as members of this 
organization as ex-servicemen, as veterans and as Americans that they 
gave honorable service in support of our armed forces and they made 
many sacrifices that should be recalled with great, great reverence. 

I oppose denying them membership. I hope that the members of 
this organization here assembled will provide them that opportunity to 
strengthen our own cause. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE ALEX LOMBARD! (Post 6255 - New Jersey): Comrade 



113 



Commander-in-Chief, I am opposed to this resolution. I was a member of 
the U.S. Navy Armed Guards. I don't know how many of you members 
know who the Armed Guard are. We are the ones that sailed with these 
Merchant seamen, and there is no one knows them better than we do. 

As a longtime member of the VFW, all I have ever heard is slurs 
against the Merchant Marines. They were part of the military. They were 
under the jurisdiction of the Navy. There was over 200 of them that were 
court-martialed, and to be court-martialed you had to be military. 

The VFW has been misled where they have been told these fellows 
are not veterans. How much blood do they have to give? They were in on 
every invasion, every invasion that took place to make sure that everyone 
got their supplies. They never got the money that everyone thinks they did. 
That is a big fallacy. If anyone wants proof, I can give it to them. Thank 
you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Microphone No. 
2. 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE DONALD LINSCOTT (Post 1603 - Maine): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I rise against this resolution barring Merchant 
Marines fromjoining our organization. I fought at this microphone for the 
last 20 years against the Merchant Marines and I fought against the 
National Defense Service Ribbon, and I fought against extending the 
Korean eligibility. 

But the last year, when we amended it, it approved only World War 
II, then I changed my mind. Believe me, we have got to stop thinking 
about how much money they made and whether they had strawberries or 
what have you. As a veteran of Korea with four battle stars, and my records 
show that, there were many people in the armed forces having strawberries 
when I was having C-rations in the Chosin Reservoir. 

These Merchant Marines in World War II had the highest number 
of fatalities and casualties of any branch of service and in some cases all of 
the branches of services. If there are any of you out there that really feel 
that every single member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars had seen combat, 
had a shot fired at them, you better re-evaluate it. 

It is time for me to have to face one of these guys that was shot 
down. The ship was shot from under them four or five times and say you 
are not eligible? We have accepted anybody that served in Korea for 
almost 4 years now. All I ask, gentlemen, please remember if you vote for 
this motion, then you are voting to restrict your membership from the 
Merchant Marines, which this convention last year approved. 

So, please, join with me and vote against this resolution so that the 
Merchant Marines can get the honor they deserve. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 1. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF TED CONNELL (Post 9192 - 
Texas): Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I call for the question. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The question has been called 



114 



for. Is there a proponent on the floor that wishes to address this body for 
five minutes? 

Microphone No. 1. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF LARRY RIVERS (Post 1736 - 
Louisiana): Commander-in-Chief, Larry Rivers, a delegate from VFW Post 
1736. If I could take these few minutes to try to put this thing in a little 
perspective. You know I have dealt with this issue for a number of years, 
as all of you, and it pains me a great deal that the debate always seems to 
revolve around danger and it revolves around every other issue except 
what has been the issue for VFW membership. 

If you look at our VFW By-Laws, it says nothing in our by-laws that 
any veteran, I will repeat that, is eligible for VFW membership, only those 
that have served in the armed forces of the United States are eligible for 
VFW membership. To my knowledge, we have never had a member of the 
VFW, and I have reviewed the 100-year history, that was not a member of 
the armed forces of the United States. 

Although having earned my eligibility as part of the ocean going 
services, I was in the infantry and I know during World War II many 
civilians that were in the service of their country fought alongside the 
Marines and took the Pacific Islands, and they bled and they died. 

I am sure there were others in ocean going service, on ships that 
were shot down that were in service to the country or in war service that 
were not even armed forces of the United States or in the Merchant 
Marines. I just ask you to consider what really is the issue here. 

What we are talking about is in the purest context is not something 
that comes at our heartstring or trying to correct inequities of those that 
have given a great deal to their country. I don't believe anybody in this 
room doubts the quality and the character of the ocean going service of 
those that served in the Merchant Marines. 

All of those that know, having served in combat and shot at or 
seeing bloody eyes like any of us have, has never been a requisite for 
membership in the VFW. You have to have sen/ed in the armed services of 
the United States. That is one thread that we all have in common. 

If you decide, for whatever reason, to begin to admit ocean going 
service, whether it be land or sea, was not a member of the armed forces 
of the United States, I suggest to you that you change the very fabric of 
what the organization has been. 

We are an organization made up of those who served in the armed 
forces. Conferring veteran status, even if that veteran status comes from the 
Department of Defense, does not confer having served in the armed forces 
of the United States. That is the question here. 

Now, one other thing from a pure old standpoint of how do you 
administer this? If we go to Congress and say to Congress change our 
charter, to broaden it to allow Merchant Marines, ocean going service, not 
to ones involved in the Pacific Islands, not that they fought daily as 
civilians, and not members of the armed forces which gave service to their 



115 



country, where does this stop? 

We have to amend the congressional charter and then next year 
we have to come back here and amend our by-laws by a two-thirds vote. 
I don't know that that is likely to happen. So I suggest to you that the issue 
here is this: do you want to change the VFW here at our 99th Convention 
to where we will now have members that were not members of the armed 
forces of the United States? 

If so, you have a group of members, even though they may have 
had service to the country is tremendous, we will also have a group of 
members of the VFW that never served as a member of the armed forces of 
the United States of America. That is the question. I ask you to consider 
that in casting your vote. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. Microphone No. 
1 moved the question. The proponents have spoken since the question was 
moved. At this time we will now call for a vote. 

COMRADE GENE MANFREY (Post 6627 - Florida): I would like to 
ask for a point of information. I am Gene Manfrey from Post 6627, St. 
Petersburg, Florida, and a Past State Commander. I would like the 
Chairman to define what the vote will be. It is my understanding if you 
vote in favor of that it will deny them. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Yes, I planned on addressing 
that. Thank you very much. Resolution No. 222 was moved for adoption. 
If you vote "aye", then you are voting to deny membership to every World 
War II era Merchant Marine. If you vote "no", you are voting to accept 
Merchant Marines into the VFW. Do we understand? 

All right. Voting "aye" is to deny, voting "no" is to allow. At this 
time I will call for the vote. All those in favor of Resolution No. 222 will 
signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed to Resolution No. 222 will say 
"no". I will rule that Resolution No. 222 is approved. 

The Chair recognizes Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE GEORGE COX (Post 6772 - Ohio): I appeal that 
decision. You are going to have to have a hearing aid, Commander. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much. That is 
probably right. He has raised the question and he feels it is only fair. Those 
of you that are in favor of Resolution No. 222, to deny membership to the 
World War II era Merchant Marines, please stand. 

I will ask the individual that called for the appeal to please look 
around the room. I would now like those members standing to please sit 
down. Now, those opposed to Resolution No. 222, please stand. My 
hearing and my eyesight are still in good control. Resolution No. 222 is 
approved. 

Is there anyone else at any of the microphones? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE WILLIAM DOBBIE (Post 4659 - Michigan): I would 
ask at this time, are we still open for resolutions to be set aside on the 
previous motion? 



116 



COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Do you have one that you 
would like set aside? 

COMRADE WILLIAM DOBBIE (Post 4659 - Michigan): I will ask 
that Resolution No. 209 by the Department of Ohio, Age Limitation For 
Sons Of The Veterans Of Foreign Wars, be set aside. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Further, I should have stated, 
do you want to make a motion to that effect? 

COMRADE WILLIAM DOBBIE (Post 4659 - Michigan): I will 
gladly do that. I will make a motion to that effect. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We have set aside Resolution 
209 and then there is a motion for passage of Resolution 209. Is there a 
second to that motion for passage? 

Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE GEORGE COX (Post 6772 - Ohio): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, George Cox, Department of Ohio. I wish to second 
that motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. There is a motion 
and there is a second for the adoption of Resolution No. 209, Age 
Limitation For Sons Of The VFW. Under discussion, I will call forward the 
chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Commander-in-Chief and 
delegates. Resolution No. 209, the "Be It Resolved" that we extend the age 
limitation of the Sons of the VFW and that the sons be recognized in this 
order as they are in other fraternal military organizations, to-wit: a bona 
fide auxiliary unit of the parent organization. 

It is the feeling of the committee that the intent of this resolution is 
to create a men's auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the 
committee recommended rejection. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE WILLIAM DOBBIE (Post 4659 - Michigan): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief and delegates, I would like to speak on my motion to 
accept Resolution 209. Comrades, over the past year, I did a great, great 
deal of traveling in the Department of Michigan visiting roughly one-third 
of our Posts. 

That being said, I can tell you most honestly that this thought came 
up a great, great many times, and I can tell you truly that the small 
communities, the home community of that Post, more often this comes up. 
We have in the "Resolved" on the motion, we have that we realize that the 
age limitation placed on the Sons of the VFW is discriminatory. Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief and delegates, I think that is most true and it is a 
thoroughly undefensible position to say that it is not discriminatory. 

Secondly, our Posts in our various communities in our various 
Departments need to know that when we have a member like myself, like 
yourself, comrades and delegates, that have a daughter, that have a sister 
that can join the Ladies Auxiliary, pay their dues and be members until the 
day they die, and also have sons that based on our current criteria could 



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join the Sons of the VFW organization and at the age of 16 they are out. 

Our Posts need their services, these relatives, these sons, these 
brothers and, yes, comrades, fathers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
desen/e the opportunity and the Posts deserve the opportunity to bring 
them in as an official auxiliary member. 

The age limits, membership requirements are to be very similar to 
those of the Ladies Auxiliary. This may require some fine-tuning by the 
National Organization, and I would encourage them to do so. At this time 
I would recommend passage of the motion to accept Resolution 209. 
Thank you. Comrade Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. I will first yield to 
Microphone No. 3 again because at the time this gentleman was speaking 
there were many people lined up around behind him. I will yield to 
Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE TOM KEYES (Post 6471 - Vermont): Thank you. 
Commander. My name is Tom Keyes. I am a member of Post 6471 in the 
State of Vermont. I would just like to inform you I have a daughter that is 
eligible and I have got a son that is in a military school in Vermont. 

I have also an older son that is disabled. He will never be able to 
join the service. He has tried every branch there was and has been denied 
because of his medical problems. My Post asks him, my son and my wife, 
all the time to volunteer for things, and this son is always ready and able 
to help out. 

He alwaysjumps on the wagon when he is called upon. However, 
not being able to go to the club on his own is discriminatory action in that 
sense itself. He is 23. He will never be able to go to the club. I am not 
asking he be made a member of the VFW, I am asking that you do 
something in regards to the boys of all of us here, not just myself, but all of 
us here that are not able tojoin the service who can never be a member. 

If your son has been in combat, what about his son? Will he ever 
be able tojoin? I ask this body to pass this Resolution 209. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Microphone No. 
3. 

I am going to Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE GEORGE COX (Post 6772 - Ohio): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I rise in support of removing the cap on the sons. I 
wish not to create a social environment in our VFW Posts, but we have a 
son's unit in the State of Ohio. With our 1 1 4,000 members right now, we 
have one son's unit. 

It is my desire that our National Organization either remove the 
cap on the son's unit or disband it. It just doesn't exist. So, I would like 
this body today to make up their mind if we are going to allow a son's unit 
in the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, to either remove this 
age limit or disband the unit altogether. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. 

Microphone No. 1. 



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COMRADE MICHAEL BURRIS (Post 2615 - North Carolina): 
Comrades, I believe we debated this last year at the convention in Salt Lake 
City. It was stated earlier that we were creating another men's auxiliary. 
Whether that be the case or not, it probably is a moot point. 

My question posed to you, I believe that Comrade Rivers stated it 
in a nutshell. What is our eligibility to this organization? To me, this 
applies just as well. This resolution makes reference to other fraternal 
military organizations that sponsor some units that do not have age 
limitations. That is true. 

But, comrades, we are not the American Legion, we are not the 
Disabled Veterans, we are not the Vietnam Veterans of America. We are the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Our eligibility is the price 
we pay for joining. As our incoming Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John 
Gwizdak says, we are special and we are unique, and we are different, and 
that is why we are the greatest veterans organization in this country. 

Let's keep it that way without attaching an auxiliary or broadening 
the membership criteria to include those who did not serve in the armed 
forces. With that said, Commander-in-Chief, I move the question. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The question has been moved. 

Microphone No. 2, are you a proponent or an opponent? 

COMRADE RON TOWNSEND (Post 4713 - Ohio): I support the 
Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: You have five minutes in 
which to speak. 

COMRADE RON TOWNSEND (Post 4713 - Ohio): Commander- 
in-Chief, I rise in support of this issue for several reasons. How many 
comrades in this room can't put a color guard on the street or a man on 
detail without help? Stop and think. In my lifetime, I have seen many 
veterans pass away. I can remember as a child after World War II veterans 
were in great number at local functions. 

Today, the World War II veterans disabilities are such that prevent 
them from that. I have four sons. One is a member of the VFW. If I had 
four daughters, they could join the VFW Auxiliary and rise to be National 
President. My sons are denied that opportunity with the exception of one. 
Therefore, I strongly urge that we do something about the cap on this 
membership. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much. 
Microphone No. 1 moved the question. The proponent at Microphone No. 
2 has spoken. If you vote "aye" on Resolution No. 209, you are asking that 
there be no age limitation in regards to the Sons of the VFW. 

If you vote "no", you are voting against Resolution No. 209 to 
allow for a widening of the age limitation. Is that clear? Voting "aye" is for 
the proposed resolution as the motion was made and seconded. That is to 
allow for a more broader age limit. Voting "no" is to keep it the way it is. 
Does everyone understand that now? 

We will now call for the vote. All those in favor will signify by 



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saying "aye"; all those opposed will signify by saying "no". We will do that 
again. All those in favor of adopting Resolution 209 to open up the age 
limit for the Sons of the VFW, please rise. All those opposed, please rise. 
The chair is still in doubt. I am still in doubt. It looks to be a tie. 

I would ask at this time that the Sergeants-at-Arms please have 
those that are in favor of Resolution 209 to rise and count those. Those that 
are in favor of Resolution 209, please stand. As soon as you are counted, 
please sit down. 

The "ayes" have been counted. We will count those opposed to 
Resolution 209. Those opposed, please stand at this time. May I have your 
attention, please. Thank you, Sergeants-at-Arms. I appreciate the 
quickness. We do, in fact, have a vote. 

There were 685 "aye" votes and 767 "no" votes. Now, in the sense 
of fairness, you have the right to call for a roll-call vote. We were trying to 
do this to move the convention along. If you want a roll-call vote, I would 
ask that ten states get in line real quick. If not, we are going to move on 
with further business. We are moving along. Resolution No. 209 is 
defeated. 

Are there any other motions for adoption of any resolutions that 
have been presented by this committee? 

COMRADE DOUG BELL (Post 6873 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I move Resolution No. 218 be set aside. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Do you move for the adoption 
of Resolution 218? 

COMRADE DOUG BELL (Post 6873 - Texas): I so move. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: A motion for adoption of 
Resolution 218 has been made. Is there a second? 

COMRADE JIMMY CANTRELL (Post 9168 - Texas): I second the 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There has been a motion and 
a proper seconding made. We will now call for the report of the Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Comrade Commander-in- 
Chief and delegates, the "Be It Resolved" portion of this Resolution No. 
218 is as follows: 

"Be It Resolved, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we instruct the Quartermaster General not to appropriate funds for 
any proposed Commander-in-Chief membership trip to Europe, Asia, or 
any other foreign countries not normally on the Caribbean cruise itinerary, 
or requiring expenditures of VFW monies in excess of $375,000." 

It was the feeling of the committee in its recommendation to reject 
that that the Commander-in-Chief should have the authority to select 
where he wants to go on his cruise and that the Council of Administration 
sets the dollar amount. Thank you, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will call for discussion but 
knowing full well that when our next guest comes, I will suspend any and 
all discussion. 



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Microphone No. 1. 

COMRADE DOUG BELL (Post 6873 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I am the Department Commander from Texas. 
Commander-in-Chief, National Officers and Delegates to the 99th 
National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, 
I stand before you in support of Resolution 218. 

The Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars passed 
Resolution 218 at its State Convention in June. Resolution No. 218 in no 
way should be construed as taking away rights and privileges of the 
National Commander-in-Chief, the Quartermaster General or the National 
Council of Administration. 

The members of the Department of Texas, by passing this 
resolution, want to send to the Commander-in-Chief, the Quartermaster 
General and the National Council of Administration their thoughts 
concerning the annual trip known as the Department Commanders' 
membership trip. 

Each year, through the Membership Department, the Department 
Commanders compete for a trip with the Commander-in-Chief, their 
National Officers and invited guests. Two years ago, when all membership 
programs were basically turned over to the Departments, it was felt that 
instead of continuing this trip it should be somewhat of an award for all 
Department Commanders for the great service they had given to our 
organization. 

At that time the National Council of Administration passed 
guidelines who would be invited to go. We, the Department of Texas, fully 
support this program as long as guidelines set up by the National Council 
of Administration as to who will participate as a guest of National and our 
conference. 

For three years, these Department Commanders, serving as chair 
officers in their Departments, give up their time, and in many cases their 
finances to help lead our great organization. The membership from the 
Department of Texas did, however, feel that they should express through 
this resolution their concerns about no guidelines as to where the trip 
would be taken. 

Over the years, most of these trips have been the Caribbean 
cruises. Some of those trips were to Hawaii, and a very few have been trips 
to the foreign countries. A review of the budget expenditures during the 
years they were trips to foreign countries, we will find that these trips to 
foreign countries were more expensive, and in many cases by the amount 
of 20 to 30 percent than the Caribbean cruises. 

The members of the Department of Texas felt this trip should be 
limited to Caribbean cruises or trips to the 52 states of the United States, 
with an expenditure of no more than $375,000. Not only are the trips in 
foreign countries more expensive, but they can also be under current 
circumstances more dangerous. 

It was also felt that the Department Commander, who is taking the 



121 



trip, thought that it should be a cruise. We, therefore, believe that the 
Quartermaster and National Council of Administration needs the guidance 
that is provided in this resolution. 

When the Commander-in-Chief makes a determination where the 
trip will be made, he will have the guidance of it. We ask you to support 
this Resolution No. 218. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any discussion at Microphone 
No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3? Seeing none, we will call for a vote. All those in 
favor of Resolution No. 218 will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed 
will signify by saying "no". The "nays" have it. The motion is rejected. The 
resolution is rejected. 

Are there any other motions to be made for this committee? I see 
none at Microphone No. 1, Microphone No. 2 or Microphone No. 3. 
Therefore, the recommendations of the committee for rejection stands. 
This committee is now relieved of its duties. 

The chair recognizes Microphone No. 2 for comment. 

COMRADE THOMAS DOUGHERTY (Post 3474 - Pennsylvania): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, when I was at the microphone previously, 
I neglected to thank you for my appointment to this committee and I have 
to say it was a pleasure and joy serving with Past Commander-in-Chief Jim 
Nier. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much for the 
comments, Tom. 

INTRODUCTION - THE HONORABLE TOGO D. WEST JR., 
SECRETARY, VETERANS AFFAIRS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrades and Sisters, please 
rise. We are pleased to have with us this morning the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs, the Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. 

The United States Senate confirmed Secretary West as Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs on April 28, 1998. He directs the federal government's 
second largest department, responsible for a nationwide system of health- 
care services, entitlement programs and national cemeteries for America's 
veterans and their dependents. 

From 1993 until his appointment with the Veterans Administration, 
Secretary West served as Secretary of the Army. He also serves as Chairman 
of the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Commission, a bi-national 
Board appointed by the President. 

During his years in the Army's top civilian post. Secretary West 
demonstrated unwavering concern for the well-being of young soldiers and 
their families. 

In an environment often dominated by discussions of military 
hardware and force structure, he gained a reputation for making "qualify of 
life for the troops" an operational issue. 

He has brought that same concern for the well-being and quality 



122 



of health care for our nation's veterans to his office as Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs. 

Please join me in a warm welcome for a very special guest, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. 

ADDRESS BY THE HONORABLE TOGO D. WEST, JR. 

COMRADE TOGO WEST: Thank you. Thank you, National 
Commander John Moon, for your introduction, and I thank all of you for 
your warm reception and for your attention. Thank you for having me for 
the second straight year. It wasjust a year ago when you welcomed me to 
your National Convention, but in a different capacity. 

At that time I was the Secretary of the Army and little did I know 
that I might return to you in a different capacity. I look forward to visiting 
with you again but in a way I return to you as part of the family, and for 
that I am grateful. 

There are other reasons for being grateful for being with you today. 
For one thing, I get to be with a former National Commander-in-Chief, 
Gunner Kent, who is one of you, I know, and who has kept all of us in the 
Department of Veterans Affairs on the straight and narrow. It is good to be 
with you for that reason as well. 

There is a third reason, and it is this. Across America today, at a 
time when or nation continues to be at peace, yes, continues to be stable, 
there continues to be the concern that America remember what their 
veterans have done for her. 

Today when you gather, and yesterday in your Opening 
Ceremonies, you remind America again that a generation is growing to 
maturity, secure in the belief that they can live in their home without the 
threat of a foreign invasion, because American veterans are willing to go 
abroad, to leave home and hearth to face the enemies of America, 
America's allies and America's values. 

So I say to you for the third reason that it is a pleasure to be with 
you today is a very simple one, which I hope you will mark. That is for any 
person who appeared before you, whether it is a government official, a 
private citizen, anyone who speaks to you, it is an honor to be in your 
presence. For that, I thank you. 

A hundred years ago this year, in 1898, the Spanish American War 
was drawing to a conclusion. It, in fact, concluded that year. As you know, 
not long after the veterans of that war formed the first of the organizations 
that would come together to be the VFW. 

One of the heroes of that war, an Army Colonel named Teddy 
Roosevelt, was also one of the early members of this organization. It is he 
who identified in his own time, later as President, a sense about service, 
service to the nation, service to community, service as members of the 
armed forces. 

It is he who conveyed that idea that in many ways is reflected in 
this VFW's notion of service to America as it has lived it out in almost those 
100 years. President Roosevelt, later as President said, "It is the men and 



123 



women whose ideals reflect the following, who have the best handle on 
America's country. That is the courage to strive for the happiness that 
comes from work and effort and self-sacrifice, and to seek thejoy of a sense 
of duty." 

In all the years since then, the members and the leaders of theVFW 
have demonstrated that sense of duty, which that earlier member of the 
VFW Teddy Roosevelt spoke. Since the duty in setting forth in uniform 
when America calls and even when an American crisis have not yet called, 
a sense of duty in serving far from our nation's shores, a sense of duty in 
returning to lead communities in which you live and have lived. 

The sense of duty that calls you today as members and leaders of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the oldest chartered, largest and most 
influential of organizations. I didn't say veterans' organizations, I said 
organizations in America. That's the sense of duty that calls you still to this 
day to live and work and strive for the security and future of America. 

Since that time, you have shown that three times over sense of duty 
in a number of the activities, and in every activity of your organization. For 
75 years now, since 1922, the Buddy Poppy, fashioned by veterans in VA 
facilities and state nursing homes, whose sales produced revenues that 
have supported millions of veterans over the life of this nation. 

As a former Boy Scout, your program. Voice of Democracy, which 
looks to the future of this nation, which understands that this nation's future 
is in her youth, your working with Boy Scouts, with the JROTC, with 
Special Olympics, in which you teach them, yes, skills and writing, 
patriotism, good citizenship, but you teach America as well. 

My father was a high school principal. He is dead now. Years ago, 
I listened in as he spoke to my mother, a school teacher, about a speech he 
had given to his colleagues. Picture this in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 
He said he concluded his speech by saying, "I told them you are teachers. 
Remember you teach the life you live." 

You in your support of our young Americans, your scholarships, 
your competitions, teaching our young Americans, but you are also 
teaching America. You are teaching them by your example, and the 
message you send them is a profound and powerful one that we can never 
have enough good citizens, that we can never have enough patriots and 
that we can never love our country too much. (Applause) 

There is more. Just this summer, your National Commander and I, 
and others of your leadership were together in that National Press Building 
where you disclosed to the nation your expanded support of Operation 
Uplink. Seventy thousand additional pre-paid calling cards right to the 
personnel and veterans in VA medical facilities so that they could be in 
touch with their families, those who love them and about whom they care. 

You know as well as anyone in the nation the profound impact this 
could have on the morale of veterans as they find themselves away from 
families, from homes, from neighborhoods. And your co-sponsorship with 
us of the Golden Age Games serves not only those that are 55 years and 



124 



older in VA facilities, but serves all Americans for by the inspiration, by the 
example of what they do in those games, those veterans lift us all. 

I was pleased to be at the most recent Golden Age Games to meet 
and talk with the competitors, volunteers and sponsors. For all those and 
for many more things you do, your millions of hours of volunteer service 
in VA facilities, in state facilities, our veterans benefit and America benefits 
as well. 

So, my first duty here as your Secretary of Veterans Affairs is to say 
to you "thank you" on behalf of a nation that you have improved. Think 
about it, think about what you have done for America. Oh, yes, you have 
kept her free. You have kept families secure, but you have given the world 
a country that is not anywhere in the world. 

You have given the people with our peers and you have given us a 
host of values and principles that inspire the entire world. For all of that, 
on behalf of your Department of Veterans Affairs, yes, we thank you. In 
behalf of all Americans and as a simple citizen, I say to you as my first duty, 
thank you for what you have done for America, thank you for what you do 
today and for the profound effect and impact you continue to have. Thank 
you for that. (Applause) 

As you gather here in convention, you gather on the eve of a new 
millennium. That is less than 18 months away, which will be the 1st of 
January, the year 2000. I know before you correct me that the experts tell 
us that is not the millennium. 

The millennium comes a year later, 2001. You and I know that 
when December 31, 1999, comes and we have New Year's Eve, we are 
going to be thinking about a brand new thousand-year period then and 
there. So, you gather in times when change comes upon us rather rapidly. 

You know, sometimes I think it is hard for me to embrace the 
concept of a new millennium. As a kid, a new year was a big deal for me. 
You had to change the last number for the year. Then as I grew older, a 
decade became a big deal. Lots of people never even see a new century. 

My dad was born in 1905. He will not see a change in the century. 
We will see a new millennium. The changes that it brings and the changes 
that are all upon us already can be unsettling, of course. There are 
opportunities for your Department to support veterans veterans. 

The change will be, as President John Kennedy said more than 30 
years ago, change is the law of life. But if we are to be part of the change, 
you and every veteran have a right to demand that that change be 
beneficial, for changejust for change sake is no use to anyone. 

So we are undergoing change in the delivery of health care to our 
veterans, a change that at times appear to be unsettled. But it is devoted 
to some very basic principles. First, that we provide health care for more 
veterans. The eligible veterans who potentially need health care and have 
earned health care from their government still have not all been reached. 
So our change must bring more health care to more veterans. 

Secondly, it cannot be lesser health care. It must be better health 



125 



care. This nation stands unlike any in the world, because it has had the 
services of the most extraordinary men and women in uniform in the 
world. When they served, they called them members of the Army, soldiers. 
Marines and sailors, airmen. Coast Guard personnel. Today we call them 
patriots and veterans. 

This nation has had the best service from the best personnel and 
they deserve the best health care. So more and better health care for more 
veterans. An all-important third element that we not lose any of the 
important services that we provide today. 

Everyone in America knows that VA provides the best 
understanding of the problems and concerns, the health concerns of the 
aging. The important aids for those who have suffered injury, prosthetics, 
and have the special concerns of those who have been prisoners of war and 
who have suffered spinal injury. 

We must not lose that ability even as we provide more and better 
health care. Therefore, we will continue to open out-patient clinics 
wherever we find groups of veterans who need health care. We are 
opening them today and we will not slacken in our effort to continue to 
open them. 

Two other things about change that have health care for veterans 
as we approach the new millennium. Perhaps there are changes that will 
not happen. First, is wherever I go, I hear concerns raised about veterans. 
There is apparently a creeping concern that veterans centers may be 
closing or may be folded into something. I have a brief statement about 
that. It goes like this. "Not on my watch." I don't think it will be on your 
watch, either. So that is fine. 

The second thing that will not change is that we are under an 
irijunction from the Congress, yes, that by October of this year the veterans 
will receive health care in VA health centers they must be enrolled. There 
is an enrollment procedure. Yes, that will take effect soon. 

But it does not mean that a single eligible veteran will be denied 
health care because after October 6th he or she has not yet enrolled. We 
will enroll you when you come for health care if you have not been 
enrolled. Moreover, those who have been receiving health care as eligible 
veterans since October, 1996, have been automatically enrolled by us. 

So the requirement for enrollment is one change, but it will not 
stop eligible veterans from receiving their health care. We will see to that. 
Change is occurring in our delivery of benefits to veterans as well. I can 
visit any facility in America that is operated by your Department of Veterans 
Affairs and stop in the lobby of the VA Hospital, go into the ward of a 
medical center and talk to veterans, and almost without fail you and those 
whom you and I represent will say to me, "I believe I have the best doctor. 
I believe I have the best nurse. I believe I have the best technicians. I am 
fine. I am not sure I could speak for Joe down at the other end, but I am 
fine." 

You and I know what that means. First of all, I like to believe it is 



126 



true. I think it is. We also know that each of us believes It. We must get 
the best medical care. We assume our doctor is the best. That's 
understandable. By the same token, I can speak to two or three of that 
same group and say, "Well, are there any other concerns?" 

He or she will say to me, "Well, I have this claim for benefits and 
it is not being handled properly." I say that, not to voice a word of criticism 
of any of our employees at the Veterans Administration. You and I know 
that like other VA employees they are among the most dedicated, most 
competent employees of the federal government. 

Indeed, of all the members of the federal government I have met, 
they come to work every day feeling that what they do is vitally important 
and believing that they bring improvement to the lives of those with whom 
they deal. 

Now, I mentioned the claims process to remind myself and you, 
and all of us, of something that you and your veterans know that when 
claims are not being processed effectively, it affects our veterans as vitally 
as anything else in their lives. This Department of Veterans Affairs must be 
sensitive to that. 

So our new Under Secretary for Veterans Benefits, Bill Thompson, 
has already committed himself to a series of changes of improvements 
designed, first of all, for speed and then to provide accuracy. A word about 
speed. Over the time of my adulthood, I have spent a number of years in 
government service and I am proud of it. I am trained as a lawyer. 

We have a saying in the profession in which I have practiced in 
private practice a number of years, is thatjustice delayed isjustice denied. 
By that same token, every day that your Department of Veterans Affairs 
does not act upon a claim, does not provide a final result to a veteran, that 
is in effect a denial for each of those days when the veteran is not receiving 
his or her benefits. 

We, in the Department, must respond to that. If we do, then it will 
be a very well-received change, indeed, I suspect. There is more. It doesn't 
do our veterans, those of you that I represent, those you represent and 
whom I serve, any good to get a speedy answer if the answer is wrong. 

So as important as improving speed, you must be getting it right the 
first time. The best service connection you can render to a veteran on a 
claim is to get it right the first time. The time lost on appeals and hearings 
and reconsiderations, that is once again time lost to the veteran in which 
for all practical purposes the claim, because it has not been granted, is 
denied for that day. 

I know about that, it relates back, that once granted it relates back 
to the claim. But for every day of delay, we have harmed a veteran. Your 
Department will improve on that record as part of the changes underway 
looking towards the new millennium. 

One further thing about what you and I should expect from the VA 
in the months and years ahead. There is much said about the idea of one 
VA. I embrace the idea. You ask what it means to the veteran on a daily 



127 



basis who walks into a VA facility expecting, because it says on the door 
outside the word "veteran", that in that facility he or she will be welcomed. 

From that facility, he or she will be helped, will find some good 
things done for them. I expect the veteran doesn't care quite as much 
about whether it says medical center, regional office or outpatient clinic. 
He or she cares more about the fact it says veterans. 

So, I think one VA should mean that it should be wherever a 
veteran enters a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs, whether he 
has come to the right place or not, that he should not leave that place 
without a feeling that something has happened to advance his cause. 

Did he come to the wrong location? Perhaps instead of saying, 
"You are in the wrong place," we need to say, "Let us get you to the right 
place." Is he there without an appointment? Then perhaps we can make 
one. Change the rules. 

The point is this: veterans don't have time to waste. They have 
given so much in service to the nation, so we in this Department, when we 
have a veteran in our presence, must use those valuable moments to be of 
help, and we will. 

When I was Secretary of the Army, I had a great honor, and that 
was to participate with you, the President, leaders of this nation and other 
nations, in observing the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of World War 
II. It was a moving time for this nation and for the world. 

Most of America saw it on cable TV and national TV. Many 
veterans got to live it again. It was a way of assuring that this nation, this 
world, would have some grasp of what was meant by the Army Sergeant 
who traveled with me during part of those commemorations on my plane. 

He was Sergeant Walter Eller. Sergeant Eller is no longer on active 
duty. He went with me and a group of veterans. He served in World War 
II and received the Medal of Honor for his service. We traveled back to the 
scene of his service. He lived those times. 

He wrote out his thoughts about what that time should mean to 
America. He said in part these words: "Now as newsreels and photographs 
from that era are flooded upon us and upon our media, it is important for 
us to remember that it really happened. Today is history, but yesterday it 
was real. We, the generation who lived it," he said, "the generation who 
have learned of it firsthand must ensure that our heirs understand that their 
world was not always free, that the privileges and rights they take for 
granted today were bought and paid for by a generation of Americans who 
gave everything they and all too often everything they were to proclaim a 
world. 

"The cost," said Sergeant Eller, "was high, but the victory was 
priceless." I have been reminded of those words over and over again. Even 
as I say them to you, they bring back to me the scenes of those times as we 
returned to Europe 50 years later. 

I visited the American Cemetery in Italy, the one that is about an 
hour's ride outside of Rome, you know of it. There are buried the American 



128 



dead of the Roman Sicily campaign; there are those beautifully kept green 
hills, marked row upon row of white crosses and Stars of David. Now 
71,000 Americans of that campaign are buried there. 

Three thousand names of Americans missing in action are 
inscribed on the walls of the memorial there at that cemetery. Twenty-one 
sets of brothers are buried there; two sets of twins side by side. Twenty 
American women are buried there. 

I am even more reminded of that scene and all that it means to this 
nation, and it has meant to the world in terms of the sacrifices and the 
services of honor your members who left families so that other families 
might remain together. By recent events, two views, one by the producer 
of that movie "Saving Private Ryan", Steven Spielberg, he actually said in 
an interview after it, "If the best thing that happens with that movie is that 
someone who has seen it is driving past a Veterans' Memorial Cemetery." 

Those were Spielberg's words, a Veterans' Cemetery, "looks over 
and sees the markers and dwells for a moment on why they are there and 
the sacrifice that they made and who we are as a nation, and how much 
we owe to them for their sacrifice." 

Then says Spielberg, "That film would have done all that I could 
have hoped for." I say, "Bravo, Mr. Spielberg." There is another duty 
expressed by a woman in Tennessee. I read her letter to the editor. She 
identified herself as the wife of a World War II veteran. 

She said they had just come from seeing "Saving Private Ryan." 
She said and she wrote these words, "I started weeping from the beginning. 
I never stopped. I wept for the dead, I wept for those who came back. I 
wept for their families, I wept for the part of my husband I will never know, 
that families will never see again." 

She wrote that as they left the movie she and her husband, there 
was not a single word between them. They drove home in silence. When 
they got home, they were silent for much of the evening, broken by only 
one comment from him. At one point he said to her, "Welcome to my 
world." 

She told in her letter about how she had gone to one of her first 
veterans' parades in a large city in America. I will not name it. She was 
struck by the fact it was so poorly attended and in a state that regularly 
turned out thousands for entertainment. She was saddened, not 
embittered, saddened. 

Then she concluded her letter with these words, words not to you, 
to all Americans about you. She said, "See the movie "Saving Private Ryan.' 
Visit a veterans' cemetery. Pause when you pass the American flag and 
pray for world peace. But most of all," she wrote, "think of the veterans 
because he or she gave up a part of his or her soul for every one of us." 

My duty is to say to you today that even as Americans feel 
comfortable with their peaceful status, their secure status here in the North 
American Continent, there are those who will insist that America 
remember, remember your service and service of all the veterans who went 



129 



abroad for this nation. 

Remember the services of all 41 million veterans who have served 
this nation over her life, 26 million of whom still live. Voices who will 
remind America, as did President Clinton a few short years ago speaking of 
our veterans of World War II, "They may be old as you look at them today, 
but in their youth they saved the world." 

It is my duty to remind you that there will be Americans who will 
insist that we all remember, because if we forget, then this nation will lose 
her soul. You and I and all American veterans will never let that happen. 
God bless you for that service to America. 

God bless you for the service that over two and a quarter centuries 
has kept this nation strong and free and vital. It gives us a future that looks 
forward to that new millennium bravely and proudly. God bless you for 
the fact that Americans stand taller today for the flag flies bravely across the 
globe, and across the globe there are those who look to America for 
leadership. 

God bless all who love you and to whom you love. God bless all 
who have served this nation in uniform today, and the colors of their 
respective services, but under one Star-Spangled Banner. On this day, in 
your convention here in lovely San Antonio, and many set conventions to 
come, whether good times or times of social or economic challenge, 
whether at peace for which we all pray or if we be at war, may God bless 
well the dear and ultimation to which you and all veterans have given your 
sacrifice and which our men and women today give their service and to 
which they, you and I, and indeed all of us give our love. Thank you and 
God bless you all. (Applause) 

PRESENTATION BY THE PACTO COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time I will call to the 
podium Assad Allie, Chairman of the Political Action Committee. 

COMRADE ASSAD ALLIE: Commander-in-Chief, will you stand 
up here at the mike. I have been given the honor and privilege of making 
a presentation to our Commander-in-Chief from the Board of Directors of 
the Political Action Committee, which is the American Eagle, the highest 
award that we do, in fact, give to our Commander. Congratulations, 
Commander-in-Chief John Moon. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. 

The chair recognizes Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE ED BANAS (Post 10004 - Connecticut): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I believe that a resolution was somewhat 
misunderstood by the delegates to this convention, and that this resolution 
could effectively force our organization to a third year in Milwaukee, 
Wisconsin. That resolution is 203. 

I make a motion that it be reconsidered and I did vote on the 
prevailing side. 



130 



COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The chair recognizes 
Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE RAY LUPO (Post 1761 - Maine): I will second that 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion and there is 
a second on the floor for reconsideration of Resolution 203. We must vote 
beforehand on the reconsideration. All those in favor of reconsideration 
will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed to reconsideration signify by 
saying "no". The "nays" have it. It is not to be reconsidered. Thank you. 

Is there any further discussion from Microphone No. 1, 
Microphone No. 2, Microphone No. 3? 

At this time we will call forward for the last procedure of the day, 
the Insurance Drawings. 
(Whereupon, the Insurance Drawings were held at this time.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, 
you will prepare the room for recess until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. 

(Whereupon, the Salute to the Colors was had followed by the 
Benediction by National Chaplain Dean Derieg according to the Ritual.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, the Ceremonies have been performed. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. We are in recess. 

(Whereupon, the meeting was recessed at 11 :50 o'clock a.m.) 



THIRD BUSINESS SESSION 
WEDNESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 2, 1998 

(The Third Business Session of the 99th National Convention of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, held in the Henry B. 
Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, was called to order at 
9:00 o'clock a.m., by Commander-in-Chief Moon.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, 
prepare the room for the Opening Session. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Yes, sir. 

(Whereupon, National Sergeant-at-Arms Hoffman led the 
assembly in the Salute to the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance, and 
National Chaplain Dean Derieg gave the Opening Prayer from the Ritual.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, the Opening Ceremonies have been performed. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The first order of business this 
morning will be the Report of the Credentials Committee. The Chairman is 
Richard Trombla. 



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REPORT OF CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE 

COMRADE RICHARD TROMBLA (Post 1174 - Kansas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief Moon, this is a temporary report. As of 4:00 o'clock 
yesterday, there were 13,091 delegates; 54 Department Commanders; 26 
F^st Commanders-in-Chief; 36 National Officers. That is for a total of 
13,207. That is as of 4:00 o'clock yesterday. Comrade Commander-in- 
Chief, this is a temporary report. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much, 
Credentials Chairman. 

PRESENTATION OF THE VFW ARMED FORCES AWARD, 
// GOLD MEDAL AND CITATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: This morning I am very 
pleased to present the VFW Armed Forces Award to an organization which 
has served our nation with unparalleled professionalism. 

Since it was established, the National Guard Units have fought 
with honor in all major U.S. military operations from 1637 to the present. 
Both the Air National Guard and Army National Guard continue to perform 
their dual mission, providing well-trained, well-equipped units to the states 
to help fellow citizens. 

During natural disasters and emergencies, a part of the nation's 
total force, the Guard provides the same well-trained units to defend the 
United States. 

The Army National Guard has units in 2,700 communities in all 50 
states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 
The Air National Guard has 88 flying units and more than 1 70 installations 
nationwide. 

Besides serving our country, the National Guard conducts many 
youth programs aimed toward "at-risk" children. Programs like "Starbase", 
a program for youths and Grades K-1 2, which exposes inner-city schools to 
real world applications of math and science. 

"Challenge" is another fine program that guides children in the 
direction of academic excellence, community service, leadership, and 
much more. Similar to "Challenge" is "Youth Conservation Corps", a six- 
week residential program conducted at National Guard Bases. 

It is with a great deal of pride and a deep sense of honor that the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars presents its Armed Forces Award to the men and 
women of the Army and Air National Guard for their dedication and 
unwavering sense of mission. 

Here to accept this award on their behalf is the Executive Director 
of the National Guard Association, Major General Edward Philbin. 

The award reads in part, "National Armed Forces Award, Gold 
Medal and Citation awarded to Army and Air National Guard. 



132 



"In special recognition of the unprecedented dedication exhibited 
by the men and women of the Army and Air National Guard as the perform 
their dual mission of participating in U.S. military operations to protect our 
freedom as we know it today and providing well-trained and well- 
equipped units to help fellow citizens during natural disasters and 
emergencies, and in grateful appreciation of the many youth programs 
such as Starbase, Challenge and the Youth Conservation Corps, sponsored 
and conducted by the Guardsmen. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 2nd 
day of September, 1998." It has been signed by John E. Moon, 
Commander-in-Chief, and Larry Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - GENERAL EDWARD PHILBIN 

GENERAL PHILBIN: Thank you, Commander-in-Chief Moon. 
Fellow Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, 
Ladies and Gentlemen: Since 1636, the militia now designated as the 
Army and Air National Guard in the United States has been an active 
participant in any conflict in which this nation has been engaged. 

Consequently, the members of this great organization, the 
members of the National Guard Association of the United States are bound 
together by ties of history, dedicated service and bloody sacrifices. It is 
because of this close relationship that I accept with most sincere and deep 
appreciation the 1998 Veterans of Foreign Wars Armed Forces Award for 
outstanding contributions to the national security on behalf of the half 
million soldiers and airmen of the Army and International Guard of the 
United States. 

We are honored by your recognition of our efforts and we pledge 
to you that we shall continue to respond to critical national, stale and 
community needs as we have done for over three and one-half centuries. 
I sincerely thank you, and I salute you and your organization that still 
remembers the real meaning of those three words: duty, honor and country. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Along with the award, we 
want to present to the National Guard Educational Foundation an 
honorarium in the amount of $5,000. General, will you please make the 
presentation for us. 

I would call forward the National Veterans Service Committee for 
their report. George Cramer is Chairman and Ted Connell is Vice- 
Chairman. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON VETERANS SERVICE RESOLUTIONS 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you. Good 
morning. Commander-in-Chief Moon and delegates to this 99th National 
Convention, I report that your Convention Committee on Veterans Service 



133 



Resolutions convened at 1:00 o'clock Sunday, August 30, 1998. The 
instructions were read and roll call and preliminary matters were 
discussed. 

The committee was divided into three subcommittees to carefully 
delibef^ate the 91 resolutions that were assigned to this committee. The 
subcommittees were established as follows: Subcommittee 1, Medical 
Programs for Veterans Benefits and Entitlements, chaired by Tom Hansen 
from Minnesota. The Vice-Chairman was Les Brow from Texas. The Staff 
Advisors were Jim Jewell, Assistant Director of Veterans Health Policy, 
National Veterans Service, and Sid Daniels, Deputy Director of Legislative 
Services, and Bill Frasure, Special Assistant, National Legislative Service. 

Subcommittee 2 was Employment, chaired by Walter Luksta of 
Illinois, and Vice-Chaired by Bernie Boyle from Wisconsin. The Staff 
Advisors were Jim Magill, Director of Veterans Employment, and Valerie 
Callaway, Special Assistant to Veterans Employment. 

Subcommittee 3 was Other Benefits. It was chaired by Melvin 
Garrett from New York, and Vice-Chairman was Ray O'Neill from 
Michigan. The Staff Advisors were John McNeill, Assistant Director of 
Veterans Benefits Policies, Bob Manhan, Assistant Director of National 
Legislative Services, and Jim Vaughn, Appeals Director of National Veterans 
Service. 

Before proceeding to report, I wish to take a moment to express the 
committee's appreciation to Fred Juarbe, Director of National Veterans 
Service, Jim Magill, and the other people in our Washington Office that 
helped us provide this valuable information. 

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Past Commander-in- 
Chief Ted Connell from Texas for serving as Vice-Chairman of this very 
Important Convention Committee. 

Commander, with your permission, I will begin the committee's 
report by presenting those resolutions that we recommended for approval. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I thank you. Past Commander- 
in-Chief Cramer, for yielding at this time. 

PRESENTATION OF VFW JAMES E. VAN ZANDT CITIZENSHIP AWARD. 
GOLD MEDAL AND CITATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrades, in 1986, Congress 
authorized the construction of a Memorial in Washington, D.C., that would 
be a lasting tribute to the women who have served or are serving in our 
nation's armed forces. 

Last October, at the gates of Arlington National Cemetery and two 
years after ground breaking, the Women in Military Service to America 
Memorial was dedicated. 

