“For God & Country”
March 28, 2013 Vol. 90, No. 3
Official Publications of The Wisconsin American Legion Family
The mission of The American Legion, Department Of Wisconsin is to provide service to veterans, their families and their communities.
Franklin Student Wins 76th Annual Legion Oratorical Contest Twelve High School students from around Wisconsin competed in the 76th Annual Wisconsin American Legion Oratorical Scholarship Contest, held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at Ripon College. Astha Berry, junior at Franklin High School is this year’s winner and recipient of a $3,000 scholarship and is eligible for at least $5,000 more. “To You, The People” was the title of her oration. Astha, who was sponsored by Hales Corners American Legion Post No. 299, will compete at the National Finals to be held April 1921 in Indianapolis, IN. The three national finalists receive $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000 scholarships respectively. Each contestant delivered a prepared oration about some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with em-
phasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches were eight to ten minutes long. Three to five minute speeches on an assigned topic also were part of the contest. The 2013 Wisconsin American Legion Oratorical Contest winners are: First Place Winner – Astha Berry, a Franklin High School Junior, will receive a $3,000 scholarship. Astha learned of the competition through the Department website and was sponsored by Hales Corners Memorial Post No. 299 of the 4th District. First Runner-Up – Sumaia Masoom, a Platteville High School Junior, was sponsored by Platteville Post No. 42. Sumaia represented the 3rd District and will receive a $2,500 scholarship. Second Runner-Up – Hannah
Regional participants: Anna Hartlaub, a Senior homeschooled student was sponsored by Delavan Post No. 95. She represented the 1st District and will receive a $600 scholarship. Colten Parr, a Junior at Lomira High School, was sponsored by Lomira Post No. 347 and represented the 2nd District. He will receive a $600 scholarship. Sam Streeck, a Senior at Nicolet High School, was sponsored by North Shore Post No. 331 of the 5th District and will receive a $600 scholarship. Terisa Phillips, a Senior at Holmen High School, was sponsored by Holmen Post No. 284 of the 7th district and will receive a $600 scholarship. Riley Tuma, a Senior at ShawaWisconsin Oratorical Champion Astha Berry is congratulated by Department no Community High School, was Commander Wayne W. Jensen. sponsored by Shawano Post No. Boutin, of Omro High School, was sponsored by Omro Post No. 234. Hannah represented the 6th District and will receive a $2,000 scholarship.
Wisconsin Legion Climbs Capitol Hill
The pleasure of your company is requested at a
Current Legion Legislative Priorities Delivered to Policy Makers
A delegation of Wisconsin Legionnaires visited our nations’ capitol at the end of February and met with both Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Tammy Baldwin to discuss Defense and Veterans issues. Badger Legionnaires also met with each Congressional representative or their staff. The most pressing considerations to be addressed in the 113th Congress in 2013 are: Protecting Veterans and DOD from the harmful cuts imposed through sequestration The American Legion recognizes and supports the need for a fiscally responsible government, and looks forward to working with the new Congress to develop deficit reducing strategies that do not degrade the nation’s ability to defend itself, or further assault the earned benefits
currently being received by our nation’s military veterans (HR55). Military Sexual Trauma– The American Legion encourages Congress to pass legislation in order to ensure reporting, tracking, and actions taken upon incidents of sexual assaults at all VA facilities. Furthermore, The American Legion urges the DOD to improve their investigation and prosecution of reported cases of Military Sexual Trauma. The underreporting of MST in the military must be examined and DOD must permanently maintain the records necessary for victims to prove service connection for any later disabilities resulting from events in service. Oppose any further increases in TRICARE fees, including prescription drug fees - The American
Legion stands strong against those who would dilute the promises made in the contract with those who serve in our nation’s defense. We strongly oppose any proposed degradation of the health care promised to retired service members when they enlisted through increases in fees for TRICARE For Life, increases in pharmacy co-pays or any further breaches of the contract of trust between this nation and those who have defended it. Stolen Valor Act - In United States v. Alvarez the Supreme Court ruled the 2005 Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional, yet left the door open for a more carefully tailored law to criminalize profiting from lies about military service. The American Legion supports leg(continued on page 4)
117 of the 8th District and will receive a $600 scholarship. Theodoros Shim, a Senior at Bay Port High School, was sponsored by the Green Bay Women’s Post No. 539 and represented the 9th District. He will receive a $600 scholarship. Amy Alexander, a Senior at Phillips High School, was sponsored by Phillips Post No. 122 of the 11th District and will receive a $600 scholarship. Samantha Linden, a Sophomore at Northwood High School, sponsored by Post No. 499 of Gordon and represented the 12th District. She will receive a $600 scholarship. High school students who are interested in entering the competition will find complete rules and contest information at www.wilegion.org.
TESTIMONIAL DINNER in honor of Commander Wayne W. Jensen The American Legion and President Diana Sirovina American Legion Auxiliary Saturday, April 27, 2013 Cash Bar 5:00 PM • Dinner 6:00 PM Klemmer’s Banquet Center 10401 West Oklahoma Avenue, Milwaukee, WI Menu Choices: Garlic Rubbed Sirloin Chicken ala Klemmer Shrimp in Vodka Sauce Send $35 Check or Money Order by Saturday, April 6th to: Pam Cole, 4659 S Woodland Dr, Greenﬁeld, WI 53228
2013 Membership Goal: 59,760 • March 21st Total: 57,764 – 96.66%
9TH 10TH 11TH 12TH
Dist. 10 93.99%
Dist. 4 93.47%
Dist. 5 91.88%
Dist. 3 91.75%
Dist. 6 91.50%
Dist. 9 91.41%
Dist. 2 90.76%
Dist. 8 89.81%
Dist. 7 92.04%
Dist. 11 89.07%
Dist. 1 89.05%
Dist. 12 89.03%
PAGE 2 “Badger Legionnaire” & “Wisconsin” The Badger Legionnaire & Wisconsin are the official publications of the Wisconsin American Legion Family and are published ten times annually, once every five weeks, by The American Legion, Dept. of Wisconsin 2930 American Legion Drive P.O. Box 388, Portage, WI 53901. Periodicals Postage Paid at Portage, WI and additional mailing offices. USPS ID Number 010-135 ISSN: 2154-2627 Post Master: Send address changes to Badger Legionnaire and Wisconsin, P.O. Box 388, Portage, WI 53901
“Badger Legionnaire” The American Legion, Department of Wisconsin 2930 American Legion Drive P.O. Box 388 • Portage, WI 53901 Phone: (608) 745-1090 E-mail: email@example.com David A. Kurtz, Executive Editor 2012-2013 Communications Committee Harold Rihn, Chairman Bob Wipf, Vice-Chairman Ron Hessil, DEC Liaison Bernard Olson, Member Phil Ingwell, Member Vern Pitt, Member Mike Herkowski, Member James Lee, Member Kendel Feilen, Consultant Loretta Shellman, Auxiliary Liaison Bonnie Dorniak, Auxiliary Liaison 2012-13 Department Ofﬁcers Commander Wayne Jensen Vice Commanders Ken Rynes Chuck Roloff Ron Hessil Randy Lenser Adjutant David A. Kurtz Chaplain Robert Herried Assistant Chaplain Greg Simonis Sergeant-at Arms Todd Braun Charles Roessler Service Officer James Fialkowski NECman David L. Gough Alternate NECman Steve Krueger District Commanders 1st – Dave Brisk 2nd – Robert Shappell 3rd – Rich Ruland 4th – Claire Goodfellow 5th – Ensley Brown 6th – Barb Belmont 7th – John Thurk 8th – Dan Rindt 9th – Dale Oatman 10th – Larry Wyrcza 11th – Frank Kostka 12th – Bob Buhr Change of Address & Other Information: Subscribers: To report any upcoming changes of address, please ask your Post Adjutant to fill out a Membership Data Form and forward it to Wisconsin American Legion Headquarters. The change of address form that will be completed by the Post Adjutant should not be confused with the change of address card filled out at the Post Office. Department financial statements are available to Legionnaires in good standing upon written request through their District Commanders.
“Wisconsin” American Legion Auxiliary Department of Wisconsin 2930 American Legion Drive P.O. Box 140 • Portage, WI 53901 Bonnie Dorniak, Editor Diana Sirovina, Department President Bonnie Dorniak, Exec. Secretary/Treasurer To change your address: Notify Unit Secretary Unit Secretary: Notify Department Headquarters on a Member Data Form The “Wisconsin” deadline for copy is 4 weeks before publication date.