When one considers that almost two million women have served 
in the United States military throughout our history, from the American 
Revolutions through Operation Desert Storm, it is most fitting that such a 



134 



memorial be erected not only as a memorial to those events but to the 
noble women who served their country. 

The contribution of women to national security throughout our 
nation's history deserves the recognition which General Vaught has worked 
for. 

Such a memorial serves to remind each of us, young and old, man 
and woman, and especially children that freedom must be guarded. 
Freedom does have a price, it is not free. Protecting our freedom calls for 
responsible citizenship. General Vaught's vision and commitment to 
building the Women in Military Service for America Memorial serves as an 
inspiration to all of us. 

This morning we are pleased to present the VFW James E. Van 
Zandt Citizenship Award to Retired Air Force Brigadier General Wilma 
Vaught for her vision and significant contribution to the spirit of service and 
citizenship to our country. 

Please join me in a very warm welcome for a fellow VFW member 
and the President of the Women's Memorial, Brigadier General Wilma 
Vaught. I might add there is a check in the amount of $5,000 payable to 
the Women in Military Service Memorial. 

General Vaught. 

RESPONSE - GENERAL WILMA VAUGHT 

GENERAL VAUGHT: Thank you. I am honored to be here and I 
was honored this past October when John Moon and Larry Sear were there 
for the dedication of the memorial, and I thank you for being here. 

As I look back over what we have done, it seems to me that a 
memorial or a monument at its best should pay tribute to the past, be 
relevant to the present, and be an inspiration to the future. You work on 
these things and you finally get them erected, and you wonder did I really 
succeed in doing this? 

Just the other day I received a letter from an Air Force Major that I 
want to share with you, because it says that I believe we have succeeded. 
She wrote, "Participating in the dedication day and the candlelight march 
was the highlight of my military career. Saying thank you just doesn't seem 
to be adequate, so I thought I would tell youjust what the memorial means 
to me. 

"I am a member of the United States Air Force Reserve Nurse 
Corps. I have 15 years total active service time with nearly eight years 
active duty. I have greatly enjoyed my military career over the years. Over 
the past four years, however, I have constantly struggled to balance the 
demands of a full-timejob, raising my family and my Reserve IMA position. 

"Many times it would have been easier for me tojust give up the 
Reserves. Every time I started to feel overwhelmed, I would receive a 
newsletter or other communication from the Memorial Foundation. It 
would remind me of all the women that have gone before me and all the 



135 



women that are traveling the path with me now. Countless times, the 
Memorial has inspired me to go on with my military career. 

"Dedication Day was truly inspiring because I talked with so many 
women who did not have the opportunities that I do. I hear their voices of 
encouragement now when I am tempted to give up. The week after 
Dedication Day, I reported for medical red flag chemical warfare training 
at my assigned base. The training was intense and grueling, and I was glad 
it was over for another year. 

"At the end of the day, we had a Retreat Flag Ceremony. I watched 
the faces of the young women in the color guard as they lowered the flag 
and reverently folded it before handing it to the troop commander. Their 
faces expressed so eloquently love and dedication to service. 

"I realized at that moment that I had seen the same expressions in 
the faces of the thousands of women who had attended the dedication 
event. I saw in the faces of those women all the things that the Women's 
Memorial stands for. For a brief moment in time, I was one with all the 
military women that have gone before me, all that are presently serving 
with me, and all that will serve in the future. It is a privilege to serve with 
them and honor their service by supporting the Memorial." 

I looked at what we have done, what we are doing and what we 
must do. We have built the Memorial and we are finished with the exhibits 
and everything and it will be at a cost of about $22 million, and we have 
made the main gate at Arlington Cemetery something that is a tribute to 
every man and woman who has ever served in the military. It doesn't look 
like a disgrace anymore. 

We have formed a book publishing company and with dedication 
we have published our first book called "The Defense of a Nation - 
Servicewomen in World War II." This is a definitive history of the women 
who served in World War II, who changed the world for women. 

One thing I would suggest to you, we have copies of this book in 
our booth here at the Exhibit Hall. Buy this book. Put it in the library. It 
is twenty bucks, and I will sell one to John Moon. I will give it to John 
Moon for twenty dollars. It is sold. Thank you, John. 

We got congressional approval of a coin, the fourth in the history 
of our country, to honor women. We convinced the Postmaster General 
Marvin Runyon to issue a stamp concurrent with the dedication that 
honored the women. If you have not seen that stamp, devil your post office 
to death until they get it. 

We opened the first store to sell things for military women, 
servicewomen of today and veterans. We are helping veterans. We are not 
a veterans service organization, but if we get a request to help we do that. 
We are a voice on military women's issues. 

I congratulate the VFW today for voting day before yesterday to 
support women while taking a different position, and it has historically 
been true on the issue of women in combat and the general training. I 
thank you for that. 



136 



We have generated visibility of women veterans and 
servicewomen. What are we doing now? Well, we are trying to get all our 
records up to date and get all those women in service put in, standing 
pictures. We are entering the registration. 

We are learning to operate the Memorial seven days a week and 
open every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are working to 
raise money, because, unfortunately, we ended up with a debt of about $5 
million and we are working to pay that off. I want to thank the VFW for its 
donation thus far of $117,812, and I would hope to see you come up to 
$150,000 at which point we are going to put your name on one of the 
exhibit alcoves. 

The Auxiliary is up to $138,000 now. But your name, the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars, is right now on our donor recognition hall in the 
Memorial. I hope when you come to visit you will see it there. We have 
got to equip the theater yet. 

We have got to find the women that are not registered, and there 
are so many. There are about 1 .6 million that we have not found out about 
and have not registered. We are doing things to keep the Memorial alive, 
having programs there and doing a variety of things so that it just doesn't 
sit there and become uninteresting for people. So that is what we are 
doing. 

I hope you will continue to register women. I hope you will 
continue to spread the word about the Memorial. Ten minutes ago, over 
here in the Health Fair, I talked to a young woman in the Air Force who had 
never heard of the Memorial, and that happens to me more times than I 
would like to admit. 

Back in about 1989, I received a registration from an Army Nurse 
who had served in World War II. She gave me a charge that I carry with 
me and I will carry with me until the Memorial is paid for. She wrote, and 
this is on one of the glass tablets in the skylight of the Memorial: "Let the 
generations know that the women in uniform also guaranteed their 
freedom that our resolve was just as great as the brave men who stood 
among us, and with victory our hearts were just as full and beat just as fast, 
that the tears fell just as hard for those that we left behind us." 

That has been my charge with the Memorial, to let the generations 
know that the women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom. Come 
and visit the Memorial. You will see that through the films, through the 
exhibits, through the many things we are doing and through this book and 
the others that we will publish from time to time, that we are letting the 
generations know. 

Thank you for this donation. We will put it to work, and thank you 
for honoring me. When you honor me, you don't honor me, you honor 
every woman who has served this nation so well always as a volunteer. 
Thank you. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 



137 



COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: If I may at this time, F^t Potter, 
F^st National Surgeon General, please come forward to the mike. 

PAST NATIONAL SURGEON POTTER: Thank you, Commander. 
The women veterans of the VFW for the last eight to ten years have been 
getting together annually for a luncheon at the early part of the convention. 
We did so on Monday. There were 1 7 of us that got the word and we were 
there. 

At this time, on behalf of the women veterans of America, I would 
like to present the General with a monetary donation for the Memorial. I 
would like to also at this time challenge every woman veteran here to 
contribute to this monetary donation to make sure your name is enrolled 
with them. 

If you would like to be on the mailing list for the luncheon, I am 
in the Pennsylvania delegation. Stop and give me your name and I will see 
that you get word ahead of time for the next convention. Thank you. 
Commander. 

PRESENTATION OF THE VFW HALL OF FAME AWARD, 
GOLD MEDAL AND CITATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We are indeed honored to 
present this morning our VFW Hall of Fame Award to a man who is not 
only a respected actor and playwright, but a fellow veteran who 
experienced heavy combat during 11 months in Vietnam with a 
reconnaissance unit. 

Dennis Franz has unselfishly given his time to serve as the National 
Chairman of the 1998 National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans. 

The National Salute was established as an official VA program in 
March, 1978, to pay tribute and express appreciation to hospitalized 
veterans, increase community awareness of the role of the VA Medical 
Center, and encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and to 
become involved as volunteers. 

A graduate of Southern Illinois University, with a degree in Speech 
and Drama, Mr. Franz has developed an exceptional career as an actor. 

He is currently playing the role of Detective Andy Sipowicz on the 
TV show "NYPD Blue" and previously played Lieutenant Buntz on the 
show "Hill Street Blues." 

Mr. Franz has also starred in numerous movies like "Sea of Angels" 
in 1998, and received critical acclaim for appearing alongside Dustin 
Hoffman in "American Buffalo" in 1996. 

He resides in Bel Air, California, with his wife, Joanie Zeck, and 
their two children, Krista and Tricia. 

Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and sisters, please join me in a 
warm VFW welcome for a great American and fellow veteran, the 1998 
VFV\/ Hall of Fame Award recipient, Dennis Franz. 

"Hall of Fame Award, Gold Medal and Citation presented to 



138 



Dennis Franz. 

"In special recognition of his exceptional career as an actor having 
appeared in numerous movies and currently portraying Detective Andy 
Sipowicz on the television shov\/ 'NYPD Blue' and in sincere appreciation 
of his continued visits to hospitalized veterans and his being named 
National Chairman of the 1998 National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans. 
A Vietnam veteran himself, his continued dedication to our hospitalized 
veterans serves as an inspiration to us all. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 2nd 
day of September, 1998." It has been signed by John E. Moon, 
Commander-in-Chief, and Larry Rivers, Adjutant General. 

The honorarium for $5,000, Mr. Franz asked to be made payable 
to the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Fund. We thank you very 
much. 

RESPONSE - MR. DENNIS FRANZ 

MR. FRANZ: 60855265, eight numbers given 30 years ago that 
would forever be ingrained in this head. As my alter ego, Andy Sipowicz, 
on NYPD would say, "I am damn proud of those numbers." What an honor 
to join the likes of George Forman, Ross Perot, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 
Walter Peyton, Loretta Swit, Peter Graves, my friend Charles Durning and 
George Halas, the owner of my favorite football team, the Chicago Bears. 
Well, we all have our opinion. As a veteran that holds special meaning in 
that it comes from those who also served. 

After a tour of Vietnam, I left the armed forces with a great deal of 
pride and determination, determination to pursue what I loved doing most 
and that was acting. Over the years I have had some luck. I found some 
success and now the word "celebrity" is attached to my name, and that 
word can be a funny thing. 

I have found that it allows me to help others in a variety of ways, 
one of which was to serve as the 1 998 Chairman for Hospitalized Veterans. 
I am very honored and touched to receive the 1998 Veterans of Foreign 
Wars Hall of Fame and I thank you very, very much. 

PRESENTATION OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S GOLD MEDAL AND 
CITATION 

TO DR. SAMUEL LIN 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I am most pleased this 
morning to present the VFW Gold Medal of Merit to Dr. Samuel Lin. Dr. 
Lin received his M.D. and his Ph.D. degrees from the University of Oregon 
Health Sciences Center. He began his professional career as a 
commissioned officer in the Public Health Service of the United States 
Department of Health and Human Services. From dedication and 



<139 



diligence, he progressed through the ranks from ensign to rear admiral in 
nine years. 

Upon his retirement from federal service, he joined the Upjohn 
Company, now Pharmacia and Upjohn, Inc., as Executive Director for 
Federal Medical Affairs. 

In his current position. Dr. Lin has been instrumental over the past 
two years in securing financial support from Pharmacia and Upjohn to 
fund the Veterans of Foreign Wars' health education and screening efforts 
at our Washington Conferences and Conventions, including this on today. 

In keeping with his commitment to promote better health among 
veterans, Dr. Lin played a key role in securing the support of other 
pharmaceutical companies and organizations, such as the American 
Foundation for Urologic Disease and American Diabetes Association in 
support of the VFW Health Fairs. 

Dr. Lin has demonstrated himself to be a true ally of the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars and a dedicated servant of our nation's veterans. Please 
join me this morning in welcoming a true veterans' advocate. Dr. Samuel 
Lin. 

"Gold Medal of Merit and this Citation awarded to Samuel Lin, 
M.D., Ph.D. 

"In special recognition of and sincere appreciation for his personal 
involvement over several years in promoting better health among veterans 
through health education and screening projects sponsored by the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars of the United States." 

This award is given the 2nd day of September, 1 998, and signed by 
John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant 
General. 

RESPONSE - DR. SAMUEL LIN 

DR. LIN: Commander-in-Chief Moon, better known as John, thank 
you, sir. Thank you, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, for this wonderful award and recognition. On behalf of Pharmacia 
and Upjohn, I am honored to accept this magnificent recognition from the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

For the past two years, as Commander John has already said, it has 
been our privilege to have worked alongside your leadership in 
establishing benefit screens and health educational programs at your 
national meetings and that you have heard of the participation of the 
American Foundation for Urological Diseases. We began this partnership 
targeting issues of concern, such as prostate, bladder and erectile 
dysfunction. 

This year will be added to the American Diabetes Association. We 
added issues with regards to diabetes and its complications. I would like 
to add that also this year for the first time we had the pleasure and the 
honor and opportunity to work with the Ladies Auxiliary in providing a 



140 



similar set of programs. 

Through this partnership, I have become truly impressed with how 
much your leadership really cares about your physical, mental and social 
well-being. We have all learned together through these cooperative 
endeavors. While these efforts have been at the national level, we are 
looking together at establishing similar procedures for Post members at the 
local level and will be working on pilot projects in the very near future. 
We think you will be pleased. 

As a final word, I would like to encourage you to attend the 
preventive health sessions this afternoon in Fiesta E from 1:00 to 3:00 
o'clock, covering the issues of diabetes, prostate, bladder and erectile 
dysfunction. I challenge you to enable yourself to be in charge of your own 
health by learning more about these conditions and how you can prevent 
them or reduce their negative consequences on the quality of your life. 

Our hope is for you to become a full partner with your health 
provider in your own health care and that of your families. That is our 
encouragement to you. 

Once again. Commander Moon, the VFW, thank you for this 
recognition and we will see you next year at the big 100. 

PRESENTATION OF VFW DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL AND 

CITATION 
TO JOSEPH D. ROSS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The success of the VFW has 
always been based on the hard work and dedication of our members. They 
are the ones who recruit the new members, they are the ones who get out 
and make our programs successful and they are the ones who set the 
course this organization will follow. But we do have some people we can 
turn to now and then for support, the VFW national staff, in the Kansas City 
Headquarters, and the Washington, D.C. office. 

Our next guest came to work at the VFW Headquarters in July, 
1981, soon after retiring from a 21 -year career in the United States Navy. 
He earned his Navy Air Crew wings while assigned to anti-submarine 
warfare operations. 

At the VFW National Headquarters, he worked in several positions: 
National Safety Director, Post Development Director, and finally. National 
Convention Director. 

In everything he has done, Joe Ross has advanced the goals and 
objectives of this organization, and we will certainly miss him in the future. 

Please join me in giving a warm VFW welcome to Joe Ross as we 
present him with the VFW Distinguished Service Award. The award reads 
in part, "In sincere appreciation and grateful recognition of 17 years of 
unselfish service to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States as a 
dedicated worker and gifted professional fulfilling with unquestionable 
integrity and expertise the duties and responsibilities of the offices of 



141 



Assistant Director, Post and Program Development; Director, Post 
Development and Safety; and National Convention Director." 

This has been signed this 2nd of September, 1998, by John E. 
Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 
Congratulations to you, Joe. 

RESPONSE - COMRADE JOSEPH ROSS 

COMRADE ROSS: Thank you, Commander-in-Chief Moon. I 
would like to just take a couple of moments and say a few things. I owe 
an awful lot of thanks to an awful lot of people and I would like to start out 
with my Department, the Department of Illinois, the 19th District, and my 
Post 2048. They have stood by me and backed me through all 1 7 years. 

I would like to add a few things traveling this country, working with 
many of you Departments. I want to thank the comrades and sisters for 
their hospitalities and their friendship they have shown me. Most of all, I 
would like to say one thing, there is no director in any national program 
that is not successful without the help of you, comrades, the feedback that 
we get at National Headquarters. 

Those are the programs that are instituted, that work the best, and 
it is the grass roots that make them successful. I am quite sure that as we 
go towards the 21st Century that the leadership of this organization will be 
better and better and better. I say that because of the young veterans that 
will take the helm of this organization it will continue to grow. 

I would like to say one last thing and one last thank you, and if it 
wasn't for my lovely wife, Judy, a Life Member of our Auxiliary standing by 
me at all times, I am quite sure I couldn't make it. She did say one thing, 
"It is surely fun this year, Joe." 

This is the best convention we have been at. Nobody calls at 3:00 
or 4:00 o'clock in the morning to complain. Thank you, God bless you, and 
I just want to let you all know I might be retiring from the national staff but 
I am just falling back in the ranks of all you good comrades. Thank you. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We will now have the 
Chairman of the Veterans Service Committee to continue with his report. 
Past Commander-in-Chief George Cramer. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON VETERANS SERVICE 
RESOLUTIONS (CONT'D.) 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief and delegates to this convention. I will now proceed 
with reading the resolutions that were recommended for adoption. Past 
Commander-in-Chief Ted Connell will then proceed to report to you the 
resolutions recommended for adoption as amended, and then I will 



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conclude by reading those resolutions that we recommend for rejection. 

Approved as written: Resolution 602, Adequately Fund The 
Veterans Health Care System Construction Program. 

Resolution 603, The Department Of Veterans Affairs Budget. 

Resolution 604, Amend The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' 
Protection Act. 

No. 605, Concurrent Receipt Of Retirement Pay And Veterans 
Disability Compensation. 

No. 607, Exclude Guard And Reserve Income When Determining 
Eligibility For Unemployment Insurance. 

No. 609, Federal Employees Health Benefit Program For Military 
Retirees. 

No. 611, Support Development Of On-The-Job Training Program 
For Recently Separated Veterans. 

No. 613, Entitlement To Nursing Home Care. 

No. 616, Improved VA Hospital Facilities For Women Veterans. 

Resolution 620, Benefits For Filipino Veterans And Scouts Who 
Served With The United States Armed Forces During World War II. 

No. 621, Cost-Of-Living Increase ForVA Beneficiaries And Military 
Retirees. 

No. 622, VA Medicare Subvention. 

No. 625, Support For Persian Gulf War Veterans. 

Resolution 628, Retain Employment Assistance For Veterans And 
Disabled Veterans. 

No. 629, Funding Of National Veterans' Training Institute. 

No. 633, Tobacco Industry Settlement And Veterans Health Care. 

No. 636, Gulf War Undiagnosed Illnesses. 

No. 637, Support Legislation Providing Additional Benefits And 
Services To Vietnam Veterans Children With Spina Bifida. 

No. 638, Department of Veterans Affairs Strategic Plan. 

No. 648, Naturalization Process For Filipino Veterans of World 
War II. 

No. 653, Benefits ForSaipan Marine Scouts Who Fought Alongside 
U.S. Forces During World War II Battle of Saipan. 

No. 655, Amend 38 USC To Include Service Connection For 
Chronic Peripheral Neurapathy As A Result Of Exposure To Agent Orange. 

No. 667, Preservation Of The National Soldiers' Home Located At 
The VA Medical Center, West Los Angeles. 

These resolutions were submitted by the Commander-in-Chief for 
submission to this convention. Since the resolutions are not listed in your 
Schedule of Resolutions, I will read the title and the resolved of each of 
these resolutions. 

Resolution 686, Research On The Health Effects Of Depleted 
Uranium And Implementation Of An Education And Safety Training 
Program For All Ground Troops. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars request the 



143 



Secretary of Defense immediately direct and verify the full implementation 
of the Depleted Uranium training program; and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an independent, non-profit 
scientific organization, under federal contract from the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, conduct appropriate studies regarding the health effects of 
DU, for the purpose of issuing a comprehensive report identifying the 
health effects related to use of DU." 

Resolution No. 687, Transition Housing Loans For Homeless 
Veterans. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States to urge Congress to initiate legislation allowing VA to 
underwrite/guarantee, on a limited basis, selected commercial loans made 
to non-profit organizations to construct and maintain selected multi-family 
transitional housing exclusively for use by veterans and their dependents; 
and 

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this legislation must require the 
participating non-profit housing organizations to closely and continuously 
coordinate their efforts on behalf of homeless veterans with VA, as well as 
state and local housing authorities, to share technical expertise and to 
avoid wasting time and resources on competing services and overlapping 
efforts." 

Resolution No. 688, Service Connection For Hearing Loss And 
Tinnitus For Combat Veterans. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars request 
Congress to enact legislation that will authorize the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to grant service connection to veterans with documented combat 
service and who have been diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus at any 
time after discharge from military service." 

Resolution No. 689, Cost Will Never Be A Factor For Veterans' 
Entitlements. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars that we 
correspond forcefully to Congress and the President that never again can 
veterans' entitlements be negotiated based on solely economic factors." 

Resolution No. 690, Specially Adapted Housing Allowance. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, that we seek 
legislation to amend 38 U.S.C, Section 2102, to allow a veteran to quality 
for a second allowance not to exceed 50 percent of the maximum amount 
authorized under 38 U.S.C, Section 2101, to be used to modify a second 
personal residence which economic value does not exceed the previously 
adapted residence, and which can be applied for only after five years has 
expired from the original allowance." 

Resolution No. 691, Refer Veterans To Veterans Service 
Organizations Representatives. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request the Secretary of Veterans Affairs establish a policy 
whereby all veterans that seek VA medical care or inquire about other 



144 



entitlements be informed that Veterans Service Organization 
representatives are available for assistance with these matters." 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief and delegates to the 99th National 
Convention, I move for the adoption of these stated resolutions. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion is in order. Is there 
a second? 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CONNELL: Past Commander-in- 
Chief Ted Conneli seconds the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been duly 
made and seconded. I will call for discussion. Are there any requests for 
any of those resolutions to be set aside? Microphone 1, Microphone 2, 
Microphone 3? Seeing none, we will call for a vote. 

All those in favor — I am sorry. We will go to Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE DAVID FORD (Post 8852 - Louisiana): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I would like to make a motion that we set aside 
Resolution 626 for discussion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Resolution 626 has not been 
recommended for approval at this time as it is written, so it has not been a 
part of those that have been recommended for approval. 

Microphone No. 1, Microphone No. 2, Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE TIMOTHY SMITH (Post 1733 - Tennessee): I would 
like to have set aside Resolution No. 625. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Could you please clarify it, 
625? 

COMRADE TIMOTHY SMITH (Post 1733 - Tennessee): Yes, No. 
625. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Resolution 625 has been 
requested to be set aside. Resolution 625 is set aside. Are there any other 
requests for set asides? Hearing no discussion, we will call for a vote. All 
those in favor of the resolutions proposed to be adopted will signify by 
saying "aye"; all opposed will signify by saying "no". The motion carries. 

I would ask at this time that the chairman come forward and read 
the intent of Resolution 625. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: The intent of this 
resolution Is to ensure all veterans affected by their service during the 
Persian Gulf War are properly treated and compensated. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I look to Microphone No. 3. 
You have asked that this be set aside. Actually, it is in your hands. 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE TIMOTHY SMITH (Post 1733 - Tennessee): The 
Chairman just clarified that for me. All I really wanted to hear, coming 
straight from the horse's mouth, is that the Persian Gulf veterans are not 
getting anything from the VA or otherwise. 

I would like to ask that the VFW, being the number one veterans' 
organization in the world, to lobby Congress, the President and Secretary 
West of the Veterans Administration to better assist all Persian Gulf veterans 



145 



and their families. Like I said, the Chairmanjust clarified that resolution for 
me and I would like to move that it be accepted. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: All in favor of adopting 
Resolution No. 625, please say "aye"; all opposed "no". Those resolutions, 
including No. 625, are adopted. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CONNELL: Next, we wish to 
bring to your attention the following, which were approved as amended. I 
would say our thanks to the staff for an excellentjob of never rewriting, but 
sometimes changing the language but not the meaning of the resolution. 

We first approach Resolution 601 , Sexual Trauma Treatment For All 
Veterans. Unless somebody objects, I will call the number instead of the 
title. 

Nos. 606, 608, 612, 614, 618, 619, 623, 624, 626, 630, 631, 632, 
634 635, 639, 644, 645, 646, 650, 654, 661, 663, 671, and the next 
resolution was transferred to our committee after your Schedule of 
Resolutions were printed. So I will read the title and then the "resolved." 

The number is 683. And the title is The Future Of Pershing Hall. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we oppose any change in present regulations covering this property 
that would permit its outright sale and therefore violate the original 
purpose of the acquisition of the property, including its original objective, 
that of a memorial." 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I move these be approved, as 
amended. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been properly 
made. Is there a second? 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF GEORGE CRAMER: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, George Cramer, Post 6869, North Riverside, Illinois, 
I second the motion, with the exception of Resolution 663 that was 
inadvertently typed on the sheet, approved as amended, and the 
committee's recommendation is to have it rejected. So except for 663, I 
would second the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: May I bring the maker back? 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CONNELL: I will revise the 
motion as stated. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion and second are 
now in order. As to those that were read as amended, are there any 
questions at Microphone 1, Microphone 2, Microphone 3? Seeing none, 
we will call for a vote. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all 
those opposed signify by saying "no". Those resolutions, as amended, are 
approved. 

Comrade Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief. Since the delegates will accept reading of just the 
number, I will proceed by reading the number and not the title. These are 
the resolutions recommended for rejection. We must have a guest. 



146 



COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Just testing you, George. Go 
ahead. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: You know, I happen to 
know who the next guest is, so I don't mind stepping aside. These are the 
resolutions that were rejected: Nos. 610, 615, 617, 627, 640, 641, 642, 
643, 647, 651, 652, 656, 657, 648, 659, 660, 662, 663, 664. 

No. 663, if you recall, is the one that I said we inadvertently put in 
on the approved, as amended, and the committee recommended rejection. 
Nos. 663, 664 — would you like me to stop? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Yes. Thank you, Mr. 
Chairman, for yielding at this time. 

INTRODUCTION OF HONORABLE MARCY KAPTUR 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrades and Sisters, it is a 
special pleasure to introduce the distinguished Congresswoman from the 
Ninth District of the Buckeye State of Ohio. Our guest. Representative 
Marcy Kaptur, single-handedly pushed for legislation to build a World War 
II Memorial in Washington, D.C., undeniably the most significant 
American memorial authorized in the 20th Century, at no cost to taxpayers. 

U.S. Representative Kaptur is one of only 36 women in U.S. history 
who have served in Congress for more than ten years. 

From humble beginnings. Representative Kaptur's life mirrors the 
bootstrap nature of struggling families in her district. Her reputation as an 
independent-minded reformer on such high profile issues as campaign 
finance reform, lobbying reform, and stopping the flow of foreign influence 
and foreign money into U.S. politics has gained her the respect of many 
colleagues and constituents, including The Reform Party, which sought her 
as Its vice-presidential candidate in 1996. 

Representative Kaptur continues to sponsor legislation to reform 
the campaign finance system, including a constitutional amendment to 
allow spending limits on campaigns. 

Since her arrival in the halls of Congress, Representative Kaptur 
has willingly volunteered as a Judge in the VFW's "Voice of Democracy" 
program, a deed we are all truly grateful for. 

Pleasejoin me this morning in a warm welcome for a very special 
friend of the VFW, the Honorable Marcy Kaptur. (Applause) 

ADDRESS - THE HONORABLE MARCY KAPTUR 

CONGRESSWOMAN KAPTUR: A warm good morning. What a 
pleasure to be here and to be introduced by my good, wonderful friend, 
John Moon, a son of our great Buckeye State. 

All right. Good for Ohio. Also his beautiful wife that I know is 
here somewhere in the complex. Also to Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief 
Thomas Pouliot and members of the Ladies Auxiliary whose leadership and 



147 



generosity are building the next generation of political leaders for our 
nation through the Voice of Democracy. 

Your dynamic President, Connie Atkinson, and your Senior Vice- 
President, Jane Bingham, to all of you and all of your officers, members and 
friends, thank you for this very, very warm welcome. 

It is a distinct honor to appear before you today to report on the 
consistent progress being made toward the establishment of our nation's 
advocacy of democracy in Washington, D.C., a permanent memorial 
commemorating the victory of freedom over tyranny in World War II. 

But before I give you a little more details on that, I wanted to take 
just three minutes to state the following: Simultaneous with my appearance 
before your National Convention today, our office is releasing a statement 
that outlines my reasons for urging President Bill Clinton to take the 
admirable course of action in our national interest relative to his personal 
difficulties. 

Although I will not read my statement in its entirety, let me say that 
the President, unlike any other public or private official in our nation, is the 
commander-in-chief of our armed forces. Duty, honor and country are the 
hallmarks against which great military might is built and leadership 
sustained. 

The President cannot separate his responsibilities as a political 
leader from his responsibilities as commander-in-chief. Beyond this, the 
most important public question for him is how to yield some good for our 
nation, especially our young people out of a sad set of circumstances? 

As one mother reminded me, "Marcy, we try to teach our children 
to do what is right, not what is easy." 

President Clinton himself reminded us in his nomination 
acceptance speech in 1992, "We offer our people a new choice based on 
old values. We offer responsibility, we demand responsibility." He said, 
"Responsibility starts at the top. That's what the new covenant is all about." 

Then in his second State of the Union Address, he said, "Tomorrow 
can be better than today, and every one of us has a personal moral 
responsibility to make it so." 

William Shakespeare long ago wrote, "To thy own self be true and 
it must follow as the night to day thou canst be fought to any man." 

Such is the time now for our President. May he be given the 
wisdom and the fortitude to do what is right in the end of our national 
interest. 

In the final analysis, America's ideal and purpose will prevail and 
prosper because our nation and our people are stronger than any one 
person's ability to diminish us. 

Let me say this morning that the memorial that I have been asked 
to talk to you about will duly honor those who served on three fronts and 
on the home front, and the extraordinary valor that preserved the very idea 
of liberty itself in this 20th Century. 

As we approach the new century, it is appropriate that America 



148 



properly revere the profound period between 1939 and 1945. So long as 
there is an America, this hallowed ground in our nation's capital will pay 
homage to devotion that elevated duty, honor and country to sacred 
proportions. 

Our words cannot fully capture internal depth when the children 
of freedom of those men and women who rose above common measure 
and brought victory over tyranny, preserving freedom for this modern 
generation and those that follow. Our words will fall short of the feelings 
we hold in our hearts and the memories that endure. 

Today, a half century after the end of that awful conquest, we are 
lifted by the words of Lord Alfred Tennyson that "Some work of noble work 
may yet be done, not unbecoming men that stroll with God, come my 
friend. It is not too late to see a newer world." 

The idea of democracy often challenged but not triumphed at the 
close of this 20th Century demands full enlargement by the world's 
freedom speaker. In the 21st Century, the probability of war for territorial 
gain seems less likely than terror strikes and war in civil strife, diminishing 
world resources of food and fuel, abject poverty and disease, and the 
tolerance between the force. 

Today, under democratic regimes that do not value human life prey 
on powerless people, even employing again the genocide strategy that is 
espoused by our World War II enemies as they seek repression rather than 
liberty. So we must ask ourselves as we celebrate the sacrifices of our 
veterans and humankind yet learned to build peace and democracy. 

The concept of a World War II Memorial in Washington explained 
from the Army veteran, as an infantryman might say, Roger Burden of Ohio 
that fought with the 101st Army Division in the Battle of the Bulge. Roger 
came to me as his Representative to Congress in 1987 to ask why with all 
the monuments and memorials in our nation's capital there was none 
dedicated to World War II. 

I said to him, when he first asked me, "But, Roger, wait a second. 
There is Iwo Jima. He said, "Wrong. That is the one service to the Marine 
Corps in one battle." Later that year I introduced legislation to create such 
a memorial. But I had little comprehension of the hurdles that lay before 
us. 

It would take us longer to establish the memorial than it did to fight 
the war. As in the war, it took a lot of allies to win the fight, and it was a 
particular pleasure for me to work with the Veterans of Foreign Wars in our 
quest, your Washington Office and veterans across this country. 

We can give special thanks also to our great champion for veterans 
in Congress, a former member of Congress and Chairman of the Veterans 
Affairs Committee, Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi. We worked with 
hundreds of members of Congress who achieved this in a clearly bipartisan 
effort. 

This memorial will commemorate as well the service of millions of 
Americans who served on the home front. By the end of the war, bombs 



149 



built primarily by women were coming off poorly run assembly lines, one 
every 63 minutes. Overall, the U.S. war effort at home produced 296,601 
aircraft, 71,060 ships, 86,388 tanks. 

The memorial will honor every citizen who bought a war bond, 
who planted a victory garden, who used ration cards for gasoline and food, 
who produced the food, who produced the material to clothe and equip 
our troops, who sailed the ships, and flew the planes who supplied our 
fighting forces. It will commemorate every single person who gave their 
life for this country and for its ideals, and every wounded and disabled 
veteran, and every member who served in our armed forces. One 
American woman reminds us again of the war effort. Helen Bowager was 
a textile worker in Lowell, Massachusetts. She sewed parachute panels at 
the Atlantic Parachute Works, perhaps even the parachute that carried my 
own brave uncle into China, India, Burma front. While Helen's husband 
and three brothers were in the service, she worked hard, the second shift, 
six days a week, making parachutes for the duration of the war. 

On Veterans Day, 1995, Roger Durbin and Helen Bowager stood 
with the President of our country, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and many 
dignitaries to help us dedicate the future site of the World War II Memorial 
along the mall in our nation's capital. 

It will sit between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln 
Memorial. It will be the most important site of this 20th Century. The site 
is consecrated with the soil from 16 American World War II cemeteries 
abroad as well as soil from Arlington Cemetery. I well remember the words 
of Roger Durbin that day. 

He said at the end of the glorious site dedication ceremony, "I 
helped scatter sacred soil from cemeteries around the world upon the stars 
and worn grass, and that is when it became the most sacred, revered, 
beautiful spot in America." When the history of the nation during the 20th 
Century is written, without question, the victory of liberty over tyranny will 
rest at this century's profounded achievement. 

The bitter Cold War that has ensued for nearly 50 years, tested the 
wills and valor of freedom-loving people everywhere, most certainly here 
in the United States, whose people carry the burden of this arsenal of 
democracy for another half century. That period of liberty now triumphant 
as the century ends. 

Finally, the great mall of our capital, our avenue of democracy, will 
accurately reflect the history of this 20th Century. As our nation 
demonstrates proper honor and profound respect for the accomplishments 
of this courageous, incredibly unselfish and deeply patriotic generation of 
Americans. 

This will be a memorial to a nation and at a time that will 
reverberate always in the pages of history. Let me know if you can picture 
standing on the mall, the Washington Monument rising very high reflected 
in the pool of the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool right in front of 
it, the memorial will be designed in a way that a feature of the memorial 



150 



will actually reflect In the reflection pool as the Washington Monument 
shadows this task. 

You will have the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries coming together 
in the impact on that pool. There will be waterfalls, there will be laurel 
wreaths, there will be solemn places for consternation to celebrate what 
this generation has achieved for the world. 

I hope we dedicate the World War II Memorial on Veterans Day 
early in the 21st Century. What would be more fitting than to stand at the 
crossroads of the 20th and 21st Centuries and dedicate a memorial to our 
nation's finest hour in this 20th Century. 

On behalf of the people of the United States, let me personally 
thank the Veterans of Foreign Wars for your support and stalwart effort in 
helping us pass this legislation and achieving a final commitment to build 
this memorial. Let us move onward. Thank you very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Representative Kaptur, we 
thank you for your spirited concern, your commitment and your 
dedication. The veterans in this room and the veterans across America 
sincerely appreciate your efforts on their behalf. 

I will again call to the podium the Chairman of the Veterans 
Service Resolutions, George Cramer. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON VETERANS SERVICE 
RESOLUTIONS (CONT'D.) 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief. I would like to beg your indulgence here. I notice 
that we let one drop through the cracks. If I may, I would like to back up 
just a little bit. These are the resolutions that were recommended for 
rejection. 

I will go back to 649. I missed that the first time through. Nos. 
649, 651, 652, 656, 657, 658, 659, 660, 662, 663, 664, 665, 666, 668, 
669, 670, 672, 673, 674, 675, 676, 677, 678, 679, 680, 681, 682. There 
were two resolutions submitted to our committee after the printing of your 
books. Once again we also recommend rejection of Resolutions 684 and 
685. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief and delegates, those are the 
resolutions recommended for rejection. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The recommendation of the 
Chairman of the Veterans Service Committee will stand unless there are 
motions to approve any of those recommended for rejection. There is 
nothing on Microphone 1. Anything on Microphone 2? 

We do have someone at Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE LEROY FORD (Post 5480 - Kentucky): I am a 
registered National Council member now, and I would like to set aside 
Resolution 657. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Do you wish to move for the 



151 



adoption of No. 657? 

COMRADE LEROY FORD (Post 5480 - Kentucky): I wish to move 
adoption of 657. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been made to 
move for the adoption of Resolution 657. Is there a second? 

COMRADE JIM WATSON (Post 1913 - Kentucky): I will second 
that motion for adoption. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion and second is for 
adoption of No. 657. That is in order. 

I will call to the microphone the Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you, Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief and delegates to this 99th Convention. The reason 
the committee recommended rejection of this resolution is we feel that it 
is not a veterans issue. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE JIM WATSON (Post 191 3 - Kentucky): I urge the body 
to consider the fact that we believe this is a veterans issue. This resolution 
is equitable retirement system of all government employees. The Tennessee 
Valley Authority is one that is in question here, known as TVA. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority not only operates in Kentucky, 
Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and a number of Southern states, the 
Tennessee Valley Authority controls power plants, waterways, recreational 
areas and such. The Tennessee Valley Authority is not abiding by giving the 
job preference point system to their employees where veterans are 
concerned. 

They are also not giving veterans entitlement after five years of 
employment, wherein when you complete five years of employment with 
the agency, you become invested in the Civil Service Retirement Program, 
where they can purchase their military time if they are not military retired. 

The final line on this thing is we urge Congress to recognize the 
military service in all federal agencies and calculate the retirement benefits 
and employment benefits. I am not connected in any way with any federal 
employment, but I had in my state and in my neighboring states a number 
of people who are and I urge us to protect their rights and their 
employment. Thank you, sir. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. 

Again, Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE LEROY FORD (Post 5480 - Tennessee): I stand in 
support of this resolution because after a federal employee, we have the 
opportunity after one year to get your military service in. It would be a 
shame for the Tennessee Valley Authority not to give these people and 
comrades and sisters the opportunity to do this. 

If you look at our Social Security the way it is going down, we will 
need all we can get in this retirement plan. Comrades, please support No. 
657. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Any other discussion? 



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Microphone No. 1. 

COMRADE TONY GALLARDO (Post 131 - Nebraska): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, we would like a better clarification on Resolution 
651 and why it was rejected. Thank you, sir. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will call on the Chairman 
first before I get to Microphone No. 2. 

We will go to Microphone No. 2. 

COMRADE JOHN McNEILL (Post 5412 -Virginia): The Tennessee 
Valley Authority is a singular agency in the government that has really 
basically nothing to do with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the 
Department of Defense. This would be best addressed to the Civil Service 
Administration Commission for resolution. 

Therefore, I move that since it is not a veterans issue, it has nothing 
absolutely to do with this Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense, that 
we reject this amendment. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 1; 
Microphone No. 2; again Microphone No. 2. Hearing no other 
discussions, we will call for a vote. The motion is to adopt Resolution No. 
657. All those in favor of adoption of 657 will signify by saying "aye"; all 
those opposed to Resolution No. 657 please say "no". The "nays" have it. 
Resolution 657 is rejected. 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE SAM LOWE (Post 9439 - Wyoming): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I want to request set aside of Resolution 662 and 
move its adoption. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion for Resolution No. 
662 for adoption is in order. Is there a second? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE CHARLES FRESORGER (Post 579 - Wyoming): I 
second that motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion and a 
second to adopt Resolution No. 662. I will call to the podium the 
Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you. 
Commander-in-Chief and delegates to the 99th National Convention, let 
me read the "Resolved" of Resolution 662 first. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we hereby petition Congress to support full funding for all of the 
employment and training programs that are administered by the 
Department of Labor." 

The reason the committee recommends rejection is we rejected it 
in favor of Resolution 614, which basically is the same thing, but we think 
it is a stronger resolution. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Does that clarify any question 
that you may have at Microphone No. 3? 

COMRADE ROBERT LOWE (Post 9439 - Wyoming): It does, 



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Comrade Commander. Thank you very much. I just want to say for the 
record that in my state the people who work for the Department of Labor 
who are veterans are absolutely an essential part of the service of the 
veterans of our state. 

I want to do everything possible in order to support them. I speak 
now as Chairman of our State Veterans Affairs Commission. Thank you 
very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Microphone No. 
3. What we are doing, there has been a motion on the floor to accept 
Resolution No. 663, and a proper second has been made. I am sorry. That 
is Resolution 662. In committee that was rejected in favor of a stronger 
Resolution No. 614, which was adopted. 

At this time, those in favor of Resolution No. 662 will say "aye"; all 
those opposed will say "no". The motion is rejected. Resolution 614 is in 
order. 

Microphone No. 1 . 

COMRADE TONY GALLARDO (Post 131 - Nebraska): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I rise to set aside Resolution 651 and I make a 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are you making a motion to 
adopt No. 651, Microphone No. 1? 

COMRADE TONY GALLARDO (Post 131 - Nebraska): Yes. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: We will need a second. 

COMRADE DWAINE WILSON (Post 1652 - Nebraska): I second 
the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Resolution No. 651, 
Downsizing Veterans Affairs Regional Office. The motion and the second 
is in order. 

I call forward the Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Thank you. Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, let me once again read the "Be It Resolved" on No. 
651. 

"BE IT RESOLVED, a copy of this resolution be provided to the 
Nebraska Congressional Delegation and the Secretary of the U.S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs, requesting that they do everything in their 
power to ensure the budget of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is 
Increased to levels that will enable the Lincoln VA Regional Office and all 
over divisions within the VA to perform their missions in a professional and 
timely manner commensurate to the service that veterans rendered to their 
country." 

The reason that the committee rejected No. 651, it was rejected in 
favor of Resolution 634 which you adopted, which again we feel is a 
stronger resolution. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will now go back to 
Microphone No. 1 for the maker of the motion or the seconder. 

Microphone No. 1 . 



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COMRADE TONY GALLARDO (Post 131 - Nebraska): The 
explanation is satisfactory. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Again, I will inform the 
comrades that 651 was rejected in favor of a stronger one. A vote of "aye" 
is to accept Resolution 651 and a vote of "no" will be rejecting it. Those 
in favor of No. 651 will say "aye"; those opposed "no". The motion is 
rejected. 

Are there any other requests or motions from any of the 
microphones? 

Microphone No. 1 . 

COMRADE WILLIAM BELL (Post 6873 - Texas): I request that 
Resolution 665 be set aside, and I move its adoption at this time. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Before I accept a second to 
this motion, we will see if this is rejected in favor of a more stronger one 
earlier. Resolution 605 was adopted earlier and it is a stronger resolution. 
Does the maker of the motion wish to continue with that motion and ask 
for a second? 

COMRADE WILLIAM BELL (Post 6873 -Texas): Will you read 605? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Resolution 605 was approved. 

COMRADE WILLIAM BELL (Post 6873 - Texas): I withdraw my 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been 
withdrawn. I look to Microphone No. 1, Microphone No. 2, Microphone 
No. 3. The recommendation of the committee stands. All those are 
rejected that were not approved. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CRAMER: Commander-in-Chief, 
Vice-Chairman Ted Connell, Past Commander-in-Chief, and I thank you for 
the assignment, and we want to thank the committee and the Washington 
staff for their support. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Your committee is hereby 
dismissed. Comrades Cramer and Connell. 

I call to the podium the General Resolutions Chairman, John 
Staum, Past Commander-in-Chief, from Minnesota. 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON GENERAL RESOLUTIONS 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF JOHN STAUM: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief Moon. I want to thank you for this appointment. We 
also want to tell you that I became attached to this chair back here, I didn't 
think I was ever going to get up here. I think our committee met here this 
week, I believe we met on Sunday afternoon. It seems like a long time ago 
now. 

Our committee had General Resolutions. We met Sunday 
afternoon at 1:00 o'clock and we had a very fine session. I was ably 
assisted by Vice-Chairman John Gwizdak, the Junior Vice Commander-in- 
Chief designate from the Southern Conference; Jim Goldsmith from 



155 



Michigan, also a candidate for Junior Commander-in-Chief; and Raul 
Phillips from Delaware. 

The staff members that were assisting us that day were Mike 
Gormalley, Gordon Thorson, Robert Crider and Russell Cutright. I will get 
into the approved resolutions right away. 

The Committee on General Resolutions, the resolutions we 
approved for adoption are No. 301, No. 308 and No. 309. Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I move adoption of those resolutions. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Do we have a second to the 
motion? 

COMRADE JOHN GWIZDAK (Post 5080 - Georgia): I second the 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion and a 
second for adoption. Is there any discussion at Microphone No. 1, 
Microphone No. 2 or Microphone No. 3? Hearing none, all those in favor 
will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed "no". The motion carries. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF STAUM: Recommended for 
adoption, as amended, is Resolution 302 dealing with the Star Spangled 
Banner to remain the National Anthem. We crossed off a few words in the 
"Resolved", and the words that were crossed off were "well and/or 
influence". 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I recommend the adoption of that 
resolution, as amended. 

COMRADE JOHN GWIZDAK (Post 5080 - Georgia): I second the 
motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion and the second are 
in order to adopt, as amended. Seeing no one at the microphones, I will 
call for the vote. All those in favor of the amendment will signify by saying 
"aye"; all those opposed. The motion is in order. The resolution is adopted, 
as amended. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF STAUM: Those resolutions that 
were rejected by the committee are Resolution No. 303, Restrict Designees 
On World War II Monument; No. 305; No. 306; and No. 307 was rejected 
in favor of 302. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any requests for 
adoption of those that have been recommended for rejection by the 
Chairman? 

Microphone No. 3. 

COMRADE PAUL CROTEAU (Post 8203 - Florida): I would like to 
ask to have set aside for discussion Resolution No. 305. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I would ask Microphone No. 
3 if you want this to be adopted, you will have to move for adoption of 
Resolution No. 305. 

Microphone No. 3, I would ask if you want to move for the 
adoption that you do so with a motion. 

COMRADE PAUL CROTEAU (Post 8203 - Florida): Yes, I would 



156 



like to move for the adoption of No. 305. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Your motion is in order. Is 
there a second? 

COMRADE RAYMOND BREUNAR (Post 10139 - Florida): I 
second it. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion and the second is 
in order. I call forward the Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF STAUM: Resolution 305, Fund 
Our Veterans Earned Entitlements With Our Constitutional Power. The 
premise of the resolution is that the Federal Reserve System is 
unconstitutional, therefore, Federal Reserve Notes are not legal tender. 

In Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 18 of the Constitution of the 
United States, it states: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and 
proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other 
powers vested by this Constitution and the Government of the United 
States, or in any department or officer thereof." 

That paragraph allowed the United States Congress to enact the 
Federal Reserve Act that delegated the responsibility of the power to coin 
money and set its value to the Federal Reserve System in 1913. The 
committee felt that that explained it all and they moved for the rejection in 
the committee meeting. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time I would ask the 
sound system man to turn up the microphone system on Microphone No. 
3 so that the gentleman may be able to speak. 

COMRADE PAUL CROTEAU (Post 8203 - Florida): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, officers and members, Resolution No. 305 is about 
money. We, the VFW, are primarily concerned about money for our 
veterans. The United States' note is money which serves us, the American 
people, as a servant of an exchange of value, whereas, the Federal Reserve 
Note serves the world merchant bankers as masters over the media, over 
the elected offices, our government agencies, our private industries, all 
salaried employees, as well as all wage earners in the United States with 
the banker's power of winning at the expense of the American taxpayer. 

We heard yesterday that any change should be for the better. In 
1964, a change was made that was a bad change. The United States note 
money was completely replaced by the Federal Reserve note money. Since 
1964, the national debt has gone up to many trillions of dollars and the 
interest that the U.S. Treasury or the taxpayers must pay to the Federal 
Reserve bankers is up to more than $500 billion for the fiscal year ending 
September 30th. That is accelerating. 

The good part of the United States note is that it was issued by the 
U.S. Congress and it circulated back to the U.S. Treasury interest free. So, 
at the end of the fiscal year, the United States Government has the money 
that was circulated to operate the government functions. 

Whereas, the bad part of the Federal Reserve Note is that the 
monies have not circulated back to the U.S. Treasury, so the government is 



157 



without money on September 30th and now the Congress has issued the 
United States note, the government could function with the United States 
note, because it has circulated it. 

However, because the government borrowed interest-bearing 
Federal Reserve Notes, the government has no money, while the 
compound interest accelerates the increase of the national debt. It has 
been shown to us that the national debt has increased a billion dollars 
today and the interest that the taxpayer must pay to the Federal Reserve 
bankers exceeds $1 million a day. 

That is why Resolution 305 must be adopted so as to take 
advantage of the powerful gift which our forefathers granted to us in the 
Constitution of the United States of America. The congressional power to 
issue money interest free is by this Constitution. That means that it is 
official. 

No. 305 is moral. That means that it is righteous and beneficial for 
the veterans. The United States note is a servant rather than a master. I 
move that Resolution 305 be adopted. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. Microphone No. 
3. In regards to Resolution No. 305, we will look to Microphone No. 1. 

COMRADE JOHN WHITCOMB (Post 988 - Indiana): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I rise in defense of this motion. I move also that it 
be adopted. I am very surprised, amazed actually, that the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars members do not know more about their Constitution and this 
money problem that has been going on since 1913. 

The 100th Anniversary logo said, "We'd do anything for this 
country." Now, it is the time. Way back in 1997, Congress sent to the 
President for his signature a bill designated as a line item veto. Just a 
couple of months ago the Supreme Court of the United States handed 
down a decision that it was unconstitutional. 

The words of Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the opinion for the 
majority, stated, and these are his words, "The Congress cannot give away 
their duty; they cannot give it away even if they want to. It is 
unconstitutional to do so." 

Now, if it is unconstitutional to do so with the line item veto, it 
stands to reason that back in 1913 it was unconstitutional for the Congress 
to give away their right to coin money. I urge you very strongly comrades, 
adopt this resolution. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Microphone No. 
1 . I will go to Microphone No. 2 and Microphone No. 3. We will go back 
to Microphone No. 1 on Resolution No. 305. Seeing no one at the 
microphones, I will call for the vote on No. 305. All those in favor of 
adopting 305, will signify by saying "aye"; those opposed will say "no". 
Resolution No. 305 is hereby rejected. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF STAUM: There is one other 
resolution, and that was Resolution No. 304. The resolution was to censor 
"60 Minutes". After quite a lengthy discussion, there was a motion to table 



158 



this and send it back to the Department of Texas. The motion to table 
amounts to rejection, and that's it. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a request or a motion 
to adopt Resolution No. 304? Seeing none, the recommendation of the 
committee is in order. Resolution No. 304 is hereby rejected. I would ask 
that the General Resolutions Committee, though, still be with us because 
we are not going to dismiss that committee until sometime late tomorrow. 
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

The chair recognizes Microphone No. 1. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Commander- 
in-Chief, do I understand that Resolution 303 was rejected? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Resolution No. 303 was 
rejected. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, could we ask why it was rejected? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrade Chairman. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF STAUM: I thought we were done. 
Resolution No. 303, Restrict Designees On World War II Monument. One, 
Congress passed legislation authorizing the World War II Memorial. The 
act made it very clear that the monument was to reflect the sacrifice of all 
Americans. 

It is underlined, all Americans, even those that served on the home 
front. That directive has been followed in all of the design proposals sent 
to the various Washington, D.C., bodies that have final approval. Given 
how far along this process has proceeded, it would be difficult, if not 
impossible, to insert a change now. 

To do so would delay the project even further, thereby hindering 
its completion if not preventing it. Also, it already incorporates another 
portion of the World War II Memorial dedicated to those who died in 
conflict. The VFW has taken an active role in support of a special portion 
of the monument, a portion dedicated to our fallen comrades. 

This resolution could further delay this project. As a result, those 
World War II veterans still alive would tragically be denied an opportunity 
to see it completed in their lifetime. Comrade Commander-in-Chief, may 
I digress for a moment here? 

I had the opportunity of serving on the President's Commission for 
the Korean War Memorial. That memorial took almost ten years. As you 
remember, the Korean War lasted three years and one month. Now, I 
worked on that memorial and any changes that were made had to go back 
to square one. 

Then you had to go back to all the committees, the Battle 
Monument Commission, the National Planning Commission, the Fine Arts 
Committee, and all those committees are composed of presidential 
appointments like myself, and most of them had quite inflated egos. 

So, my friends, every time that you make a change in Washington, 
D.C., you have to go through all those committees. Any changes rbw to 



159 



this World War II Memorial would only delay the project. I listened very 
Intently to Congresswoman Kaptur talk this morning. 

She very eloquently described what was going to be on that 
memorial. My comrades, let's not delay this memorial any longer. We owe 
that to the World War II veterans throughout this nation whom I have a 
deep and abiding respect. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you for that 
clarification. 

Microphone No. 1 will be recognized again. 

COMRADE RON RUSKO (Post 9460 - Connecticut): Past 
Commander-in-Chief Staum, thank you for that explanation. It clears up 
the resolution. We appreciate your words. 

PRESENTATION OFVFW DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL AND 

CITATION 
TO PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF JAMES E. NIER 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Several years ago a young man 
from El Paso, Texas, an Army veteran, joined the VFW. From the very 
beginning he showed that he was a natural leader. Just eight years after 
joining the VFW, he was elected to the position of Department 
Corrimander, the VFW Department of Texas. "Rise Higher With Nier" was 
his theme and he indeed took his Department higher that year, and he 
finished the year as an All-Department Commander. 

But he didn't stop there. Jim Nier set his sights higher and in 1996 
was elected to the position of VFW Commander-in-Chief. The leadership 
that had been so obvious here in Texas, and had led to so many 
achievements, was now taken to the national level. As Commander-in- 
Chief, Jim Nier toured the country and visited members and active duty 
troops around the world. Under his leadership the VFW increased its 
support for active duty personnel at home and overseas. 

During his "Above and Beyond" year, Jim Nier called for increased 
vigilance against international terrorism, instituted a VFW POW/MIA 
initiative to further the recovery efforts in Southeast Asia, called for an 
extension of the President's Gulf War Illness Committee, and followed that 
up by asking that the presumptive period for such illnesses be extended. As 
a result of Jim Nier's efforts, President Clinton recognized the VFW for its 
leadership in the area of Gulf War illnesses. 

From improved health care for veterans to beginning discussions 
with North Korea over the recovery of Ml As from that war, Jim Nier took 
our organization above and beyond. And in one of his last official acts 
called on our government to finalize its plan and get on with building a 
World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Here to receive the VFW Distinguished Service Medal and 
Citation, please give him a warm VFW welcome, Past Commander-in-Chief 
Jim Nier, VFW Post 8919, El Paso, Texas. 



160 



RESPONSE - PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF JAMES NIER 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF NIER: Good morning, comrades. 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Delegates to this 99th National 
Convention, my Fellow VFW Members and Friends: It is with much pride 
that I accept this VFW Distinguished Service Medal and it is particularly 
awarding to me to have it presented to me by my friend John Moon. 

Yes, the award has been presented to me, but I accept it on behalf 
of those who were with me in ensuring that we had a most successful year 
as we began to prepare this great organization for the 21st Century. 

To my Post, to my District, to the Department of Texas, to the 
Kansas City and Washington offices and their staffs, and most importantly 
to the Council of Administration and to the 54 Department Commanders 
who served with me, I shall always cherish your support and your 
friendship. To my wife, Kimmy, thank you for your love and your 
continued support and your understanding. 

I am proud to be here this morning. I am extremely proud to have 
received this award. I am extremely proud to be a member of the greatest 
veterans organization in the world, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States. I am truly proud to be an American. Thank you and God 
bless each of you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I would ask that this be 
recorded in the minutes of this convention, the Distinguished Service 
Medal and this Citation awarded to James E. Nier, Commander-in-Chief, 
1996-'97. 

"In sincere appreciation and special recognition of his total 
dedication and commitment to the highest ideals of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States and his continuing efforts in support of its 
programs and purposes. Through his exceptional leadership during the 
1 996-'97 administrative year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars demonstrated its 
ability and willingness to go 'Above and Beyond' for our nation and its 
veterans." 

Given this 2nd day of September, 1998. I will give it to you, Jim 
Nier. Congratulations. 

...Convention Announcements. ... 

NATIONAL MARCHING UNITS AND PARADE COMMITTEE WINNERS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time I call to the 
podium Robert Brady for the purpose of announcing the award winners in 
the parade last night. 

COMRADE ROBERT BRADY (Post 7090 - Pennsylvania): This is the 
report of the National Contests Committee. Lackland Base, we not only 
used their base but we used their active drill instructors to help with the 
judging. The results of those contests, the winner of the Senior Men's Color 



161 



Guards, the Silent Sixteen from Darien, Connecticut. The Conrimander- in- 
Chief will present their First Place plaque. 

The ladies category, Field Competition, Senior Ladies Color Guard 
Champion, the Patriettes from Davison, Michigan. 

Our next group of winners are the Junior ROTC classification. This 
is a unit that is a little bit out of turn because they have a military transport 
and have to get out of town as soon as they can. So the Spring Valley High 
School, please come forward. They are the winner of the All Girls JROTC 
Color Championship and represent the Department of South Carolina. 

Griffin High School, will you please come forward, from Griffin, 
Georgia. The next four awards are won by this unit. The National 
Champion Junior ROTC Color Guard, the Male Unit; the Junior Open Field 
Contest, Griffin High School, Male Unit. 

The National Championship ROTC Armed Drill Team, the National 
Champion All-Girl Rifle Drill Team, Griffin, Georgia. The Ladies National 
Championship, Junior ROTC Unarmed Drill Team from Walter Stebbins 
High School, Department of Ohio, Dayton, Ohio. 

The results of the Ladies Nights Patriotic Rally Winners, the VFW 
Color Guard, the Department of Iowa. 

The Best Appearing Senior Ladies VFW Auxiliary Color Guard, the 
Department of Arkansas. Will someone from Arkansas accept the plaque 
for the ladies, please. 

The VFW National Ritualistic Contest will be held today at 2:00 
p.m. in Plaza Room D, located on the second floor here. It is 2:00 p.m., 
the Ritual Competition. 

Commander-in-Chief Moon, that is the extent of our report. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The Assistant Quartermaster 
General will please come forward to announce the winners of the 
insurance drawing. 

(Whereupon, Assistant Adjutant General Larry Maher announced 
the winners of the insurance drawing.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, 
you will prepare the room for the Closing Ceremonies for this session 
today. 

(Whereupon, the Salute to the Colors was had followed by the 
Benediction according to the Ritual.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, the Closing Ceremonies for today's session has been 
conducted. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: This session is hereby closed 
for today and we will reconvene at 9:00 o'clock a.m. tomorrow morning. 

(Whereupon, the meeting was duly recessed at 1 1 :30 o'clock a.m.) 



FOURTH BUSINESS SESSION 
THURSDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 3, 1998 



162 



(The Fourth Business Session of the 99th National Convention of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, held in the Henry B. 
Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, was called to order at 
9:00 o'clock a.m., with Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Thomas A. 
Pouliot presiding.) 

CALL TO ORDER 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Sergeant-at- 
Arms, prepare the room for the Opening Ceremonies and the Salute to the 
Colors. 

(Whereupon, Sergeant-at-Arms Hoffman led the assembly in the 
Salute to the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance. National Chaplain 
Reverend Dean Derieg gave the Opening Prayer.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade Senior 
Vice Commander-in-Chief, the Opening Ceremonies have been 
performed. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Thank you. 
We will begin with the Report of the Credentials Committee. 

Mr. Chairman. 

REPORT OF CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE 

COMRADE RICHARD TROMBLA (Post 1174 - Kansas): This is a 
temporary report, comrades, as of last night. The total delegates, 13,297. 
The Department Commanders, 54; Past Commanders-in-Chief, 26; 
National Officers, 36. That is for a grand total of 13,413. This is a 
temporary report. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief. 

PRESENTATION OF VFW EMERGENCY SERVICES AWARD, 
GOLD MEDAL AND CITATION TO CAPTAIN GREGORY ROGERS 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Annually the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars presents its Emergency Services Award to an 
individual for outstanding contributions to the community in the field of 
emergency services. 

We are pleased to present this year's award to a man who has 



163 



dedicated his life to serving his community. Throughout a distinguished 
career, Captain Gregory Rogers has established a wide recognition for his 
expertise. He received an official City of Bayonne Citation in 1997 for the 
Fire Fighter of the Year Award. 

He joined the Bayonne Fire Department on November 25, 1980. 
Upon completion of training. Captain Rogers served for ten years as a fire 
fighter. In January of 1 995, he was promoted to his present position of Fire 
Captain. 

In 1996, Captain Rogers single-handedly rescued several people 
from a burning building while he was off duty. He did this without the aid 
of projective clothing or equipment and before the Fire Department 
arrived. After he evacuated the people, he then assisted in fighting the fire 
by supplying the arriving engines with information on location of the fire 
and where he had already searched the building. 

For his heroic act. Captain Rogers received several awards, 
including the Valor Award from the 200 Club of Hudson County. 

Captain Rogers' actions, dedication and expertise as a fire fighter 
exemplify the courage and sacrifices of all emergency services personnel 
who serve our communities across the nation. 

Yesterday, I received a letter from Fire Chief William J. Kosakowski 
of the Bayonne Fire Department. I quote a portion of that letter. "I would 
like to express my congratulations to Captain Rogers. His actions personify 
the professionalism the Bayonne Fire Department strives for. You make us 
all proud to be fire fighters." 

Please welcome Captain Gregory Rogers, the 1998 recipient of the 
VFW Emergency Services Award. 

"The Emergency Services Award, Gold Medal and Citation 
presented to Captain Gregory Rogers, Bayonne Fire Department. 

"In special recognition of his distinguished career as fire fighter 
and in sincere appreciation for his selfless and dedicated service as 
evidenced by his single-handed rescue of several people from a burning 
building while off duty and without the aid of protective clothing or 
equipment, Captain Rogers' actions, dedication and experience as a fire 
fighter exemplifies the deeds and sacrifices of those of the emergency 
services who serve our communities across the nation. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States this 3rd day 
of September, 1998." 

This has been signed by our Commander-in-Chief Moon and our 
Adjutant General Larry Rivers. Congratulations. 

In addition to the Citation and Gold Medal, Captain Gregory 
Rogers, we would like to present to you a check for $1 ,000 payable to the 
Bayonne Fire Project Air Lift, your charity. 

RESPONSE - CAPTAIN GREGORY ROGERS 



164 



MR. GREGORY ROGERS: Thank you. Thank you very much and 
good morning. I am from a relatively small, densely populated and highly 
industrial town in New Jersey called Bayohne. Bayonne is about ten miles 
from New York City, neighbored by Jersey City and Hoboken.and bordered 
by water on three sides, a peninsula town. 

Some of the old timers on the Fire Department tell me that 
Bayonne was the home of the PT boat, including the famous PT 109, and 
boats were built there and tested in our waters. I also understand that the 
military ocean terminal located in Bayonne invited many soldiers to enjoy 
their liberty time in our city which explains why we have so many taverns 
and bars. 

In any event, I was born in Bayonne 39 years ago. I was hired by 
the Bayonne Fire Department 1 8 years ago. I served as a fire fighter for ten 
years, a lieutenant for five years and currently as captain for three years. It 
is not very often that I leave Bayonne, but recently, and to my complete 
surprise, I received correspondence from the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
Commander-in-Chief John Moon inviting me to be with all of you here in 
San Antonio at the VFW National Convention to be the recipient for the 
1998 VFW Emergency Services Award. 

During my flight to San Antonio, I enjoyed a quiet moment 
pondering why I had been selected for this award. The more I thought 
about it, the more I began to realize the enormity of this honor. To have 
been chosen as the sole recipient of the Emergency Services Award 
throughout the entire nation is recognition beyond my comprehension. 

But to have been chosen by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, an 
organization comprised of war veterans, with the ultimate in search and 
rescue and who have made major sacrifices for this country, and in so 
many instances made the ultimate sacrifice, make for a humbling 
realization. 

The realization that the true honor for me is the honor of being in 
the presence of so many of you fine veterans. You are truly the national 
heroes. You are truly my inspiration. I would like to add to that my recent 
feeling of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" solidifies that feeling. 

I would like to conclude by thanking the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
and all of you fine members. I would like to thank Commander-in-Chief 
John Moon, the New Jersey State Commander Dennis Clark, the Past New 
Jersey State Commander and all those that had a part in me receiving this 
award. 

I want to especially thank Bayonne Post 226 and the City of 
Bayonne and the Chief of Bayonne Fire Department and its staff for all your 
support and consideration. I would like to extend a special thanks to 
Nancy Pomeroy for demonstrating the considerate hospitality of Veterans of 
Foreign Wars by arranging for my stay here in San Antonio. I will treasure 
these memories my entire life. Thank you once again and may God bless 
you. 



165 



PRESENTATION OFVFWJ. EDGAR HOOVER AWARD, 
GOLD MEDAL AND CITATION TO CAPTAIN FRANK F. RIZZUTO 

, SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Comrades, I 
am pleased to present the VFW J. Edgar Hoover Award for outstanding 
service in the field of law enforcement to an outstanding police officer from 
the City of New Orleans. 

Officer Rizzuto has continually displayed courage and dedicated 
service to the citizens of the City of New Orleans. During his service, he 
has received two Department Purple Heart Medals, three Medals of 
Commendation, and his most recent award, the Medal for Life Saving. 

In addition to the Department awards, he has been honored by 
numerous civic organizations as well as receiving countless letters of 
appreciation from citizens. 

Officer Rizzuto received the Department Medal for Life Saving, 
one of the Department's highest awards, for responding with his partner to 
a call of an attempted suicide on May 24, 1997. The subject jumped from 
the Walkway Avenue Bridge into Bayou St. John. 

Disregarding his own safety. Officer Rizzuto immediatelyjumped 
into the bayou after the drowning man and successfully dragged him to 
shore. Officer Rizzuto 's deeds, dedication and expertise as a police officer 
exemplify the highest standards of service and sacrifice of our nation's law 
enforcement officers. 

Please give a warm VFW welcome to our 1998 VFW J. Edgar 
Hoover Award recipient. Police Officer Frank F. Rizzuto, of the New 
Orleans Police Department. We present the J. Edgar Hoover Award, Gold 
Medal and Citation to Officer Frank F. Rizzuto, New Orleans Police 
Department. 

"In appreciation of his outstanding service, professionalism, 
bravery and knowledge in the field of law enforcement and in special 
recognition of his heroic actions as evidenced by his jumping into Bayou 
St. John to save an attempted suicide victim with complete disregard for his 
own personal safety. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 3rd 
day of September, 1998." 

This citation has been signed by our Commander-in-Chief John E. 
Moon and our Adjutant General Larry W. Rivers. 

In addition, Officer Frank Rizzuto will get an honorarium for 
$1 ,000 to be donated to his favorite charity. 

RESPONSE - OFFICER FRANK RIZZUTO 

OFFICER RIZZUTO: Good morning. Commander-in-Chief John 
Moon and Distinguished Guests, the stay here in San Antonio, I have met 
your families and your friends. This morning I would like you to meet my 



166 



family and my friends. 

First, my lovely wife and friend, Darlene Rizzuto. Also my hunting 
and fishing buddy, Anthony Rizzuto. Probably one of the greatest moms in 
the world, my mom, Edith Rizzuto. I have two sisters. One could not be 
here today because of a prior commitment. My sister, Loretta, made the 
trip. Also Ms. Ruth Ashley from the New Orleans Police Department, 
Public Affairs Division. Also Mrs. Madeline Morris, when in January I 
received the Henry Morris Award. Her husband was the Chief of Police 
and I served under his command. 

I would like to say special thanks to Mrs. Priscilla Wilkewitz and 
to Charlie Wiggins, our past State Commander, and our present State 
Commander Landry Saucier, "98-99, and my Post Commander, Gerald 
Snyder, Post 8973, all from Louisiana. Last but not least, there are two 
other men in my life: Mr. Bubba Martin and Mr. Manuel Curry. 

On that night that I jumped in that bayou to save that man's life, a 
good friend of mine was with me. He is now a sergeant. He has been 
recently promoted and serves in the Sixth District in the New Orleans 
Police Department. His name is Dale Albert. Without him, I would not be 
here today. 

When I jumped in that bayou, I knew the risk I was taking at that 
time. When I jumped in, I knew this man was trying to kill himself and 
there was a risk I would not make it back alive. When I entered the water, 
the man tried to pull me under and tried to both drown me and himself. If 
it wasn't for the good voice of Dale Albert in thinking quickly. He throwed 
me a rope and we saved that man. 

I would like to read a little poem at this time. 

"I never dreamed it would be me, my name for all eternity. 

"Recording at this hallowed place, alas my name no more, my 



face. 



years. 



"In the line of duty, I hear him say. 
"My family now the price will pay. 
"My folded flags stained with tears. We only had those few short 



"The badge no longer on my chest, I sleep now in eternal rest. 

"My sword I pass to those behind and I pray to keep this thought 
in mind. I never dreamed it would be me. 

"With heavy hearts and bended knees, I ask all of Thee in the past. 
Dear God, let my name be the last." 

This was written by Sergeant George Hand of the Los Angeles 
Police Department. 

Over the past couple of months, I have lost several friends of mine 
on the New Orleans Police Department. I would like to take a moment 
and pay respect to them. 

It has been an honor and a privilege to receive this award. I will 
wear this medal with great honor and great pride. Thank you, and may 
God bless you all. 



167 



PRESENTATION OF JAMES C. GATES DISTINGUISHED SERVICE 

AWARD 
TO MR. RICHARD C. WORMWOOD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 
very much, Officer Rizzuto, for those inspiring words. 

It is now my distinct honor to present the prestigious James C. 
Gates Distinguished Service Award to Richard C. Wormwood. 

He is a veteran's advocate in the truest sense of the word. Hired 
in the early seventies as a local Veterans Employment Representative in 
Rutland, Vermont, he quickly developed a rapport with employers, 
enabling him to become one of the most successful Veterans Employment 
Representatives in the State of Vermont. 

Through Rick's devotion to veterans as a local Veterans 
Employment Representative and then as Assistant Manager, Rutland Office 
of the Department of Employment and Training, he has always met its 
federally-mandated veterans' preference goals. 

He is an exceptionally innovative, highly motivated and extremely 
effective leader who revolutionized the way the Rutland office served the 
employment and training needs of the veteran community. 

Rick has been instrumental in developing computer capability; 
implementing a veterans' newsletter; establishing a veterans' network; 
producing video resumes; conducting Job Fairs; assisting homeless 
veterans. The list goes on and on. 

Comrades, I now present to you a gentleman whose efforts have 
enhanced the Veterans Employment Service in the State of Vermont and has 
gone that extra mile for our nation's veterans, Richard "Rick" Wormwood. 

The citation that we present is the "James C. Gates Distinguished 
Service Award presented to Richard C. Wormwood, Veterans Program 
Manager, Department Employment and Training. 

"In recognition of extraordinary achievement and exceptional 
leadership in advancing employment opportunities for our nation's 
veterans and distinguished service in promoting the goals and objectives of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States." 

It is presented this 3rd day of September, 1998. It has been signed 
by John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant 
General. 

Mr. Wormwood. 

RESPONSE - MR. RICHARD WORMWOOD 

MR. WORMWOOD: Commander-in-Chief Moon and National 
Employment Director Magill and Comrades — I still remember the 
distinguished guests — thank you very much. I humbly accept the James 
C. Gates Award on behalf of all the local veterans employment 



168 



representatives and all of the program specialists. 

I accept this award at a time much work still remains to be done 
to assure that all America's unsung heroes, our nation's veterans are proud, 
productive and fully employed in the world's greatest nation. From a small 
town of less than 20,000 people and from a small state, Vermont, from 
where one of our most prominent citizens. President Calvin Coolidge is 
remembered as Silent Cal, I was somewhat at a loss for words today, so I 
turned to one of Vermont's other natives Robert Frost, who wrote the poem, 
"The Road Not Taken." 

Part of it reads as follows: 

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel 
both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I 
could where it bent in the undergrowth then took the other, just as fair, and 
having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear." 

But for many American veterans, that road was not all that fair, Iwo 
Jima, Normandy, the Argonne Forest, and then later the Chosin Reservoir 
and the cold Korean winters, and then to the jungles of Vietnam, and more 
recently Kuwait and the desert sands of the Persian Gulf. 

For me, there was never any question about any of the services, 
although I did grow up knowing about World War II from my father and 
my uncle. For me, the real important role came in the summer of 1971, 
after I had gotten out of the army and began looking for my first civilian 
job. 

Every morning I made it a point to type up and mail out a 
minimum of three resumes and cover letters, but week after week, for 
almost three months, the only response I ever got was "No, thank you." 
Finally, a well-intended friend who worked in the Resource Department of 
a local business offered to redo my resume. I gladly accepted her offer. I 
know her advice was well-intended. 

After reviewing my resume, this respectable business person 
suggested I delete all mention of military experience from my resume. 
Needless to say, I rejected this lady's advice, but I still often talk about her 
and the profound effect her well-intended advice had on my career. 

Thanks to Katie, I began looking at the human service jobs and a 
month later I went to work for the Vermont Job Service as a Local Veterans 
Employment Representative. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the 
one less traveled by and that has made all the difference. 

Yes, comrades, it brought me to San Antonio today but I have 
worked and we face new challenges as well. We must continue to 
advocate for and focus the national spotlight on the homeless veterans. We 
must continue to apply political pressure on licensing and certification 
procedures for separating veterans so they don't have to undergo costly and 
redundant training to qualify for civilian jobs. 

Now that H.R. 1385 has been signed into law, we must remain 
ever vigilant about safeguarding veterans preference rights on both the 
local and state work force assessment force that will be charged with 



169 



designing and overseeing future programs for adults, youths and dislocated 
workers. Comrades, ourjourney is far from over. We still have miles to go 
before we finish. Thank you and God bless America. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you, 
Mr. Wormwood. In addition to your citation, we have an honorarium for 
$1,0C0 that I am sure you will use to assist veterans somewhere. 

PRESENTATION OF NATIONAL LARGE EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR 

AWARD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: The Veterans 
of Foreign Wars is now honored to bestow its Largest Employee of the Year 
Award to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Topeka Systems Maintenance 
Terminal. Centrally located in Topeka, Kansas, the Topeka Systems 
Maintenance Terminal is one of three mechanical department heavy repair 
facilities and is one of the largest and oldest rail repair shops in the 
industry. 

Of the approximately 700 people employed at the maintenance 
terminal, about 450, or 64 percent, are military veterans. Of this number, 
approximately 70 are service-connected disabled veterans. 

Before their merger, both Burlington Northern and Santa Fe 
exhibited uncommon support for our nation's military. During Desert 
Shield/Desert Storm, Burlington Northern painted one of their locomotives 
with camouflage paint and put yellow ribbons on all their locomotives. 

Santa Fe flew flags on all their locomotives and cabooses. Both 
railroad extended benefits in salary to cover their full-time employees who 
served on active duty during the Persian Gulf War, not just the two weeks 
that were required. 

There is no doubt that the Topeka maintenance terminal has a 
long-term commitment to the hiring of military veterans. The maintenance 
terminal has proven, and is continuing to prove their commitment to 
veterans. 

Accepting the award for the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe, Topeka 
Systems Maintenance Terminal is shop superintendent, Monte Johnson. 

The certificate reads, "The National Large Employer of the Year 
Award presented to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Topeka Systems 
Maintenance Terminal, Topeka, Kansas, in recognition and grateful 
appreciation for meritorious service in effecting a comprehensive policy 
toward the recruitment, employment and promotion of veterans." 

This has been signed September 3, 1998, by John E. Moon, 
Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 
Congratulations. 

RESPONSE - MR. MONTE B. JOHNSON 

MR. MONTE JOHNSON: I had a gentleman pick me up at the 

170 



airport yesterday evening and he gave me a brown envelope. It brought 
back deja vu. Then I started remembering that I was released from active 
duty 30 years ago this month. They asked me to prepare a short two to 
three-minute speech, and you will not get all two or three minutes of it. 

I accept this award in behalf of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe 
Railway and we appreciate this. I have to be to some other events and I 
wanted tojust say my piece from the heart if I could. We do a lot of things 
on the railroad today. The emergency firemen, with regard to deregulation, 
we look for the right kinds of people. We really do. 

If you can envision in your mind a triangular. At the peak of the 
triangular hangs the word "Safety". Over one corner, the right-hand 
corner, hangs the word "Quality". On the opposite corner hangs the word 
"Production". I talk to all the new hires that come into our facility. We 
have 700 people. 

I talk to all the new folks and shortly thereafter I call them in 
individually and put them on the carpet, as I call it, and we go through 
some things and we discuss how they feel about the railroad, their new 
environment. If you could imagine safety, everything we must do has to be 
labeled to safety. 

It has to be addressed with quality. It has to be addressed with 
production to meet the system requirements. Safety is of the utmost 
importance of everything we do in the railroad today. We will not be in 
business if we can't do it safely. 

Things that I look for when I am doing the hiring, veteran-type 
situations just automatically come to mind. Technical training, the 
technical training is already there in most cases. We have to brush it up 
and direct it toward the direction we need it, whether it is in the repair of 
freight cars or rolling stock, whether it is in regards to the repair and 
servicing of diesel locomotives. 

The discipline is already there with the veterans. I spent a couple 
of years in the military and I know about discipline. When a gentleman 
gives me a brown envelope, I take it and I open it. We go from there. You 
talk about commitment and dedication, that's clear in the veterans. Half of 
your work is already done for you. 

Lastly is loyalty. The folks are loyal. As I announced in earlier 
handling of one of these, it is we, the employer, that should be giving you 
folks the award for providing us with the good employees. I appreciate this 
very much. Thank you. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 
very much, Monte. In addition, we have an honorarium to the Burlington 
Northern-Santa Fe Railway Foundation for $1,000. 

PRESENTATION OF NATIONAL SMALL EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR 

AWARD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: It is now my 

vtl71 



honor to present the VFW National Small Employer of the Year Award to 
Lear Siegler Services of Milton, Florida, in recognition of its outstanding 
achievements in hiring, promoting and training veterans. 

Lear Siegler Services is exclusively committed to providing aircraft 
maintenance and aviation services. For the past 25 years the company has 
established an enviable record in providing services to the Department of 
Defense, several other United States government agencies, more than 25 
foreign governments, and many companies in the private sector, as well. 

Lear Siegler has established an extremely close working 
relationship with the Job Service Office of Milton, the result being that the 
vast majority of its employees are veterans. 

Of the 18 newly-hired employees brought aboard last year, 16 
were veterans. This outstanding company is to be commended for its 
utilization of local veterans employment representatives and the Disabled 
Veterans Outreach Program. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is honored to present the National 
Small Employer of the Year Award to Lear Siegler Services. Accepting the 
award is Raul Stelzner, the company's Personnel Manager. 

The citation that we are to present reads, "National Small 
Employer of the Year Award presented to Lear Siegler Services, 
Incorporated, in recognition and grateful appreciation for meritorious 
service in effecting a very comprehensive policy toward the recruitment, 
employment and promotion of veterans." 

This has been signed the 3rd day of September, 1998, by 
Commander-in-Chief Moon and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - MR. PAUL D. STELZNER 

MR. PAUL STELZNER: I am just going to say a few words. Being 
a veteran myself, it is really a great honor for me to be representing the 
company accepting this award on behalf of all our employees. Our 
employees is what makes our company work. 

It is the unique blend of the veterans versus the non-veterans that 
we have that make the professionalism of our company. Just to make a 
point, you out there will probably appreciate this. Since December, 1981, 
when we really started contract maintenance and to this date we have had 
over 1 .2 million hours of maintenance-free accident hours. That tells you 
about the caliber of the people we have working for us, the veterans. 

Certainly, proof of another point to us, because I had to call the 
office last night, and they had 116 aircraft in the hanger and did it in less 
than two hours. Let me tell you, folks, the training, the education, the 
professionalism of the veterans, you just can't speak highly enough of 
them. Thanks for training them and thanks for the Milton Job Sen/ice for 
giving us a bank and pool of people to pull from. Enjoy the rest of the 
convention. Thank you. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: We have an 



172 



honorarium for Lear Siegler Services, Incorporated, for $1,000. 

MR. PAUL STELZNER: It will go back into the community. Thank 
you very much. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 
very much. We are very pleased to present these awards to the large and 
small employers for the work they do in hiring veterans. 

MR. PAUL STELZNER: Thank you. 

PRESENTATION OF NATIONAL LOCAL OFFICE 
. , r^ i , OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT SERVICE AWARD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: We are now 
honored to recognize the Pierce County Lakewood Job Service Center of 
Tacoma, Washington, as the recipient of the National Local Office Service 
Award. 

The Pierce County Lakewood Job Service Center has not only 
excelled in finding jobs for veterans but has truly become an outstanding 
member of the community. 

The Lakewood Job Service Center is the onlyjob service center to 
provide full employment service on any Army installation, Air Force Base 
or Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They initiated a program 
called "The Year of the Veteran" which has now been expanded to 43 other 
states along with Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. 

The Lakewood Job Service Center has a close working relationship 
with small and large employers in their area resulting in exclusive referral 
agreements with many of them. Each year the Lakewood Job Service 
Center contacts over 1,000 employers, giving veterans the opportunity for 
gainful employment. 

Their accomplishments clearly demonstrate that the Pierce County 
Lakewood Job Service Center has excelled in its service to veterans and 
deserv/es recognition by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

Here to accept the award is the Local Veterans Employment 
Representative, Sal Cantu. 

The citation reads, "National Employment Service Office Award 
presented to Pierce County Lakewood Job Service Center, Washington 
State Employment Security, in recognition and appreciation for meritorious 
professional employment service rendered to veterans." 

This has been signed this day, September 3, 1998, by John E. 
Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - MR. SAL CANTU 

MR. SAL CANTU: Well, I have got my envelope here. As all of you 
know, when you get your envelope, because you have seen it in the service 
for years, the envelope tells you where to go. It gave me a real push that 
here is my orders. 



173 



Basically, what I want to do is to thank the VFW for considering us 
as an office that has done the job for veterans. As all of you know, 
employment is the main thing in this country. Without employment, we 
are not going anywhere. One of the things that our office is really good at 
is trying to get veterans employed in the State of Washington. 

We have over 650,000 veterans. Our offices in Ft. Lewis deal with 
about 15,000 veterans a year. The majority of them are disabled veterans. 
There are over 300,000 or 400,000 veterans that are helped every year, just 
with what you guys are doing. When I came over here, the veterans we 
are representing, and the shirt I have got on here for the work study 
program, is just one of the events that we hold every year. 

This event is where we are going to have this year for the VA Work 
Study Program. It is a program that very few people know about, and when 
the Work Study knew I was coming here and that we were running this 
across the country this year, they said, "Take something down there and 
show those guys what we are doing." 

The VA Work Study or the people that work in VA offices, in 
military and veteran hospitals, and in employment offices, and they get to 
see millions of veterans every year. They are the ones, the little guys that 
nobody really pays attention to. 

They get minimum wage while they are going to school. They are 
veterans. The majority of them are disabled. A lot of them are with over 
50 percent disabilities. These are the guys that are out there that nobody 
else knows, but are guys that are really helping the veterans and the 
families of all the veterans. 

We are real proud to get this award and be recognized for what all 
of these guys do out there. I am just a representative from the office and I 
want to thank you. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: In addition, 
we would like to present an honorarium, in the amount of $1,000. No 
doubt, you will continue to use this to assist veterans. Thank you. 

MR. CANTU: Thank you. 

PRESENTATION OF OUTSTANDING VA HEALTH-CARE 
PROVIDER OF THE YEAR AWARD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: The National 
Hospital Committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has established an 
award recognizing an Outstanding VA Health-Care Provider of the Year. 
This award is presented to a VA employee who was nominated by a VFW 
Post for taking those extra steps and providing exemplary service to 
veterans and their families. 

I am pleased to recognize this year's recipient, Ms. Judy Hamilton, 
a licensed practical nurse at the Fayetteville, Arkansas, VA Medical Center. 
Ms. Hamilton, assigned to the outpatient triage area, evaluates the severity 
of a patient's illness. 



174 



With compassion, understanding and professionalism, she works 
closely with patients in waiting areas to ensure that they are not in any 
distress. 

Ms. Hamilton is courteous, efficient and highly competent in 
dealing with patients and their families. She knows when to circumvent 
routine processing procedures for patients who present themselves with 
any type of life-threatening symptoms. 

Possessing a wonderful disposition and displaying a warm 
comforting smile, she cares about her patients' well-being all the time. 

It is with great pride that I present this year's Outstanding VA 
Health-Care Provider of the Year Award to Ms. Judy Hamilton from the 
Fayetteville, Arkansas, VA Medical Center. 

The citation reads: "Outstanding VA Health-Care Provider Award 
presented to Judy Hamilton in special recognition of your individual 
achievements in support of the programs and purposes of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States as the Outstanding VA Health-Care 
Provider of the Year." 

This has been signed this day, September 3, 1998, by John E. 
Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - MRS. JUDY HAMILTON 

MRS. HAMILTON: Greetings from Fayetteville, Arkansas. I have 
spotted Arkansas way over there. Hello. I want tojust thank you for this 
honor. I am truly humble. Also, I want to thank you for all the dedicated 
and very hard-working veterans of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that we 
have in our hospitals. Without you, we couldn't do all the work that is 
assigned for us to do. 

You are very helpful, unselfish giving of your time and unselfish 
spirit, and I appreciate that very much. Thank you, too, for helping me care 
and helping all of us care for our fellow veterans. 

Finally, I can't go without saying I must thank the Lord Jesus Christ, 
my Savior, for giving me the ability to do what I do. Without him, I am 
nothing. May God bless you, our veterans, may God bless our country and 
protect it and have mercy on America. Thank you. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT Thank you 
very much. We also would like to present you with an honorarium in the 
amount of $500. 

MRS. HAMILTON: Thank you. 

PRESENTATION OF OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY HEALTH-CARE 

PROVIDER 
OF THE YEAR AWARD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT This year we 
are honored to present the VFW Outstanding Community Health- Care 



175 



Provider of the Year Award to Mrs. Catherine O'Dougherty of Kinnelon, 
New Jersey. 

Mrs. O'Dougherty is a certified hospice nurse with the 
Compassionate Care Hospice Company in Clifton, New Jersey. Her 
normal duties involve providing such things as family supportive care, pain 
management and bereavement counseling. She helps her patients live the 
last days of their lives in comfort, and after the final hour has passed, she 
assists the family with the final arrangements. 

Displaying compassion and understanding, she is an exemplary 
care provider who gives of her time to help people in her community. 

With a gentle, sensitive and comforting manner, she works 
tirelessly to resolve community needs. Families of deceased patients 
continue to call her with thanks and appreciation for the care she has 
provided their loved ones. 

She is a true healer who will never stop helping until the sick and 
distressed receive a ray of her spirited love and compassion. Mrs. 
O'Dougherty has gone beyond her normal responsibilities and boundaries 
to provide comfort to those in need. 

I am honored to present this year's VFW Outstanding Community 
Health-Care Provider of the Year Award to Mrs. Catherine O'Dougherty of 
Kinnelon, New Jersey. 

The citation reads, "Outstanding Community Health- Care 
Provider Award presented to Catherine O'Dougherty in special recognition 
of your individual achievements in support of the programs and purposes 
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States as the Outstanding 
Community Health-Care Provider of the Year." 

It has been signed this 3rd day of September, 1998, by John E. 
Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - MRS. CATHERINE O'DOUGHERTY 

MRS. O'DOUGHERTY: First, I would like to thank a special 
person that is with me today, my husband, Danny, for putting up with me 
going out in all different areas in my community and different hours in the 
middle of the night. He also helps me drive when I have difficult weather 
to families that were in crisis or when a patient has expired. He also helps 
me comfort the patient and kind of helps me after I come back and am kind 
of drained. 

Also, I am really honored to receive this award and I would just 
like to thank the VFW and the delegates and officers, and especially 
another special person who is in our audience, Lou Pella, who is also a 
delegate, and his wife for coming with me and supporting me, and also 
supporting my work in my community. 

I really hope I can continue to promote good health care even if it 
is at the end of your life, because we are only going into a next life. So 
thanks again to everybody, and I will continue to promote better health 



176 



care to veterans and their families. Thank you. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 
very much, Catherine. In addition, we would like to present you with this 
honorarium of $500. 

MRS. O'DOUGHERTY: Thank you. 

PRESENTATION OF OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR 

AWARD 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: It is a great 
pleasure for me to present the VFW Outstanding Volunteer of the Year 
Award. This is the fifth year the VFW has presented an award recognizing 
an individual for exemplary service as a health care volunteer. 

This year's recipient is Mr. Charles "Ben" Napier, who is a 
volunteer for the veterans of Northern Georgia. Ben works closely with 
VFW Post 3679, who submitted him for this award. He is a highly- 
dedicated volunteer and a hard-working advocate for veterans. 

His ability to provide needed comfort items for the VA Hospital 
and its patients is exceptional. No veteran in need is left to fend for 
themselves. 

Equally important, is the amount of time he spends visiting 
veterans, not only in their homes, but at the VA, private hospitals and 
nursing homes. He makes it a routine to visit at least one facility each day, 
and if time permits he will visit several facilities just to let patients and 
residents know that someone cares about them. 

You can call on Ben for any type of assistance knowing he usually 
delivers within 24 hours. He is known throughout Northern Georgia as the 
man to get the job done. He is a true friend of all veterans and their 
families. 

I am proud to present this year's VFW Outstanding Volunteer of the 
Year Award to Charles "Ben" Napier of Rossville, Georgia. 

The citation reads, "Outstanding Volunteer award presented to 
Charles B. Napier in special recognition of your individual achievements 
in support of the program and purposes of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States as the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year." 

This is dated September 3, 1998, and signed by John E. Moon, 
Commander-in-Chief, and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

Mr. Napier. 

RESPONSE - MR. CHARLES NAPIER 

COMRADE NAPIER: I would like to thank the local Post in 
Georgia, my Post, that is sitting back here on the back row. I want to thank 
every man out there. If it wasn't for you, what you did, I would not be able 
to be up here today. I want to thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, and I appreciate 
everybody. 



177 



I don't know anything else to say, fellows. When you go back 
home, try to get a veteran in your organization. We need every man. 
Thank you very much. 

SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: In addition, 
we would like to give this honorarium of $500. I know you will put it to 
good use. 

COMRADE NAPIER: Thank you very much, Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief. 

(Whereupon, Commander-in-Chief Moon assumed the chair.) 

INTRODUCTION OF MR. JIM CHANCELLOR 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I ask you this morning to 
please welcome James Chancellor, a Vietnam veteran and a VFW member 
of Post 6498, who is here to present a military service ring he designed and 
created in recognition of those who have served in our armed forces. 

Now, Jim Chancellor, from the great state of Indiana. 

PRESENTATION - MR. JIM CHANCELLOR 

COMRADE JAMES CHANCELLOR: Hello, friends. Thank you 
once again for having me back this year to make this very special 
presentation of the VFW veteran's ring to our incoming National 
Commander. Each year I speak to you about several different things. 

Early on in Chicago, with Billy Ray, I talked to you about the need 
to take down all road blocks and welcome the Vietnam veteran into our 
organization so we might address the issues that that war produced, I 
talked to you about what we needed to do as an organization. We needed 
to be a political voice, be united and be one political voice. 