Publication Schedule All articles due to the Editor 4 weeks before publication date. Send all copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE
March 28, 2013
DEPARTMENT COMMANDER NOW HEAR THIS….. Here’s a new twist for you…. The Adjutant and I have been discussing the diWayne Jensen lemma of when a Commander Legionnaire passes on and his significant other is a member of the Auxiliary. Why do they seem to get lost in the shuffle and no longer receive the Badger Legionnaire? Mrs. Shirley Meyer, whose husband Al passed away, brought this to my attention. I can assure you folks we are earnestly seeking a remedy for this situation. Dateline Washington: The American Legion is the voice of 2.4 million American veterans and service members. As a resolution-based organization, The American Legion’s positions represent the views of our members. The publication “Our Pillars, Your Platform,” conveys The American Legion’s position on a
variety of issues, based on our Four Pillars. Here are some of the issues your Washington legislative team brought before Congress: We support HR55 which protects veterans and DOD from the harmful cuts imposed through sequestration and oppose further increases in TRICARE fees, including prescription drug fees. We strongly endorse HR258/5210 - Stolen Valor Act which will allow prosecution for those who lie about military service and receiving decorations and continue to focus on the Disability Claims backlog at the VA and the inequity of the Disabled Veterans Tax. We are concerned about how the Department of Defense is administering the Transition Assistance Program which helps wounded veterans adjust to civilian life and we are demanding that the VA address, and repair the current small business verification program. We support S62/HR385 to end
veteran homelessness, as well as HR357/S257 which helps ensure quality education through the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Last, but not least, is our reaffirmation of commitment to defend the National Colors. The American Legion remains committed to protecting Old Glory from physical desecration. Congratulations to PNVC Russ Hanseter who serves on the National Legislative Commission. Russ received a Certificate of Meritorious Service from the National organization. We all appreciate the countless hours he spends compiling data on how each of our Congressional representatives respond to the Legion positions. Keeping the pulse of Washington can be an exasperating challenge, to say the least. The National VA&R staff will visit the Middleton VAMC in Madison on April 2nd to examine how the hospital addresses the diverse needs of women veterans, including those dealing with Military Sexual
trauma. Cross Plains Post No. 245 will hold a Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 1st at 7PM for area veterans, especially female veterans, to highlight their concerns and enable National staff to better serve their needs. Due to my heart attack on February 18th, Donna and I had to miss the Washington “March on the Hill” for the first time in 10 years. I want to convey my deepest appreciation for all of your thoughts, letters and prayers. Many of you have urged me to look upon this “as just a speed bump”. And so it is. As I continue my cardiac and physical therapy, you Legionnaires- your “Daring to Care” attitude and the esprit de corps you have shown should be an inspiration to us all, as we’ve banded together to ensure each one of us is taken care of. Taking a cue from our Fourth District Auxiliary Four Musketeers, we are indeed “All for one, One for all.”
CAMP DIRECTOR Tom, Nimrod (Captain Nimo to the kids), Duke, Jay, Rick, Jeff, Bevey, Steve, Mike, Ed, Brad... Who Kevin Moshea Camp Director are all these people? All these “great” people are Camp American Legion VOLUNTEERS! These hard-working, caring, giving guys and gals volunteer at Camp during the camp season. Many are disabled veterans who first came to camp as regular campers and stay on to support the mission. Some volunteer for a couple of days; some for a couple of weeks; some for almost the whole camp season. Camp would not be able
It is with the deepest respect for the service of those who fought in Southwest Asia that March 29 is recognized John A. Scocos as Vietnam VetWDVA Secretary erans Day in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the best state in the nation in taking care of and recognizing veterans for their selfless service. Our policies, programs and services are second-to-none and are deeply reflective of the value we place on the sacrifice of our veterans. With this in mind, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs has joined the Vietnam War Commemoration as a commemorative chair for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Governor Walker is committed to recognizing veterans from all eras and has designated the WDVA the lead agency for commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