Several years ago, I talked to you about responsibility, quoting the 
poem from Flanders Field: To your hands I pass the torch, to be yours to 
hold high. Well, this year I am going to break that down from "we" to "I". 
I am going to tell you what James Chancellor is going to do this coming 
year. 

I am going to tell you what I am going to do for the veterans. 
Before I tell you that, I must tell you why I have this change of heart from 
"we" to "me". Last year, I attended a funeral in Paducah, Kentucky, of a 
friend of mine named Jerry. Jerry and I served together in Vietnam. 

We were both crew chiefs with the 119th Assault Helicopter 
Company in Vietnam. I only saw Jerry one time since Vietnam, but I talked 
to him often and I knew quite a bit about him. I knew he was a God- 
fearing man. I knew he loved his country, he was honest and a caring 
father. 

When I got to the funeral home, I didn't know very many people, 
and I thought that I would listen on some conversations and try to find out 
how other people felt about Jerry. They were all pretty much the same. 



178 



Jerry was outspoken, Jerry had strong convictions to what he believed in. 

Jerry would let you know immediately how he stood on an issue. 
He was a patriot and he believed in what our forefathers fought for. When 
I left that funeral that day, I thought, gee, that is a great way to be 
remembered, an honest, caring man, with strong convictions that is not 
afraid to get up on his soapbox and tell people what he believes in. I 
dedicated a new way of life that day to Jerry and to myself. 

So with that said, let me tell you what I am going to do for the 
coming year. I am going to spearhead and work hard to institute a plan for 
all combat and combat area veterans in the great state of Indiana for 
lifetime medical and educational benefits. We have deserved these 
benefits. 

They have been paid for in full by courage, sacrifice and honor. 
Preventative maintenance has been the less-expensive way. We need to 
institute this plan as soon as possible. If a veteran, regardless of his age or 
income, needs to go to the hospital for physical or psychological reasons, 
he needs to go. We need to get this done. 

My children both went to college on my Purple Heart benefit. I 
don't see why I can't. I think that if a World War II or Korea veteran wants 
to go back to college, if he wants to further his education, or if he gets laid 
off and he needs to re-educate, he needs to be able to do that in any state- 
sponsored school. I am not speaking of room and board or any special 
treatment. I am talking about reduction of tuition and class costs. That is 
all. 

I would like to talk to you about a movie called "Saving Private 
Ryan." "Saving Private Ryan" has a double-edged sword with it. I am sorry 
for the World War II veterans that are struggling with this ugly war again, 
but on the flip side of that sword this movie has shown young Americans 
what it really cost to be free. 

It has shown the sacrifices of the World War II veterans. I have a 
young friend enrolled in Lowell, Indiana, that is 17 years old. He went to 
that movie and he came back and he was dumfounded. He said, "Jim, it 
was terrible." He said, "The first 25 minutes of that movie was graphic and 
intense and was terrible." 

He said, "If that movie is even close to reality, I want nothing to do 
with war. I want nothing to do with being a veteran who might be called 
to defend this country." The movie has had a major result. There are now 
800,000 World War II veterans that might be struggling with the war. 

Fifty years later, shell shock, post-traumatic stress or battle fatigue, 
or whatever you want to call it has raised its ugly head again. I lecture on 
post-traumatic stress and the effect that war has on veterans in high schools 
and colleges. I think all of us need to do that, too. 

I would like you to go home to your universities and call people. 
I would like you to call professors in the History Departments and say we 
need to educate our young Americans, our decision-makers of tomorrow 
on the long-lasting effects of war and the sacrifice made by the veterans. 



179 



When they turn to you and say who will come to our universities 
to speak, you tell them Jim will. I will gladly travel to and lecture at any 
university that is willing. I will coordinate that with the local VFW Post so 
that interested students and professors might meet the local veterans and 
get a better perspective of what debt they have paid, what the truest price 
of freedom is. 

I know that fighting for these benefits many questions will be 
asked. I know that I am going to have a tough fight, but I pledge my time 
and my efforts. I realize I am going to have to show the elected officials 
the difference between why and how. They have traditional answers to ail 
questions is why it can't be done and what we need to do is teach them 
how it can be done. 

Once all of their questions are asked and I have answered them all, 
I will simply ask them one question. I am sure most of you have heard it 
before. Why is it that our convicted felons sleep in dry, warm beds? They 
have access to our libraries. 

They can continue their education without any cost and have 
medical available to them. Our homeless combat veterans sleep in 
cardboard boxes. I would gladly answer their questions if they would 
publicly answer mine. 

Now for the primary reason I am here today. I am here to present 
a Vietnam veteran's ring to our incoming National Commander. The 
Vietnam veteran's ring is worn internationally. It is worn all across the 
world, Australia, 
Germany, Japan and in every state in the United States. 

It stands for, "I know, I understand and I care." I know about war 
because I have been there. I understand what it can do to you and your 
families, and I truly care about the veterans and the future of America. I 
don't want this ring to be worn by all veterans. 

I want this ring to be worn by all veterans that care, that will take 
the time to talk to another veteran who might be struggling with the whys 
and why nots. Talk to our youth and young Americans, our decision- 
makers of tomorrow. 

Early on, I talked to you about how I would like to be remembered, 
an honest, caring man, a person who is not afraid to get up on the soapbox 
and tell you how he feels. I share with you my commitment for the coming 
years. Our incoming National Commander is all of these and more. 

Duty, honor and love of our country arejust notjust words to him 
but a way of life. That is this type of leadership that has led the VFW in the 
past and it is this type of rich traditional leadership that will lead us in the 
future. 

Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, I am very honored 
and pleased to present to the incoming National Commander-in-Chief Tom 
Pouliot in the presentation of the Vietnam veteran's ring. 

SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you 
very much for this ring. I accept it on behalf of all of the veterans of the 



180 



Veterans of Foreign Wars. Whenever I wear this ring and whenever I see 
it, I will remember your charge to know, to understand, to hear and care. 

I will urge us to know and care about veterans, all our members 
and every veteran in the United States. We will be concerned about health 
care and we will be concerned about entitlements. We will be concerned 
about the homeless veterans. This ring will be a constant reminder. Thank 
you very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: And it is now my pleasure this 
morning to present an award to Mr. Chancellor in recognition of his 
outstanding contributions to the veterans of our country. On behalf of our 
membership, I would like to present the VFW Certificate of Appreciation to 
Mr. Jim Chancellor. 

The Certificate reads in part: "In appreciation of his support for the 
programs and purposes of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and in special 
recognition of honoring the incoming Commanders-in-Chief by the 
presentation of a military service ring depicting their service to our country. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 3rd 
day of September, 1998." 

This has been signed by John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief, and 
Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

COMRADE CHANCELLOR: Thank you. 

PRESENTATION OF DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL AND CITATION 
TO GEORGE F. SARVER 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Throughout the history of the 
VFW, the success of conventions like this one and conferences and other 
major business meetings of the organization have benefitted from the 
services of a group of comrades known as the National Sergeants-at-Arms. 

They take care of more details than you will ever see, but because 
they are here everything flows smoothly and there is always order and 
decorum at our meetings. It is not very easy. It requires long hours of hard 
work, and it takes a certain type of dedicated individual to fulfill the 
requirements of the job. 

And it also requires the dedication and hard work of that person 
known as the Sergeant-at-Arms, the one who is in charge of the entire 
detail, their training, their performance, their evaluation. This individual 
puts in long hours, does more work and carries more responsibility. 

For 29 years, we were most fortunate in having as our National 
VFW Sergeant-at-Arms an individual who took the position and then 
refined it to the point of perfection. In other words, he rewrote the book 
and made everything better. That is what leadership is all about, and 
George Sarver was a leader in everything he did for this organization. 

A Korean War veteran, who served in the United States Army, 
George Sarver was appointed Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms by Past 



181 



Commander-in-Chief Rich Homan, in 1968. In 1983, Past Commander-in- 
Chief Cliff Olson appointed him National Sergeant-at-Arms, a position he 
held until our 98th National Convention last August. 

Now retired, he continues to serve through his very active 
membership inVFW Post 402, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. 

For the presentation of the VFW Distinguished Service Medal and 
Citation, please give a warm VFW welcome to our most recent Past 
National Sergeant-at-Arms, George Sarver, from the great state of 
Pennsylvania. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: "Distinguished Service Medal 
and this Citation awarded to George F. Sarver in sincere appreciation and 
grateful recognition of nearly three decades of distinguished and unselfish 
service to the officers and delegates of the National Conventions and 
Conferences of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, fulfilling with unparalleled 
dignity, indisputable discipline and impeccable protocol, the duties and 
responsibilities of the offices of Assistant National Sergeant-at-Arms and 
National Sergeant-at-Arms of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 3rd 
day of September, 1998." 

This has been signed by me, John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief, 
and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - COMRADE GEORGE F. SARVER 

COMRADE SARVER: Oh, boy. Please, everybody be seated. I just 
want to take a couple of minutes to start with the Past Commander-in-Chief 
Rich Homan, who promoted me and placed me on the sergeants. Of 
course, Julian Dickenson told me when I got there, if I ever made a mistake 
he was going to break my yankee neck. 

I was a little bit cocky and I made up my mind I would not make 
mistakes. Only God can say that. I don't have the right to say that, but I 
did. However, there are people I have to take the time and commit suicide 
by trying to remember to thank, and I am going to attempt that. 

After Rich Homan, I was put on to the sergeants by Ray Gallagher. 
He was the one that probably cemented the appointment. Then finally, we 
come down to John Staum, and I am going to keep this very short and brief. 
I went to John Staum when he was coming to Pennsylvania for the Past 
Commanders Banquet in Uniontown, which was a mammoth affair. 

I said, "John, we have got to do something with these uniforms, 
these khaki jackets and the brown boots and shoes are out, and we can't 
get khakis and they are the same color. I want to change the uniform of 
the sergeants to one complete uniform where we all are alike." He said, 



182 



"Do it." 

That in turn put me back in contact with Howard Vander Clute, 
who I might add hasjust been an absolute blessing to a man in my position 
and any of you sergeants. You all know what Howard Vander Clute has 
done for all of us. Anyhow, he said, "What you are proposing is probably 
$30,000 or $40,000 in the budget." 

I said, "I want it." There was no argument, no problem. Howard, 
being a good executive as he was, Russell Cutright came into the picture 
and I was to get the sizes and dimensions, and Russell Cutright, dealing 
with the Quartermaster General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, procured 
all of the Sergeants-at-Arms' uniforms. That is the reason that you have the 
most up-to-date and modern dress is because of the foresight of this 
organization. 

Then further on comes Larry Rivers, the next appointed Adjutant 
General, and he, too, contributed mightily to the sergeants. Prior to that, 
we used to work from 6:30 in the morning until sometimes 10:30 or 12:00 
o'clock at night. Going back, there was the parade, the competition, the 
major banquets and the Commander's Ball, which lasted from 6:00 to 
11:00 or 12:00. 

Consequently, we were gone from 6:30 in the morning until 7:00, 
8:00, 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock at night. In the interim of that, if you had a 
minute off, the Secret Service and the White House Security would come 
and say I want as many of your men as I can get. We are going to brief you 
and there will be three hours of briefing, and by the time the President or 
the Secretary showed up, or whomever, and by the time it happened, they 
said, "Sergeants, do what you want to do, butjust don't put your hand on 
the President." 

You all know that drill and how boring it got, but Larry said that 
will stop. If you have anything to say to these men, you will say it to me 
and I will take care of it with the sergeants. Then life got easier. 

My great Department back there, will you-all please rise so I can 
thank you from this podium? Thank you very much for your dedication. 
This is a tremendous group of people. Thank you. 

I have one more thing that I wanted to convey to you. I am being 
honored today with this award. It should be divided with all of these 
people standing in front of me. Incidentally, it is nerving the hell out of me, 
fellows. I am not used to this kind of attention. 

You are supposed to be hollering at me. Never, never, as long and 
boring as thejob got, did any of these people ever once get argumentative 
or cross. They didn't like it sometimes and they walked away, but they did 
it and they did it so admirably that I am being honored today as being a 
great leader when it was their work and their mechanics that put me here 
and put this medal around my neck. 

In closing, I want to say that I have had many accolades and I have 
been complimented to no end. Mother, will you come here, please. This 
is my wife, Margaret. Every man, when he gets to the microphone and he 



183 



is honest, he stands there and he says, "Without the help of my wife." 

Well, I would have never been able to live without her. Let me tell 
you just a couple of stories. The reason I went through the scenario with 
John Staum in the changing of the uniforms and everything, that also meant 
those little brown boots and old brown shoes had to be polished and spit- 
shined every day. 

So after working until 1 1 :00 or 1 2:00 o'clock at night or parading 
until 2:00 o'clock in the morning, I would come home and I would drop 
in bed. I would sleep and at 4:30 this woman would be up spit-shining the 
boots starting at 4:30 in the morning. It was not me. She did that so I could 
sleep until 6:30 in the morning. That isjust the kind of help and dedication 
that these people, my family and my wife and all these people here have 
helped me. 

John Stang, who under the direction of Howard Vander Clute, and 
Larry Rivers said, "You will deal with John Senk," and I know I aggravated 
them. I had them nervous at times with requests and things, but I want to 
tell you something, John Senk never once said "no" to anything the 
sergeants ever asked, requested or wanted to do. 

So in closing, once again, this is the second time I have said it now, 
Andy Warhol once said, "Every citizen on the face of this earth has 15 
minutes in the sun and glory." My fellow comrades and sisters, you are 
giving me my day in the sun, my 1 5 minutes of glory, and I thank you, and 
God bless you for letting me serve. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Thank you, 
Comrade Sarver, for all you have done for us. I salute you on behalf of the 
team. 

PAST NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS SARVER: Thank you. 

INTRODUCTION OF PAST COMMANDERS-IN-CHIEF 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: During this Convention, from 
time to time, we have been very fortunate to have with us the distinguished 
group of gentlemen who have exceeded in many, many ways over the years 
in the history of our Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

I would ask them all to rise so you can give them one large round 
of applause. Some of them have registered and one did have to leave, we 
know, and there is an illness that makes one go home. They are Billy Ray 
Cameron, John M. Carney, Ted C. Connell, George R. Cramer, James R. 
Currieo, Arthur J. Fellwock, Robert E. Hansen, Walter G. Hogan, Cooper T. 
Holt, Allen F. Kent, James F. Kimery, Clyde A. Lewis, John W. Mahan, James 
E. Nier, Clifford G. Olson, Eric E. Sandstrom, Joseph A. Scerra, R. D. Smith, 
Jr., Raymond R. Soden, Paul A. Spera, Norman G. Staab, John J. Stang, John 
S. Staum, Howard Vander Clute, Thomas C. Walker, Robert E. Wallace. 
These are all Past Commanders-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 
Comrades, let's give them a great round of applause. (Applause) 



184 



PRESENTATION OF GOLD MEDAL OF MERIT AND CITATION 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For many years and in many 
positions, the next individual has served the Veterans of Foreign Wars and 
served it well: from Post to District, to Department and in many national 
positions. He has furthered the aims, the ideals and the purposes of our 
organization. 

During his year as Commander-in-Chief in 1988-1989, his theme 
was "We Remember." In everything he did he saw that American veterans 
were never forgotten. He took their message to Congress, he took their 
message to the White House, and he took their message to the 
governmental agencies responsible for veterans affairs. 

Following his years as Commander-in-Chief, he was appointed 
Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. office. In that position, he was 
the VFW point man in Washington, D.C. He continued to fight for the 
veterans' rights and veterans' benefits. 

In 1994, he was appointed to the VFW as Adjutant General, the 
individual charged with the day-to-day operation of our organization. He 
quickly brought the VFW into computer age, and in doing so increased staff 
efficiency and service to our members. 

As Adjutant General his impact is felt throughout our organization. 
"We Remember" was not just the theme for one year, it was his creed and 
his commitment. Larry Rivers never forgot the veterans and the veterans 
will never forget Larry Rivers. Please give our Adjutant General Larry 
Rivers a very warm VFW welcome as he comes to the podium to receive 
the VFW Gold Medal of Merit and Citation. 

It reads, "In special recognition of the extraordinary service and as 
our articulate spokesman and exceptional advocate for our nation's 
veterans during his two and one-half decades of distinguished and effective 
leadership which he was accorded all-American honors with the 
Department of Louisiana in 1981, elected to the office of Judge Advocate 
General in 1981 -'82, appointed to serve as the National Chief of Staff in 
1983-'84, followed by his election and advancement through the chairs of 
the highest office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1988-1989, during 
which time his motto 'We Remember' said it all, and in sincere 
appreciation for continuing to serve the organization with great dignity, 
high esteem and unparalleled expertise, and innovation for another nine 
years as the Executive Director of the VFW Washington office and the 
Adjutant General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States this 3rd day 
of September, 1998." It is signed John E. Moon, Commander-in-Chief. 

RESPONSE - ADJUTANT GENERAL RIVERS 

ADJUTANT GENERAL RIVERS: Commander-in-Chief, thank you 

185 



very much for that recognition, and I do appreciate it. You know, I guess I 
am going through what many of you in your professional lives and working 
lives have gone through as well. I wondered as these days approached 
exactly what kind of emotions I would have when this day finally arrived. 

I think probably my emotions are a lot like yours in that when this 
time comes you remember the good things and the good times, and the 
outstanding opportunity that you have had, and you remember friends. 
You certainly do not remember the stressful times or the very difficult times, 
or you do not dwell on those that wish you ill. 

You try to think of what is in the future and that is exactly what 
Connie and I are doing as we get on with our lives. I do not want to try to 
go through all the people that deserve special recognition that have played 
a part in my life and career over these past 12 years on the national level, 
and eight or nine years before that on the state level. 

But if you will bear with me forjust a moment, I do think that it is 
necessary that I give special recognition to my home Post in Alexandria, 
Louisiana, and those members who have been so loyal to Connie and I 
over the years, and to my State of Louisiana who has always been 
supportive in all that I have done, and certainly to my great Southern 
Conference. 

For fear that I would leave out individuals, I do not want to call 
names, but there are several I think I must. I particularly want to thank 
Wally Hogan, who served in the chairs as the Junior and Senior when I was 
the Senior and Commander-in-Chief, and a man for whom I have great 
admiration and respect, not only for his service in wartime but for his 
friendship and for his hard work on behalf of the VFW, who asked me to 
come to Washington to represent us there and gave me the opportunity to 
do that. 

Particularly, these past two years with Jim Nier and John Moon, 
you know, I have this old saying that I try to weigh my friends by those that 
I want with me in a fire fight. Having been there before, I take that very 
seriously. Not only would I like to have Jim Nier and John Moon with me 
in a fire fight, but I think they would probably agree that these past two 
years they have been in a fire fight. You two gentlemen, I will never forget 
your steadfast and loyal support and your undying friendship. 

As I leave, I want to give special thanks as well to the men and 
women in both Washington and Kansas City that I have had the 
opportunity to work with over these past years. They are dedicated, loyal 
employees. They do a tremendousjob for you day in and day out. 

They are working also under difficult circumstances and working 
long hours, and giving timeless devotion. They deserve all the good things 
that you and the members of the National Council bestow on them and 
they certainly deserve your support. 

To my successor in this office, and I might add to my very good 
friend, John Senk, I have told you privately and I have stated it publicly, and 
I will do it here, that I will do everything in my power to ensure that John 



186 



succeeds in his new office, because I know inow difficult that task is. 

To my good friend Joe Ridgley, who does such a tremendous job 
for you and has done for so many years, it has been a pleasure, Joe, 
working with you over these years as well. I want you to know that it has 
meant a lot to me to have the opportunity to represent veterans. 

I am not the kind of person, the ones of you that have known me 
for a while, that will dwell on the past. I honestly believe that the ones of 
us you honor to hold high office and appointment, and when I look back 
over my brief VFW career I probably have been honored to hold more high 
offices and important positions in this organization than any other 
individual in the 99-year history. 

I think this membership, particularly this special membership, I 
think that when you bestow those kind of honors on people and put those 
people in positions of responsibility, we have an obligation to conduct 
ourselves in such a way that it brings honor to this organization. 

I hope I have been able to do that for you and I want to ensure you 
in the future I will continue to do the very best that I can to uphold the 
dignity of the offices I have held in a way that will make you and my friends 
proud. I will continue to do the very best job I can do for veterans. 

Before I go, let me one more time recognize my wife, Connie, who 
has been my partner throughout these years and supported me and got me 
through the job. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

INTRODUCTION OF LADIES AUXILIARY NATIONAL PRESIDENT 
CONNIE ATKINSON 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Microphone No. 2. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I would like to announce the presence of the Ladies 
Auxiliary President of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Please rise. I am stealing 
some of our National President's thunder. When she spoke to us the other 
day she said that each time that you have a Commander-in-Chief or a 
National President, as you are about to end that term of office you say that 
I have had the greatest Commander-in-Chief to serve with her. 

I have had the greatest National President of the Ladies Auxiliary 
to serve with. I am joining that group sometime tomorrow and I will say 
that same thing. But I have been so fortunate over these past few years, as 
I have started through the chairs, to work with a great lady who from time 
to time has been able to give me the assistance and some of the guidance, 
because she knows how edgy and jumpy I always am. 

She is so calm doing yeoman's work with me as we have been able 
to work with the many, many details that follows with the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars and this Ladies Auxiliary, as we have continued this 



187 



partnership of love and dedication and determination to see to it that the 
nation's veterans have the proper care, concern and guidance to which 
they richly deserve. 

I introduce to you this morning my National President, our 
National President, the great National President of the Ladies Auxiliary to 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Connie Atkinson, from the great state of 
Arkansas. 

REMARKS - NATIONAL LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT ATKINSON 

LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT ATKINSON: Thank you, Chief. 
Thank you, Commander. It is indeed an honor and privilege to have the 
opportunity to address the 99th National Convention of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars. We have had a great year for the Ladies Auxiliary and for 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

We have topped $3 million in our cancer aid research program. 
Part of that is because of your help with your Ladies Auxiliary in your own 
local areas in raising these funds. This is the tenth year in a row we have 
topped the $3 million. We volunteered 2.2 million hours to the VA 
Medical Centers and other hospitals around the country. 

We went online with our Web site, and we have made our 
presence known with the women on Capitol Hill. This morning I want to 
thank you for your cooperation on ourjoint programs that we do each year. 
We can all be proud of the results that have bqen achieved. 

I also want to extend my sincere thanks to all of you for your 
assistance to me personally during the year. I know that many of you are 
very involved in making my official visit a success. I thank you very much 
for that. 

I want to particularly say thanks to John for everything that he did 
to make this year so pleasant. It has been an honor to serve with you. As 
a token of my appreciation, I would like to present to you this flag set and 
this very special gift. Here is your flag set and here is your very special gift. 
Thank you very much. 

I can't see you very well out there, but to those of you that are of 
the Vietnam era, I would like for you to stand. I would like for you to know 
that I am the first National President whose only eligibility is through the 
Vietnam conflict where my husband served in Vietnam. 

I only say that because I want you to know and I want the World 
War I and World War II veterans to know that we of the Ladies Auxiliary of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars are also moving ahead. I am the first National 
President that was born after World War II. 

I have a great deal of respect for those veterans before the Vietnam 
conflict. Your knowledge, your courage that you have demonstrated, what 
you have learned, the valuable lessons that you have need to be passed on 
to each and every one of us so that we may 50 years from now be in your 
position. 



188 



I thank you for all that you have done for the Ladies Auxiliary of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars for the last 84 years and we are beginning our 
85th year we have served as your Ladies Auxiliary. We are very proud and 
very honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Ladies Auxiliary. 

I thank you all for your service to our nation in its time of need. If 
there is anything that the any of the Ladies Auxiliary can do for any of you 
in ourjoint programs, if you will just let us know we will bejohnny-on-the- 
spot, you better believe it. Thank you for all of your assistance. (Applause) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I have, comrades, deeply been 
honored to serve with Connie this year. It has really been a pleasure 
because she has been so gracious and kind. Her staff, the representatives 
that she has sent out to the various states that I have been able to go to have 
been so tremendous in their support of this great organization. 

Along with Connie this morning, she brought over her Chief of 
Staff, Linda Evans, from the great state of Arkansas, and my wife, Susie 
Moon. I am deeply honored that she came over this morning. It is my 
privilege and honor at this time to present Connie a check I was supposed 
to have presented over there a little bit ago. 

NATIONAL LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT ATKINSON: Over on 
our side, we give instructions when we want something done. (Laughter) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I have learned from Connie, I 
have to ask. 

NATIONAL LADIES AUXILIARY PRESIDENT ATKINSON: Thank 
you. I know you have a very busy agenda and I don't want to take up any 
more of your time. I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the excellent 
staff, the officers that are coming up through the line, the Junior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief, the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, your Adjutant 
General and your Quartermaster General. 

All I can say is they have provided the Ladies Auxiliary with 
numerous amounts of support in many, many ways. We are very 
appreciative to your National Adjutant General designee. I wish for you 
the most success. If there is anything we can do to assist you, because I 
know you have assisted us many times, please don't hesitate to call on us. 
Thank you very much. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Sergeant-at-Arms, will you 
escort the ladies at this time. 

Tomorrow morning my Chief of Staff must leave the convention 
early. He has a commitment in Georgia, and it is a very fine commitment. 
His grandchild is going to be married. I told Jim that before he left I wanted 
to pay the proper homage to him for everything he has been able to do for 
me for the many years of my campaign and through the three years I have 
been coming to be Commander-in-Chief. 

James Thiel, for many years, has been dedicated to promoting 
Veterans of Foreign Wars programs, not only in and around his home area 
of St. John, Indiana, but through the great state of Indiana and across this 
great nation. 



189 



Jim, I thank you for everything that you have been able to do to 
make this organization stronger, make it vital and make it move into the 
21st Century. Jim, please stand. I would like to give you one great salute. 
Jim Thiel, Chief of Staff, from the great state of Indiana, thank you. 
(Applause) 

CHIEF OF STAFF THIEL: Thank you. 

VISIT OF NATIONAL HOME REPRESENTATIVES 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For over 70 years, the VFW 
National Home at Eaton Rapids, Michigan, has been a haven of comfort, 
safety and hope for hundreds of children and adults, as well. It is one of 
the most profound examples of veterans helping veterans, and the VFW 
and the Ladies Auxiliary members fulfilling our commitment to honor the 
dead by helping the living. 

From a small farm in the Michigan countryside, the home has 
grown to a large bustling community. Modern facilities contain the latest 
in education and recreation resources, while comfortable houses and 
caring staff provide the homes that the children need to grow and thrive in 
and reach their greatest potential. 

We are honored today to have with us the President of the VFW 
National Home, Harold Weber, who has brought with him two very special 
guests, the Executive Director of the home, Susan Shoultz, and the 1998 
Buddy Poppy Child, Tyler Willett. Let's give them a real big VFW welcome. 

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL HOME 

COMRADE HAROLD WEBER: Good morning, comrades. To you, 
Commander-in-Chief John, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Tom and 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John, and all the officers and councilmen 
and you comrades out there, I bring you greetings from the VFW National 
Home in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. 

We have 83 children, 20 families, 19 single mothers and one 
single father on campus as of the end of last month. It gives me a great deal 
of pride to be the president of the trustees this year to reach that goal, the 
highest we have had since 1989. 

I want to say that school has started. The children go to the local 
school in Eaton Rapids. We have 22 children that are taking piano lessons 
and 10 taking dancing lessons, and they are involved in all kinds of 
activities. Sue will have a few words to say about the home. 

I would like to tell you a little story. Before I do, I would like for 
my delegation from South Dakota to please stand. There they are. Give 
them a big hand. 

Last December, when we had the Cootie Christmas party, a young 
lady came to me and said, "Mr. Weber, I want to tell you since you are from 
South Dakota that you and the comrades and the Veterans of Foreign Wars 



190 



have turned my life around for myself and my three children. We now 
have a home to live in and we are living in the South Dakota home, and 
we have a life together, and we are going great places." 

With that, I would like to introduce to you our Buddy Poppy boy 
who happened to be from that family, and his name is Tyler Willett. 

REMARKS BY 1998 BUDDY POPPY CHILD - TYLER WILLETT 

BUDDY POPPY CHILD WILLETT: Hello. My name is Tyler 
Willett. I live in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, attheVFW National Home. My 
house is South Dakota. I am honored to be chosen as your Buddy Poppy 
Child for the next year. 

Let me begin with introducing you to my great-grandfather who 
passed away in 1 981 . His name is Richard E. Christi. He is the reason why 
me, my mom and two sisters are able to call the VFW National Home 
"home sweet home." He is why we are able to call the VFW our heritage. 

My family and I have been living at the VFW Home for the past 
year and one-half. It is changing our life for the better. My mom, her name 
is Susan Willett. Thanks to the VFW, she is standing on her own two feet 
and doing very well. She is always saying that she has had such a big 
blessing and such an awesome break, and she is grateful every day. 

My mom asked me today to thank you so very much. She has a 
decent job and is returning to college. She will be graduating in May of 
'99 from Siena Heights University with a Liberal Arts/Bachelor's Degree. 
Then my mom says she will be looking for a higher-paying position orjob. 

As you can see, the VFW organization has turned my family 
around and our future is full of hope and sunshine. Thank you from the 
bottom of my heart and the hearts of my family members. My mom is also 
getting a lot of much-needed support in raising me and my two teenage 
sisters, which is good because girls are very different. 

As for me, I am starting in the fifth grade. I took seventh place with 
my rabbit in 4-H. I am ten and my birthday is October 7th. I hold a part- 
timejob with the Maintenance Department. When I grow up, I want to be 
a meteorologist and maybe join the Coast Guard. 

During my time attheVFW, a lot of things have happened. We get 
school clothes and lots of school supplies. Well, holidays are a dream. I 
have learned about poison ivy and steroid shots. We have fine playground 
equipment in our recreation area, and they provide computers and pool 
tables. 

We have the Fire Department and a place for fishing. We live in a 
most comfortable house. It is a mansion, warm in the winter and cool in 
the summer. Life is just about perfect. Thank you for the change in my 
family life and giving my family a second chance for a great life. Thank 
you. i 

COMRADE HAROLD WEBER: Comrades, I would like to 
introduce to you our Executive Director and the Mayor of the VFW 



191 



National Home at Eaton Rapids. She didn't know she had that second title 
until yesterday when I conferred it on her. She is the Mayor of that little 
town three miles out of Eaton Rapids. Let me introduce to you Susan 
Shoultz. 

REMARKS BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SHOULTZ 

MS. SUSAN SHOULTZ: Good morning. To our Chief, Officers 
and Comrades: As always, I am thrilled to be with you today and have an 
opportunity to bring you a little update. One year ago, the National Home 
Board of Trustees established a Strategic Planning Committee to address the 
future of the National Home. 

Since its first meeting of the National Convention in Salt Lake City, 
there have been regular meetings throughout the year. Almost immediately 
two conclusions were reached. The first being that the National Home 
Commission provide care for children while serving as a memorial to our 
nation's veterans will continue to have meaning and purpose for future 
generations. 

Secondly, is the National Home more fully utilize its resources in 
order to provide a greater level of financial support into the future. It is the 
plan that at the 75th Anniversary of the National Home in the year 2000 
will serve as a time of re-commitment to the National Home and its 
mission. 

We will focus our energies on perpetuating the Endowment Fund, 
while celebrating 75 years of honoring the dead by helping the living. 
Today there are 83 children as well as 20 single parents and four 
scholarship students who are participating in the programs at the National 
Home. 

They have come from 18 different states to begin their lives new at 
the National Home. They have come from such states as far away as 
California, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, New 
Jersey, New York, and as you can see today I am in the company of a young 
man. 

Tyler, this is to you. You live in times where it is difficult to find 
heroes to look up to. But today you are a lucky young man, because every 
face that you see in this room is the face of a hero, men and women who 
served their country when called and were willing to sacrifice for others. 

Tyler, come back up here and let me introduce to you the 
American heroes. 

COMRADE HAROLD WEBER: Commander-in-Chief, will you 
come forward, please. Commander-in-Chief John Moon, it is a pleasure for 
me to present to you this memento from the National Home. It is presented 
to John Moon, VFW Commander-in-Chief, 1997-'98 from the VFW 
National Home. Thank you, comrades. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: As the Sergeants-at-Arms are 
coming forward, I would like to announce that this year the Veterans of 



192 



Foreign Wars have been honored for the fact we are going to begin 
celebrating many, many events. But in doing so, we have celebrated the 
50th Anniversary of the National Honor Guard in around the Washington, 
D.C. area. 

We owe these individuals a great deal of gratitude for their service 
to this nation and to the greatest veterans organization, the VFW. 

INTRODUCTION OF SERGEANTS-AT-ARMS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At this time you see standing 
behind you our sergeants-at-arms. Let me express my appreciation to a 
group of men that we see annually at our National Convention. 

They come to this convention and are up early in the morning and 
the first ones in the hall. They arrange for seating on special occasions, and 
they keep order in the hall at all times. They try to seat everybody and 
maintain order that is necessary during the meeting itself. 

These individuals don't get a lot of money to do this. It is obvious 
that a labor of love is there for them. I am sure that everyone recognizes 
they do an outstanding job for us. The sergeant-at-arms assembled staff 
here, I would like to introduce them at this time. 

From the great state of Kansas, Post 6240, Barry A. Hoffman, 
Sergeant-at-Arms. The Assistant Sergeants, from Post 1656, Massachusetts, 
Carl C. Aiello. I have been informed that he is ill and not in attendance. 
Convey our thanks to Carl, please, Sergeant-at-Arms. 

From Post 9134, North Carolina, Gary W. Barringer. From Post 
1911, in Ohio, Dan Brown, who is ill and unable to attend. From Post 
3979, Minnesota, Joy Collins Baxter. From Post 2275, California, Keith 
McDonald. From Post 2083, Connecticut, Nicholas Polansky. From Post 
4847, Minnesota, Joseph M. Schirmers. And from Post 4159, Michigan, 
Fred H. Von Hinken, Jr. These are the comrades that every time something 
goes wrong we start screaming at them. If something does go right, we 
forget to say thank you to them, and we go on to other business. 

I want to in front of this body say publicly thank you to each of 
them, the members of this great team, the Sergeants-at-Arms of the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars. I am proud of each of them and they have handled 
themselves as professionals, and I am deeply honored for the opportunity 
to serve with each one of them. 

I say to all of you thanks in behalf of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 
You have done an outstanding job. Thank you, Sergeant-at-Arms for a 
marvelousjob. 

I call to the mike at this time our Assistant Adjutant General John 
Senk. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Comrade Commander- 
in-Chief, I move that the proceedings of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 99th 
National Convention be submitted to the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives for printing as a House document in accordance with 



193 



Public Law No. 620, 90th Congress, approved October 2, 1968, Title 214 
of the United States Codes, Section 1332. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: There is a motion on the floor. 
Is there a second? 

QUARTERMASTER GENERAL RIDGLEY: I second the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been 
seconded by Quartermaster General Ridgley, a delegate to the 99th 
Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Is there any question on the 
motion? Hearing none, we will call for a vote. All those in favor will say 
"aye"; all opposed say "no". The motion carried unanimously. 

NOMINATION OF OFFICERS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For Commander-in-Chief, I 
call forward John W. Mahan, Past Commander-in-Chief, 1958-'59, from 
Post 1116, Helena, Montana, for the purpose of a nomination. 

NOMINATION OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF JOHN MAHAN: Thank you, John. 
It is my privilege today to nominate a friend, a comrade and associate for 
the VFW's top position, Commander-in-Chief. I do remember Tom when 
he was a small boy with his father, George, who was an active member of 
Post 1116, and his mother, Mary, even though she was the mother of 11 
children, including Tom, was active in the Ladies Auxiliary. 

As you can see from that, Tom grew up with the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars. Tom attended school in Helena and graduated from Helena High 
School. It can now be said that the school holds the distinct honor of 
graduating two United States Senators, presently serving Senator Max 
Baucus of Montana, and Senator Roth of Delaware. After Tom, it can be 
said it graduated two Commanders-in-Chief for the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States. 

Tom then entered the United States Navy as an Air Crewman and 
served in Vietnam. Upon discharge, Tom took advantage, as many of us 
have done in the past, of the G.I. Bill. He entered college in San Jose, 
California, graduated, and then attended the University of Montana Law 
School and graduated as an attorney. 

Since graduation, Tom has held positions as attorney for the State 
of Montana, a judge, as well as a private practicing attorney in Helena. 
Tom has served the VFW well from the grass roots up. Tom has been Post 
Commander, District Commander, All American Commander, as well as 
holding many high national positions, which include Chairman of the 
National Legislative Committee. 

Now a Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Tom is ready for and I 
now nominate Tom Pouliot as Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States. 



194 



COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I call forward to the podium 
for a second to the nomination of Tom Pouliot as Commander-in-Chief, Eric 
Sandstrom, Commander-in-Chief, 1978-'79, from Post 969, Tacoma, 
Washington, followed by George F. Riedel, Jr., District 14 National Council 
Member from Post 969, Tacoma, Washington, also. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ERIC SANDSTROM: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, two years ago I rose to second the nomination of 
Tom Pouliot as Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief. At that time I said three 
things. It isn't very often that a Marine will stand up and nominate a little 
swabby for Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief. I was personally wrong. 

Yes, I am still a Marine, but Tom Pouliot is not a little swabby, he 
is a big, big, big swabby. Then I said I knew that he was an attorney. I 
didn't know at the time if he was a good attorney. I cannot answer that 
question now because I really don't know too many good attorneys. 

Then I said that he had a cute wife. She is not only cute, she is 
beautiful. It is a great honor for me to stand here as a humble Marine to 
second the nomination of Tom Pouliot for Commander-in-Chief of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

COMRADE GEORGE RIEDEL (Post 969 - Washington): Has 
anybody ever heard of a humble Marine? 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Past National Commanders, 
Officers and Delegates to this great 99th VFW National Convention. I am 
George Riedel from Post 969 in Tacoma, Washington. I am privileged to 
stand before you and second the nomination of Tom Pouliot for the office 
of Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States 
for the ensuing year. 

Tom has given us years of dedicated leadership, years of great 
enthusiasm and many years of personal friendship to many of us. The time 
is now, my comrades, to elect Tom to the highest office in this great 
organization. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. Are there any 
other nominations at this time for Commander-in-Chief? The nominations 
will remain open until tomorrow morning. 

NOMINATION OF SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I call forward to the 
microphone Clifford T. Olson, Past Commander-in-Chief, 1983-'84, from 
Post 9699, Milton, Massachusetts, for the nomination of the Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief John W. Smart of Post 483, New Hampshire. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF CLIFFORD OLSON: Thank you. 
Commander. Comrades to the 99th National Convention, once again it is 
my distinct honor and profound pleasure to come to this podium and place 
in nomination the name of a comrade who certainly has lived up to and 
surpassed his advanced billing. 

I advised you good comrades at the 98th National Convention, 



195 



and I have never taken this action lightly, at that time I spoke of his service 
with the Miracle Division and the 176th Salt Pepper Squadron in Vietnam. 
I spoke to his ability and dedication to the aims and ideals of the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars at all levels. 

I told you in his civilian suit he is a dedicated and sincere fire 
fighter, and finally I told you of his ability to learn and to progress in the 
office to which he was elected. He has shown this ability at any level or 
any position that he has held, both civilian and Veterans of Foreign Wars' 
positions. 

His dedication to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, his knowledge, his 
desire to assist all veterans and their dependents, his dedication to the 
MIA/POW interest, his ability to serve those in need has placed him a step 
above the rest. 

My comrades, this past year he has performed over and above 
expectations. He has traveled far and wide throughout our great 
organization and throughout the world, and he is recognized for his 
knowledge and dedication of all issues. He has shown that he is a team 
player, but he is not afraid to challenge those things that he feels are not in 
the best interest of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in general. 

He has shown concern for all and he has certainly proven that he 
has the qualifications and the desires to fulfill the duties of the higher 
office. He continues to have the outstanding support of his loving wife, 
Mary, and the entire family, along with his home Post 483 in Nashua, New 
Hampshire, and certainly the Department of New Hampshire. 

With all this being said, my comrades, it is my pleasure and 
privilege and my honor to place in nomination for the office of Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief a friend and a comrade from the Granite State of 
New Hampshire, John W. Smart. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For purposes of seconding the 
nomination of John Smart from New Hampshire as Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief, we have Past State Commander John M. Packard of 
Post 8546, Salem, New Hampshire, and Robert W. Madigan, District 
National Council Member from Post 483, Nashua, New Hampshire. 

COMRADE JOHN PACKARD (Post 8546 - New Hampshire): 
Commander-in-Chief, Distinguished Guests at the head podium, I think 
Cliff Olson has given all the qualifications that John has and I can give a 
little more. I call him my protege. He listens and he pays attention. It is 
with pride and honor that I second the nomination of John Smart for 
National Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief. 

COMRADE ROBERT MADIGAN (Post 483 - New Hampshire): My 
name is Robert Madigan and I am District No. 1 Councilman. I have not 
only been a Councilman from New Hampshire but also Vermont. John has 
been a very, very good friend of mine for many, many years. 

We belong to the same Post, Nashua 483. Without John Smart, I 
wouldn't be standing here as your District No. 1 Councilman. John has 
helped me immensely in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. At this time I would 



196 



like to second the nomination of John W. Smart for Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any other 
nominations for the office of Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief? 
Nominations will remain open until tomorrow morning. 

NOMINATION OF JUNIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the position of Junior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief, I call forward to the microphone R. D. "Bulldog" 
Smith, Past Commander-in-Chief from Post 4346 in Georgia, for the 
purpose of nominating John W. Gwizdak, Post 5080, from the great state of 
Georgia. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF R. D. SMITH: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief and National Officers, Fellow Members of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States: 

I first met the person, whose name I will place in nomination for 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, 21 years ago at a Southern Conference 
meeting held in Daytona Beach, Florida. I met a very beautiful young lady 
who, of course, most of our ladies in Georgia are good peaches, who was 
at that time serving as State President of the Ladies Auxiliary in Georgia. 

It must have been love at first sight, because they later became 
married and he moved to Georgia and became very, very active at that time 
in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. John Gwizdak was born July 7, 1940, in 
Revloc, Pennsylvania. He was raised in Carrolltown and graduated from 
the Carrolltown High School. 

He earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Human Resources and 
Administration from the University of the State of New York. John retired 
from the United States Army in June, 1978, and after completing over 20 
years of service as a non-commissioned and commissioned officer, he 
holds the distinction of having served in all leadership positions, from 
squad leader to officer of an infantry company. 

He earned his eligibility for the Veterans of Foreign Wars through 
the occupation of Germany, Berlin, and a tour in Vietnam where he served 
with the 199th Brigade as an infantry heavy weapons platoon leader and 
company commander. His military awards and decorations include the 
Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, four awards of Bronze Star 
Medal, including one for valor. Comrade Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, 
Vietnam Cluster and three Army Commendation Medals, the Army 
Occupation Medal in Berlin and the Vietnam Campaign and Service 
Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, Armed Forces Reserve Medals, 
National Defense Service Medal, Expert Medals for both rifle and pistol, 
and the sharp shoot. 

John joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1976 and is a Life 
Member of Post 5080, Lake City, Georgia. He is also a Life Member of the 
Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Disabled American Veterans. 



197 



His membership also includes the MOC, American Legion, American 
Veterans Association and the Combat Infantrymen's Association. 

John has worked in real estate as a sales broker and builder since 
retiring from the Army. He is owner and principal of John F. Gwizdak, Inc., 
and the owner and operator for Builder Realty. He is currently serving his 
seventh term as Georgia's Adjutant Quartermaster. 

Since joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars, John has constantly 
applied his extensive leadership gained in the military to the betterment of 
this organization. He has supported proposals at the national level to 
clarify and define service and represent our veterans. 

John has served with distinction from the Post level to achieve All 
American Department Commander for the year 1 988-1 989 of the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars. During this tenure, he was instrumental by his testimony 
before the late Congressman Sonny Montgomery's Committee on Veterans 
Medical Care to preclude the closing of Surgical Services at the Dublin 
Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia. 

He has also been the veterans' advocate before the Georgia State 
Legislature on many occasions, and at the national level John served on the 
National Council of Administration 1990-1992. He was Appeals 
Chairman, and Chairman of the Americanism Committee, and lastly, he 
served two terms as Vice-Chairman of the Legislative Committee and Vice- 
Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, and 
three years on the National By-Laws and Review Committee. 

John is married to the former Betty F. Burns of Georgia. Betty is a 
Past Department President of the Ladies Auxiliary in Georgia and served as 
Eighth District Council Member on the National Council of Administration 
of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

John and Betty have five children. John is a people's person. In 
every elected or appointed position he has had, he has been a veterans 
advocate. John has already become very, very popular with members of 
this organization, and he returns that popularity tenfold by his expert 
professionalism in serving our membership. 

He has demonstrated action, past and present, clearly established 
himself as a man with a potential to represent us in the future. We need 
this dynamic leader and articulate speaker in positions where he can share 
our views and our concerns are heard. 

As stated earlier, John's popularity became so widespread within 
the Southern Conference that he received the conference endorsement 
without any opposition whatsoever, and I mean he ran for this high office 
the last four years without any opposition. I can't recall that ever 
happening in the Southern Conference. 

It is my honor and pleasure to nominate John F. Gwizdak, Jr., for 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the purpose of seconding 
the nomination of John Gwizdak of Georgia for the office of Junior Vice 



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Commander-in-Chief, I call to the podium William Cox, Adjutant 
Quartermaster and Post 7883, Cary, North Carolina, and Richard Branson, 
Department Service Officer and Campaign Chairman from Post 5080, Lake 
City, Georgia. 

COMRADE WILLIAM COX (Post 7383 - North Carolina): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief and Delegates to this Convention, my name is 
William C. Cox, and I am a delegate from Post 7383 in North Carolina. I 
am pleased to participate in the nomination process of my good friend John 
F. Gwizdak for Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief from the Department of 
Georgia. 

As you can see, my colleagues, I hope that they are here, the 
Adjutant/Quartermasters of the Southern Conference have joined me in 
this joyous occasion. We have observed John's leadership capabilities as 
an Adjutant/Quartermaster. The current stability of the Department of 
Georgia tells the story of this great leadership. 

Comrades, John Gwizdak served as a Combat Company 
Commander in Vietnam where his leadership was recognized as one who 
cared and took care of his men. I served in a Combat Infantry Company 
in Germany in 1944. Therefore, I know firsthand the responsibilities of the 
Company Commander, which is to keep his men alive and to provide 
leadership which will command the respect of those serving in his 
company. 

Gwizdak has this great leadership quality. Leadership is crucial at 
the national level now more than ever. We, from the Southern Conference, 
know that Comrade John Gwizdak is the individual to lead us as we enter 
the 21st Century. 

I am pleased to second the nomination of John F. Gwizdak as the 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief of a great organization, the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States. 

COMRADE ROBERT BRANSON (Post 5080 - Georgia): Good 
morning, comrades. This is a great day in America and a great day for the 
VFW. I am privileged to be afforded the opportunity to assist in the 
presentation to you today of John Francis Gwizdak for Junior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

I have served as John's campaign manager and friend for many 
years. I know him well and he is my brother. He is a dynamic individual 
with all the requisite leadership and personal skills to successfully launch 
this organization into the 21st Century. 

His creed is honor with integrity. He never waivers from his creed 
even when the decision process gets tough. He refers to this membership 
body as heroes all the time. You may be assured that he will represent you 
in the highest esteem. He is proud and humble for all of your friendships. 

He is eager to tell anyone who will listen, "I am a member of the 
VFW." John has commented to me many times, "I don't believe that 
comrades get up in the morning and decide to do things contrary to our by- 
laws." He believes that most probably serve the VFW with lack of 



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communication and training. 

His leadership skill is contagious. He will proactively approach 
problems and seek swift decisions. You will witness firsthand his 
capabilities to do a superb job as a Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief and 
ultimately Chief of this organization. 

It is my distinct honor and with great pride that I am afforded the 
opportunity to second the nomination of John Gwizdak to the position of 
our next Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
of the United States. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any other 
nominations for the office of Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief? Hearing 
none, the nominations will remain open until tomorrow morning. 

I call forward to the microphone at this time William J. Radigan, 
State Quartermaster/Adjutant from VFW Post 4061, South Dakota, for the 
purpose of nominating the Quartermaster General, Joe L. Ridgley from Post 
8220, Missouri. 

NOMINATION OF QUARTERMASTER GENERAL 

COMRADE WILLIAM RADIGAN (Post 4061 - South Dakota): 
Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I am joined this morning in making this 
nomination with some of my fellow Adjutant Quartermasters, and I ask 
your permission to have them step forward and introduce them. 

COMRADE BILLY KING (Post 2346 - Massachusetts): My name is 
Billy King. I am a member of Post 2346, Massachusetts, and I am a Past 
State Commander of that Department and presently serving as the State 
Quartermaster for my second term. 

It is my honor and privilege to be standing before this convention 
and seconding Joe Ridgley's nomination as Quartermaster General. 

COMRADE CLEVE COX (Post 7383 - North Carolina): Again, my 
name is Cleve Cox. On behalf of the Quartermasters from North Carolina, 
we will be seconding the nomination for our good friend, Mr. Ridgley. 

COMRADE DAVID ROATH (Post 5606 - Missouri): I am David 
Roth, Department Adjutant/Quartermaster from Missouri. I am a member 
of VFW Post 5606 in Kansas City. 

COMRADE RHETT DAVERIO (Department of California): I am 
Rhett Daverio, from the Department of California, Adjutant/ Quartermaster. 

COMRADE WILLIAM RADIGAN (Post 4061 - South Dakota): 
Thank you very much. Comrade Commander-in-Chief and National 
Officers, my Comrades of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States: 

I am privileged today to appear before you for the purpose of 
placing in nomination the name of Joe Ridgley for the office of 
Quartermaster General. In 1970, Joe graduated from the University of 
Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. 

He went immediately into the United States Navy and served five 
years. When he came out of the United States Navy, he applied for 



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employment with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, 
beginning a service there in 1 976. During that time, he has served in many 
capacities, some of v\/hich are Manager of the Accounting Department, Life 
Membership Director, Director of the VFW Emblem and Supply 
Department and other offices. 

In March, 1995, Joe became Quartermaster General. He is a well- 
qualified individual and he is well-versed in this organization. He has 
worked for the National Headquarters for nearly 23 years. He is a fine 
young man, still young compared to many of us, and he is very capable 
physically to handle this very stressful job. 

Joe is married to his wonderful wife, Judy, and has a son. Jade, and 
a daughter, Jessica. They are a good family. Joe enjoys his family, but he 
also enjoys serving the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. I 
could talk for some time about the qualifications of this individual, but time 
is of the essence. 

So, I will only say that I have attended 45 National Conventions, 
and one of the real honors I have had is today when I am privileged to 
nominate and present to you for the office of Quartermaster General of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Joe Ridgley of Post 8220, 
Belton, Missouri, for the very high and very distinguished office of 
Quartermaster General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the purpose of seconding 
the nomination, David L. Roath, the State Adjutant/ Quartermaster from 
Post 5606, Missouri, representing Cleve Cox from North Carolina, Rhett 
Daverio from the Department of California, and the various 
Adjutants/Quartermasters from their respective states. 

COMRADE DAVID ROATH (Post 5606 - Missouri): Commander- 
in-Chief, Past Commanders, National Officers, Delegates to the 99th 
Convention: It is indeed an honor for me to stand before you again this 
year and second this nomination. We know from past experience what Joe 
Ridgley has done not only for the organization but for the high office of 
Quartermaster General. 

He has demonstrated the ability to serve the organization and 
handle the finances that it takes to run this organization. We have no 
reason to believe that will not happen next year and into the future. I stand 
here with other Quartermasters from the other conferences and I am proud 
to second the nomination of Joe Ridgley for Quartermaster General of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Thank you. 

NOMINATION OF JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you. I call forward to 
the podium at this time Glen Gardner, Department Adjutant/ 
Quartermaster of Post 3359 for the nomination of Judge Advocate General 
R. Earl Lord from Post 10351, Department of Texas. 

COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Thank you, 



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Commander-in-Chief. Delegates to this 99th National Convention, the 
Chief has granted mejust a moment of personal privilege before I make this 
nomination on behalf of our Chairman Jim Nier. 

Our Vice-Chairman Ted Connell and myself say once again thank 
you to the many volunteers in District 20, Department of Texas, for making 
this convention such a success. We hope you have enjoyed your visit to 
San Antonio. We could not have made this convention such a success 
without those hundreds of volunteers that have spent many hours helping 
you, helping the National Organization and helping the Department to do 
so. 

So, we would be remiss if we didn't do that and we will continue 
to do that throughout this convention and for the next couple of months. 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, with a great deal of pleasure I 
stand before the delegates today to place in nomination the name of R. Earl 
Lord for Judge Advocate General for 1998- '99. A Life Member ofVFW Post 
10351, Hemphill, Texas, he has served this great organization as a Post 
Commander, a District Commander and the 1991 -'92 Department of Texas 
Commander where he achieved All American honors. 

Since serving as Department Commander, he has served this 
organization on many National Committees. A Navy veteran, Earl served 
from January, 1944 to 1949, in the Pacific campaign, and won many 
medals. Earl graduated from South Texas University. 

While in school in Houston, in 1957, he worked for Humble Oil 
Company as an attorney for 1 5 years and has been a practicing attorney in 
Hemphill for 31 years. One of the few attorneys that I will honestly count 
as one of my friends. 

Earl also served as a member of the Senate where he was 
appointed for two terms. A confirmed bachelor. Earl lives in Hemphill, 
Texas. Therefore, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I nominate a 
comrade who is respected and admired by not only members of this 
organization but by members of his local community, for the office of Judge 
Advocate General for 1998-'99, Earl Lord, from Post 10351, Hemphill, 
Texas. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the purpose of a second of 
the nomination for Judge Advocate General Earl Lord, I call before to the 
podium Lester Kapelka, Post 5850, from Alabama. 

COMRADE LESTER KAPELKA (Post 5850 - Alabama): My name is 
Lester Kapelka, a delegate from Post 5850, Alabama. I second the 
nomination of Earl Lord for National Judge Advocate. The Lord is going to 
be with us. Please stand. Earl, and let everybody see who you are. 

NOMINATION OF SURGEON GENERAL 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the purpose of nomination 
of Surgeon General, Kenneth S. Snow, Jr., Post 6977, Maine. I call forward 
Joe H. Gallant, Jr., Vice Commander-in-Chief of Maine, Post 832, South 



202 



Portland, Maine. 

COMRADE JOE GALLANT (Post 832 - Maine): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, National Officers, Delegates and Comrades. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Excuse me. Comrades, are 
there any other nominations at this time for the office of Judge Advocate 
General? Hearing none, the nominations will remain open until tomorrow 
morning. 

COMRADE JOE GALLANT (Post 832 - Maine): It is an honor for 
me to stand before you and place in nomination the name of an 
outstanding comrade from the Eastern States Conference and the great state 
of Maine for National Surgeon. 

Comrade Ken Snow, Jr., began his military career as a Seaman 
Recruit in June, 1955, and served as a Navy Corpsman. In May, 1955, he 
was assigned and served in a Third Marine Division in the Vietnam combat. 
He served in this capacity and was commissioned an ensign in March, 
1966. 

His awards include the Combat Ribbon, Meritorious Service 
Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Service Medal and the 
Campaign Medal. He received a degree in Business Management from the 
University of New Hampshire, and a Master's from George Washington 
University in Management. 

Upon retirement in 1985 as a Naval Commander, he was 
employed in the civilian sector as a hospital consultant and a home 
administrator, and retired in 1993. Again, hejoined the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars in 1966 and has served as the Adjutant General of the Department of 
Maine since 1994. 

He is married to the former Joyce Elaine Winfeldt and they have 
three children, eight grandchildren, and currently resides in Topsfield, 
Maine, where he is active in his Post and the local municipal government. 
Thank you, comrades. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the purpose of seconding 
the nomination of Kenneth Snow for the office of Surgeon General, I call 
forward John M. "Jack" Carney, Past Commander-in-Chief, 1992-'93, a 
member of Post 4643, Satellite Beach, Florida, and Robert W. Madigan, 
District 1 Councilman, from Post 483, Nashua, New Hampshire. 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF JOHN CARNEY: Thank you, 
Commander-in-Chief. National Officers and Delegates to this Convention, 
it is indeed a rare privilege and honor for me to have the opportunity of 
seconding the nomination of a comrade that I have known for many years 
who is dedicated and maintains the highest respect for the veterans of this 
country. 

His concerns about their health and their welfare makes him an 
excellent candidate for Surgeon General. I am pleased to second his 
nomination. 

COMRADE ROBERT MADIGAN (Post 483 - New Hampshire): 
Comrades, again at this time, as the District 1 Council Member, I would 



2D3 



like to second the nomination for Kenneth S. Snow for Surgeon General of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any other 
nominations for the office of Surgeon General? There being none, 
nominations will remain open until tomorrow morning's session. 

NOMINATION OF NATIONAL CHAPLAIN 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I will call forward to the 
podium at this time Donald Porter, Post 454, Bloomington, Illinois, State 
Commander of Illinois, for the purpose of placing in nomination the name 
of Tom W. Neville, Post 2327, Illinois. 

COMRADE DONALD PORTER (Post 454 - Illinois): Commander- 
in-Chief and National Officers, and Members of he Veterans of Foreign 
Wars: 

It is a great pleasure for me to rise and place in nomination the 
name of Father Thomas W. Neville for the office of National Chaplain for 
1998-'99. Father Neville served in the U.S. Medical Corps in World War 
II. 

He obtained his degree from the school in Baltimore, receiving the 
Doctor of Divinity and presently earned his M.A. Degree in Divinity from 
Dayton University. He is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
Post 2327 in Richmond, Illinois. 

Having served as an All-State Commander in 1990-'91, he has 
served as State Chaplin in Illinois since 1990, and was National Chaplain 
in 1994-'95. Father Neville belongs to the Knights of Columbus, and I am 
pleased to place in nomination Father Thomas W. Neville from Illinois for 
National Chaplain for the year 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: For the purpose of a second to 
the nomination, I call to the podium Jim L. Michael, State Junior Vice- 
Commander, from Post 1383, Rock Island, Illinois. 

COMRADE JIM MICHAEL (Post 1383 - Illinois): My name is Jim 
Michael, Post 1383, Illinois, and a delegate from the State of Illinois. I 
proudly second the nomination of Thomas W. Neville, along with all my 
other comrades, for the high office of National Chaplain. Thank you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any other 
nominations this morning for the office of National Chaplain of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars for 1998-'99. Hearing none, the nominations 
will remain open until tomorrow morning. 

I must correct myself. Are there any other nominations for the 
office of Quartermaster General this morning? Hearing none, those 
nominations will also remain open until tomorrow morning's session. 

Tomorrow morning's session will begin at 9:00 a.m. It will be in 
the South Banquet Hall, not here but in the South Banquet Hall. It is where 
the Council of Administration meeting was held this past weekend. 

I call forward the Sergeant-at-Arms. Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, 



204 



will you prepare the room for the closing session. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT- AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Yes, sir. 

(Whereupon, the Salute to the Colors was given followed by the 
Benediction according to the Ritual by National Chaplain Dean Derieg.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Commander-in- 
Chief, the Closing Ceremonies for today's session have been performed. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, Sergeant-at-Arms. 
Comrades, this session is over and we are in recess. We will return 
tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock in the South Banquet Hall. 

(Whereupon, the meeting was duly recessed at 11 :40 o'clock a.m.) 

FIFTH BUSINESS SESSION 
FRIDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 4, 1998 

(The Fifth Business Session of the 99th National Convention of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, held in the Henry B. 
Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, was called to order at 
9:00 o'clock a.m., with Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon presiding.) 

CALL TO ORDER 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, 
you will call to order the final session of the 99th National Convention. 

(Whereupon, Sergeant-at-Arms Hoffman led the convention in the 
Salute to the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance. National Chaplain 
Reverend Dean Derieg gave the Opening Prayer.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, your order has been obeyed. 

PRESENTATION OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S GOLD MEDAL AND 

CITATION 
TO GENERAL THOMAS A. SCHWARTZ 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: It is now my pleasure to make 
a presentation that was scheduled for last year's convention, but the 
recipient was on duty in Bosnia last August and could not attend the 
convention. Now, home from that military operation, he is the recently- 
appointed Commanding General, U.S. Air Forces Command, Ft. 
McPherson, Georgia; a command which has a total personnel strength of 
800,000 troops. That includes active duty, guard and reserves. 

General Thomas A. Schwartz graduated from the United States 
Military Academy at West Point in 1967. His military schooling includes 
infantry officer basic course, ranger school, armor officer advanced course. 



205 



armed forces staff college and the Navy war college. 

He served in Vietnam as a platoon leader and company 
commander in the 82nd Airborne. Other overseas tours took him to Korea 
and Germany. 

Stateside, the General has served in a variety of positions, 
including command of Ft. Carson, Colorado, and the Fourth Infantry 
Division and, subsequently, command of Ft. Hood, Texas, and the III Corps. 

His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, 
Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal and several others. 

Please rise and give a warm VFW welcome to General Thomas A. 
Schwartz, here to receive the VFW Commander-in-Chief's Gold Medal. 

The citation reads: "Gold Medal of Merit and this Citation 
presented to Thomas A. Schwartz, Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces 
Command. 

"In sincere appreciation and special recognition of his remarkable 
life of service and personal sacrifice as a dedicated member of the United 
States Army. His distinguished record of service as a highly-decorated 
officer, platoon leader and company commander in Vietnam and his 
extraordinary contributions to every assignment during his more than three 
decades of service to the nation is an inspiration to all Americans and his 
exceptional achievements have earned him the admiration and gratitude of 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

"In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and the 
official seal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, this 4th 
day of September, 1998." 

This has been signed by me, Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon, 
and Larry W. Rivers, Adjutant General. 

RESPONSE - GENERAL THOMAS A. SCHWARTZ 

GENERAL SCHWARTZ: Good morning, everybody. How is 
everybody doing? I think I would rather be the wake-up guy than the guy 
that puts you down at night. I fee! good about this line anyway. They had 
a big four-star conference newspaper in Washington and I had to go up 
there, and I was the last speaker at the end of the conference, at the end of 
the day, so it was pretty hard to get all those guys motivated. 

Commander-in-Chief Moon, thank you for having me today. This 
is a great award. It is an incredible honor. When I walked in here this 
morning, just like every time I walk in any place that has you veterans and 
you ladies that served your country like you have and mean so much in the 
very heart and soul of what this country is all about, I feel special but I feel 
honored also being in your presence. Thank you for having me here this 
morning. 

I want to thank the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Tom Pouliot 
and Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John Smart, and all of you, especially 
for your continued service. I think that is one of the points I want to 



206 



emphasize this morning. I know we recognize lots of time our past 
performance, but as we sit here today and as I am among you, I can't help 
but think about your continued service. 

I know you served in some of those hard times and many conflicts 
overseas, but right here and now your presence marks your continued 
service to our country and you served dozens of programs, through 
hundreds and thousands of initiatives across our country. 

Your collective voice is the voice that will make a difference in our 
country. Thank you very much. I can feel your collective voice. I 
understand there is as many as 25,000 people that come together for this 
conference, and I think that just in sheer numbers alone speaks volumes 
about who you are, what you represent and the difference that you can 
make in your collective body. 

I want to recognize some of the contributions, because I have 
heard so much about what you have done in the contributions you have 
made. When I first came in here, and I was talking to a couple of our 
ladies, and then I heard that the Ladies Auxiliary had contributed $3 
million in money this year in scholarships. That is just almost mind- 
boggling when you think about it. 

So are the statistics that I have heard in terms of millions of dollars 
of scholarships that I have personally witnessed in some of the places I 
have been. You give to our dependents and our soldiers that make a 
difference in their life. So far eight million hours of volunteer service that 
you do. 

When I served in these different Posts around the country, I see 
your faces. You are the mainstay of the volunteer force in and around the 
Posts and in and around our communities. I see it all the time. It is our 
veterans that are making such a difference. 

In the dollar contribution alone, the sheer dollar contribution, of 
$600,000 to the Korean Veterans Memorial, $200,000 to the Vietnam 
Veterans Memorial, and $100,000 to the Vietnam Women's Memorial, that 
is significant. There are scores of programs just like that and many more of 
citizenship, education, flag sponsorship, and the list goes on, doesn't it, in 
the outstanding work of our Ladies Auxiliary and the difference they make. 

As I walk around you and in and among you, as I said earlier, it is 
the experience of my life. It makes me feel special. Thank you very much. 

On behalf of the 750,800 soldiers that I represent in forces 
command and that is active soldiers, that is Guard and National Reserve, 
all of us marvel at the things that you do and the difference that you make. 
I would like to say to you, Ken Steadman, thanks for asking me here to 
speak. I will just speak shortly, not too long. 

He said talk about some national security measures or matters to 
us forjust a little while. I know nothing of more national security interest 
or importance than our soldier. So I will talk to you a little bit about our 
soldier, if I may. Even though I am an Army component of all of this, I think 
what I say can be extrapolated easily to our sailors, our Marines, our 



207 



airmen and our Coast Guardsmen that are so marvelously represented here 
this morning. 

You know today the soldier, I can look you in the eye and I can tell 
you this, and I know a lot of you have not walked in the ranks like I have 
today, the soldier of today. I look you in the eye and tell you this young 
man and this great young woman of today are trained and ready, and they 
proudly serve, and they are doing a greatjob. 

In my 31 years of doing this, I have never seen it better. That is 31 
years I have never seen men and women better trained, better motivated to 
serve their country and to do the things that represent you and the heritage 
that you gave them in terms of service to country. 

They are picking it up. They are carrying that banner proudly, and 
you will be proud of them every step of the way. I have got to tell you, 
training today is the hallmark of the great Army that you have, and all the 
other services. It is the foremost component of readiness today. 

Keep our soldiers trained and ready and we are doing it. We have 
lots of technology today. We have simulation in the services today that 
would absolutely be mind-boggling to you. At Ft. Hood alone, there are 
$400 million of simulation devices that we have never seen the likes of in 
our Army. We are using them and they are making us better. 

We have advanced more experiments that take place, and we do 
this in war fighting today that you could only dream of years ago, only 
dream about that an Army could accomplish or do. That is the state of the 
art of your service today. But it is just not that technology, it is our great 
soldiers. 

They come because of that from all over the world to see us. Do 
you know that eighty countries have come in the last eight months to Ft. 
Hood, Texas, when I was there, eighty countries in eight months to see the 
great American Army? They have marveled at who we are, what we do, 
and our soldiers and our technology. 

I have got to tell you through all of that they marvel the most when 
they leave this great country, they marvel the most at the soldier, the man 
and woman they see. Theyjust marvel. They ask about it all the time, how 
do you do this, how do you create this volunteer Army that you have? 

How have you accomplished this? How can we do that and how 
can we incorporate women into our ranks? These are the things. How can 
we build an NCO Corps like you have? You know the answer is I give them 
lots of times, "Well, you have to go back 222 years and start this great 
dream that was started then. Start this great formation of what made us 
great, this Army, all these services, because that is when they started." You 
don't do it overnight. 

You accomplish it through hard work, through a nation of people 
like you here today who are so committed and so willing to give them your 
lives and give sacrifice of so much to make this the greatest country in the 
world. That is how you become great. 

You know, these young people that we ask them today, we deploy 



208 



them all over the world. We have 27,000 soldiers deployed right nov^ in 
83 countries across the world. That is 83 countries. So, when these young 
men and women come, they don't sit around the Continental United 
States, they move around this world and we ask a lot of them. 

They are near Kuwait, they are in Bosnia, in Mozambique, just to 
mention a few, all over the world. These young men and women are 
willing and they do a great job. They accept the hardship, they deal with 
it and they are trained and ready. 

I will tell you, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that the women, 
the 14.2 percent of your United States Army that is represented by the great 
women of our ranks, they are doing an outstanding job. In fact, my 
daughter is in the Air Force. She is an F-16 pilot in the United State Air 
Force, and I am tremendously proud of her and the job that she does. 

You know, one of thejobs we do, and I want you to know this, one 
of thejobs we do in the Army today is we continually teach our soldiers 
about their heritage, because if we don't they will not understand those 
that went before them. We teach them about values and it is important. 

We teach them about respect and loyalty, honor, duty to country, 
the very values that have made us great. We make sure when they come 
in we teach them about that. Ken asked me to talk about readiness, and I 
will say this about readiness. I know it gets on everybody's eye. 

I will ask you, when you look at the readiness of the Army today 
and when I perform, also look at our deployment and judge us by those 
rather than the rhetoric that you hear. If you judge us by the performance 
of the deployment of this Army today, it is incredible what they 
accomplish. 

All you have to do is look back a couple of years. When I was at 
Ft. Hood and the call came to my desk, we need a brigade in Kuwait and 
we need it now, four days later the 1st Calvary Division was in Kuwait. Six 
hours from the time they had landed, they were in a tactical assembly area 
trained and ready to fight. 

That is unprecedented and unheard of in the world today. Just one 
year ago, Saddam Hussein called again. The same call came in. It was 
with the 3rd Infantry Division, but at this time 10,000 soldiers. We sent 
them in ten days with 700 tons of equipment, and we sent another brigade 
and equipment to get them there in ten days, and in less than eight hours 
when they hit the ground, they were in tactical assembly areas, trained and 
ready to do what they needed to do. 

That is the American soldier today, trained and ready. Judge us by 
our performance rather than by the rhetoric. You know, I marvel at the 
technology that we have every day. We have C-1 7s that do things today 
that no one dreamed of in terms of airlift capabilities. 

We have technology among our ranks and tanks that do things that 
were never dreamed of years ago that a tank could do. But the bottom line 
of all that is the American soldier. You know, I will quote this one quote for 
you because I like this. 



209 



This young soldier with the Srd Infantry Division that we sent over 
to Kuwait on that short notice that I just talked about, here is a quote from 
that young man. He said, "I had a wrestling coach in high school who said 
if you show up for the weigh-in looking scary, you intimidate the other 

guy" 

We showed up in Kuwait looking scary, and the neat part is your 
soldiers show up all over the world looking scary. In Bosnia, when they 
show up with all the services over there, people are talking about all the 
time about don't mess with the American soldier. He and she looks strong. 

And I have got to tell you, our adversaries out there are concerned. 
When they look at all the great services of ours, they are concerned and 
they are a little scared. You know what, when I used to have those eight 
countries that came in eight months, we have 7.2 miles of motor pool at 
Ft. Hood, Texas, and 24,000 combat vehicles, and I used to take them for 
a ride along there to take a look at them. 

I had the Chief of Staff of the Russian Army with me and I drove 
that 7.2 miles. He spoke a little bit of English. "Good, ready, powerful." I 
kept saying to myself, "You better believe it" under my hat. 

Well, those soldiers are committed. We teach them a lot of great 
things. Like I said, they are ready to assume the responsibility, they are 
ready to do the things and you know they are ready to do the ultimate 
things that you and I respect most, and those that went before us and will 
never forget about a person who serves his or her country, the willingness 
to give their lives. These young people today are willing to do that. I marvel 
at them every day and you should. I know you are proud of them. 

I treasure this medal. This will mean a great deal to me. I 
guarantee if you come to my office in Atlanta, I know there is a Georgia 
contingency here, you can come see this. I salute everyone in this room. 
What I said in the beginning was your continued service, and I can tell, we 
ask in the armed services of our country for your continued support. 

Your collective voice is important to our nation's security. Don't 
ever underestimate that. Your collective good works is what makes this 
nation strong. It is what makes this nation what it is today. Thank you and 
God bless you for having me here today. Thank you very much. I love 
each and every one of you. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you again very much, 
General. 

At this time I call to the podium the Chairman of the Credentials 
Committee, Richard Trombia, Post 1174, Kansas. 

FINAL REPORT OF CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE 

COMRADE RICHARD TROMBLA (Post 1174 - Kansas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I am Richard Trombia, Post 1174, Department of 
Kansas, Chairman of the Credentials Committee. Comrades, this is a 
final report of the delegates registered at this convention. The delegate 



210 



strength is 13,417. We have 54 Department Commanders; 26 Past 
Commanders-in-Chief; 36 National Officers. That is for a grand total of 
13,533. 

Comrades, I would like to tell you this is 690 more delegates than 
there was last year in Salt Lake City. Commander-in-Chief, this is a final 
report. In behalf of the committee, I wish to thank you for the appointment 
and ask that you dismiss us. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you very much, Mr. 
Chairman. But before doing so, I would call forward those that are present 
from the Credentials Committee for recognition. Not in attendance this 
morning but who has been a very dedicated individual for many years on 
this committee, James H. Willis of Post 534, Missouri, and James L. 
Mascola, Post 3580, Illinois. 

The two in attendance are Elwood B. Rickards, Post 7234, 
Delaware, and James A. Kennedy, Post 3877, Minnesota. (Applause) 

At this time, Mr. Chairman, your committee is dismissed. 

I have got a dear friend of mine that has to go across the hall and 
help assist the ladies on a couple of things this morning, so I would ask the 
individual to please rise for recognition. That is the Immediate Past State 
Commander, a dear friend and one of my Post members, and a mentor of 
mine, Roger Taylor of Post 2873, Grover Hill, Ohio. (Applause) 

I call forward to the mike the Assistant Adjutant General who will 
read the nominations for National Home Trustees. 

NOMINATIONS FOR NATIONAL HOME TRUSTEES 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Those nominated for the 
Sixth National Home District, representing the Departments of Kentucky, 
Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri, are Margaret Fesmire, 
Ladies Auxiliary toVFW Post 4780, Milan, Tennessee; John Bourque, Post 
2210, St. Genevieve, Missouri; Bernard McClelland, Post 2618, 
Brookhaven, Mississippi; Robert Nickerson, Post 6640, Metairie, Louisiana; 
Rebecca Strauss, Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW Post 280, Columbia, 
Missouri. 

Those nominated for the seat representing the Tenth National 
Home District, representing the Departments of Arkansas, Texas, 
Oklahoma and New Mexico, Curtis O. Bohlman, Post 1335, Woodward, 
Oklahoma; Glendola Edwards, Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 4548, 
Jacksonville, Arkansas; F. E. Gene Warden, Post 8552, Del Rio, Texas; and 
Juanita Workman, Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 8577, Copperas Cove, 
Texas. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Thank you, John. I was in a 
breakfast the other morning for All-American Commanders, and sought for 
and gained their permission for what I felt was a very honorable thing. I 
asked them for permission to have this convention accept the fact that we 
had two individuals who served with great honor and distinction this past 



211 



year as commanders. 

One attained the status of Ail-American, and shortly thereafter 
died. He was unable to fill his term. I also asked that in the event, or I 
guess in response for the individual from the great State of North Carolina, 
who for the past three years took dialysis four times a day, and he 
continued to serve throughout his term. 

Shortly after leaving the office of Commander, he passed away. 
Those two individuals, I asked the All-American Commanders if I could 
grant them honorary status as Captains this year of the All-American Team 
of the Department Commanders. 

That grant was given to me, and it is an honor for me at this time 
to have this convention accept the fact that we had two outstanding 
Department Commanders who distinguished themselves well, Larry 
Sakamoto from Hawaii and William Boykin from the great State of North 
Carolina. I salute you two comrades where you are resting in peace at this 
time. 

INTRODUCTION OF VFW NATIONAL BAND 

So often is the case we just take things for granted, and this 
morning I would look to my right and your left to Director Phil Arnone, our 
VFW National Band, sponsored by Post 47, Uniontown, and the 
distinguished service you have given us for so many years and the 
outstanding job you have given this week. 

Mr. Director, if you will please have the members of your band rise 
for a round of applause for your efforts and what you have done for us this 
week. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

INTRODUCTION OF HONOR GUARD 

Again, I would like to make the announcement that as of February 
8, 1998, the Veterans of Foreign Wars has been deeply honored to have as 
its National Honor Guard those individuals who continue to struggle day 
in and day out to make sure that events in and around Washington and the 
National Conventions are carried out with great dignity and honor, the 
members of the National Honor Guard and their 50th Anniversary this 
year. Comrades, you are doing a wonderful job. (Applause) 

INTRODUCTION OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S FAMILY 

As one is sometimes allowed or not allowed to do, I would like to 
recognize some people this morning that I have on the stage, and then ask 
the Sergeant-at-Arms if he will escort them from the room. If I might start 
at the far end, a man who we kid back and forth about our little town, he 



212 



is a member of our Post but also Mayor of our community, Ray Roth, and 
his wife Darlene. 

Another member, John Wilkin and his wife from our Post. My 
aunt, Faye Thomas, an Auxiliary member. My niece, Michelle Moon and 
her friend Tim. Next is Gary Moon. A friend that I guess has been pretty 
special to me, my brother, Larry Moon and his wife, Sue. 

I always say that because Larry spent three years in Vietnam trying 
to make sure I didn't go over there. Unfortunately, he didn't stay there long 
enough so now I am eligible for the VFW. Thanks again, Larry. 

This little girl behind me is the one that everyone seems to 
recognize throughout the convention. She, from time to time, may get 
turned around in some of the sessions, but she always seems to find the 
hospitality room. I kid her dearly, my mother-in-law and a great supporter 
of mine for all these years, Ronnie. 

These individuals have done so much along with Post 2873, my 
District 1 in the great State of Ohio, and the entire Big Ten. I was so 
fortunate to reach this position, but I would not have been able to do so 
had it not been for so many dedicated comrades from the Auxiliaries and 
from the various Posts in my great state to give me that honor to come to 
this position. 

I am going to save this other lady until maybe later in the audience 
so she can leave at that time. But for now, I would like to introduce to you 
the most special person in my life, one that has put up with me for 24 and 
one-half of my 28 years in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

We kid back and forth, but I met this lady at a VFW meeting at her 
Post in 1974 when I was District Commander, and it is kind of ironic, 
sometime they say divorce comes as a result of involvement within the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars, but marriage came as a result of my involvement 
with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

I am deeply honored to introduce to you the greatest lady that I 
could ever have to stand beside me, my wife, Susie Moon. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

MRS. SUSIE MOON: Thank you, guys. I have to tell you, three 
years ago we were in this same position, different room, different city, and 
we were in the same position, and you wondered what it is that you are 
going to say on the day that you leave as an officer of this wonderful 
organization. 

John has been a most gracious husband. He has been my friend, 
my lover and my husband. Yet, he has always shared our lives with you. 
He has had a dream since he left Vietnam and joined the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars immediately upon returning home, and has progressed 
through the chairs of two different Posts, because once he met me he came 
to Grover Hill, which was very nice, I thought. 

That saved me from going back and forth to Charloe. Then he went 
through the District and the Department, and then on to National. We 



213 



worked as a team in Grover Hill. I was the Clerk and he was the Mayor for 
a number of years. You know, it has been kind of funny for me, because 
we were used to always being together and we were a team. 

Then when he became the National Commander to the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars, he was the man, and a lot of times the wife is accused of 
being, you know, kind of running things. I am here to tell you, he is his 
own man, and yet fortunately I had a background that when this man was 
hurting or when this man had a problem, he was able to call home and he 
was able to have someone to talk with. 

I think you men know out there that it is very important to have a 
mate that you can talk things over with. We discussed the theme of 
"Courage Under Fire." You know, through John's campaigning, there was 
always like a subversive culture out there that for whatever reason they 
didn't want him to achieve his offices. 

It took a while, but he was elected in our Department. Then when 
he was fortunate to gain the endorsement of our Department, he 
campaigned for national office. During that campaign, it was still that 
subversive culture out there. You know what, that subversive political base 
that seems to rear its ugly head at times in organizations like this, you guys 
out there, the regular members, are who elected John E. Moon to be your 
National Commander. 

You stood up, you said to heck with this political machine, we are 
going to elect this man. I hope that you can agree with me that this last 54 
weeks you have had one of the greatest Commanders this organization is 
ever going to see. Thank you very much. (Applause) 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: She didn't say she was going 
to say that. Is there any other business to come before this convention 
before we go into nominations and election of officers? If not, I will release 
any and all committees at this time that have been assigned to this 99th 
National Convention. 

At this time, I call forward to the podium John W. Mahan, Past 
Commander-in-Chief, Post 1116, Helena, Montana. 

ELECTION OF OFFICERS 

PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF JOHN MAHAN: Yesterday, I had 
the privilege to nominate for Commander-in-Chief my friend, comrade and 
associate, Tom Pouliot of Helena, Montana, Post 1116. He is now 
nominated, and I move that the Adjutant General cast a unanimous ballot 
for Tom Pouliot for Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Are there any other 
nominations? Are there any other nominations? Are there any other 
nominations? Nominations are closed. The motion is in order. Is there a 
second? 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL JOHN SENK: I proudly second 



214 



the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: All in favor will signify by 
saying "aye"; all opposed "no". The motion carries. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Comrades, you have 
just elected Tom Pouliot as Commander-in-Chief for 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Nomination yesterday for the 
position of Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief was John W. Smart of Post 
483, New Hampshire. Are there any other nominations once? Are there 
any other nominations twice? Are there any other nominations three 
times? The nominations are closed. Is there a motion on the floor to close 
nominations? 

SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT (Post 1116 - 
Montana): I move that we close the nominations and that we cast one 
unanimous ballot for John Smart for the office of Senior Vice Commander- 
in-Chief for the 1998-'99 year. 

COMRADE PAUL CHEVALIER (Post 1968 - New Hampshire): I 
second the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been made 
and seconded. All in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all opposed. The 
motion carries. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: It give me great pleasure 
to cast one unanimous ballot for the election of John W. Smart for Senior 
Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for the year 
1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: While they are going to the 
back of the room to get assembled, one of the things we do at the National 
Convention and I failed to do earlier, is to recognize the Chairman of this 
99th National Convention and all the efforts put forth by he and his staff. 

I would like to have the audience please rise and pay special honor 
to Jim Nier, Past Commander-in-Chief, and Chairman of this year's 99th 
National Convention. (Applause) 

Yesterday, the name of John F. Gwizdak, Post 5080 of Georgia, was 
placed in nomination for the office of Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief. 
Are there any other nominations once? Are there any other nominations 
twice? Are there any other nominations three times? 

The chair recognizes Richard Branson. 

COMRADE RICHARD BRANSON: Comrade Commander-in- 
Chief, yesterday, this dynamic leader, John Gwizdak, was nominated by 
Past Commander-in-Chief "Bulldog" Smith from the great State of Georgia. 
At this time for this great American, I move, Commander-in-Chief, the 
nominations be closed and the Adjutant General be instructed to cast one 
unanimous ballot for John Gwizdak. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been made to 
close the nominations and cast one unanimous ballot for John Gwizdak for 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief. Is there a second? 

COMRADE RON WILSON (Department of Georgia): 



215 



Commander-in-Chief, I second the motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been made 
and seconded. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all those 
opposed. The motion carries. 

Comrade Assistant Adjutant General. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: It is my pleasure to cast 
one unanimous ballot for the election of John F. Gwizdak for Junior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States 
for the year 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: While they are making their 
round, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those individuals, 
Larry W. Rivers and the Adjutant General's staff; Joe Ridgley, and the 
Quartermaster General's staff, and all the Assistant Adjutant Generals and 
the Assistant Quartermasters for their effort on behalf of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars this year. To all of you, thank you very much for a job well 
done. 

The name of Joe L. Ridgley, Post 8220, of Missouri, was placed in 
nomination for the office of Quartermaster General. Are there any other 
nominations this morning for the office of Quartermaster General, once? 
Are there any other nominations for the office of Quartermaster General, 
twice? Are there any other nominations for the office of Quartermaster 
General, three times? 

The chair recognizes Tony Borjas. 

COMRADE TONY BORJAS (Post 2866 - Missouri): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, Tony Borjas from Post 2866, Department 
Commander in Missouri. I move that nominations cease for Quartermaster 
General and a unanimous ballot be cast for Joe Ridgley of Missouri as 
Quartermaster General. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Is there a second? 

COMRADE JIM MILLER (Post 5077 - Missouri): It is an honor and 
pleasure to second the nomination of Joe Ridgley for the high office of 
Quartermaster General. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been 
seconded. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed 
"no". The motion carries. 

Assistant Adjutant General, please. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: It gives me a great deal 
of pleasure to cast one unanimous vote for Joe L. Ridgley for the office of 
Quartermaster General for 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Yesterday morning, the name 
of R. Earl Lord of Post 10351, Texas, was placed in nomination for the 
office of Judge Advocate General. Are there any other nominations this 
morning for Judge Advocate General, once? Any other nominations, twice? 
Are there any other nominations, three times? 

The chair recognizes Glen Gardner, Quartermaster/ 
Adjutant from Texas. 



216 



COMRADE GLEN GARDNER (Post 3359 - Texas): Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I move you instruct the Assistant Adjutant General to 
cast one unanimous ballot for R. Earl Lord, Post 10351, Hemphill, Texas, 
for Judge Advocate General for 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I recognize Comrade William 
D. Bell, Department of Texas. 

COMRADE WILLIAM D. BELL (Department of Texas): 
Commander-in-Chief, I humbly am really proud to be here to second this 
motion for Earl Lord for the position that he seeks. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been made 
and seconded to close the nominations and instruct the Adjutant General 
to cast one unanimous ballot for Earl Lord for Judge Advocate General. All 
those in favor will say "aye"; all those opposed. The motion carries. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: I cast one unanimous 
ballot for the selection of Earl Lord for Judge Advocate General for the year 
1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: At our morning's session 
yesterday, the name of Kenneth S. Snow, Jr., Post 6977, of Maine, was 
placed in nomination for the office of Surgeon General. Are there any 
other nominations this morning for the office of Surgeon General, once? 
Are there any other nominations, twice? Any other nominations, three 
times? 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: I move that the 
nominations be closed and the Adjutant General be instructed to cast one 
unanimous ballot for the election of Kenneth Snow as Surgeon General. 

QUARTERMASTER GENERAL RIDGLEY: I second that motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: It has been moved and 
seconded. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye"; all those opposed. 
The motion carries. 

Comrade Assistant Adjutant General. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Thank you. 
Commander-in-Chief, I cast one unanimous ballot for the election of 
Kenneth Snow, Jr., for the high office of Surgeon General of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States for 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Yesterday morning, the name 
of Father Thomas W. Neville, Post 2337 of Illinois, was placed in 
nomination for the office of National Chaplain. Are there any other 
nominations this morning for the office of National Chaplain, once? Are 
there any other nominations for the office, twice? Are there any other 
nominations, three times? 

I recognize the State Commander of Illinois. 

COMRADE DONALD PORTER (Department of Illinois): 
Commander-in-Chief, I ask that you instruct the Adjutant General to cast 
one unanimous ballot for Father Thomas W. Neville for National Chaplain. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: The motion has been made to 
close nominations and cast one unanimous ballot for Father Thomas 



217 



Neville. Is there a second? 

COMRADE JAY MICHAEL (Post 1303 - Illinois): I proudly second 
that motion, Commander-in-Chief. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: All in favor will signify by 
saying "aye"; all opposed. The motion carries. 

Comrade Assistant Adjutant General. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: I cast one unanimous 
ballot for the selection of Father Thomas W. Neville for the high office of 
National Chaplain of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States for 
the year 1998-'99. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: Again, if we could have 
everyone to please rise and give all those 1998-1999 National Officers- 
Elect a round of applause. (Applause) 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF COUNCIL MEMBERS-ELECT 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I call to the podium Assistant 
Adjutant General John Senk. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Sergeant-at-Arms, will 
you, please, escort the Commander-in-Chief-Elect to the floor to present 
the caps to the incoming National Council Members. The National 
Council Members-Elect are as follows: 

District 2, representing the Departments of Massachusetts and 
Connecticut, Ron Rusakiewicz, from Post 9460, in Connecticut. 

District No. 4, representing the Departments of the District of 
Columbia, Delaware and Europe, G. P. Miserandino, Sr., Post 2979, District 
of Columbia. 

District No. 6, representing Virginia and West Virginia, Bobby R. 
Walls, Post 2216. 

District No. 8, representing Georgia and Alabama, Ray E. Brooks, 
Post 2785. 

District No. 10, representing Oklahoma and Arkansas, Eugene H. 
George, Post 9969. 

District No. 12, representing South Dakota, North Dakota and 
Wyoming, Richard J. Belling, Post 7564. 

Council District No. 14, representing Montana, Washington and 
Idaho, George F. Riedel, Post 969. 

National Council District No. 16, representing Central America, 
Pacific Areas, Alaska and Hawaii, Thomas I. Elliott, Post 9467. 

Representing Council District D, Ohio, Craig D. Swartz, Post 2947. 

Representing Council District No. E, Department of Minnesota, 
Donald L. Gates, Jr., Post 141. 

And representing the Department of Texas, District No. H, 
Alexander Vernon, Post 91 91 . 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENTS BY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF- 

218 



ELECT 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I call to the podium 
Commander-in-Chief-Elect Tom Pouliot for the announcement of his 
appointments for 1998-1999. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF-ELECT POULIOT: I announce for 
1998-'99 the appointment of Adjutant General John J. Senk, Jr., 
from Post 335, New Jersey. The National Chief of Staff, Randy E. Russell, 
Post 2136, Idaho. The Inspector General, Norbert K. Enos, Post 2875, 
Hawaii. The National Sergeant-at-Arms, Barry A. Hoffman, Post 6240, 
Kansas. 

INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I call to the podium at this 
time John J. Mahan, Past Commander-in-Chief from the great State of 
Montana. We will now proceed with the Installation of Officers. 

Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, is the Installing Officer at the proper 
position to do the installation services? 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, I am proud to present Past Commander-in-Chief John 
Mahan, who has been instructed to install the officers for the ensuing year. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, 
the term for which you and your subordinate officers were elected or 
appointed has now expired. It is my duty to ascertain the following. Have 
the officers for the ensuing year been duly elected? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: They have. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Have the books of the Adjutant 
General and the Quartermaster General been examined and approved by 
the National Council of Administration? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: They have. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Does the Adjutant General have 
on file proof of eligibility for all officers to be installed during this 
installation? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: He has. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: I would remind any officer not 
having proof of eligibility on file and not being installed at this time, the 
by-laws prescribe you must within 60 days of election or appointment 
submit to the Adjutant General for his file a copy of your proof of eligibility. 

Are the funds in the hands of the Quartermaster General ready to 
be turned over to his successor when duly installed? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: They are. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Have you in your possession the 
charter and gavel of this organization? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MOON: I have. 



219 



INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: You will now surrender the gavel 
and charter to me. Past Commander-in-Chief John E. Moon, you have now 
been relieved of your duties as Commander-in-Chief of this organization. 
It is proper to remind you that in assuming the chair of F^st Commander- 
in-Chief it will be your duty and privilege to counsel and otherwise assist 
your successor through the experiences that you have gained during your 
term of office. You will now station yourself at my right. 

National Sergeant-at-Arms, you will now present the officers-elect 
at the alter as the Adjutant General reads the list of officers to be as the 
Sergeant-at-Arms escorts the officers elected to the alter according to rank. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Yes, sir. 

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Yes, sir. Past 
Commander-in-Chief. 

Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief - John W. Smart 

Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief - John W. Gwizdak 

Quartermaster General - Joe L. Ridgley 

Judge Advocate General - R. Earl Lord 

Surgeon General - Kenneth S. Snow, Jr. 

National Chaplain - Father Thomas W. Neville 

National Chief of Staff - Randy E. Russell 



Inspector General 


- Norbert K. Enos 






District Council Members: 


District No. 


1 


- Robert W. Mad igan 


District No. 


2 


- Ronald Rusakiewicz 


District No. 


3 


- Raymond J. Boyle 


District No. 


4 


- G. P. "Jerry" Miserandino, Sr 


District No. 


5 


- James R. Mueller 


District No. 


6 


- Bobby R.Walls 


District No. 


7 


- Leroy Ford 


District No. 


8 


- Ray E. Brooks 


District No. 


9 


- William J. Hendren 


District No. 


10 


- Eugene H. George 


District No. 


11 


- William P. Shannon 


District No. 


12 


- Richard J. Belling 


District No. 


13 


- Lewie B. Cooper 


District No. 