to operate without the selfless, tireless, unconditional giving service of these people. They are all average people who do amazing things. Camp volunteers captain the pontoon boats which take our disabled campers out fishing and cruising. They make sure all necessary life jackets and supplies are on board. They help wheelchair-bound veterans on and off the boats and make sure everyone is comfortable. They help our campers fish off the docks and shoreline, clean fish, and take a picture of that trophy catch. Volunteers drive the camp bus and take campers to area attractions and activities. Volunteers also help in the dining hall by serving meals and helping to clean up. Other volunteers help
our veterans enjoy the Craft Shop. They assist wheelchair-bound vets and others play golf, bowl, and even fish with our Wii computer gaming systems. Camp volunteers do everything from making popcorn, watering flowers, signing up campers for events and activities to helping with check-in and all those little day-to-day things. Many volunteers work long days; rising at sun-up and calling it a day well past sun-down. Some of the work can be demanding. Gary, who has been a full-season volunteer for the past three years, is one of those sun-up to sun-down guys. He called me last week and asked, “when can I come? I’m ready”! He can’t wait to get up here and help. All our volunteers have Camp
The Commemorative Partner Program is designed for federal, state, and local communities, as well as veterans’ organizations and nongovernmental organizations to assist in thanking and honoring our nation’s Vietnam veterans with dignified, memorable events to pay tribute to all veterans. The focus of our participation in the program will be to honor Vietnam veterans with these events at the hometown level, as close as possible to the veterans and their families. Wisconsin is joining many others in the nation, including the president in recognizing these Vietnam veterans. Last year, President Obama declared May 28, 2012, through Nov. 11, 2025, as the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. The WDVA will be an active participant in recognizing Vietnam veterans during the duration of the commemorative period, hosting and participating in events throughout the state. More than 165,000 Wisconsinites served
in Vietnam, with 1,239 paying the ultimate sacrifice. One of the Wisconsinites who served in Vietnam is Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel of Milwaukee. As a door gunner on a helicopter in Vietnam, Wetzel and his crew were shot down and came under heavy enemy fire. Despite being severely wounded and his left arm being nearly severed, Wetzel suppressed the enemy with machinegun fire and worked to rescue his crewmembers, despite losing consciousness from the severity of his wounds. Wetzel is an exceptional example of the courage of Wisconsin’s veterans and a reminder of their sacrifice. Most of the living recipients of the Medal of Honor are from the Vietnam War, so it is fitting that we recognize Medal of Honor Day, March 25 around the same time we recognize Vietnam Veterans Day. The heroics and personal sacrifice of the troops in Vietnam are second to none in any war this nation has
American Legion blood running through their veins. We are grateful for each of them and look forward to seeing them every year; every day. If you are interested in supporting Camp American Legion, we need you and would love to speak with you. Many local volunteers come and go each day. Those who come from long distances stay right on camp with meals provided. All volunteers fill important roles. Follow your heart and become a Camp American Legion Volunteer. If you, or someone you know, is interested, please call us at (715) 277-2510. Help us make the 2013 camp season our best ever! Thank you all and God bless.
fought, while their reception as returning veterans was not befitting their service. March 25, 1863 was the day the Medal of Honor was first awarded. During the Civil War, six members of Andrew’s Raiders were awarded the medal for their actions in a dangerous mission behind Confederate lines that eventually led to their capture and imprisonment at a prisoner-of-war camp in the South. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton awarded the six their medals after their release in a prisoner exchange and the war secretary heard the indepth details of their actions. In a similar tradition to today, the six raiders then met President Abraham Lincoln. As the end of March draws near and we recognize Vietnam Veterans Day and Medal of Honor Day, let us remember the personal sacrifice, courage and honor of those who served when their country called them – regardless of the popularity of the war in which they served.
March 28, 2013
THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE
Milwaukee War Memorial Reaches Agreement with Art Museum Pact Important to Veteran Services and Future Improvements – Paves Way for Support of Military Community
Milwaukee, WI March 12, 2013 – Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said today that an accord between the Milwaukee War Memorial and the Milwaukee Art Museum is an important agreement that helps insure the long-term future of the buildings and grounds of both entities. “I’m pleased that we could bring this agreement together,” she said. “It was important that we brought in former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske to mediate the discussion between the two groups. Justice Geske proved to be a key to successful negotiations, and I’m pleased that this historic agreement will clear the way for the Art Museum’s planned $15 million and the county’s planned $10 million investment for improvements. “This agreement is a win-winwin for the Milwaukee Art Museum, the War Memorial and the residents of Milwaukee County, especially our veterans. We are grateful to Justice Geske and to the negotiating teams for their extraordinary and efficient work.” Department Adjutant David Kurtz, who served as Lead Negotiator for the War Memorial
commented, “The War Memorial is in dire need of rehabilitation and repair, with visibly crumbling concrete and extensive leaks. As a community, we owe it to our veterans and to the public to make the necessary investment to preserve and advance the War Memorial Center so it can maintain its original purpose of “honoring the dead by serving the living.” The agreement paves the way for the War Memorial to expand Veterans-related services and activities and allows the Art Museum to move forward with its plans for a $15 million renovation coupled with Milwaukee County’s investment of $10 million to provide necessary repairs and maintenance. Under the agreement the War Memorial and Art Museum will operate as legally independent organizations with separate governance structures. They will collaborate on some matters involving programming and events for Veterans. The War Memorial will continue to manage, maintain and control spaces that it currently occupies, while the Art Museum will manage, maintain and control spaces it currently uses for gallery space and offices. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released the follow-
ing statement, “I want to thank all the veterans and others who worked hard to reach this agreement. Milwaukee County remains committed to ensuring the War Memorial Center’s mission of Honoring the Dead by Serving the Living.” Chief sticking points in the negotiations were the disposition of the parking lots north of the structure and the revenues that they generate. The entire area will remain under lease from Milwaukee County to the War Memorial Center and the War Memorial will be able to use the revenue from this property to provide veterans-related programming and services. This exciting opportunity allows the War Memorial to enhance and expand services for veterans in the years to come. In addition, the Art Museum will also provide in-kind support to the War Memorial Center to support these efforts to expand veterans programming and services. This support may include grant writing, programs, curatorial support for exhibitions, Veterans-related programs, enhanced veteran access and admission to the Art Museum and its facilities. Details of the agreement have already received broad support.
The agreement has been endorsed by the War Memorial Facilities Board, the Veterans Board of Directors and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Executive Committee.
The institutions have set a goal of reaching a closing on the legal agreements by Memorial Day – a day that is particularly fitting for this historic settlement.
Student Veterans Reach Out Wisconsin American Legion Applauds to the Legion for Support Governor Walker’s Proposed Biennium Budget
Veterans attending colleges in Wisconsin are turning to The American Legion and looking for support. David Tucek, a Legionnaire from Menomonee Falls who served in Iraq is currently attending school at UW-Milwaukee. David is also Vice President of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) at UW-Milwaukee and recently contacted Department Headquarters. The SVA is proposing that studentveterans attending public institutions of higher education be granted priority registration, the same as student athletes and honors level students. Due to the time-sensitive nature of the benefits earned by veterans through their service, allowing veterans to have priority registration seems logical. The education benefits have a specific time limit in which they must be utilized; roughly four years’ worth of school. Today the average student takes four and a half to five years to graduate. The expectation is that student-veterans are to complete their degree requirements within that window of opportunity. This can
seem more daunting due to their different social and educational experiences. Allowing student-veterans to register for the classes they need, when they need them, is only giving them a better chance at completing their education and moving on to different opportunities. There are also a large number of National Guard and Reserve service members who are attending college. They have schedule conflicts and expectations imposed upon them by virtue of their military obligations. Giving them the flexibility to register for classes that best meet their schedule will help ensure that they can pursue their education and continue to serve. Recently laws have been passed in California and Tennessee which ensure priority registration at public institutions of higher learning for studentveterans. Commander Jensen and Department leadership are exploring ways to work with the SVA and our elected representatives to see that the same consideration is given to student-veterans in Wisconsin.