14 


- George F. Riedel 


District No. 


15 


- George H. Palmateer 


District No. 


16 


- Thomas 1. Elliott 


District No. 


17 


- Frank R. Risewick 


District No. 


19 


- Richard J. Fruge 


District A 




- Charles R. Feltenberger 


District B 




- Rick Frank 


District C 




- T. William Bossidy 


District D 




- Craig D. Swartz 


District E 




- Donald L. Gates, Jr. 


District F 




- Richard L. Lehner 



220 



District G - Richard R. Pignone 

District H - Alexander Vernon 

District J - James DeRass 

Immediate Past Commander-in-Chief - John E. Moon 

Adjutant General - John J. Senk, Jr. 

Commander-in-Chief - Thomas A. Pouliot 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Sergeant-at-Arms, are all 
present? 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: They are. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: National Officers-Elect of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I will administer to you the 
Officers' Obligation. 

You will raise your right hand, touch the flag of your country with 
your left hand and repeat after me. 

(Whereupon, the following Officers' Obligation was given at this 
time: "I do hereby solemnly promise that I will faithfully discharge to the 
best of my ability the duties of the office to which I have been elected or 
appointed, according to the Constitution, By-Laws and Ritual of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. I solemnly promise that at 
the close of the term to which I have been elected or appointed, or sooner 
if so ordered by proper authority, I will surrender immediately to only the 
duly authorized person or persons, all records, money, or other properties 
of this organization in my possession or under my control. All this I freely 
promise, upon my honor, as a loyal citizen of our great Republic. So help 
me God.") 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: As you were; parade rest. 

National Chaplain, please. 

NATIONAL CHAPLAIN DERIEG: Almighty God, our God and 
divine protector, give Thy blessings upon these, our comrades, who now 
become fellow officers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. We beseech you, 
O Lord, that you are always present among us. Grant wisdom unto them 
so that in their deliberations they continue to favor Thee, our glorious 
country and the betterment of our organization. 

May Thy strength sustain them. May Thy power preserve them. 
May Thy hand protect them in the faithful and fruitful performance of their 
duties. Amen. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Sergeant-at-Arms, you will now 
escort the officers to their respective stations. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Yes, sir. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: National Officers of the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars of the United States, you now occupy the position of honor 
to which your comrades have elected you. Learn well the responsibilities 
entrusted to you so that you may intelligently discharge the duties you are 
to undertake. 

The By-Laws and Ritual of our organization prescribe in detail the 
duties of your respective offices. By virtue of the confidence placed in you. 



221 



through your election or appointment, we assume that you will acquaint 
yourselves clearly with your duties. 

The National Council of Administration members will stand and 
face the dais. Sergeant-at-Arms, you will now escort the Commander-in- 
Chief-Elect to my station. 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade Installing 
Officer, I am proud to present to you Commander-in-Chief-Elect of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Thomas A. Pouliot. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Commander-in-Chief-Elect 
Thomas Pouliot, before administering your obligation, it is proper to 
remind you of certain duties. You will be held personally responsible for 
the charter of this organization and that at the end of your term of office, 
you will deliver it to the officer appointed to install your successor. 

It is your duty to see that all National Officers perform their duties 
to the best of their ability. You shall keep yourself informed on all proposed 
legislation which may affect the welfare of potential and actual comrades 
of this organization, and strive for adoption of only those measures which 
will be beneficial. 

You will be required to devote all of your time to the many duties 
of your office. You are expected to make a special study of the 
Congressional Charter, By-Laws and Ritual of this organization so that you 
may render firm and impartial decisions on important questions referred to 
you. 

As Commander-in-Chief, you will be regarded by your comrades 
and by the general public as typifying wise and vigorous leadership in the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. May all of your efforts and 
your accomplishments bring credit to your administration and to our 
organization. 

Comrade Thomas A. Pouliot, are you willing and ready to assume 
your solemn obligation? 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF-ELECT POULIOT: I am. 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: You will raise your right hand, 
touch the flag of our country with your left hand, and give your name as I 
touch your hand, and repeat after me. 

(Whereupon, Commander-in-Chief-Elect Pouliot received the 
following obligation: "In the presence of Almighty God and the Officers 
and Delegates of this Order here assembled, I, Thomas A. Pouliot, do 
hereby solemnly promise that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my 
ability, the duties of the office of Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States, to which I have been elected in 
accordance with the Constitution, Ritual and By-Laws of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States. I solemnly promise that at the close of 
the term to which I have been elected, or sooner if so ordered by proper 
authority, I will surrender immediately to only the duly authorized person 
or persons, the National Charter, all records, money and other properties 
of this organization in my possession or under my control. 



222 



"I do further solemnly promise that I will be fair and impartial in 
my actions towards all comrades, and I will always strive to promote the 
best interests of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. So help 
me God.") 

INSTALLING OFFICER MAHAN: Council members, you will 
resume your station. Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I now place in your 
possession our Charter. Also I present you with this gavel, which is the 
emblem of your authority. Use it firmly but with discretion. 

All National Officers, you will stretch forth your right hand and 
repeat after me: "Comrade Commander-in-Chief Tom A. Pouliot, to you I 
pledge my sincere allegiance." 

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, officers and delegates of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I now proclaim the National 
Officers duly installed and the organization in working order for the 
ensuing year. 

PRESENTATION OF PAST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF 
LAPEL PIN AND GOLD LIFE MEMBERSHIP CARD 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you, comrades and 
sisters. As the first order of business, I would like to have Past Commander- 
in-Chief John Moon to please come forward. 

John, it has been a pleasure to serve with you these past two years. 
I would like to present to you today your Gold Life Membership Badge and 
your Past Commander-in-Chief's Pin. 

ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: We would like Shirley Pouliot to 
come forward to place the cap on the Chief's head. If the Senior Vice 
Commander-in-Chief and Mrs. Mary Smart would present themselves. 
Presenting the cap to the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, John Gwizdak, 
is his lovely wife, Betty. 

SENIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SMART: John, it is indeed 
an honor for me to present to you your Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief's 
Lapel Pin. 

JUNIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF GWIZDAK: It is indeed 
an honor to accept it. 

ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Replacing the cap on the 
Quartermaster General, because he will not get a new one, is his wife Judy. 

Placing the hat on the head of Judge Advocate General Earl Lord 
will be the State Commander of Texas, Doug Bell. 

Placing the cap on the head of the Surgeon General, Kenneth 
Snow, will be his wife, Joy. 

Past Commanders-in-Chief Ray Soden and George Cramer have 
the honor of placing the cap on National Chaplain Father Neville. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: As many of you know, our 
Adjutant General John Senk is a single parent raising his 12-year-old 
daughter, Danielle, and an eight-year-old son, Sean. As you can irhagine. 



223 



the VFW travel for National Officers is pretty tough, but when you have 
children at home and no family in the area, it makes it even more difficult. 

Fortunately, John has many friends in Kansas City who have been 
a great source of help and support for his children. We are happy to have 
two of them with us today, Chris and Barbara Mynatt have been long-time 
friends of John and on several occasions have cared for Danielle and Sean 
while John has been away. 

When they learned that John would become the Adjutant General, 
they couldn't believe it. I just added that, John. They came to San Antonio 
for this weekend to witness this Installation Ceremony. Since Barbara is the 
supervisor in the VFW Insurance Department, John has asked her to place 
his cap, representing the employees at the National Headquarters. Ms. 
Mynatt, if you will please present the cap to Adjutant General Senk. 
(Applause) 

My National Chief of Staff, if you will please come forward. 
Placing the cap on Randy Russell is Past National Commander-in-Chief Jim 
Kimery. The National Inspector, Norbert K. Enos, please come forward. It 
pleases me to have the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Gwizdak to place 
the cap. 

JUNIOR VICE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF GWIZDAK: We served in 
Vietnam in the same unit, so he asked if I would do this today, and it is my 
pleasure and honor. 

ACCEPTANCE ADDRESS BY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Now, for a few remarks. I 
wish to thank all of you for the honor you have given me this day. I hardly 
know what to say. It seems like it has been a long time to get to this place 
and I am very humble because I know that only one person in our two 
million organization gets to be the Commander-in-Chief this year, and I am 
almost overwhelmed that you have elected me. 

Before I forget it, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce 
my family that is here with me. My father and mother, George and Mary 
Pouliot. My sister, Joan Miller, who many of you know. She has been the 
socialite in our Hospitality Room. 

My twin sisters, Pam Huffman and Rat Fries. Of course, I could not 
have gotten here without the love and support and encouragement of my 
bride of three and one-half years, Shirley Pouliot. I humbly accept this 
position and I promise with your help, with the help of everyone here, all 
of our All-Americans, our National Council members, the Department, 
District and Post officers, I will do my best to make sure that the VFW is a 
stronger and more vital organization next year than it is at this time. 

I want to give special thanks to my own Department, the 
Department of Montana and its Ladies Auxiliary, for their many years of 
support. It is with heartfelt gratitude that I acknowledge the large debt that 
I owe you. Please stand. (Applause) 



224 



I think I better not even start with any names, because there are a 
million of them, but I will mention one name, a special friend, someone 
who has been my mentor and has helped me in everything that I have ever 
done in the VFW, Past Commander-in-Chief and a good friend, John 
Mahan. 

I wish to also pay special tribute to our VFW Ladies Auxiliary 
President Jane Bingham. Without the Ladies Auxiliary's special strength 
and compassionate vision, the Veterans of Foreign Wars would not be the 
premier organization we are today. 

In fact, we are America's elite veterans' group for the right to 
belong to this organization only belongs to those men and women who 
have fought for and rescued this country in time of need as soldier, sailors, 
airmen. Coast Guardsmen and Marines. 

The members of our elite veterans' organization are members who 
have discharged their obligation of citizenship as servicemen and women 
in the past, yet they continue today to expand their time, effort and energy 
to serve veterans in America. They are in the trust sense of the word 
"Veteran Volunteers." 

This is the slogan I have selected for this year, because it is more 
than just a figure of speech, it embodies that which has made us great. It 
is as volunteers that we fulfill our obligation to honor the dead by helping 
the living. It is volunteers that help veterans, and we have worked for 99 
years. 

It is volunteers that we answer the question that was given to us by 
our Keynote Speaker way back in the beginning of our convention, the 
Honorable Paul Wellstone, the Senator from Minnesota. He said, "Have 
we done enough?" Our members are those men and women who are the 
fortunate ones. 

We came home. But we refused to forget our former friends and 
comrades who were buried around the world. We refused to forget the 
widows and orphans as well as those who did come home who were in 
need or disabled, mentally or physically by war. 

It is now our duty to re-awaken in our former members for our 
membership they can still honor their comrades-in-arms, that they can still 
help the disabled, injured and the homeless, by joining our ranks and 
giving us the power to direct our government to help veterans. 

They can still do, as President Abraham Lincoln cautioned us to 
do, to "help those who bore the brunt of battle, his widow and orphan." I 
am sure that most of the men and women who are eligible for the VFW, 
who have failed to join when they took off their uniforms and came back 
home, felt that our Congressmen and Senators and our President would 
take care of our comrades-in-arms. 

For many years, our government did that. Today, however, things 
are different. We don't have a majority of veterans in Congress and in the 
Senate. We don't have a President who is a veteran. So the protectors of 
our programs in government have all disappeared. 



225 



We must reded icate ourselves and never before to go home after 
this convention and seek out the eligible veterans and convince them that 
now is the time to join, to be counted, so that the veterans' programs, our 
hospitals, our nursing homes, our outpatient care will not be lost but will 
be improved and that a place will be found for the homeless veterans that 
wander about this country. 

Have we done enough? These past two years I have traveled the 
country. I have visited various Posts. Seeing those projects conducted by 
our VFW and Auxiliaries, I have experienced a great sense of pride in what 
we stand for and what we have accomplished. 

Our Posts are the rock upon which this organization is founded. 
They are our basic unit. It is the purpose of this organization, our National 
Officers and staff, to provide the Posts with everything they need to 
succeed, because the Posts are not only the site of our patriotic and 
community activities, but they also present our public face in the world. 

The Post represents in the minds of the citizens of our country what 
the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary is all about. In the course of carrying out 
their good works, they create a positive image of the VFW within our 
communities. Sadly, though, only a few of our citizens are aware of our 
good works. 

We must not let this continue. I call upon every VFW Post, every 
District, every Department Commander to appoint public relations officers, 
and these officers are to be charged with ensuring that the good we do, 
whether local or whether it is national, is publicized in their community 
and in their states. 

If we are to reverse the current downward trend in membership, it 
is essential that we get out the word about what this organization of 
"Veteran Volunteers" does to help our communities and our veterans. 

Membership in the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary is very special. It 
is an honor coveted by many. But, nonetheless, we only manage to attract 
a small percentage of our eligibles. There are those who see that this trend 
is irreversible, it is demographics, it is an aging population and a general 
decline in civic activism in America. 

Let me assure you today that myself, the Senior Vice Commander- 
in-Chief John Smart, the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John Gwizdak, 
we know differently. With your help, we can steer the VFW on to a course 
of growth and we can begin now. We can begin this year. 

First, I think we have to look at a few things that maybe we are 
doing wrong, you and I. We should do a better job in promoting our 
membership. We should personally reach out to all eligible veterans and 
ask them to become part of our team. Ask yourself, have I done enough? 

Today's veterans are looking for more than comradeship in history. 
Before joining an organization, they want to know will it speak up on our 
behalf? Far too many of our eligibles have let to find out that the VFW does 
this. The blame lies with us. 

As a first campaign to rejuvenate our membership, I call on each 



226 



of you to go out and sign up at least one new member. I pledge to you that 
I will and I know that you will. Sometimes it is easily done. It is as easily 
done as carrying a membership application in your back pocket, because 
sometimes when you are talking to a comrade on the street, the 
conversation turns to veterans, and at that time if you have a membership 
available you will be able to sign someone up. 

That happened to me at the convention. I was walking out of the 
First Business Session and a comrade came up to me and said, "Do you 
have a membership application on you? I have got somebody over here 
that wants to sign up, but my membership application is in the room." 

I want to emphasize that a growing membership sustained by a 
strong network of Posts is about far more than our ability to survive as an 
organization. It is about our ability to fight and win battles in Washington, 
D.C., because the only voices that really matter there are the voices of 
those voting constituents who put them into office. 

So, without the direct involvement of our grass roots membership, 
we have no hope in prevailing against those special interests in 
Washington who have a lot of money to spend. We have seen how often 
they have taken away our entitlements in the budget battles. 

We need active VFW members in our communities and in our 
Posts to pick up the phone and write letters, e-mail and make personal 
visits to their members of Congress and inform them what the VFW thinks. 
We are going to need all the strength we can muster to successfully 
advance any pro-veteran legislative agenda. The VFW is still fighting to 
allow VA to collect and retain Medicare payments. Another important 
issue is the Flag Protection Act which needs to be passed by this Congress. 

One of our most ambitious undertakings is authorizing the VA to 
provide for the long-term care needs of our veterans. We are going to 
introduce legislation in Congress that will mandate such things as long- 
term care for certain high-level service-connected veterans as well as 
authorizing respite care and home-care giver assistance to our veterans. 

If we are to succeed in these legislative efforts, we must establish 
VFW Action Corps Posts in every Department, in every Congressional 
District throughout the country. If you are willing to be a worker, join the 
VFW Action Corps. This election year we also need VFW Posts, Districts 
and Departments to pay special emphasis on registering veterans and their 
families to vote and ensuring that house-bound veterans either receive 
absentee ballots or are taken to the polls by VFW members. 

As veterans, we need to vote and send the message to the United 
States Congress that this nation's veterans must be a top priority of theirs 
every day, not just on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

I have instructed our Adjutant General to direct our Directors of 
Action Corps and community service to work together and distribute a new 
"get out the vote" pamphlet that is simplified in step by step to help 
Commanders at all levels. 

I urge you to use this pamphlet and put your own local twist on it 



227 



to get all veterans in our community to register to vote and vote in 
November. Further, I believe we need our members to take off the VFW 
and Auxiliary caps and work in their Congressional Districts for those 
members of Congress and those congressional candidates who support 
veterans' entitlements. 

This is not a matter of partisanship, rather we must take a stand and 
support those lawmakers who support us and get them elected. Only if all 
of us work together can we ensure that ourVA health-care system will have 
the adequate dollars to take care of all the veterans who walk through the 
door. 

We want to ensure that every veteran who enrolls has his health 
needs met no matter what priority they are and that the VA Benefits 
Administration has the necessary dollars and staff to ensure that veterans' 
benefit claims are correctly processed in a timely manner. 

We urge the VA to continue to transform itself into a modern 
health-care provider. We want them to offer a full array of preventative 
medicine services. When I learned and you learned that the Senate had in 
one vote restored our VA compensation for tobacco-related illnesses, and 
then one minute later took it away and used the savings, some $15 billion 
for pork barrel spending in the transportation bill, I was outraged. It is our 
view that these savings should have been used for veterans' benefits. 

As a special project, I intend to ask the Congress to fund the cost 
of allowing the VA to provide health-care screening for ailments such as 
high blood pressure, diabetes and prostate and lung cancer to all eligible 
veterans. 

The VA, with its 170 medical hospitals and hundreds of outpatient 
clinics can easily handle this. The recent study shows that these screening 
tests reduce deaths by a larger percentage, because they catch it early. Our 
veterans have received a lot of pain and suffering and many medical costs. 
We must continue to monitor the system to ensure that veterans receive 
timely, quality health-care available in successful locations. 

One way we do this, of course, is through our Veterans Service 
Tactical Assessment Center, the 1-800 hotline. Since we have started this 
hotline, we have processed over 6,000 calls. Our staff has answered each 
one of these calls individually. Let your fellow veterans know of this 
service. 

As we enter our 100th year of service, we must remain vigilant in 
ensuring the needs of those brave men and women who are serving today 
in our military are fully met. The General today indicated that things were 
pretty good in our military. I have seen our military, they are the finest, 
those on active duty, reserves and members of the National Guard on duty 
in Bosnia, and I was proud of what I saw. They have done an outstanding 
job and the morale is high. 

I am concerned that they come home safe and sound and soon 
they can transfer their mission and their responsibilities to other NATO 
members. I am also concerned that the military draw-down has left our 



228 



armed forces over-extended and less prepared than they ought to be. 

Throughout the military establishment, there are growing signs of 
evidence that our combat strength and troop morale is not as good as it 
should be. Therefore, we will urge the President and the Congress to act 
now to reverse this trend in decreasing defense readiness by providing our 
military leaders with the resources required to accomplish their missions. 

In addition, in order to improve the morale and retention of our 
highly dedicated American servicemen and women, we will insist that the 
Congress and the Administration take action to stop the erosion of military 
entitlements and benefits. 

As those who went before them, we must continue to work to 

ensure that they have the best equipment, the best training and the best 

leadership in the world. We must also ensure that they are properly being 

paid, and when they leave the military they have a chance to get into the 

job market. 

We must not allow the sacrifice and service of those who have 
made a career of the military to be forgotten. They have earned our very 
best effort in seeing that they receive all the benefits and entitlements that 
they are due. 

Have we done all we can for the POW/MIAs? These brave 
comrades all over the world from all wars must be counted for. We owe it 
to them and their families. 

We have been on the forefront of this issue and it will not change. 

My comrades and sisters, this will be the year of commemoration 
and celebration of our 100th year of service. I ask each one to go back 
home to your Post and your Auxiliary and bring it in 100 percent this year, 
so when we go to Kansas City we can celebrate and have a cause to 
celebrate 100 percent in our 100th year. 

This will be the year we work together to turn our membership into 
a membership growth. This will be the year that our individua' VFW 
members will get more involved in the legislative and political process for 
candidates who support veterans' issues. 

This will be the year our politicians in Washington and our state 
capitals hear long and strong from the VFW. This will be the year of the 
VFW "Veteran Volunteers." 

I want to thank all of you for the honor you have given me today. 
I pledge to you that the Pouliot-Smart-Gwizdak team, our leadership team, 
will devote all of our collective strength and will to elevating this VFW to 
a position of strength that will take us into our second 100 years. I want to 
thank you for being here. God bless you for the work that you continue to 
do for the veterans. Thank you. 

(Whereupon, the assembly extended a prolonged standing 
ovation.) 

ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Commander-in-Chief Pouliot, one of 
the first of many surprises you are going to get, your mother and father 
would like to present you with a pin that you will wear as you travel around 



229 



this world representing the members of this organization. 
CLOSING CEREMONIES 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Thank you, comrades and 
sisters. 

Larry LeFebvre. 

COMRADE LARRY LeFEBVRE (Post 552 - Michigan): There being 
no further business to come before this convention, the officers having 
been elected and installed for the ensuing year, I move that the 99th 
National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States 
be closed sine die. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: Is there a second? 

ADJUTANT GENERAL SENK: Commander-in-Chief, John Senk 
seconds that motion. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: All in favor will say "aye"; all 
opposed. The motion carries. This 99th National Convention has come to 
a close. 

Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, please prepare the room for the 
Closing Ceremonies. 

(Whereupon, the Honor Guard retired the Colors at this time 
followed by the Closing Prayer from the Ritual by National Chaplain 
Thomas Neville.) 

NATIONAL SERGEANT-AT-ARMS HOFFMAN: Comrade 
Commander-in-Chief, the Closing Ceremonies of this convention have 
been performed. 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POULIOT: I now declare this 99th VFW 
National Convention closed. 

(Whereupon, the convention was duly adjourned at 1 1 :20 o'clock 
a.m., sine die.) 



230 



AMENDMENTS TO NATIONAL BY-LAWS AND MANUAL OF 
PROCEDURE AND RITUAL CONSIDERED BY COMMITTEE ON 
NATIONAL BY-LAWS, MANUAL OF PROCEDURE AND RITUAL 

B-1 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 21 5 — ELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE. 

Amend Section 215, National By-Laws, by adding the following 
after the first sentence of the first paragraph: 

"Elected committee members are not Post Officers and according- 
ly may concurrently hold an elected Post office as provided for in Section 
216 of these By-Laws." (Approved) 

B-2 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 220 —VACANCIES AND REMOVAL OF ELECTIVE OFFICERS. 

Amend Section 220, National By-Laws, by deleting the sixth (6th) 
paragraph in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"Any elective Post officer whose office is vacated by the 
Department Commander or by vote of the Post under the provisions of 
this Section shall not be eligible to serve in any Post office in the same 
administrative year in which the office is vacated." (Approved) 

B-3 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 222 — DELEGATES, COUNTY COUNCIL, DISTRICT, 
DEPARTMENT AND NATIONAL CONVENTIONS. 

Amend Section 222, National By-Laws, by adding the following: 

"(h) Delegates to the National Convention shall not be recog- 
nized unless they personally register their completed delegate card with 
the National Credentials Committee." (Approved) 

B-4 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 309 — SURRENDER OR FORFEITURE OF CHARTER. 



231 



Amend Section 309, National By-Laws, by deleting the first para- 
graph in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"Voluntary Surrender. A County Council may voluntarily surren- 
der its Charter only upon a vote at a regular or special meeting of the 
County Council conducted in accordance with the procedures herein set 
forth. A proposition to surrender the charter must be made at a stated or 
special meeting of the County Council at least four (4) weeks before the 
proposal is to be considered. Due notice of the proposition must be 
given in writing to every Post in the County Council, and to the District 
and Department Commanders. If a majority of the Posts vote to surrender 
the charter, the County Council Commander shall, within thirty (30) days, 
request that the Commander-in-Chief cancel the charter, unless during the 
thirty (30) day period the County Council Commander receives a demand 
in writing from two-thirds (2/3) of the Posts in the County Council to con- 
tinue the County Council." (Approved) 

B-5 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 603 — CONVENTION; QUORUM; 
AUTHORIZED ATTENDEES. 

Amend Section 603, National By-Laws, by adding the following 
to the first paragraph: 

"Once a site selection and/or dates have been designated by vote 
of the National Council of Administration a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the 
National Council of Administration will be required to change the loca- 
tion and/or dates." (Disapproved) 

B-6 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

"•'■ 

SECTION 610 — OFFICERS, POWERS AND DUTIES. 

Amend Section 610 (a) (6), National By-Laws, by deleting the 
words ", committees and employees not otherwise provided for." and 
inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"and committees not otherwise provided for." (Approved) 

B-7 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 



232 



SECTION 61 7 — REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF 
ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS-HOW ELECTED. 

Amend Section 617, National By-Laws, by deleting the second 
sentence of the second paragraph and inserting in lieu thereof the follow- 
ing: 

"The regional districts designated D, E, and H shall elect a 
National Council Member in even-numbered years for a two year term 
and districts A, B, C, F, G, and J shall elect a National Council Member in 
odd-numbered years for a two year term." 

Amend Section 617 further by making changes and additions to 
the enumeration of Departments comprising the National Council 
Districts as set forth below: 

"1. Maine 

New Hampshire 

2. Vermont 
Massachusetts 

3. Maryland 
New Jersey 

18. Connecticut 

Rhode Island" (Approved) 

B-8 (Proposed by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 617 — REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF 
ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS - HOW ELECTED. 

Amend Section 617, National By-Laws, by deleting the last sen- 
tence of the last paragraph in its entirety and adding the following: 

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, it is the 
intent that each Department shall be represented on the National Council 
of Administration at all times. If any action, or failure to act, on the part 
of the National Convention would result in a Department not being repre- 
sented, the Commander-in-Chief shall, with the concurrence of the effect- 
ed Departments, immediately after the National Convention, assign a 
National Council Member from one of the numerical regional districts to 
represent that Department until the next National Convention. Should the 
issue of representation not be resolved at the next National Convention 
the National Council of Administration would be empowered to assign 
the Department to a Regional District. 

Notwithstanding paragraph two (2) of Section 1301 of the 

233 



National By-Laws, any amendment to this Section shall take effect imme- 
diately upon passage at the National Convention." (Approved) 

B-9 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1101 — FORMATION, CONTROL AND 
DISBANDMENT OF AUXILIARIES. 

Amend Section 1101, National By-Laws, by deleting the heading 
in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following; 

"Organization and Disbandment of Auxiliaries." 

Amend Section 1 101 further by deleting the word "control" in the 
second sentence of the first paragraph and inserting in lieu thereof the fol- 
lowing: 

jurisdiction" (Approved) 

B-10 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1201 — FORMATION AND CONTROL. 

Amend Section 1201, National By-Laws, by deleting the words 
in the heading "and Control". 

Amend Section 1201 further by deleting the word "control" in the 
second and third sentences of the first paragraph and inserting in lieu 
thereof the following: 

"jurisdiction" (Approved) 

B-1 1 (Proposed by Department of Europe) 

SECTION 101 — ELIGIBILITY. 

Amend Section 101, National By-Laws, by deleting the (1) from 
the third line of the first paragraph and placing a period after the word 
"Charter" in the seventh line of the first paragraph and deleting the 
remainder of the first paragraph. 
(Disapproved) 

B-12 (Proposed by Departments of Colorado, Maine, Nebraska, New 
Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington) 



234 



SECTION 102 —APPLICATIONS -AFFILIATION OF NEW MEMBERS. 

Amend Section 102, National By-Laws, by adding at the end of 
the third paragraph the following: 

"The Quarternnaster General shall transmit ten dollars ($10.00) or 
one half of the annual dues payment to the Department Quartermaster of 
the members residence." (Disapproved) 

B-13 (Proposed by Department of Kansas) 

SECTION 102 —APPLICATIONS -AFFILIATION OF NEW MEMBERS. 

Amend Section 102, National By-Laws, by amending paragraph 2 
entitled "Members at Large" by adding at the end of the paragraph the fol- 
lowing: 

"The Quartermaster General shall transmit to the Department 
Quartermaster of the Member at Large 's state of residence, all dues 
received, less only the normal regular member's national per-capita tax." 

Amend Section 102 further by removing the words "ten dollars 
($10.00)" in the third paragraph, entitled "Department Members at Large", 
and inserting the phrase "only the normal regular members national per- 
capita tax." (Disapproved) 

B-14 (Proposed by Department of Connecticut) 

SECTION 610 — OFFICERS, POWERS AND DUTIES. 

Amend Section 610, National By-Laws, by inserting in sub-para- 
graph (a) (6) after the words "Adjutant General," the following: 

"Assistant Adjutants General," 

Amend Section 610 further by deleting in its entirety sub-para- 
graph (f) (12) and renumbering the subsequent paragraphs (13) as (12) and 
(14) as (13). 

Amend Section 610 further by adding to the end of sub-paragraph 
(g) the following: 

"Assistant Adjutants General shall be full-time salaried officers of 
the organization". (Disapproved) 



235 



B-15 (Proposed by Department of Ohio) 

SECTION 610 — OFFICERS, POWERS AND DUTIES. 

Amend Section 610 (d) (14), National By-Laws, by deleting in its 
entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

(1 4) Annual Budget. Prepare a tentative budget for the financial 
operations of the ensuing year. Said budget shall set forth all anticipated 
income and estimated expenses. It shall set forth the amount of all com- 
pensation to be received by each of the following officers for the ensuing 
year: (1) Commander-in-Chief; (2) Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief; (3) 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief; (4) Quartermaster General; (5) Judge 
Advocate General; (6) Surgeon General; (7) Chaplain; and, (8) Adjutant 
General. Restricted funds shall be budgeted separately in every instance, 
and the budget shall be in balance. The tentative budget shall be submit- 
ted to the Commander-in-Chief for the consideration within ten (10) days 
following adjournment of the National Convention, and final action must 
be taken on the adoption of the budget at the first stated meeting of the 
National Council of Administration, and when adopted the budget shall 
be the expenditure guide for the ensuing year. Not later than thirty (30) 
days after the first meeting of the National Council of Administration, he 
shall forward to all Department Commanders and all Post Commanders 
detailed copy of the national budget adopted by the National Council of 
Administration for their information. (Disapproved) 

B-16 (Proposed by Departments of Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, 
Tennessee, Washington) 

SECTION 610 - OFFICERS, POWERS AND DUTIES. 

Amend Section 610 (d) (14), National By-Laws, by deleting all therein and 
substituting in lieu thereof the following: 

"(14) Annual Budget. Prepare a tentative budget for the financial 
operations of the ensuing year. Said budget shall set forth all anticipated 
income and estimated expenses. It shall set forth the amount of all com- 
pensation to be received by each of the following National Officers for 
the ensuing year: Commander-in-Chief, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, 
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Quartermaster General, Judge Advocate 
General, Surgeon General, Chaplain and Adjutant General. Restricted 
funds shall be budgeted separately in every instance and the budget shall 
be in balance. The tentative budget shall be submitted to the Commander- 
in-Chief for consideration within ten (10) days following adjournment of 
the National Convention. Final action must be taken on the adoption of 
the budget at the first stated meeting of the National Council of 



236 



Administration and, when adopted, the budget shall be the expenditure 
guide for the ensuing year. 

Not later than thirty (30) days after the first meeting of the 
National Council of Administration, he shall forward to all Department 
Commanders and all Post Commanders a detailed copy of the national 
budget adopted by the National Council of Administration for their infor- 
mation." (Disapproved) 

B-17 (Proposed by many Departments) 

SECTION 61 5 — NATIONAL COMMITTEES. 

Amend Section 615 (e) (2), National By-Laws, by deleting the 
period at the end of the paragraph and adding the following thereto: 

" and shall serve on the Committee on National By-Laws, Manual 
of Procedure and Ritual at the National Convention." (Approved) 

B-18 (Proposed by many Departments) 

SECTION 617 — REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF 
ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS - HOW ELECTED. 

Amend Section 617, National By-Laws, by deleting the second 
sentence of the second paragraph and inserting in lieu thereof the follow- 
ing: 

"The regional districts designated D, E, and H shall elect a 
National Council Member in even-numbered years for a two-year term 
and districts A, B, C, F, G and J shall elect a National Council Member in 
odd-numbered years for a two year term." 

Amend Section 617 further by making changes and additions to 
the enumeration of Departments comprising the National Council 
Districts as set forth below: 

"1 . New Jersey 

New Hampshire 
2. Vermont 

Massachusetts 
18. Maine 

Connecticut" (Disapproved) 

B-19 (Proposed by Department of Connecticut) 

SECTION 617 — REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF 



237 



ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS - HOW ELECTED. 

Amend Section 617, National By-Laws, by deleting all therein 
and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"Each Department shall constitute a Regional District as enumer- 
ated below and shall be represented by a Regional National Council of 
Administration Member who is a member in good standing of a Post in 
the Department. The Department Convention preceding the National 
Convention at which the term is to commence shall, in the same manner 
and at the same time as Department Officers are elected, elect a Regional 
National Council of Administration Member who shall be installed into 
office at the National Convention. 

Regional Districts shall bear numerical designations as enumerat- 
ed below. Regional Districts designated by an even number shall elect a 
Regional National Council of Administration Member in even numbered 
years for a two year term and Regional Districts designated by an odd 
number shall elect a Regional National Council of Administration 
Member in odd numbered years for a two year term. 



1. Maine 


2. Vermont 


3. New Hampsh 


lire 4. Massachusetts 


5. Rhode Island 


6. Connecticut 


7. New York 


8. New Jersey 


9. Pennsylvania 


10. Delaware 


1 1 . Maryland 


12. D. C. 


13. Europe 


14. Indiana 


15. Illinois 


16. Ohio 


17. Michigan 


18. Minnesota 


19. Missouri 


20. South Dakota 


21. Iowa 


22. Nebraska 


23. Wisconsin 


24. West Virginia 


25. Virginia 


26. Georgia 


27. Kentucky 


28. Alabama 


29. Tennessee 


30. Oklahoma 


31. North Carol 


ina 32. Arkansas 


33. South Carolina34. Mississippi 


35. Florida 


36. Texas 


37. Louisiana 


38. North Dakota 39. California 


40. Oregon 


41. Kansas 


42. Wyoming 


43. Colorado 


44. Washington 


45. New Mexico 


46. Montana 


47. Arizona 


48. Idaho 


49. Nevada 


50. Pacific Areas 


51. Utah 


52. Hawaii 


53. Alaska 


54. Latin America/Caribbean 





Each Regional District Council of Administration Member present at a 
meeting shall have one (1) vote." (Disapproved) 

B-20 (Proposed by Department of Nebraska) 

SECTION 617 — REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF 
ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS- HOW ELECTED 

Amend Section 617, National By-Laws, by deleting all therein 
and inserting in lieu thereof the following; 



238 



"Each Department shall constitute a Regional District as enumer- 
ated below and shall be represented by a Regional National Council of 
Administration Member who is a member in good standing of a Post in 
the Department. The Department Convention preceding the National 
Convention at which the term is to commence shall, in the same manner 
and at the same time as Department Officers are elected, elect a Regional 
National Council of Administration Member who shall be installed into 
office at the National Convention. 

Regional Districts shall bear numerical designations as enumerat- 
ed below. Regional Districts designated by an even number shall elect a 
Regional National Council of Administration Member in even numbered 
years for a two-term and Regional Districts designated by an odd number 
shall elect a Regional National Council of Administration member in odd 
numbered years for a two year term. 

Each Department and the numerical designation of its Regional 
District is enumerated below: 



1. Maine 

5. Rhode Island 

9. Pennsylvania 

13. Europe 

17. Michigan 

21 . Iowa 

25. Virginia 

29. Tennessee 

33. South Carolina 

37. Louisiana 

41 . Kansas 

45. New Mexico 

49. Nevada 

53. Alaska 



2. Vermont 
6. Connecticut 
10. Delaware 
14. Indiana 
18. Minnesota 
22. Nebraska 
26. Georgia 
30. Oklahoma 
34. Mississippi 
38. North Dakota 39 
42. Wyoming 43 
46. Montana 47 

50. Pacific Areas 51 



3. New Hampshire 
7. New York 
11. Maryland 
15. Illinois 
19. Missouri 
23. Wisconsin 
27. Kentucky 
31. North Carolina 

Florida 

California 

Colorado 

Arizona 

Utah 



35 



4. Massachusetts 
8. New Jersey 
12. D. C. 
16. Ohio 
20. South Dakota 
24. West Virginia 
28. Alabama 
32. Arkansas 
36. Texas 
40. Oregon 
44. Washington 
48. Idaho 
52. Hawaii 



54. Latin America/Caribbean 



Each Regional National Council of Administration Member present at a 
meeting shall be entitled to the number of votes as set forth in the sched- 
ule below in accordance with the prior year membership of the 
Department constituting the Regional District as recorded by National 
Headquarters on June 30th. 



Membership 



Number of Votes 



0-60,000 

60,001-100,000 

and over 



239 



Regional National Council of Administration Members shall be 
authorized travel expenses for stated and special meetings of the National 
Council of Administration, the National Convention and one Regional 
Conference meeting, the Department Convention and one other 
Department meeting of their receptive Regional District annually during 
their term of office." (Disapproved) 

B-21 (Proposed by Departments of California, New York, New Jersey) 

SECTION 617 - REGIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL OF 
ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS- HOW ELECTED. 

Amend Section 617, National By-Laws, by deleting all therein 
and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"Each Regional District with a numerical designation enumerated 
below shall be represented by a Regional National Council of 
Administration Member who is a member in good standing of a Post in 
the Department currently entitled to representation on the National 
Council of Administration for a term of two years in the order of the enu- 
meration. 

Each Regional District with an alphabetical designation enumer- 
ated below which consists of a single Department having in excess of 
60,000 members shall be represented by a Regional National Council of 
Administration Member who is a member in good standing of a Post in 
the Department for a term of two years. 

The Department Convention preceding the National Convention 
at which the term of the Regional National Council of Administration 
Member is to commence shall, in the same manner and at the same time 
as Department Officers are elected, elect a Regional National Council of 
Administration Member who shall be installed into office at the National 
Convention. 

Regional National Council of Administration Members represent- 
ing Regional Districts designated by an even number shall be elected in 
even numbered years for a two year term and those representing Regional 
Districts designated by an odd number shall be elected in odd numbered 
years for a two year term. 

Regional National Council of Administration Members represent- 
ing Regional Districts designated D, E, H, I and K shall be elected in even 
numbered years for a two year term and those representing Regional 
Districts designated A, B, C, F, G, and J shall be elected in odd numbered 
years for a two year term. 



240 



The numerical and alphabetical designations of the Regional 
Districts are enumerated below: 



1. Maine, New Hampshire 

3. Rhode Island, Connecticut 

5. Delaware, Maryland 

7. Tennessee, Kentucky 

9. South Carolina, North Carolina 
11. Louisiana, Mississippi 
13. Nebraska, Missouri 
15. Kansas, Colorado 
17. New Mexico, Arizona 
19. Utah, Nevada 
21. Pacific Areas, Hawaii, 

Latin America/Caribbean 



2. Vermont, Massachusetts 

4. District of Columbia, Europe 

G.Virginia, West Virginia 

8. Georgia, Alabama 

10. Oklahoma, Arkansas 

12. Wisconsin, Iowa 

14. South Dakota, north Dakota 

16. Wyoming, Montana 

18. Washington, Idaho 

20. Oregon, Alaska 



A. Pennsylvania 

B. Illinois 

C. New York 

F. Michigan 

G. California 
J. Florida 



D. Ohio 

E. Minnesota 
H. Texas 

L New Jersey 
K. Indiana 



If a Department attains membership in excess of 60,000 total 
members before July 1, it shall constitute a Regional District. If any 
Department previously constituting a Regional District fails to reach a 
total Department membership of 60,000 members before July 1, it shall 
no longer constitute a Regional District. In the event any Department 
changes status as the result of a change in membership, the Commander- 
in Chief shall submit a proposed amendment to Section 617 of these By- 
Laws assigning Departments to respective numerical or alphabetical 
Regional Districts as appropriate. Notwithstanding paragraph two (2) of 
Section 1301 of the National By-Laws, such amendment shall take effect 
immediately upon adoption at the National Convention. 



Regional National Council of Administration Members shall be 
authorized travel expenses for stated and special meetings of the National 
Council of Administration, the National Convention and one Regional 
Conference meeting, the Department Convention and one other 
Department meeting of their respective Regional District annually during 
their term of office." (Disapproved) 



B-22 (Proposed by Department of Kansas) 



241 



SECTION 717 — RESOLUTIONS 

Amend Section 717, National By-Laws, by adding "Section 717 - 
Resolutions" to read as follows: 

"Section 717 — Resolutions. 

All Department resolutions which affect matters outside state 
boundaries must be approved by the originating Department Convention 
and foHA/arded by the Department Adjutant to the Adjutant General not 
later than July 1 of each year. 

Resolutions that originate within a Department must bear that 
Department Convention's approval prior to submission to the National 
Convention. A resolution disapproved by the originating Department 
Convention, or not acted upon by that Department Convention will not be 
considered by the National Convention. 

Resolutions may also be originated by Department officers or the 
Department Convention itself and acted upon by the Department 
Convention. 

A National Officer may originate a resolution concerning National 
affairs and submit it directly to the National Convention without 
Department action. 

A National Convention Committee may originate a resolution and 
present it for approval during the National Convention. 

Proposed amendments to the National By-Laws must also have 
Department approval if submitted by a Post, District or County Council, and 
must be received by the Adjutant General by the first working day in July in 
order that they may be publicized as required by Article XIII of the National 
By-Laws. Such proposed amendments must be definite and specific as to 
the material to be deleted or added, containing the exact wording of the 
proposed change." (Disapproved) 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE MANUAL OF PROCEDURE 

M-1 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 217 — NOMINATION, ELECTION, INSTALLATION 
AND TERM OF OFFICE. 

Amend Section 217, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the last sen- 

242 



tence in the tenth (10) paragraph. (Approved) 

M-2 (Recommended by National By-Laws Committee. Proposed by 
Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 222 -- DELEGATES. COUNTY COUNCIL, DISTRICT, DEPART 
MENT AND NATIONAL CONVENTIONS. 

Amend Section 222 (d), Manual of Procedure, by inserting after the 
last sentence in the fourth paragraph the following: 

" Payment of convention registration fees as set forth above does 
not entitle the delegate(s) voting privileges at the National Convention. 
Delegates must present a properly completed Delegate Credential card to 
the National Credentials Committee for registration as provided for in 
Section 222 (h) of the National 
By-Laws." (Approved) 

M-3 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 516 — NOMINATION, ELECTION, INSTALLATION 
ANDTERM OF OFFICE. 

Amend Section 516, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the word 
"ballot" in the first sentence and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"voice vote" (Approved) 

M-4 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 517 — OFFICERS AND CHAIRMEN, DUTIES 
AND OBLIGATIONS. 

Amend Section 517 (a) (8), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
last sentence in its entirety. (Approved) 

M-5 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 609 — NOMINATION, ELECTION, INSTALLATION 
AND TERM OF OFFICE. 

Amend Section 609, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the words 
"by roll call" in the first paragraph. 



243 



Amend Section 609 further by deleting the second paragraph in its 
entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

In voting for officers, a majority of all votes cast shall be neces- 
sary to a choice. Should there be no election on the first two votes, the 
name of the comrade receiving the lowest number of votes shall be 
dropped, and so on in successive votes until an election is made." 
(Approved) 

M-6 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 704 — RELIEF FUND. 

Amend Section 704, Manual of Procedure, by adding the follow- 
ing after sub-paragraph (e): 

" (f) To foster true patriotism through historical and educational pro- 
grams." (Approved) 

M-7 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 71 1 — BUDDY POPPY. 

Amend Section 711, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the first two 
paragraphs in their entirety. 

Amend Section 71 1 further by deleting the fourth (4) paragraph in 
its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"Distribution of the Buddy Poppy shall be made exclusively for 
units of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and of the Ladies 
Auxiliary. Other not for profit organizations, exempt from taxes under 
Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, may assist in such distribution 
provided there shall be no division of the proceeds. A donation to such not 
for profit organization for assistance may be paid from the General Fund of 
the Post." 

Amend Section 711 further by deleting the words "sale or" in the 
last paragraph. (Approved) 

M-8 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 



244 



SECTION 1101 — FORMATION, CONTROL, AND DISBANDMENT 
OF AUXILIARIES. 

Amend Section 1101, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the head- 
ing in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

" Sec. 1101 — Organization and Disbandment of Auxiliaries." 
(Approved) 

M-9 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1101 — FORMATION, CONTROL, AND DISBANDMENT 
OF AUXILIARIES. 

Amend Section 1101 (b), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
words "and control" in the sub-heading. (Approved) 

M-10 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1101 — FORMATION, CONTROL, AND DISBANDMENT 
OF AUXILIARIES. 

Amend Section 1101 (b) (1), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
word "control" in the first sentence of the first paragraph and inserting in 
lieu thereof the following: 

"jurisdiction" (Approved) 

M-11 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1101 — FORMATION, CONTROL, AND DISBANDMENT 
OF AUXILIARIES. 

Amend Section 1101 (b) (2), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
word "control" in the first sentence of the first paragraph and inserting in 
lieu thereof the following: 

jurisdiction" (Approved) 

M-12 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1201 —FORMATION AND CONTROL. 

Amend Section 1 201 , Manual of Procedure, by deleting the words 



245 



in the heading "and Control". (Approved) 

M-13 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1201 —FORMATION AND CONTROL 

Amend Section 1201 (a), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
words "and control" in the sub-heading. (Approved) 

M-14 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1201 —FORMATION AND CONTROL 

Amend Section 1201 (a) (1), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
words "control" in the first and second sentences of the second paragraph 
and insert in lieu thereof the following: 

"jurisdiction" (Approved) 

M-15 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1201 —FORMATION AND CONTROL. 

Amend Section 1201 (a) (2), Manual of Procedure, by deleting the 
word "control" in the second sentence of the first paragraph and insert in 
lieu thereof the following: 

jurisdiction" (Approved) 

M-16 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed 
by Commander-in-Chief) 

SECTION 1301 —AMENDMENTS. 

Amend Section 1301, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the first 
sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

"The rules and procedures set out in this Manual may be 
amended from time to time as provided for in the National By- 
Laws." (Approved) 

M-17 (Proposed by Department of Europe) 



246 



SECTION 101 — ELIGIBILITY. 