Calls for Streamlined Oversight of Department of Veterans Affairs
State Commander Wayne W. Jensen of Milwaukee voiced support recently for Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal. “Under the Governor’s leadership, great strides have been made in support of Wisconsin’s veterans”, said Jensen, who named restoration of the state GI Bill and the creation of the Disabled Veteran Employment Tax Credit as examples. Commander Jensen continued, “With the latest budget proposal, it’s clear that the Governor intends to continue improving the lives of veterans by further supporting available health services, bolstering the Veterans Trust Fund, and getting our comrades back to work. We are particularly excited that the proposed budget would increase support for Camp American Legion, helping us to provide free services to Wisconsin veterans, military members and their families”. Camp American Legion is located on 71 acres of land in the American Legion State Forest in Oneida County. Operated
by The American Legion since 1925, Camp is open to Wisconsin veterans free of charge, whether or not they are Legion members. Services at Camp meet the needs of veterans of all ages and war eras. Most recently, programs have focused on the needs of those who have returned from Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Certain facilities at Camp are dedicated exclusively for their use and are designed to allow families to reunite and spend quality time together to reunify following deployments. Camp succeeds by building strong collaborative working relationships with veteran’s groups and organizations throughout the state in order to help injured and disabled veterans and their families. Inefficiency and Disproportionate Representation on State Veteran’s Council cited; Commander Jensen, a member of Milwaukee Police Post No. 415, also commented on what he sees as inefficiency and disproportionate representation of Legion members on the State of
Wisconsin’s Council on Veterans Programs. “I’ve always found it curious that the state’s largest veteran’s service organization is lumped together with 25 other groups, half of which are smaller than many of our 513 posts across Wisconsin,” Jensen said. “The American Legion is appreciative of all service organizations but when you consider the inefficiency of the 9 member Board of Veterans Affairs and the 26 member Council on Veterans Programs, it’s hard to believe that a more efficient means of communications can’t be developed. Our 65,000 members are ill-served by the current structure,” commented Jensen, “I am directing our American Legion leadership to develop proposals that would provide a stronger voice for Legionnaires. I’m personally hopeful that this can be addressed by the State Legislature in order to move forward and create a more streamlined means to deliver critical services to veterans”.
March 28, 2013
THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE
Todd J. Braun Candidate for Office of Department Sergeant at Arms
My name is Todd J. Braun. I am running for Department Sergeant at Arms. While serving the past 2 years as Department Sergeant at Arms, I have learned a great deal about The American Legion, our programs and myself. I am asking for your support in the upcoming election. I obtained eligibility for The American Legion thru service in the US Army from 1988 to 1994 as a Military Policeman. I served two tours in Germany and a tour at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. In 2001, I reenlisted into the US Air Force Reserve and served in the Security Forces. I have over fourteen years of law enforcement experience in both the military and civilian sector. I am a Paid up for Life member of The American Legion, am active in the Legion Riders and served 4 years as 6th District Sergeant at Arms. I served 3 terms as Post No. 75 Adju-
tant, obtaining 100% membership in 2012 and currently serve as Vice President for the 6th District Legion Riders. During the past 2 years as Department Sergeant at Arms, I have attended each Department and National Convention, volunteered at the State Oratorical competition, and spent time at the veteran’s home at King. I am a graduate of the American Legion Extension Institute. This year we have 3 qualified candidates running for the office of Department Sergeant at Arms. While I encourage you to support those from your District, I also look for your support as we have 2 positions. I further thank all of you for your support and wisdom over the last 2 years. I look forward to serving another term as Department Sergeant at Arms and learning more about The American Legion.
The Milwaukee American Legion Band
2013 CALENDAR OF PERFORMANCES All FREE to the Public. Free Will Offering at door. Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:00 Noon Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Club Ride for Veteran’s Day Harley Davidson Museum 400 W. Canal Street, Milwaukee
Sunday, May 26, 2013 10:30 AM Southern Wisconsin Veteran’s Cemetery Memorial Day Services 21731 Spring Street Union Grove
Sunday, May 19, 2013 3 PM Spring Concert LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED
Monday, May 27, 2013 9:10 AM Wood National Cemetery Memorial Day Services 5000 W. National Avenue Milwaukee
The A&G Scholarship Test goes live and on-line April 1st through April 12th. High School Students in 10th, 11th and 12th Grades can take the test at www.wilegion.org and compete for scholarships.