Amend Section 101, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the word 
"three" at the end of the second sentence of the first paragraph and adding 
the word "two". Further delete the "(1)", the word "citizenship", the "(2)", 
and the "(3)" from the fourth sentence and adding the "(1)" before the word 
honorable and "(3)" before the word service. (Disapproved) 

M-18 (Proposed by Department of Connecticut) 

SECTION 101 — ELIGIBILITY. 

Amend Section 101, Manual of Procedure, by adding at the end of 
the section, a new eligibility category as follows: 

"National Defense Service Medal (30 consecutive 27 June 1950 

days or 60 days not consecutive duty outside Indeterminate 

continental limits of the United States)." (Disapproved) 

M-19 (Proposed by Department of California) 

SECTION 803 — MANUFACTURE AND USE OF SEALS, EMBLEMS, 
BADGES, INSIGNIA AND UNIFORMS. 

Amend Section 803, Manual of Procedure, by deleting the third 
paragraph under the caption "Cap" in its entirety and inserting in lieu there- 
of the following: 

"Post officers, members except Post Commanders and Past Post 
Commanders-gold braid; County Council officers and Past County Council 
Commanders — bright blue braid; District officers. Post Commanders and 
Past Post Commanders, except District Commanders and Past district 
Commanders — bright green braid; Department officers and Past 
Department officers, Conference officers and Past Conference officers, and 
District Commanders and F^st District Commanders — bright red braid; 
National officers and Past Commanders-in-Chief — silver braid." 
(Disapproved) 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE RITUAL 

R-1 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed by 
Commander-in-Chief) 

Amend the Ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States under the heading "FORWARD" on page 1, paragraph 4, by deleting 
the word "Men" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "Veterans". 



247 



(Approved) 

R-2 (Recommended by National By-Laws Review Committee. Proposed by 
Commander-in-Chief) 

Amend the Ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States under the heading "ORDER OF BUSINESS (Post)" on page 16 by 
deleting paragraph 2 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the follow- 
ing: 

2. Commander: (Leading all members in recitation of Section 3 
of the Congressional Charter.) The purpose of this corporation shall be fra- 
ternal, patriotic, historical, and educational; to preserve and strengthen 
comradeship among its members; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate 
the memory and history of our dead, and to assist their widows and 
orphans; to maintain true allegiance to the Government of the United States 
of America, and fidelity to its Constitution and laws; to foster true patrio- 
tism; to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, and to 
preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies, whomsoever." 
(Approved) 

R-3 (Proposed by Department of New York) 

Amend the Ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States under the heading "FORWARD" on page 1, paragraph 4, by deleting 
the word "Men" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "Veterans". 
(Approved) 

R-4 (Proposed by Department of New York) 

Amend the Ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States under the heading "ORDER OF BUSINESS (Post)" on page 16, para- 
graph 2, by deleting the words "Article I, Constitution of" and inserting in 
lieu thereof the words "Section 3 of the Congressional Charter granted". 
(Disapproved) 

RESOLUTIONS CONSIDERED BY COMMITTEE ON 
FINANCE AND INTERNAL ORGANIZATION 

No. 201 (Submitted by many Departments) 

PROVIDE ADMINISTRATIVE SPACE RENT FREE IN VFW WASHINGTON 
OFFICE FOR VFW POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE 

(Disapproved) 

No. 202 (Submitted by Departments of Colorado and Connecticut) 



248 



SEVERANCE PACKAGE FOR OUTGOING ADJUTANT GENERAL 

(Disapproved) 

No. 203 (Submitted by Department of Connecticut) 

NATIONAL CONVENTION SITE SELECTION 

(Disapproved) 

No. 204 (Submitted by many Departments) 

ANNUAL SALARIES OF NATIONAL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 205 (Submitted by Department of Nebraska) 

NATIONAL TO ABSORB MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM COSTS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 206 (Submitted by Department of Nebraska) 

CONTINUED PAYMENT FOR DECEASED LIFE MEMBERS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 207 (Submitted by Department of Europe) 

RECOGNITION OF THE MILITARY ORDER OF THE COOTIE 

(Disapproved( 

No. 208 (Submitted by Department of Tennessee) 

SETTING POST MEMBERSHIP GOALS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 209 (Submitted by Department of Ohio) 

AGE LIMITATION FOR SONS OFTHE VFW 

(Disapproved) 

No. 210 (Submitted by Department of Pacific Areas) 
DIRECT NATIONAL COUNCIL OF ADMINISTRATION TO URGE LADIES 
AUXILIARY TO AMEND THEIR BY-LAWS SO NON-U.S. CITIZENS MAY 
QUALIFY FOR MEMBERSHIP 

(Disapproved) 



249 



No. 21 1 (Submitted by Department of Washington) 
POPPY COIN COLLECTORS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 212 (Submitted by Department of Montana) 

REPAYING BONUS BENEFITS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 213 (Submitted by Department of Montana) 

MEMBERSHIP 

(Disapproved) 

No. 214 (Submitted by Department of Montana) 

MILITARY COALITION 

(Disapproved) 

No. 215 (Submitted by Department of Minnesota) 
REINSTATE NATIONAL VFW 
AMERICANISM RECORD BOOK PROGRAM 

(Disapproved) 

No. 216 (Submitted by Department of New York) 

ENDORSE THE NATIONAL PURPLE HEART HALL OF HONOR 

(Disapproved) 

No. 217 (Submitted by Department of Wisconsin) 

OFFICIAL MARCH FOR THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we establish John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes, Forever" as the 
official march of the VFW. (Approved) 

No. 218 (Submitted by Department of Texas) 

LIMIT SITES FOR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF MEMBERSHIP TRIP 

(Disapproved) 

No. 219 (Submitted by Department of Washington) 
SEVERANCE PACKAGE FOR OUTGOING ADJUTANT GENERAL 



250 



(Disapproved) 

No. 220 (Submitted by Department of New Jersey) 
SEVERANCE PACKAGE FOR OUTGOING ADJUTANT GENERAL 

(Disapproved) 

No. 221 (Submitted by Ohio, Nebraska, and Tennessee) 
SEVERANCE PACKAGE FOR OUTGOING ADJUTANT GENERAL 

(Disapproved) 

No. 222 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

DENYVFW MEMBERSHIP TO 
WORLD WAR II ERA MERCHANT MARINES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that based on documentation. World War II merchant seamen do not 
qualify forVFW membership, simply because they v^/ere never part of our 
armed forces and therefore did not receive military campaign or service 
awards; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that no request be made of Congress 
to alter the VFW Congressional Charter to provide membership eligibility to 
any person who has not worn the uniform and served as a member of the 
Armed Forces of the United States; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that despite not being eligible for VFW 
membership, this organization recognizes the important strategic role the 
War Shipping Administration played in World War II and the important con- 
tribution the American merchant seamen made during this same period of 
time. 
(Approved) 

No. 223 (Submitted by Department of Michigan) 

EMPHASIZE CHANGES TO CONGRESSIONAL CHARTER, BY-LAWS, 
MANUAL OF PROCEDURE AND RITUAL 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, requested through channels, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
National Headquarters italicize any new or revised text in the 
Congressional Charter, the By-Laws and the Manual of Procedure and 
Ritual. (Approved) 

CONSIDERED BY COMMITTEE ON 
GENERAL RESOLUTIONS 



251 



No. 301 (Submitted by Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief) 
U. S. FLAG DESECRATION 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge Congress to propose to the states an amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States which specifies that Congress and the 
states have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the United 
States Flag. (Approved) 

No. 302 (Submitted by Department of Connecticut) 

THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER TO REMAIN NATIONAL ANTHEM 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we shall go on record to say, "The Star Spangled Banner" shall 
remain the National Anthem of the United States, despite the efforts of any 
person or persons to change it to any other piece of music, and the mem- 
bers of the above named group strongly oppose any changes. (Approved) 

No. 303 (Submitted by Department of Connecticut) 

RESTRICT DESIGNEES ON WWII MONUMENT 

(Disapproved) 

No. 304 (Submitted by Department of Texas) 

"60 MINUTES" CBS ON DECEMBER 7, 1997 

(Tabled) 

No. 305 (Submitted by Department of Florida) 

FUND OUR VETERANS EARNED ENTITLEMENTS WITH 
OUR CONSTITUTIONAL POWER 

(Disapproved) 

No. 306 (Submitted by Department of Montana) 

VFW COMMEMORATIVE COIN 

(Disapproved) 

No. 307 (Submitted by Department of Montana) 
STAR SPANGLED BANNER 

(Disapproved) 

No. 308 (Submitted by Department of New York) 

100TH ANNIVERSARY STAMP 



252 



BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we shall petition the Treasury Department and/or other appropriate 
government agencies, in proper manner, in order to effectuate the issuance 
of a block of postage stamps commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that said stamps shall depict some of 
the programs and activities of the VFW, as well as the history of the VFW; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Headquarters of the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States shall request the right of 
approval on the design of any block of said stamps that may be approved 
for issuance. (Approved) 

No. 309 (Submitted by Department of New York) 

PROCLAMATION DECLARING SEPTEMBER 29, 1999, AS 

"VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS DAY- 
BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we shall petition the President of the United States to issue a procla- 
mation naming September 29, 1999, as "Veterans of Foreign Wars Day," or 
such other title as may be deemed appropriate by the Commander-in-Chief 
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. (Approved) 

CONSIDERED BY COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND 
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND POW/MIA 

No. 401 (Submitted on Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT PUBLIC AWARENESS PROJECTS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the National Organization will: 

(a) ensure routine distribution to the field of pertinent, credible 
and responsible information on a routine basis and, as requested, to pro- 
vide such information about other POW/MIA organizations as may be 
needed by the Departments; 

(b) encourage participation in the program by veterans groups of 
other friendly nations such as our NATO and Far Eastern allies; 

(c) encourage exchange of information among State POW/MIA 
Chairmen to include publishing up-to-date lists of POW/MIA Chairmen; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that each Department exercise max- 
imum initiative to maintain the vitality and thrust of the POW/MIA program 
at Department levels by encouraging such actions as: 

(a) display of the black POW/MIA flag, subordinate to the U.S. 
Flag, at any function at which it is proper to fly the U.S. Flag; 



253 



(b) encourage support of information exchange at Post levels; 

(c) appoint an interested member at the Post level to act as the 
POW/MIA project officer; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Organization of the 
VFW supports the annual POW/MIA Recognition Day. (Approved) 

No. 402 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SEEK OPPORTUNITIES TO RESOLVE 
THE KOREAN WAR POW/MIA ISSUE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the VFW is encouraged by the U.S. -North Korean Joint 
Operations and the visit of a VFW representative to resolve the status of 
Americans still unaccounted for in Korea; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that with renewed vigor, the VFW urge 
the U.S. and Republic of Korea governments to increase their contact with 
the North Korean and Chinese governments, to pursue and expand the cur- 
rent joint effort to include the live POW issue and thus seek new opportu- 
nities to resolve this humanitarian issue as soon as possible; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the VFW, in keeping with United 
States laws and in consultation with the Republic of Korean and U.S. gov- 
ernments, continue its contact with North Korea to press for the accounting 
of the over 8,100 Americans still missing and the investigation of reports of 
live Americans. (Approved) 

No. 403 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

VFW SUPPORTS KUWAIT'S DEMAND FOR 
AN ACCOUNTING OF ITS MIAS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign of the United States, 
that we 

strongly urge the United Nations, the United States Government and other 
governments to take such action as necessary either unilaterally, through 
our allies, 

or the United Nations, that will force Iraq to account for those Kuwaiti cit- 
izens still missing. (Approved) 

No. 404 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

THE LESSONS OF THE COLD WAR 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the lessons of the Cold and Gulf Wars taught us that our peace, 
our freedom and our security can best be achieved by remaining united in 
common purpose with our many allies and friends whereby we share both 
the danger and security burden and by maintaining a national defense 
which in combination with our allies and friends, is equal to those contin- 



254 



uing threats; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in contrast to the Korean and 
Vietnamesfe Wars, the lessons of the Gulf War are apparent: to ensure vic- 
tory in future wars, the United States, led by resolute leadership and backed 
by unwavering public support, should quickly and decisively engage the 
full range of its military power until the threat to our security is eliminated. 
(Approved) 

No. 405 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 
LIMIT FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF U.S. BUSINESSES AND PROPERTIES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress to enact legislation to limit foreign own- 
ership of United States corporations, companies, businesses and property, 
and industrial technologies and/or processes which could become vital or 
sensitive to the national defense of the U.S. and which will protect the 
economy of the United States. 
(Approved) 

No. 406 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

TAKE ACTION ON THE IMMIGRATION PROBLEM 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the President and the Congress in the strongest terms to 
heed these ominous warnings and focus their attention on the immigration 
problem; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we petition the President and the 
Congress to expand and strengthen the Customs and Immigration Services, 
the Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard, and enact such emergency 
measures as necessary to prevent smuggling of illegal aliens and stop, 
detain and deport potential terrorists or those with ties to terrorist groups; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, as appropriate and when 
required, well trained and supervised military resources be employed to 
assist in stopping the 
flow of illegal aliens into the country. (Approved) 

No. 407 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 
TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR CASTRO 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the U.S. Government to continue its present policy of 
no trade with Communist Cuba and no diplomatic recognition of that com- 
munist state and to increase the economic and political pressure on Castro; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the U.S. Government to 



2S5 



use all measures, short of violence and/or invasion, to increase the pressure 
on Castro in conjunction with his isolation, to hasten the time until Castro's 
dictatorship is overthrown and Cuba can regain its freedom. (Approved) 

No. 408 (Submitted by Commander-in-ChieO 

PUNISH TERRORISTS NOW 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we continue to urge the U.S. to take decisive action against all 
terrorists and bring tojustice those responsible for terrorist acts and to serve 
as a warning that all terrorists — no matter what country gives them refuge 
— will be hunted down and brought tojustice; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we continue to urge decisive 
action in the war on terrorism by: 

(a) remaining on the offensive against terrorists rather than pas- 
sively remaining on the defense; 

(b) instituting and pressing our allies to support a quarantine on 
those "rogue or outlaw states" guilty of inciting, harboring or aiding and 
abetting terrorists; 

(c) holding all countries accountable for the security of American 
citizens traveling within their borders; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Congress should authorize 
and the President should declare a quarantine against the outlaw Qadhaffi 
regime of Libya and other terrorist states found to support and harbor ter- 
rorists; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that our civilian leaders and military 
commanders should take all necessary steps to ensure U.S. servicemen and 
women stationed abroad are adequately protected against the threat of ter- 
rorist attacks and that both foreign governments and U.S. authorities be 
held accountable for such lapses in security that endanger the lives of our 
servicemen and women. (Approved) 

No. 409 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

STRATEGIC DEFENSE IS A STRATEGIC PRIORITY 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support both a deployable theater ballistic missile defense 
and a strategic ballistic missile defense before the end of this century as a 
priority defense requirement. (Approved) 

No. 410 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

HONORING THOSE WHO SERVE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the VFW calls on all elected and appointed officials to publicly 
recognize the major contributions and sacrifices made by those in military 



256 



service; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that our elected and appointed offi- 
cials acknowledge the professionalism of our servicemen and women by 
ending the erosion of entitlements and expanding the benefits of service 
and by so doing, show that this nation cares for those who unselfishly 
served and sacrificed; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our elected officials 
to provide military pay raises that continue to close the "pay gap" between 
the military and private sector. (Approved) 

No. 411 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

OPPOSE LIFTING THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT BAN 
ON HOMOSEXUALS IN THE ARMED FORCES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we unequivocally oppose the efforts of homosexual organiza- 
tions and other organizations to force the military services to accept and/or 
retain homosexuals and urge that federal law (10 U.S.C. section 654) and 
implementing DOD policy which provides for the discharge of those 
engaging in homosexual conduct be consistently 
and property enforced; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Uniformed Code of Military 
Justice should be reviewed and, if necessary, revised in an effort to elimi- 
nate any possible question that any denial of civil rights is based on moral, 
religious or ethical behavior and that there is no intent to deny civil rights 
to any servicemember, rather our concern is to maintain the good order, 
discipline and readiness of our Armed Forces and their ability to operate 
effectively. (Approved) 

No. 412 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

MAINTAIN AN EFFECTIVE U.S. COAST GUARD 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign V\/ars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress and the Administration to provide the 
funding necessary for the Coast Guard to carry out its mission and numer- 
ous tasks, including but not limited to, drug interdiction and enforcement, 
military readiness, pollution control, maritime safety, search and rescue 
missions as well as their many other duties and responsibilities. (Approved) 

No. 413 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

STANDING FIRM FOR DEMOCRACY AND LIBERTY 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we will always stand firm for liberty, and in furtherance of the 
ideals of liberty and democracy, we support a foreign policy that nourishes 
the newly won liberties in Europe and elsewhere, and we maintain our mil- 



257 



itary strength against both the possibility of the reversal of Europe's liberties 
and the threats to other important regions of the world. (Approved) 

No. 414 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

NATIONAL STRATEGY OF PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we continue to support a national strategy of peace through 
strength, the general principles of which should be: 

(a) maintaining a strong economy at home and protecting our 
overseas resources of energy and vital raw materials; 

(b) maintaining an American military presence in Europe and Asia 
to stabilize the military balance in these regions and help our friends and 
allies to defend themselves from aggression; 

(c) maintaining such strategic, nuclear and conventional military 
forces (including active Reserve and National Guard components) trained 
and equipped with such high technology weapons and equipment and with 
sufficient bases and infrastructure which in the judgment of our military 
leaders are more than equal to the current threats and adequate to meet our 
current defense requirements; 

(d) helping formerly communist controlled countries in their 
process of converting to freely elected democratic governments; 

(e) maintaining effective security and intelligence capabilities to 
prevent strategic surprise from any quarter; and 

(f) employing the leadership necessary to inspire, focus and unite 
the national will and international unity to further our goal of peace and 
freedom. 

(g) maintaining alliances as required by our national strategy, pro- 
tect our national interests, support our friends and promote peace. 
(Approved) 

No. 415 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

HALT THE EROSION OF INTELLIGENCE SERVICES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we reject deep reductions in our national intelligence agencies, 
instead supporting appropriate expansion and funding to ensure that we 
will have adequate warnings of future political, military, economic or tech- 
nological changes that would increase the risks to our national security and 
vital national interests abroad and that Congress appropriate necessary 
funds to strengthen the intelligence services. (Approved) 

No. 416 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT FOR THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA 

BE !T RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 

258 



States, that we urge the Government of the United States to increase its mil- 
itary aid and assistance to the Republic of Korea by providing modern state 
of the art weapons and technology to safeguard her freedom, and promote 
the security in the Pacific and Asian regions; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States, in concert 
with its allies, bring pressure to bear on North Korea to comply with the 
nuclear safeguard accord of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 
to be a responsible country in the community of nations and to come to the 
table for peaceful dialogue directly between the South and North. 
(Approved) 

No. 417 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT THE WITHDRAWAL FROM THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that to prevent further endangerment to our troops, we support the 
view that unless unforeseen circumstances arise, the U.S. forces assigned to 
Operation Joint Guard should be gradually withdrawn from the former 
Yugoslavia while transferring remaining responsibilities to other NATO 
members; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States oppose the deployment of U.S. military forces to the 
Serbian Province of Kosovo for peacekeeping or peacemaking operations. 
(Approved) 

No. 418 (Submitted by Commander-in-ChieO 
ASSIST VIETNAM'S RECOVERY OF MIAS AS A SIGN OF GOOD FAITH 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that at each level of the VFW — National, Department, District, 
County Council, Post — strenuous efforts be made to collect any informa- 
tion which might be of value in determining the fate of Vietnam's 300,000 
Ml As and of assistance in the recovery 
of their remains; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge all levels of the VFW to 
solicit all Vietnam veteran members (and non-members) for any information 
or material that could be used to determine the fate of Vietnamese MIAs and 
their graves. Such information and material include battlefield souvenirs 
especially if they contain names or other identifying information; personal 
effects such as photos, letters, identification documents, taken from casual- 
ties; sketch maps, photos, overlays (annotated with dates and locations if 
possible) which would be of help in identifying Vietnamese grave sites; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that VFW National Headquarters pub- 
licize this effort and provide Departments with materials which might be 
used in further publicizing our efforts and that the VFW Washington Office 
act as the collecting point and repository of all such information obtained 
from our members and the public at large; and 



259 



BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that on subsequent trips to the region 
by VFW National Officers, such information be turned over to Vietnamese 
authorities as an expression of our desire to assist them in recovering their 
Ml As and to encourage their greater effort in helping us reach the fullest 
possible accounting of our MIAs. (Approved) 

No. 419 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

OPPOSE U. S. FORCES UNDER FOREIGN COMMAND 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we oppose any plan or directive placing U.S. military forces 
under the command of foreign military officers including those v\/ho are 
operating exclusively under orders from the United Nations; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Congress be urged to examine 
Presidential Decision Directive 25 to determine if any Constitutional 
authority has been misused, and if so, to find an appropriate remedy. 
(Approved) 

No. 420 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT FOR THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON TAIWAN 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that while recognizing the settlement of the legitimacy question 
remains an issue between the two countries, we support and urge the 
admission of the Republic of China on Taiwan to the United Nations and 
other international bodies so that those agencies can be useful in fostering 
a spirit of cooperation and assisting the resolution of the legitimacy ques- 
tion; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the President and the 
Congress of the United States to adhere strictly to the concepts of the 
Taiwan Relations Act by approving the sale to the Republic of China on 
Taiwan such state of the art military equipment, weapons and technology 
to include modern aircraft to the Republic of China on Taiwan as may be 
necessary to maintain adequate defense capabilities to provide for military 
balance and stability in the area; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the United States 
Government to employ the full range of its economic, diplomatic and mil- 
itary influence if it is necessary to contain the overtly aggressive posture of 
the Peoples Republic of China and to use this influence to further the peace- 
ful settlement of remaining disputes. (Approved) 

No. 421 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

OPPOSE DOWNSIZING THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT POW/MP OFFICE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we believe the downsizing of the Defense Department's 



260 



POW/MP Office would have a disastrous effect on achieving our goal of the 
fullest possible accounting of our POW/MIAs and would have the follow- 
ing dampening effects: 

(a) it would slow the momentum of a POW/MIA effort that has 
taken years to develop; 

(b) it would prevent us from taking full advantage of new opportu- 
nities that are becoming available to resolve this issue; 

(c) it would send the wrong signal that the United States is down- 
sizing its effort to recover our missing men to those countries where the 
search for our men still continues, or as in the case in Korea, where the 
search hasjust begun and the effort is expanding; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars goes 
on record as adamantly and unalterably opposed to any downsizing of the 
effort or of the resources put into the effort to reach the fullest possible 
accounting of our missing personnel. (Approved) 

No. 422 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 
RETAIN THE SELECTIVE SERVICE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the VFW goes on record as supporting the ongoing existence of 
the Selective Service System in its stand-by status and urges the United 
States Congress to provide the funds necessary to retain the Selective 
Service System. (Approved) 

No. 423 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

MONITOR THE PANAMA CANAL CAREFULLY 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign of the United States, 
that we urge the President and the Congress to closely monitor conditions 
in the Republic of Panama, to be prepared to take whatever steps are nec- 
essary to protect the Canal and to ensure continued freedom of passage, 
and to carefully reexamine the conditions of Panama and the region before 
the scheduled turnover with a view to balancing the views, concerns and 
interests of Panama, its neighbors and the United States. (Approved) 

No. 424 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

KEEPING FAITH WITH THE AMERICAN MILITARY 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Department of Defense and the Department of State 
to initiate changes to the Status of Forces Agreements, the Geneva 
Conventions and other international agreements to improve the legal pro- 
tections for United States military personnel and their families serving in 
foreign countries; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Department of 



261 



Defense and the Department of State to periodically provide written, factu- 
al assurances to the Congress, the public and our military that legal protec- 
tions have been put in place to bring to trial those guilty of murder, execu- 
tion or assassination of members of our military service in foreign lands; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Congress of the United States 
and the Administration find a solution and take the necessary steps to 
ensure that the El Salvador murders of LTC Picket and CPL Dawson are 
brought to trial and punished. (Approved) 

No. 425 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief 
AMERICANS WHO ARE PRISONERS OF WAR OR MISSING IN ACTION 

(Disapproved) 

No. 426 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 
NATO ENLARGEMENT 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support the enlargement of the NATO Alliance and the 
extension of the United States mutual defense commitment to the countries 
of Poland, Hungary andthe Czech Republic as it is important to the securi- 
ty of that region, our own vital interests in the region as well as world 
peace; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this enlargement be accom- 
plished in a non-threatening manner so as not to force other countries into 
an opposing alliance and that in order to project a peaceful image we urge 
consideration be given to adoption of a declared policy that U.S. forces and 
weapons will not be stationed, based or deployed (except for training) in 
the countries of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any future enlargement of NATO 
beyond the countries of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic be 
approached with careful analysis as to the costs, benefits and risks involved. 
(Approved) 

No. 427 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

REQUIRE ALL EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD CITIZENS TO REGISTER 
FOR MILITARY DRAFT 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request the President of the United States and the Congress 
of the United States to support legislation that would require all United 
States citizens, both male and female, be required to register for the Military 
Draft upon reaching their 18th birthday. (Approved) 

No. 428 (Submitted by Department of Kansas) 

262 



ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL NAVY MEDICAL AUGMEN- 
TATION TEAM OPERATION URGENT FURY 
(GRENADA) 

(Disapproved) 

No. 429 (Submitted by Department of Nevada) 

ISSUANCE OF COLD WAR VICTORY MEDAL 

(Disapproved) 

No. 430 (Submitted by Department of Washington) 

SPECIAL MEDAL FOR WWII NAVY ARMED GUARDS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 431 (Submitted by Department of Virginia) 
AMERICANS WHO ARE PRISONERS OF WAR OR MISSING IN ACTION 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we urge the President of the United States of America and every 
member of the Congress to speak out on every occasion to expedite the 
return of those U.S. servicemen who are still prisoners of war or missing in 
action. (Approved) 

No. 432 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 432, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A NUCLEAR 

RADIATION MEDAL FOR CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 433 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

INTERMENT OF AN UNKNOWN FROM VIETNAM 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if there are other remains that in 
all likelihood cannot be identified by known forensic medical techniques, 
and after all means of identification have been exhausted, the U.S. 
Government make every effort to inter one of our unknown honored dead 
from the Vietnam War to rest in peace along side his comrades from World 
War I, World War II and the Korean War in this hallowed ground. 
(Approved) 

No. 434 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

IMPROVE MILITARY READINESS 



263 



BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the President and the Congress of the United States to 
act now to reverse this trend in decreasing defense readiness by providing 
our military leaders with the resources required to accomplish their mis- 
sions and the military strategy of the United States; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in order to improve the morale and 
retention of our high quality, dedicated American service men and women, 
that the Congress and the Administration take action to stop the erosion of 
military entitlements and benefits, and restore military retirement benefits 
to the level that existed prior to 1986. (Approved) 

No. 435 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

TIGHTEN U.S. POLICY ON HIGH TECHNOLOGY EXPORTS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we strongly urge the President and the Congress to reverse the 
present U.S. policy on exporting American advanced "dual-use" technolo- 
gies and supercomputers to China and Russia, and strengthen the rules that 
limit the export of American "dual-use" technologies to any country that 
poses a possible ballistic missile or any other significant threat to the U.S.; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Administration stop any U.S. 
commercial activity which facilitates the improvement of Chinese ballistic 
missile capability, and provides any information or technology that would 
provide new military capability, including any long-range missile technolo- 
gy, to any country that poses a significant threat to our nation without prior 
U.S. government authorization. (Approved) 

No. 436 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE FOR THE UNITED STATES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Administration and the Congress of the United 
States to immediately accelerate efforts to develop and deploy a National 
Missile Defense System to protect the United States against an accidental or 
unauthorized ballistic missile launch; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Administration and 
the Congress to take immediate actions to stop the proliferation of ballistic 
missiles and technologies to any potentially hostile or rogue states and ter- 
rorist groups that may seek to target the United States directly with long- 
range missiles. (Approved) 

No. 437 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

INCREASE THE DEFENSE BUDGET 



264 



BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the President and the Congress of the United States to 
take what ever steps are necessary to increase defense spending and reverse 
the fourteen year pattern of declining defense budgets; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in light of the first federal budget 
surplus in three decades, and the current strength of the U.S. economy, we 
urge the nation's bipartisan political leadership to reopen negotiations on 
the Balanced Budget Act of 1 997 in order to provide for a reallocation addi- 
tional of national resources to the defense budget, and to sustain period of 
real growth in defense spending. (Approved) 

No. 438 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY 

(Disapproved) 

No. 439 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

IN SUPPORT OF ARMY MEDIC MICHAEL NEW 

(Disapproved) 

No. 440 (Submitted by Department of Kansas) 

INTERMENT OF AN UNKNOWN FROM VIETNAM 

(Disapproved) 

No. 441 (Submitted by Department of Delaware) 

RESTORE PRE-ATTACK RANKS TO ADMIRAL HUSBAND E. KIMMEL 
AND GENERAL WALTER C. SHORT 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the President of the United States to restore the honor 
and reputations of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and General Walter C. 
Short; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the President of the 
United States to take necessary steps to posthumously advance Admiral 
Kimmel and General Short to their highest wartime rank of four-star admi- 
ral and lieutenant general. Such action would be appreciated greatly to 
restore the honor of these two great American servicemen. (Approved) 

No. 442 (Submitted by Department of Latin America/Caribbean) 
SUPPORT OF SELF-DETERMINATION FOR PUERTO RICO 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request the Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and the rest of 
the members of the United States Senate to pass S.472 before the adjourn- 



265 



merit of the 1 05th Congress. (Approved) 

CONSIDERED BY COMMITTEE ON VETERANS SERVICE RESOLUTIONS 

No. 601 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SEXUAL TRAUMA TREATMENT FOR ALL VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that there will be permanent VA programs established for veterans 
who need sexual trauma treatment; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States insists there be absolutely no limitations or restrictions to 
VA sexual trauma treatment services thereby making sexual trauma treat- 
ment available to all veterans of the Armed Forces regardless of their length 
of service or reserve status. (Approved) 

No. 602 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

ADEQUATELY FUND THE VETERANS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM 
CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress in its annual appropriations, to fund the 
Department of Veterans Affairs construction to allow it to carry out a pro- 
gram of modernization or replacement of aging facilities, which includes a 
sound system for setting construction priorities, which in combination will 
ensure the continued provision of quality health care to our nation's veter- 
ans. (Approved) 

No. 603 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BUDGET 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress of the United States to pass a budget and 
appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs which will fully fund 
and maintain the integrity of the benefits and entitlements programs and 
enhance Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. (Approved) 

No. 604 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

AMEND THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FORMER 
SPOUSES' PROTECTION ACT 

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, seeks to amend PL 97-252, the Former Spouses' Protection Act, to 
allow for the termination of court-ordered payments to ex-military spouses 
upon remarriage; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars 



266 



seeks legislation that would prohibit forcing a service member from making 
payments to his former spouse on the date the sen/ice member first 
becomes eligible to receive retired pay if the service member elects to 
remain in the service; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
seeks legislation that ensures any increase in retired pay resulting from 
increased service or promotion after a divorce is final becomes the sole 
property of the service member. (Approved) 

No. 605 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

CONCURRENT RECEIPT OF RETIREMENT PAY AND 
VETERANS DISABIUTY COMPENSATION 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we strongly advocate legislation to be enacted to permit the 
concurrent receipt of longevity military retirement pay without reduction of 
the Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States, that we also support legislation that initially limits the dis- 
ability categories and/or the dollar amount of offset, with the final goal of 
having all disabled retirees receive full concurrent receipt of all money. 
(Approved) 

No. 606 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

AMENDED TAX RETURNS FOR MILITARY RETIREES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that Congress amend current law whereby a military retiree will be 
allowed to file amended tax returns involving receipt of VA disability com- 
pensation beyond the current three (3) year limitation. (Approved) 

No. 607 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

EXCLUDE GUARD AND RESERVE INCOME WHEN DETERMINING ELI- 
GIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge Congress to enact legislation that standardizes 
Unemployment Insurance eligibility rules to the extent that Guard and 
Reserve income will be excluded for purposes of determining eligibility for 
Unemployment Insurance. (Approved) 

No. 608 (Submitted by Commander-in-ChieO 

ESTABLISHMENT OF A WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE 
ON VETERANS ENTITLEMENT AND BENEFITS POUCY 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 

267 



States, that we support legislation authorizing establishment of a White 
House conference on veterans entitlement and benefit policy with the mis- 
sion of improving and preserving veterans benefits. (Approved) 

No. 609 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFIT PROGRAM (FEHBP) FOR 
MILITARY RETIREES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress to enact legislation requiring the 
Department of Defense to offer military retirees the full range of FEHBP 
under the same terms as do all other federal departments, agencies, and the 
post office; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States, that we also support legislation that initially limits FEHBP to 
only Medicare eligible retirees with the ultimate goal of allowing all retirees 
to participate in the program. (Approved) 

No. 610 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

FULL FUNDING FOR THE GUARD AND RESERVE 
MOBILIZATION INSURANCE PROGRAM (MIP) 

(Disapproved) 

No. 611 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF ON-THE-JOB-TRAINING PROGRAM 
FOR RECENTLY SEPARATED VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Administration and Congress to take immediate 
action towards the creation of and implementation of a nationwide On-the- 
Job-Training Program for recently separated service members. (Approved) 

No. 612 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

THIRD-PARTY REIMBURSEMENT WITHOUT OFFSET 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that the Department of Veterans Affairs collect and retain all third- 
party reimbursements without offset from its appropriation; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that legislation be enacted to make up 
any Medical Care Cost Recovery (MCCR) shortfall with supplemental 
appropriations. (Approved) 

No. 613 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

ENTITLEMENT TO NURSING HOME CARE 



268 



BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge Congress to amend Public Law 104-262 to mandate the 
provision of nursing home care for all veterans. (Approved) 

No. 614 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT AN EFFECTIVE VETERANS EMPLOYMENT 
AND TRAINING SERVICE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support a viable and effective Veterans Employment and 
Training Service which has necessary funding and capability to assist veter- 
ans in seeking and maintaining meaningful employment and re-employ- 
ment opportunities. (Approved) 

No. 615 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SERVICE CONNECTION FOR THE RESIDUALS OF TOBACCO USE 

(Disapproved) 

No. 616 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

IMPROVED VA HOSPITAL FACILITIES FOR WOMEN VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that Congress provide funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) specifically for the purpose of improving the quality of hospital facili- 
ties and services available to women veterans at VA hospitals. (Approved) 

No. 617 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUFFICIENT FUNDING FOR THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S 
VETERANS EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING SERVICE 

(Disapproved) 

No. 618 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

NECESSARY FUNDING FOR THE LOCAL VETERANS 

EMPLOYMENT REPRESENTATIVES (LVERs) AND 

DISABLED VETERANS OUTREACH PROGRAM SPECIALISTS (DVOPs) 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress of the United States to appropriate suffi- 
cient funds to support the number of LVERs and DVOPs positions as 
required by Title 38. (Approved) 

No. 619 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT PRIORITY OF SERVICE FOR VETERANS TO ALL 
FEDERALLY FUNDED JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS 



269 



BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress to enact legislation which will nnandate 
priority of service to all eligible veterans in federally funded job training 
programs. (Approved) 

No. 620 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

BENEFITS FOR FILIPINO VETERANS AND SCOUTS WHO SERVED WITH 
THE U. S. ARMED FORCES DURING WWII 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support legislation to recognize veterans of the organized 
military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, 
while such forces were in the service of the Armed Forces of the United 
States during World War II, as having been active service for purposes of 
equal benefits under programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sup- 
port additional legislation that directs the Secretary of Army to issue a cer- 
tificate of service to every national of the Philippine Islands deemed by the 
Secretary to have performed any military service in aid of the Armed Forces 
of the United States during World War II. (Approved) 

No. 621 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

COST-OF-LIVING INCREASE FORVA BENEFICIARIES 
AND MILITARY RETIREES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge Congress to provide timely annual increases in an 
amount at least commensurate with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all 
Department of Veterans Affairs' beneficiaries and military retirees. 
(Approved) 

No. 622 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

VA MEDICARE SUBVENTION 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support the swift enactment into law of legislation authoriz- 
ing VA to collect and retain Medicare dollars. (Approved) 

No. 623 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

EXCLUSIVE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEES FOR 
THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA) 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the Congress to establish separate appropriations sub- 



270 



committees exclusive to the Department of Veterans Affairs in both the 
House and Senate. (Approved) 

No. 624 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

FUNDING OF SBA VETERANS PROGRAMS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support the strengthening and sufficiently fund an effective 
veterans entrepreneurship program in the United States Small Business 
Administration. (Approved) 

No. 625 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT FOR PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we continue to urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to estab- 
lish an open ended presumptive period until the medical and scientific 
community determines an appropriate time in which conditions associated 
with Gulf War service will manifest; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Department of 
Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide health care for 
all veterans whose health has been adversely affected by the Persian Gulf 
War and to conduct all necessary tests to determine the causes of these ill- 
nesses; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, veterans of the Persian Gulf War be 
afforded the same rights and privileges guaranteed to all other veterans; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Department of 
Veterans Affairs to act in accordance with 38 USC, 1117, and develop, at 
the earliest possible date, appropriate definitions or diagnoses of the ill- 
nesses associated with service in the Persian Gulf; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Departments of 
Defense, Health and Human Service and Veterans Affairs, and the Congress 
to fund appropriate research into the causes of these illnesses; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the VFW continue to closely mon- 
itor this issue, identify and research problems, and urge appropriate cor- 
rective action to assist Persian Gulf War veterans and their families. 
(Approved) 

No. 626 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief 

HONOR GUARD FUNCTIONS AT FUNERALS FOR VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support legislation to provide active duty and recognize, as 
a federal function. Reserve and/or National Guard participation at veterans' 
funerals, with necessary appropriated funds. (Approved) 



271 



No. 627 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 
VATO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF COST OF CARING FOR VETERANS 
RESIDING IN STATE VETERANS HOMES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 628 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

RETAIN EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE FOR 
VETERANS AND DISABLED VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we oppose any elimination of federal oversight and control of 
the employment assistance entitlements earned by America's veterans/dis- 
abled veterans through their honorable service. (Approved) 

No. 629 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

FUNDING OF NATIONAL VETERANS' TRAINING INSTITUTE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we petition Congress to support full funding of the National 
Veterans Training Institute as required by PL 100-232. (Approved) 

No. 630 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

VETERANS PREFERENCE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we strongly support veterans preference in federal, state and 
local employment as provided by a grateful nation, and oppose any and all 
efforts to eliminate or undermine this earned entitlement; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of 
the United States shall aggressively support enactment of legislation that 
strengthens the Veterans Preference Act of 1944 and all subsequent amend- 
ments; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly urge Congress to 
enact legislation which provides that any intentional violation of a provi- 
sion of the Veterans Preference Act as a "prohibited personnel practice" and 
therefore be subject to corrective and disciplinary action, and intervention 
by Office of the Special Counsel. (Approved) 

No. 631 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

LICENSURE AND CERTIFICATION 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge standardized licensure and certification requirements 
be adopted by the appropriate federal and state agencies in all 50 states; 
and 



272 



BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that recently separated service mem- 
bers be afforded the opportunity to take licensing and certification exams 
without a period of retraining. (Approved) 

No. 632 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

PROVIDING EMERGENCY SERVICES TO ENROLLED VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that Congress enact legislation that mandates the VA to pay for emer- 
gency services in non-VA facilities for all enrolled veterans if emergency 
services are not available within a VA facility. (Approved) 

No. 633 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

TOBACCO INDUSTRY SETTLEMENT AND 
VETERANS HEALTH CARE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request the Administration and Congress advocate more 
aggressively for a portion of the "tobacco settlement" to be directed solely 
to offset VA health care costs and the promotion of smoking cessation and 
prevention programs for veterans with tobacco-related disabilities; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States insist that any such funds the VA receives from a federal 
tobacco settlement will not be offset from VA's annual medical care appro- 
priation. (Approved) 

No. 634 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

OPPOSE STAFF REDUCTIONS 
FOR THE VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we recommend Congress includes sufficient funding in VA's 
appropriations to increase FTE in the Compensation and Pension Service by 
500 and maintain FTE at the FY 1997 levels in the other VBA components. 
(Approved) 

No. 635 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

EQUITY IN VA HEALTH CARE COPAYMENTS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that Congress urge VA to find a more equitable means to determine 
a non-service connected veterans outpatient co-payment. (Approved) 

No. 636 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

GULF WAR UNDIAGNOSED ILLNESSES 



273 



BE IT RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, support President Clinton's November 1997 directive mandating 
National Academy of Sciences review of scientific and medical research 
toward possible establishment of presumptions for Gulf War undiagnosed 
illnesses and urges Congress to immediately pass legislation that will rein- 
force this endeavor. (Approved) 

No. 637 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SUPPORT LEGISLATION PROVIDING 

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS AND SERVICES TO 

VIETNAM VETERANS CHILDREN WITH SPINA BIFIDA 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge Congress to amend the Agent Orange Benefits Act of 
1996 to provide Vietnam veterans children with Spina Bifida Cystica with 
comprehensive health care coverage, attendant services, independent liv- 
ing services, up to 48 months of educational assistance, adaptive housing 
and transportation assistance; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Act be amended to include 
outreach and service coordination assistance to: (1) ensure that Vietnam 
veterans children with Spina Bifida and their families are aware of their eli- 
gibility for VA benefits and services and, when needed, in fully accessing 
such benefits; (2) assist such children in protecting Supplemental Security 
Insurance and other federal and federally-supported benefits and services 
from unwarranted reduction or termination due to the receipt of assistance 
under the Act; and (3) assist such children in accessing other specialized 
human services for persons with severe disabilities offered by federal, state, 
and local government agencies and other human services organizations. 
(Approved) 

No. 638 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS STRATEGIC PLAN 

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States supports the Department of Veterans Affairs Strategic Plan as the best 
approach toward resolving the current claims processing problems, and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Veterans of Foreign Wars fully 
supports the improved technology initiatives by the Department of Veterans 
Affairs and we urge that the Veterans Benefits Administration's planned 
information technology program be fully developed and instituted at the 
earliest possible time. (Approved) 

No. 639 (Submitted by Department of Arkansas) 

AMEND HIRING RESTRICTIONS OF DVOPs 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 

274 



States, 

that Chapter 4103(a)(1) of Title 38 USC be amended to remove the require- 
ment that 

DVOPs must be Vietnam era veterans and that the position be open to vet- 
erans who are disabled, have employment barriers or recently separated. 
(Approved) 

No. 640 (Submitted by Department of Arkansas) 

REWRITE TITLE 38, USC, CHAPTER 41 

(Disapproved) 

No. 641 (Submitted by Department of Arkansas) 

AMEND SECTION 4212, CHAPTER 42 OF TITLE 38 USC 

(Disapproved) 

No. 642 (Submitted by Department of Connecticut) 

OPPOSE EXCESSIVE CO-PAYMENT FOR OUTPATIENT CARE 

(Disapproved) 

No. 643 (Submitted by Department of Connecticut) 

REFORM OF ELIGIBILITY FOR ACCESS TO VA HEALTH CARE 
FOR RETIRED MILITARY PERSONNEL 

(Disapproved) 

No. 644 (Submitted by Departments of Maine and Delaware) 

VA DEMONSTRATION PROJECT FOR ALZHEIMER'S FACILITY 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support the need for an Alzheimer's Facility for veterans, 
under a congressionally authorized demonstration project, through the 
Department of Veterans Affairs; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this demonstration project be a 
uniquely designed facility for veterans with Alzheimer's disease using other 
than the routine medical or psychiatric care models. The project should 
include Alzheimer's research as an integral part of the veterans treatment 
program. (Approved) 

No. 645 (Submitted by Department of Rhode Island) 

VATO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF CARING FOR VETERANS 
RESIDING IN STATE VETERANS HOMES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 

275 



States, we support a VA per diem payment that equals 33.33% of the 
national average cost of providing care in a state veterans home; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Congress of the 
United States to fully fund State Veterans Home Construction Grant Priority 
on projects for fiscal year 1999; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support a ranking system, 
whereby State Home Construction Grant Program requests would be prior- 
itized in the year they are received, utilizing current VA needs criteria. 
Grant requests, received in future years, would be prioritized in the same 
manner, with the understanding that they will not receive funding until pro- 
jects submitted in previous years are funded. However, states without state 
veterans homes would automatically become eligible for funding regardless 
of the year their requests are received. (Approved) 

No. 646 (Submitted by Department of Oregon) 

VETERANS' PREFERENCE IN HOUSING 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we strongly support veterans preference in federal, state, and local 
housing. (Approved) 

No. 647 (Submitted by Department of District of Columbia) 
PROVIDE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP OF THE CEMETERY 
AT FORMER CLARK AIR BASE IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 648 (Submitted by Department of District of Columbia) 

NATURALIZATION PROCESS FOR FILIPINO VETERANS 
OF WORLD WAR II 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support legislation for the naturalization of all categories of 
WWII Filipino veterans. (Approved) 

No. 649 (Submitted by Department of District of Columbia) 

BENEFITS FOR FILIPINO VETERANS AND SCOUTS WHO SERVED 
WITH THE U.S. ARMED FORCES DURING WWII 

(Disapproved) 

No. 650 (Submitted by Department of District of Columbia) 

RESTORE GRANT IN AID HOSPITAL PROGRAM TO THE 
FILIPINO WORLD WAR II VETERANS IN THE PHIUPPINES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 

276 



States, that we petition the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the President, and 
the Congress to restore the Grant In Aid Hospital Program under the man- 
agement of the Manila Regional Office to assist in the medical treatment of 
surviving Philippine-based WWII veterans; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all inequities proportioned at the 
time of the original suspension be evaluated so as to bring the Philippine 
Veterans Memorial Medical Hospital in line with U.S. hospital standards 
and procedures. (Approved) 

No. 651 (Submitted by Department of Nebraska) 

DOWNSIZING VETERANS AFFAIRS REGIONAL OFFICE 

(Disapproved) 

No. 652 (Submitted by Department of Illinois) 

NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM 

(Disapproved) 

No. 653 (Submitted by Department of Pacific Areas) 
BENEFITS FOR SAIPAN MARINE SCOUTS WHO FOUGHT ALONGSIDE 
U.S. FORCES DURING WORLD WAR II BATTLE OF SAIPAN 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we support legislation to recognize the Saipan Marine Scouts 
who served alongside U.S. soldiers during the Battle of Saipan as having 
been active service for purposes of equal benefits under programs adminis- 
tered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support additional legislation 
that directs the Secretary of Defense to issue a certificate of service to every 
Saipan Marine Scout deemed by the Secretary to have performed military 
service in aid of the Armed Forces of the U.S. during the WWII Battle of 
Saipan. (Approved) 

No. 654 (Submitted by Department of Pacific Areas) 
PROVIDE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP OF THE CEMETERY 
AT FORMER CLARK AIR BASE IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we urge the United States government, by legislative or admin- 
istrative action, to seek a long term solution to the neglect of the Clark 
Cemetery; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that until a long term solution is 
reached, we seek support from all available sources to assist VFW Post 2485 
and supporters with the annual cost of the repair and upkeep of the Clark 
Cemetery. (Approved) 



277 



No. 655 (Submitted by Department of Georgia) 

AMEND 38 USCTO INCLUDE SERVICE CONNECTION 
FOR CHRONIC PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY 
AS A RESULT OF EXPOSURE TO AGENT ORANGE 
BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request an amendment to 38 USC to include Chronic 
Peripheral Neuropathy as a sen/ice connected disability as a result of expo- 
sure to Agent Orange. (Approved) 

No. 656 (Submitted by Department of New Jersey) 

VA PROJECT FOR ALZHEIMER'S FACILITY 

(Disapproved) 

No. 657 (Submitted by Department of Kentucky) 
EQUITABLE RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF ALL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 658 (Submitted by Department of Virginia) 

REQUESTING THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO 

ESTABLISH A COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM FOR VETERANS EXPOSED 

TO BIOLOGICAL, CHEMICAL, NEUROLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL, 

STRESS PRODUCING CONDITIONS WHILE IN MILITARY SERVICE 

(Disapproved) 

No. 659 (Submitted by Department of Virginia) 

REQUESTING THE HONORABLE TOGO D. WEST SECRETARY OF VET- 
ERANS AFFAIRS, TO REDUCE THE WAITING TIME FOR A DECISION ON 
A CLAIM FOR THE U.S. BOARD ON VETERANS APPEALS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 660 (Submitted by Department of Wisconsin) 

VATO GUARANTEE FULL REPAYMENT OF LOANS FOR 

THE PROVISION OF MULTI-FAMILY TRANSITIONAL 

HOUSING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 661 (Submitted by Department of Texas) 

VETERANS PROGRAM TO REMAIN A NATIONAL MANDATE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 

278 



States, that we oppose any such elimination of Federal direction and con- 
trol over the employment assistance entitlements earned by America's vet- 
erans through their honorable service. (Approved) 

No. 662 (Submitted by Department of Texas) 

SUPPORT OF FULL FUNDING FOR ALL VETS PROGRAMS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 663 (Submitted by Department of California) 
IN SUPPORT OF VETERANS AND THEIR RIGHTS TO USE THE HERB, 
CANNABIS, FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 664 (Submitted by Department of California) 
SUPPORT H.R. 76, PERMIT MEDICARE-ELIGIBLE MILITARY RETIREES 
THE OPTION TO ENROLL IN THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES 
HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM 

(Disapproved) 

No. 665 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 303, PERMIT RETIRED MEMBERS OF THE ARMED 

FORCES WHO HAVE A SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY TO RECEIVE 

COMPENSATION FROM THE VA CONCURRENTLY WITH RETIRED PAY 

WITHOUT REDUCTION FROM EITHER 

(Disapproved) 

No. 666 (Submitted by Department of California) 
SUPPORT S. 1334 MILITARY RETIREES OPTION TO ENROLL IN FEHBP 

(Disapproved) 

No. 667 (Submitted by Department of California) 

PRESERVATION OF THE NATIONAL SOLDIERS' HOME 

LOCATED AT THE 

VA MEDICAL CENTER, WEST LOS ANGELES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we request the United States Congress to ensure adherence to the 
expressed wishes of the donors of said land, that the terms and considera- 
tion of the grant be adhered to, that the Pacific branch of the National 
Soldiers' Home for Disabled Veterans be maintained on said property, that 
an opportunity be offered to those who were displaced from said National 



279 



Soldiers' Home to return thereto, and that the admission requirements for 
entering the home revert back to the original status. (Approved) 

No. 668 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 2572, CAP ON PRIVATE ATTORNEY'S FEES WITH 
RESPECT TO VETERANS CLAIMS IN THE APPEALS PROCESS 

(Disapproved) r.< 

No. 669 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 1362, VETERANS MEDICARE 
REIMBURSEMENT DEMONSTRATION ACT 

(Disapproved) 

No. 670 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 836, FILIPINO VETERANS EQUITY ACT OF 1997 

(Disapproved) 

No. 671 (Submitted by Department of California) 

AMEND INTERNAL REVENUE CODE FOR STATE FINANCIAL VETERANS 

HOME MORTGAGES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we support legislation to amend IRS code of 1986 to allow veterans 
who served after January 1 , 1997, in a military operation and are authorized 
a military campaign medal to qualify for the state veterans home mortgage 
bond program. (Approved) 

No. 672 (Submitted by Department of California) 

AMEND TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE (USC), CHAPTER 41 

(Disapproved) 

No. 673 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 1241, AMEND INTERNAL REVENUE CODE FOR 
STATE FINANCED VETERANS HOME MORTGAGES 

(Disapproved) 

No. 674 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 1766, DEMONSTRATION PROJECT USING THE 

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM FOR 

MEDICARE-ELIGIBLE BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE MILITARY HEALTH 

SERVICE SYSTEM 



280 



(Disapproved) 

No. 675 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 3613, MILITARY HEALTH CARE FAIRNESS ACT 

(Disapproved) 

No. 676 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT H.R. 3653, VETERANS BURIAL RIGHTS ACT OF 1998 

(Disapproved) 

No. 677 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT S. 224, MEDICARE-ELIGIBLE MILITARY RETIREES OPTION TO 
ENROLL IN THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM 

(Disapproved) 

No. 678 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT S. 1825, VETERANS BURIAL RIGHTS ACT OF 1998 

(Disapproved) 

No. 679 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT S. 324, HONOR GUARD FUNCTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE 
NATIONAL GUARD AT VETERANS FUNERALS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 680 (Submitted by Department of California) 

SUPPORT S. 623, FILIPINO VETERANS EQUITY ACT OF 1997 

(Disapproved) 

No. 681 (Submitted by Department of Colorado) 

ESTABLISH AN OFFICE OF VETERANS' WIDOWS/SURVIVING SPOUSES 
AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 

(Disapproved) 

No. 682 (Submitted by Department of Tennessee) 

MILITARY AND VETERANS HEALTH CARE 

(Disapproved) 



281 



No. 683 (Submitted by Department of Europe) 

TO RETAIN PERSHING HALL AS A MEMORIAL 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we oppose any change in present regulations that would violate the 
original purpose of having Pershing Hall serve as a memorial. (Approved) 

No. 684 (Submitted by Department of Connecticut) 

THE PEACE HEART MEDAL AUTHORIZATION 

(Disapproved) 

No. 685 (Submitted by Department of West Virginia) 

SUPPORT THE TERMS OF THE NATIONAL TOBACCO SETTLEMENT 

(Disapproved) 

No. 686 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

RESEARCH ON THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF DEPLETED URANIUM 

AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN EDUCATION AND SAFETY TRAINING 

PROGRAM FOR ALL GROUND TROOPS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request the Secretary of Defense to immediately direct and 
verify the full implementation of the Depleted Uranium training program; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an independent, non-profit scien- 
tific organization, under federal contract from the Department of Veteran 
Affairs, conduct appropriate studies regarding the health effects of DU, with 
additional instructions to review and evaluate all other agencies' scientific 
studies regarding DU, for the purpose of issuing a comprehensive report 
identifying the health effects related to use of DU. (Approved) 

No. 687 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING LOANS FOR HOMELESS VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we urge Congress to initiate legislation allowing VA to 
underwrite/guarantee, on a limited basis, selected commercial loans made 
to non-profit organizations to construct and maintain selected multi-family 
transitional housing exclusively for use by veterans and their dependents; 
and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this legislation must require the par- 
ticipating non-profit housing organizations to closely and continuously 
coordinate their efforts on behalf of homeless veterans with VA, as well as 
state and local housing authorities, to share technical expertise and to avoid 



282 



wasting time. (Approved) 

No. 688 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 
SERVICE CONNECTION FOR HEARING LOSS AND TIN NITUSO FOR 
COMBAT VETERANS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, we request Congress to enact legislation that will authorize the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs to grant service connection to veterans with 
documented combat service and who have been diagnosed with hearing 
loss or tinnitus at any time after discharge from military service. (Approved) 

No. 689 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

COST WILL NEVER BE A FACTOR FOR VETERANS' ENTITLEMENTS 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we correspond forcefully to Congress and the President that 
never again can veterans' entitlements be negotiated based on solely eco- 
nomic factors. (Approved) 

No. 690 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOUSING ALLOWANCE 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, that we seek leg- 
islation to amend 38 U.S.C.§2102 to allow a veteran to qualify for a second 
allowance not to exceed 50 percent of the maximum amount authorized 
under 38. (Approved) 

No. 691 (Submitted by Commander-in-Chief) 

REFER VETERANS TO VETERANS SERVICE 
ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTATIVES 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States, that we request the Secretary of Veterans Affairs establish a policy 
whereby all veterans that seek VA medical care or inquire about other enti- 
tlements be informed that Veterans Service Organization representatives are 
available for assistance. 



NATIONAL CONVENTION COMMITTEES 

COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL BY-LAWS, MANUAL OF PROCEDURE 

AND RITUAL 

Chairman: John M. Carney, Past Commander-in-Chief, Florida 
Vice Chairman: Alcuin G. Loehr, Post 4847, Minnesota 



283 



(River Room A, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center) 

Department Name Post No. 

Alabama Charles H. Ayers 6837 

Alabama Lester E. Kapelka 5850 

Alaska Leander P Carr 9978 

Arizona John M. Jackson 3632 

Arizona Greg A. Woodring 10308 

Arkansas Bobby G. Julian 6527 

California Judge Brown 7792 

California Everett R. Martin 1732 

Colorado Terrance D. Jacobson 3471 

Colorado John R. Lewis 4051 

Connecticut Edward L. Burnham 1724 

Connecticut Brian J. Kennedy 1523 

Connecticut Robert A. Stevens 10690 

Delaware Le Roy J. Rench 3238 

Dist. of Col Philip L. Anderson 284 

Europe Jarold K. Stottlemyre 10810 

Florida Raymond D. Brennan, Jr. . . .10131 

Florida James W. Carlisle 10097 

Florida John M. Carney 4643 

Florida James De Pass 10068 

Florida Eugene R. Manfrey 6827 

Georgia Olin C. Wright 7331 

Hawaii Norbert K. Enos 2875 

Idaho Gray I. Clawson 3012 

Illinois Norman J. Busch 5915 

Illinois Eddie J. Griffith 1301 

Illinois Terry W. Vance 9789 

Indiana John L. Dahman 1421 

Indiana James M. Leavitt 5782 

Iowa Muriel E. Allan 3633 

Iowa Leslie G. Portwood 817 

Iowa William P. Shannon 733 

Kansas Robert B. Greene 846 

Kansas Gerald D. Mangold 7521 

Kansas Lawrence D. Tholen 2864 

Kentucky William J. Apple 1170 

Latin Amer/Carib Marion H. Lasater 3876 

Louisiana William M. Procter 1736 

Louisiana Larry W. Rivers 1736 

Maine Arthur J. Roy 1603 

Maryland Norman H. Geisel 2632 

Massachusetts Theodore R. Eaton 2104 



284 



Massachusetts William L. Mc Carthy 864 

Michigan Assad Allie 147 

Michigan William P. Bennett 7573 

Michigan Lawrence Le Febvre 552 

Michigan Barry F. Walter 4005 

Minnesota Alcuin G. Loehr 4847 

Minnesota Dean E. Means 1642 

Minnesota Lester G. Orton 363 

Mississippi J. H. Smith 480 

Missouri Paul E. Connors 30 

Missouri Charles R. Hauer 6840 

Missouri Lawrence M. Maher 7356 

Montana Calvin L. Burr, Jr 497 

Montana Paul D. Westwood 10010 

Nebraska Billy C. Smith 7028 

Nebraska Dwaine D. Wilson 1652 

Nevada Walter J. Dybeck, Jr 10047 

New Hampshire Robert W. Madigan 483 

New Hampshire John M. Packard 8546 

New Jersey Donald J. Dooner 1439 

New Jersey Donald L. Scott 7247 

New Jersey John J. Senk, Jr 335 

New Mexico Tyrone M. Benson 7686 

New Mexico James H. Ferguson 7686 

New Mexico Raymond Sierra 3015 

New Mexico Frederick H. Smalley 3221 

New York Ralph U. De Marco 885 

New York Daniel J. Dwyer 161 

New York Elton C. Klein 478 

North Carolina Paul G. Yeager 7315 

North Dakota Paul S. Aaberg 6139 

North Dakota Richard J. Belling 7564 

Ohio Gerald W. Gilgenbach 8847 

Ohio Steven W. Mardis 693 

Ohio Craig D. Swartz 2947 

Ohio Myron E. Young 9571 

Oklahoma Roderick V. Himber 4876 

Oregon Johnnie A. Baugh 1 383 

Oregon Patrick L. Jordan 4248 

Pacific Areas Gerald L. Kraus 3457 

Pennsylvania Charles R. Feltenberger 2435 

Pennsylvania Joseph G. Hertzler 6704 

Pennsylvania Allen Q. Jones 21 

Pennsylvania Frank J. Zenzer 676 

Rhode Island John Sivo 2396 

South Carolina Johnnie C. Robinson 2889 



285 



South Dakota Delane E. Fickbohm 6149 

South Dakota Tom Sherman 3342 

Tennessee Joe A. Murphy, Jr 1289 

Texas Anthony J. Emmite 6378 

Texas Glen M. Gardner, Jr 3359 

Texas N. F. Layne 3990 

Texas Alexander Vernon 919 

Texas William B. Warren 8564 

Vermont Clifton E. La Plante 782 

Virginia Charles B. Wilkerson 9808 

Washington Allen E. Bell 379 

Washington Donald E. Bracken 2289 

West Virginia Danny P. Woofter 8129 

Wisconsin Curtis J. Taylor, Jr 1318 

Wyoming Charles E. Fresorger 579 

COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND INTERNAL ORGANIZATION 

Chairman: James E. Nier, Past Commander-in-Chief, Texas 
Vice Chairman: Thomas J. Dougherty, Post 3474, Pennsylvania 

(River Room B, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center) 

Department Name Post No. 

Alabama Travis W. Ledbetter 3016 

Alabama Benjamin R. Minshew 49 

Alabama Gordon R. Shewmake 3016 

Alaska Robert S. Green 1685 

Alaska Preston E. Nelson 10046 

Arizona Kenneth A. Buckley 9400 

Arizona Donald G. Glynn 549 

Arizona Ronald L. Slater 9829 

Arkansas Carthel B. Rarrott 3543 

Arkansas Raymond J. Smorol 4513 

California Earl D. Cauthen 7142 

California James D. Duff 8737 

California Richard L. Eubank 85 

California Richard Fenn 7243 

California James R. Rowoldt 10040 

California Glenn O. Wilson 8985 

Colorado James E. Mauck 2601 

Colorado Henry F. Sexauer 1 

Colorado Claudio E. Trujillo 61 

Connecticut Raymond A. Heroux 5157 

Connecticut Donald A. O Connor 9066 

Connecticut William B. Watson 3263 



286 



Delaware William W. Wailes 475 

Delaware Louis R. Walls, Jr 5447 

Dist. of Col John P. Breen 2979 

Dist. of Col George A. Lange, Jr 284 

Dist. of Col Gerard P. Miserandino, Sr. . . .2979 

Europe Norman J. Hirschman 10658 

Europe Gladwin K. Spohr 10692 

Florida Paul Y. Goldych 4256 

Florida John E. Hamilton 7909 

Florida Donald L. Pierce 8696 

Georgia Ray L. Christie 5080 

Georgia Robert K. Nelson 3200 

Georgia William J. Wilson 7007 

Hawaii William A. Merryman 3845 

Hawaii Royal G. Vida 3850 

Hawaii Richard J C. Wong 3292 

daho Dale W. Smith 3646 

linois Clyde F. Davis 1604 

linois Rick Frank 1461 

linois Edward F. Jarnell, Jr 8081 

linois Tom Morgan 1 592 

linois Russell R. Rieke 5694 

ndiana Darrel W. Cavin 1130 

ndiana Larry A. Dewitt 985 

ndiana Robert E. Green 1154 

ndiana David G. Havely 5864 

ndiana Stephen J. Shedlock 3790 

owa Ronald T. Deters . 839 

owa Jerry L. Frederiksen 7083 

owa Laurel E. Phipps 839 

owa Patrick J. Shanahan 788 

Kansas Ronald G. Browning 846 

Kansas Lewie B. Cooper 1 174 

Kansas Larry C. Duncan 7253 

Kansas Francis A. Mc Cann 56 

Kansas Daniel M. Shea 7397 

Kansas Orlin L. Wagner 112 

Kentucky James L. Bunch 5706 

Kentucky Jeff A. Phillips 1170 

Latin Amer/Carib Walter F. Griggs 40 

Maine Vinal E. Abbott 9699 

Maine Peter F. Miesburger 9389 

Maryland Raymond J. Boyle 6027 

Maryland Kenneth L. Britter 9862 

Maryland John R. Dickerson, Sr 7460 

Maryland John J. Gistedt 2678 



287 



Massachusetts Thomas M. Brennick 834 

Massachusetts Gordon L. Crosby 1526 

Michigan Wayne A. Buck 1888 

Michigan Eric L. Halvorsen 5065 

Michigan Arnold E. HuukI 6507 

Michigan Donald L. Nattier 2645 

Minnesota Harold Genrich 1222 

Minnesota Merlin O. Hanson 1639 

Minnesota William J. Manor 3871 

Minnesota Steven P. Van Bergen 6587 

Mississippi James W. Austin 3036 

Mississippi Johnnie L. Richard 6285 

Missouri Kenneth L. Davis 5789 

Missouri Lawrence M. Maher 7356 

Missouri Charles F. Thrower, Jr 3838 

Missouri Donald W. Watts 5553 

Montana David E. Goff 1087 

Montana Gerald D. Mallo 5609 

Montana Wade S. Smith 3831 

Nebraska John L. lossi 3704 

Nebraska George A. Lee 1652 

Nebraska John F. Olson 3704 

Nebraska Earl Stiner, Jr 3421 

Nevada Daryl L. Mobley 3630 

New Hampshire Michael S. Annis 2860 

New Hampshire John A. Knapper 1772 

New Hampshire Robert T. St Onge 8214 

New Jersey Henry J. Adams, Jr 3525 

New Jersey George J. Lisicki 2314 

New Jersey Hugh F. Mc Nulty, Jr 1439 

New Jersey John J. Senk, Jr 335 

New Mexico Walter R Diegnau 7686 

New Mexico Charles T. Durbin 3271 

New Mexico Joe F. Ford 401 

New York Philip C. Schiffman 8691 

New York Thomas X. Szewczyk 1374 

New York James A. Wilson 9132 

North Carolina James E. Clark 10630 

North Carolina Frank P. Durbino 9133 

North Carolina George E. Walker 7315 

North Dakota Richard N. Hagel 756 

Ohio Clifford E. Bauer 3360 

Ohio Robert C. Cockrell 1082 

Ohio Robert W. Crow 4027 

Ohio Keith E. Harman 3035 

Ohio Roy C. Jones 1 598 



288 



Ohio Thomas L Kissell 9648 

Ohio Joseph P. Seibert 6428 

Oklahoma William C. Bender 4446 

Oklahoma Robert B. Thomas 1098 

Oregon Harold E. Coin 2468 

Oregon James F. Hand 5233 

Pacific Areas Paul T. Gasperson 9612 

Pennsylvania Howard L. Adier, Jr 456 

Pennsylvania Thomas J. Dougherty 3474 

Pennsylvania Stephen J. Grassetti 6082 

Pennsylvania Allan C. Jameson 928 

Pennsylvania Frank G. Mills 1754 

Pennsylvania Patricia S. Potter 5424 

Pennsylvania Joseph T. Tragis 6082 

Rhode Island Salvatore J. Capirchio 2396 

Rhode Island Frank E. Lightowler 6342 

South Carolina Melvin L. Emore 641 

South Carolina William E. Pruitt 9509 

South Dakota Fay J. Hendricks 6149 

South Dakota Lawrence J. Howell 750 

South Dakota Pietro A. Mazzio 1273 

South Dakota William J. Radigan 3061 

Tennessee John Furgess, Jr 1970 

Tennessee David H. Wilson 4848 

Texas Ronald Foster 9168 

Texas James E. Nier 8919 

Texas Benito C. Sanchez 10462 

Texas David H. Slider 6441 

Texas Peter Stack 4344 

Texas Clifford T Teer 2148 

Utah Roy S. Brown 8307 

Utah Steven P. Meeker 4355 

Vermont Roger W. Eastman 771 

Virginia James L. Booth 2216 

Virginia Robert J. Klausing 609 

Washington George C. Berthiaume 969 

Washington Clarence L. Hedglin 1045 

Washington Gary W. Hulsey 1949 

West Virginia Billy E. Javins 8129 

West Virginia Milroy W. Wells 2716 

Wisconsin Robert J. Collins 2037 

Wisconsin Gordon R. Faust 11244 

Wisconsin Kenneth D. Munro 2534 

Wyoming Pete Quinnell 7756 

Wyoming Robert G. Reed 2673 



289 



COMMITTEE ON GENERAL RESOLUTIONS 

Chairman: John S. Staum, Past Commander-in-Chief, Minnesota 

Vice Chairman: James N. Goldsmith, Post 4139, Michigan 

Vice Chairman: John F. Gwizdak, Post 5080, Georgia 

Vice Chairman: Raul R. Phillips, Adjutant, Department of Delaware 

(Fiesta A & B, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center) 

Alabama William J. Burgess 6020 

Alabama George A. Ganey 5660 

Alaska Harvey A. Johnson 9569 

Alaska Larry J. Patch 2509 

Alaska William Timmons 9978 

Arizona Lyman F. Chapman 1760 

Arizona Donald E. Maynard 7968 

Arizona James L. Montgomery 10308 

Arkansas Lester R. King, Jr 4554 

Arkansas Clarence L. Moore 5742 

Arkansas Raz T. Munholland 4548 

Arkansas Verlin F. Williams 1991 

California Albert J. Butler 1512 

California Robert A. Crider 1744 

California Robert W. Drew 85 

California Robert S. Hockenhull 2337 

California Robert G. Houchins 1123 

California Armando C. Pereira 7636 

California William E. Pieters 6563 

California Ossie Richardson 2658 

Colorado John J. Holland 1 

Colorado Arthur F. Ledesma 3971 

Colorado George H. Palmateer 4171 

Connecticut Edward S. Banas 10004 

Connecticut Ronald Christopher 5095 

Connecticut Howard C. Harris 9460 

Delaware Leiand A. Du Bois, Jr 615 

Delaware Paul R. Phillips, Jr 2863 

Delaware Charles E. Price 3792 

Dist. of Col Benjamin F. Willis 9755 

Dist. of Col David F. Wood 1085 

Europe Sidney L. Jenkins 10436 

Europe Joe L. Lofton 10614 

Florida John J. Clark, III 5968 

Florida Lester W. Davis 10093 

Florida Robert P Loftus 4643 

Florida James E. Talbert 8093 



290 



Georgia Ray E. Brooks 2785 

Georgia John F. Gwizdak 5080 

Georgia Donald F. Ziegler 6447 

Hawaii Kenneth T. Ito 10154 

Hawaii Aloysius Spenser, Jr 3850 

Idaho Thomas E. Monson 63 

Idaho Thomas B. Norris 735 

linois Donald Hartenberger 3553 

linois George R. Lobb 3579 

Illinois Robert J. Mc Mahon 2298 

Illinois Thomas W. Neville 2327 

Illinois Robert R Witcher 7980 

Indiana Allen E. Chlupacek 1130 

Indiana Paul D. Curtice 1257 

Indiana William A. Thien 3281 

Iowa Merle L. Duffy 839 

Iowa Roger D. Schwieso 941 

Iowa Daryl R. Shinker 2349 

Kansas Russell R. Cutright 1650 

Kansas Elmer E. Friesen 971 

Kansas Roger H. Sellers 6654 

Kansas Mckinley Smith 8773 

Kentucky William R. Coffey 5710 

Kentucky Charles W. Lee 5662 

Kentucky Ronald M. Myers 1096 

Latin Amer/Carib Austin L. Curtis 3835 

Louisiana Ernest W. Bryant 7286 

Louisiana Joseph Guidry, Sr 3121 

Louisiana Robert V. Martin 8973 

Maine Joseph C. Rump 4917 

Maine James M. Sawyer 6859 

Maine Michael L. Williams 11299 

Maryland Clayton A. Deaver 1858 

Maryland Joseph F. Rosetta 9619 

Massachusetts Walter G. Gansenberg 834 

Massachusetts Michael J. Gormalley 2016 

Massachusetts Michael J. Imbracsio 639 

Massachusetts Robert A. Malmberg 1526 

Michigan Lowell E. Elston 3243 

Michigan Garry J. Goff 2406 

Michigan James N. Goldsmith 4139 

Michigan Gary A. Housknecht 3243 

Michigan Richard E. La Fave 5670 

Minnesota Patrick T Bohmer 246 

Minnesota Calvin D. Ferber 612 

Minnesota Francis J. Ginther 210 



291 



Minnesota John S. Staum 9625 

Minnesota Ted B. Theodorsen 6320 

Mississippi Leslie C. Blanchard 6731 

Mississippi Willie L. Lindsey 9832 

Mississippi Johnnie Sartor 5573 

Missouri Ralph H. Fiehler 4219 

Missouri Lawrence M. Maher 7356 

Missouri James R. Mueller 5077 

Missouri Melvin L. Rage, Sr 2069 

Missouri Calvin C. Vogelsang 3838 

Montana Allen L Kirkeby 1116 

Montana Erich J. Maki 4198 

Nebraska John R. Gollihare 1504 

Nebraska Norbert J. Koenig 247 

Nebraska Arnold L. Miller 2280 

Nebraska Gary C. Steckelberg 7419 

Nevada Herbert Tel Ikamp, Jr 2313 

Nevada Odis Ward 10047 

New Hampshire Frank E. Casey, Jr 816 

New Hampshire Kevin P. Mc Keating, Jr 483 

New Hampshire Richard A. Robinson 816 

New Jersey Patrick J. Botbyl 1593 

New Jersey Vincent Brinkerhoff 335 

New Jersey Pierre Lamereaux 2314 

New Jersey John D. Reed, Sr 7859 

New Mexico Albino B. Fajardo 4293 

New Mexico C. H. Thornton 7686 

New York T W. Bossidy 7466 

New York Anthony M. Ferrarese 16 

New York Peter G. Mazzarella 416 

New York Vincent J. Siesta 546 

New York George S. Smith 53 

New York Harry C. Wurth 5253 

North Carolina William C. Dohl 4309 

North Carolina John J. Mc Graw 9133 

North Dakota David A. Erbstoesser 1326 

North Dakota Wayne L. Paulson 753 

North Dakota Kasimir Schmaltz 6831 

North Dakota Gordon R. Thorson 7564 

Ohio James Comedy 3383 

Ohio Frank Hofstetter, Jr 2947 

Ohio Curtis M. Jewell 1090 

Ohio Richard G. Kleparek 2898 

Ohio Robert D. Louth 6772 

Ohio Ronald G. Townsend 4713 

Oklahoma Dean Derieg 4613 



292 



Oklahoma Eugene H. George 9969 

Oklahoma Roy Isom, Jr 3649 

Oregon Larry M. Newman 5653 

Oregon Forrest O. Viles 4362 

Pacific Areas Leon R. Vileo 9951 

Pennsylvania Melvin R. Baker 8896 

Pennsylvania Glenn C. Dashner 464 

Pennsylvania Neale H. Deibler 6493 

Pennsylvania John M. Gunn, Sr 2506 

Pennsylvania Gary L. Moon 631 

Pennsylvania Ronald G. Tyler, Sr 1462 

Rhode Island Kuno Grosskurth, Jr 4487 

Rhode Island James R. Ross 6342 

South Carolina Bobby K. Bryant 9539 

South Carolina Eugene Moore 641 

South Carolina Gerald T. Pothier 10256 

South Dakota Rick W. Barg 628 

South Dakota Kenneth Jorgenson 750 

South Dakota Lome F. Ruzicka 3312 

Tennessee Henry Hooper, II 11333 

Tennessee Carl T. Jackson 684 

Tennessee Joseph J. Tirello 684 

Texas Donald A. Brown 2399 

Texas Charles L. Cannon, Jr 5076 

Texas Anthony W. Graf 1815 

Texas Donald L. Harwood 6794 

Texas Bernard E. Henke 9170 

Texas Edward J. Krenek 8787 

Texas John F. Simmons 6796 

Utah Fred L. Every 10900 

Utah Joseph H. Lauter 3586 

Vermont Curtis E. Brown 758 

Vermont Wayne R. Chase 7779 

Vermont John J. Zuba 1034 

Virginia Lawrence F. Mattera 5500 

Virginia Paul T. Moore 4491 

Virginia Clifford Williford 3160 

Washington N. J. Adamson 10018 

Washington Theodore J. Buringa 1474 

Washington Steven A. Kerber 2100 

Washington Richard A. Petersen 10018 

West Virginia Conrad H. Bennett 5578 

West Virginia Roy D. Cooper 1212 

West Virginia Wesley J. Thomas 573 

Wisconsin Brian R. Feltes 1465 

Wisconsin Rodney J. Getschman, Jr 1916 



293 



Wisconsin Walter E. Hahn 721 

Wisconsin Steven D. Lawrence 10272 

Wyoming Ralph J. Logan 2311 

Wyoming Gary K. Mathisen 2221 

COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS 

Chairman: Walter G. Hogan, F^st Commander-in-Chief, Wisconsin 
Vice Chairman: James L. Kimery, Past Commander-in-Chief, New Mexico 

(Fiesta E, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center) 

SUBCOMMITEE ON POW/MIA 

Chairman: Billy R. Cameron, Past Commander-in-Chief, Norch Carolina 
Vice Chairman: Roger D. Taylor, Post 2873, Ohio 

Department Name Post No. 

Alabama Gerald S. Brock 2702 

Alabama Peter Frauenhoffer 5658 

Alaska John P Guinn 10041 

Alaska Robert R. Klotz 9785 

Alaska Richard L. Mc Cluney 9981 

Arizona Forrest E. Barker 1796 

Arizona Charles A. Brown 10308 

Arizona Dennis E. Kane 3632 

Arkansas James E. Ford, Jr 3031 

Arkansas Ron L. Helton 9095 

Arkansas Donald E. Spears 5225 

California Gerald D. Anderson 2835 

California James A. Green 1622 

California Robert J. Maxwell 1932 

California Kenneth M. Murray 2075 

California Arthur A. Napiwocki 1614 

California Harry H. Tanabe 9879 

Colorado Mike Bokan 1771 

Colorado Charles G. Milligan 5231 

Colorado Richard Wellensiek 4171 

Connecticut Thomas C. Deere 6726 

Connecticut Berijamin T. Lord, Jr 5095 

Connecticut Henry P. Milum 2096 

Connecticut Laurence Pitcher 6933 

Connecticut Ronald Rusakiewicz 9460 

Delaware Benjamin Pernol, Jr 3792 



294 



Delaware William G. Schaen 475 

Dist. of Col Robert W. Harkins 2979 

Dist. of Col Helen M. Jeffrey 346 

Dist. of Col Paul Mays, Jr 7284 

Europe George W. Eby 10692 

Europe George M. Hunter, Jr 10557 

Florida John N. Fabbro 4206 

Florida Richard Fitzgerald 7721 

Florida Normand R. Gaouette 8681 

Florida Walter E. Rudd 4337 

Georgia Edward P. Grealish, Jr 3200 

Georgia William R. Johnson 658 

Georgia David G. Pipes 2518 

Hawaii Stanley E. Igawa 10276 

Hawaii Zoilo A. Kupukaa 4951 

daho Richard T. King 4900 

daho Richard M. Lyon, Jr 2905 

llinois John W. Johnston 7190 

llinois Maurice H. Kerckhove 2153 

llinois Vernon A. Soukup 7452 

llinois John C. Vrtjak 1612 

ndiana John S. Etsinger 985 

ndiana Jerell O. Herston 5864 

ndiana Rex A. Lewis 9323 

ndiana Richard F. Swan 7119 

ndiana James J. Thiel 717 

owa Robert M. Capron 839 

owa Robert S. Randall 839 

owa A. A. Weber 1623 

Kansas Denny L. Lawson 1 186 

Kansas Robert J. Sander 1751 

Kansas Joseph Wahrman 1133 

Kansas Lester W. Wenndt 1714 

Kentucky Leroy Ford 5480 

Kentucky John E. Kramer 10017 

Kentucky Francis L. Wimsatt 5421 

Louisiana Stanley P. Breaux 3665 

Louisiana Alva Nash 4586 

Maine Wallace C. Berard 1285 

Maine Albert A. Paul 1641 

Maryland Elwood S. Knight, Jr 5118 

Maryland William J. Mooney 5118 

Massachusetts William Ferrantino 6907 

Massachusetts John F. Leonard 639 

Massachusetts Peter P. Rondeau 7556 

Massachusetts Frank J. Tucker 10339 



295 



Michigan Dale J. Brubaker 3941 

Michigan John J. Harrow, Jr 3724 

Michigan Richard L. Lehner 1735 

Michigan Jackie L. Pickard 2780 

Michigan Richard B. Ross 1887 

Minnesota Calvin G. Abers 7902 

Minnesota Joe J. Mach 210 

Minnesota Jerry L. Sanborn 8510 

Minnesota James D. Vetter 3289 

Minnesota Larry G. Ziebarth 6843 

Mississippi O. R. Compton 79 

Mississippi Glenn O. Patterson 4302 

Mississippi Donald L. Verucchi 9573 

Missouri Glenn E. Davis 4294 

Missouri Eugene L. Hoeltge 5077 

Missouri James M. Hughes 5789 

Montana Eugene J. Mc Donald 1634 

Montana Robert C. Smith 3177 

Nebraska David A. Christiansen 2503 

Nebraska James L. Klug 2503 

Nebraska John R. Liebsack 2503 

Nevada Bernard J. Juran, III 3819 

Nevada Michael H. Musgrove 2350 

Nevada Frank R. Risewick 10047 

New Hampshire Jerry A. Parenti 8546 

New Hampshire Eugene A. Pawlik, Sr 1617 

New Hampshire Steven R. Rousseau 8214 

New Jersey Charles Bonafiglia, Jr 2071 

New Jersey Richard C. Bradshaw 4589 

New Jersey James A. Nelson 493 

New Jersey Joseph G. Retkovis 5579 

New Mexico Felix J. Coca 2951 

New Mexico William F. Festing, Jr 3277 

New Mexico James L. Kimery 9354 

New Mexico Carlos J. Roybal 2951 

New York Joseph T. Gumo 1582 

New York Arthur E. Koch, III 6780 

New York Samuel C. Pilato 307 

New York Harold C. Steiger 161 

North Carolina George A. Bayer 7315 

North Carolina Don N. Hancock 5631 

North Dakota Jerome R. Berg 4221 

Ohio Robert W. Bishop 1031 

Ohio John R. Johnson 8850 

Ohio Donald J. Limer 7576 

Ohio Edward H. Marzec 3483 



296 



Ohio George M. Rinkowski 5530 

Ohio Terry A. Roan 3124 

Oklahoma Charles A. Huckaby 5994 

Oklahoma Robert K. Mc Gill 4876 

Pacific Areas Thomas I. Elliott 9467 

Pacific Areas John F. Welsh, III 2485 

Pennsylvania William C. Allen 7213 

Pennsylvania John A. Biedrzycki 418 

Pennsylvania Paul J. Kopp 8896 

Pennsylvania Anthony J. Longo 5205 

Pennsylvania Charles R. Mc Cormick 1810 

Pennsylvania Norman F. Rettig, Jr 249 

Pennsylvania Robert L. Snyder 6954 

Rhode Island John J. Barone 8955 

Rhode Island Leo R. Swider 2929 

South Carolina James J. Johnson 8166 

South Carolina William J. John 6087 

South Dakota Ordean A. Amundsen 3061 

South Dakota Harold H. Brost 3312 

South Dakota Walter F. Joynt 1273 

South Dakota Larry L. Scudder 1273 

Tennessee Eldrie Duff 4728 

Tennessee Hubert C. Stacy 7175 

Texas Jerry D. Baker 3990 

Texas Samuel F. Gregory 6873 

Texas William B. Moody 2034 

Texas Charles S. Pearson 1533 

Texas Chuck E. Sinclair 8905 

Texas Melvin R. Townsend 5398 

Utah Clarence R. Peterson 2379 

Vermont James H. Lane 6689 

Vermont Donald D. Waterhouse 9653 

Virginia Luther E. Anderson 392 

Virginia Early R. Chappell 1115 

Virginia Bruce R. Harder 1503 

Virginia Earl E. Harris, Jr 2216 

Virginia Samuel D. Mc Fall 1115 

Washington Robert H. Berleen 9430 

Washington George F. Riedel, Jr 969 

Washington Ricardo E. Wilson 9430 

West Virginia Robert W. Caruthers 9926 

West Virginia Robert C. Johnson 6450 

West Virginia Calvin L. Moran 4326 

Wisconsin Leiand L. Burnett 8337 

Wisconsin Walter G. Hogan 6498 

Wisconsin Matthias Mayer, Jr 6498 



297 



Wisconsin George Pfielsticker 305 

Wyoming Herb J. Carstens 579 

Wyoming Gary P. Shinneman 4343 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS SERVICE RESOLUTIONS 

Chairman: George R. Cramer, Past Commander-in-Chief, Illinois 
Vice Chairman: Ted C. Connell, Past Commander-in-Chief, Texas 

(Room 107, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center) 

Department Name Post No. 

Alabama Alton S. Jones 5797 

Alabama Charles R. Stephens 3128 

Alaska Gerald J. Dorsher 5559 

Alaska Gary L. Kurpius 10221 

Arizona Manuel Ferra 3516 

Arizona Billie E. Stuart 549 

Arkansas Harold N. Harris 2952 

Arkansas Ernest D. Kyzer 7769 

California Kenneth E. Gleason 9223 

California Clarence W. Kelly 1744 

California Richard R. Pignone 3173 

California Susumu Satow 8985 

California Raymond C. Sisk 9791 

California Pete Sozzoni 1900 

California Jerry A. Williams 7636 

Colorado Darrell D. Elliott 1771 

Colorado Wayne J. Thompson, Jr 5061 

Connecticut Mike L. Montecalvo 6933 

Connecticut Dominic J. Romano 7330 

Connecticut Glenn N. Tewksbury 10362 

Delaware Jesse E. Kitson 6921 

Delaware John J. Siekierda 3257 

Delaware Clinton A. Slack 475 

Dist. of Col James E. Mack 7358 

Dist. of Col Flora V. Moore 284 

Europe John C. Neilson 2566 

Europe Bruce A. Withers 1 1058 

Florida Rocky E. Albert 4174 

Florida J. D. Morris, Jr 3559 

Florida Robert M. Sprute 5625 

Georgia Richard Branson 5080 

Georgia William Satchell, Sr 660 

Hawaii Monte R. Briggs 970 

Hawaii Gary I. Masumoto 1540 



298 



Idaho Jean L. Holt 889 

Idaho Donald G. Riegel 889 

Illinois George R. Cramer 6869 

Illinois Julius C. Grantham 4183 

Illinois Walter C. Luksta 9115 

Illinois Edward A. Trennert 2255 

Indiana Terrence L. Aubuchon 1563 

Indiana Everett D. Foreman 5864 

Indiana Robert L. Jenkins 6919 

Indiana Omar F. Kendall 673 

Iowa Donald L. Gilbert 733 

Iowa Clinton L. Hoferman 6172 

Iowa Darrel W. Miller 1565 

Kansas Lawrence W. Campbell 6240 

Kansas Larry D. Dalton 1654 

Kansas Jack D. Driscoll, Jr 6240 

Kentucky Thomas I. Blain 5421 

Kentucky Jennings S. Watson 1913 

Latin Amer/Carib Ruth D. Thomas 3835 

Louisiana Richard J. Fruge 5153 

Louisiana Eldin T Guidroz 3665 

Maine John S. Kennedy 11553 

Maine Donald R. Libby, Jr 832 

Maryland William E. Berry 6694 

Maryland Hugh F. Shelton 9376 

Maryland Lawson E. Van Ormer 6027 

Massachusetts Joseph E. Caouette 1105 

Massachusetts Gardner Mc Williams 2425 

Massachusetts Anthony B. Piscopo 529 

Massachusetts Robert M. Van Kirk 2394 



chigan Sherman J. Gauthier 6165 

chigan Norman T. Haskins 3941 

chigan Martin M. Mieras, Jr 3023 

chigan Raymond G. O Neill 147 

chigan James R. Pintar 6165 

chigan Elmer J. Wurster 7546 

nnesota Daniel Bartholomew 3144 

nnesota Donald L. Gates, Jr 141 

nnesota Thomas L. Hanson 1639 

nnesota Donald E. Heuer 9433 

nnesota Lyie B. Horner, Sr 494 

nnesota Richard A. Zierdt 6587 

ssissippi Matthew L. Brewer 5393 

ssissippi Melvin J. Johnson 4934 

ssissippi Bobby Miller 4490 

ssouri James C. Holmes 5717 



299 



Missouri F^ul G. Jones 2866 

Missouri John E. Vawter 1829 

Montana Larry H. Longfellow 1087 

Montana Charles R. Melaney 1507 

Nebraska John W. De Camp 131 

Nebraska Vernon L. Fleshman 3755 

Nebraska Paul B. Knievel 2503 

Nevada James L. Martin 3819 

Nevada Albert J. Mc Mindes 10047 

New Hampshire Eugene E. Desjardins 8497 

New Hampshire John M. Lilly 1698 

New Hampshire Reginald R. Wright 8942 

New Jersey William B. Cadmus, III 3729 

New Jersey William A. Goode 809 

New Jersey James G. Guariglia 9503 

New Mexico Frederico Juarbe, Jr 401 

New Mexico Allan W. Kuchinsky 7686 

New Mexico Joe D. Salas 401 

New Mexico "!William D. Wilson 7686 

New York Melvin Garrett 6396 

New York Roger L. Haas 358 

North Carolina James H. Black 4059 

North Carolina William J. Hendren 2031 

North Carolina Glenn P. Milliman 2401 

North Dakota Arnold W. Maier 1326 

North Dakota Rhiny L. Weber 2764 

Ohio George P. Durinka 1974 

Ohio William A. Melott 66 

Ohio Ralph F. Ruhe 9294 

Ohio Gregorio J. Vela 7424 

Oklahoma Herman O. Allmendinger . . . .1843 

Oklahoma Ronald J. Slowik 2270 

Oregon Marion M. Fritts 3437 

Oregon Robert L. George 3973 

Pacific Areas Edward L. Fondrick 8180 

Pennsylvania Robert M. Carrara 6231 

Pennsylvania William H. Conner 7132 

Pennsylvania Peter Krenitsky 6082 

Pennsylvania Almon J. Long 283 

Pennsylvania Joseph M. Salvo 5267 

Pennsylvania Howard Stegemann, Sr 928 

Rhode Island William G. Crawford 4487 

Rhode Island Arthur W. Williams 183 

South Carolina Richard L. Mayhew 641 

South Carolina John D. F^tty 2889 

South Dakota Daryl L. Hailing 3164 



300 



South Dakota William A. Hollmann 7319 

South Dakota Hugh S. Jensen . 6149 

Tennessee David R. Cordray 7175 

Tennessee Ramsey R Locke 5066 

Tennessee David W. Tipton 9629 

Texas Ted C. Connell 9192 

Texas Troy A. Ellis 3907 

Texas R. Earl Lord 10351 

Texas Manuel O. Rivas 8782 

Texas Wesley E. Strom 6008 

Texas Ernest O. Werline 2147 

Utah Robert O. Steele 3586 

Vermont Robert H. Dean 9653 

Virginia Dennis M. Cullinan 7916 

Virginia Ernest B. Glynn 7327 

Virginia Perry Smiley 2524 

Virginia Bobby R. Walls 2216 

Washington Helmut Braunsteiner 91 

Washington Delbert W. Gilliland, Jr 379 

Washington Miles S. Irvine 379 

Washington Blaine E. Teachman 9301 

West Virginia Gail L. Harper 3466 

West Virginia Ralph W. Honaker 1064 

Wisconsin Clifford C. Borden, Jr 8483 

Wisconsin Bernard J. Boyle 2823 

Wisconsin Elmer E. Uhlig 10402 

Wisconsin James R. Weber 2260 

Wyoming A. L. Ellefson 7756 

Wyoming Kenneth E. Weber 2918 

COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS 

Chairman: Richard Trombia, Post 11 74, Kansas 

Vice Chairman: James H. Kennedy, Post 3877, Minnes 

Vice Chairman: James L. Mascola, Post 3580, Illinois 

Vice Chairman: Elwood B. Rickards, Post 7234, Delaware 

Vice Chairman: James H. Willis, Post 534, Missouri 

(South Exhibit Hall, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center) 

COMMITTEE ON CONVENTION RULES 

Chairman: Robert E. Hansen, Past Commander-in-Chief, Minnesota 
Vice Chairman: Darrell F. Bencken, Adjutant/Quartermaster, Department 

of Kansas 



301