Legionnaire Insurance Trust Update David A. Kurtz, Trust Director The Wisconsin American Legion works with the Legionnaire Insurance Trust (LIT) to provide our members with a variety of competitive insurance products to meet a variety of needs. All Legionnaires are entitled, once enrolled, to a $5,000 accidental death benefit at no cost. The purpose of the Legionnaire Insurance Trust (LIT) is to provide Legionnaires with the most advanced and least expensive form of insurance possible by utilizing the Legion’s massive group purchasing power while providing the Department with a reliable source of revenue. Since the inception of the program in 1984, the Department of Wisconsin has received over $2,000,000 to assist us in conducting our programs. With recent Federal legislation dealing with healthcare issues, supplemental insurance is becoming more and more of an important issue. LIT offers many differ-
ent programs, including Medicare supplemental insurance, Longterm care, Disability insurance, Hospital income, Identity theft protection and more. Most of us can agree that our health is our most important asset. Health Insurance can be a very wise investment for your future. During an economic slump like we’re in, it is certainly wise to see where you can cut down on frivolous spending and to plan ahead and save money wherever possible. There are other areas where you should consider spending more to help beef up your financial security in the long term. More than ever, insurance coverage for unexpected accidents and costly expenses is essential. The Legionnaire Insurance Trust has been working hard for over 40 years to bring you and your family a variety of products that help you prepare for the worst. For example, if you find you or your spouse in a hospital, the Hospital
Help Plan will pay for every day you are in the hospital. Our Cancer Care protection plan not only pays to help you fight cancer and speed your recovery, but every year you and any covered dependents will get a benefit towards diagnostic medical tests used to detect cancer! We also have plans that help protect you while you travel. The Emergency Assistance Plus plan provides 24-hour medical assistance if you get sick or hurt while travelling in the U.S. or abroad. It’s easy to receive more information and enroll for the FREE $5,000 Accidental Death benefitTo learn more about these products and more, log on to www. theLIT.com or visit www.wilegion.org and click on the Legionnaire Insurance Trust link on the Home page. You can also give the customer service representatives a call at 1-800-235-6943.
Climbing Capitol Hill (Continued from Page 1)
islation to restore the criminality of demands that VA address and repair creditation, transferability, cost, lying about military service and re- the current small business verifica- graduation rates, and acceptance ceived decorations (HR258/S210). tion program. in the job market. State Approving Claims Backlog - America’s vetEnd Veteran Homelessness- Agencies should be returned their erans deserve better than a disabil- The American Legion strongly sup- original power to protect the GI ity claims system mired in delays ports the Administration’s goal of Bill along with adequate funding and backlogs, where over 69% of eliminating veterans homelessness to execute their mandate. Studentclaims are delayed over VA’s tar- by 2015 and calls on Congress to veterans should be allowed in-state get of 125 days to complete. The pledge whatever resources are nec- tuition rates regardless of residency American Legion believes VA can essary to accomplish this goal, to status (HR357/S257). only change the bureaucratic cul- include medical, rehabilitative and Military to Civilian Credentialture causing these delays by imple- employment assistance to homeless ing - DOD spends a lot of money menting a work credit system that veterans and their families (S62/ training our military. The skills places as much incentive on getting HR385). learned need to directly translate to a claim done right the first time as it Quality Education through their civilian equivalent, and seamdoes on the raw volume of claims Post 9/11 GI Bill - As one of the less certification is long overdue. processed. The American Flag - The Amerfounding authors of the original GI Disabled Veterans Tax/Widows Bill, The American Legion wants to ican Legion remains committed to Tax - VA disability compensation protect our veterans with oversight protecting Old Glory, and continshould not be offset from military that include provisions to evaluate ues to support legislation that saferetired pay regardless of the VA rat- post-secondary education institu- guards our nation’s flag from physiing percentage, nor should VA sur- tions on quality factors such as ac- cal desecration (HJRES19). vivor benefits (DIC) from military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities. The American Legion supports legislation that would completely repeal these unjust offsets (HR333/ HR303/HR32). DOL-VETS and TAP - The VETS program should be kept in its Qualifying wartime veterans of any era rightful place within DOL. DVOPs and LVERs should be solely fo Any type motorcycle of 500cc or greater cused on getting veteran’s jobs. Member of the American Legion family – Qualifying wartime veterans of any era – Congress has already passed legis(Legion, Auxiliary or Sons) lation to improve the Transition As– Any type motorcycle of 500cc or greater – sistance Program, but DODin is imParticipate parades– Member of The American Legion Family – properly executing it. The America Provide color guard services (Legion, Auxiliary or Sons) Legion looks forward to working Provide support with Congress to ensure that TAP to other veterans and veterans organizations • Participate in parades offers the Fundraising services and information for the Legacy Scholarship Fund (a fund for necessary children for transitioning service • Provide color services of military persons killedguard since 9-11) members and veterans. • ProvideRobert support Lloyd to other veterans Small Contact: Business VerificationState President and veterans organizations Businesses(608) owned by veterans have or email@example.com 873-5926 earned the right to compete fairly • Fundraising for the Legacy Scholarship Fund through federal procurement. The (a fund for children of military persons killed since 9-11) American Legion calls on Congress to ensure that the federal governContact: State President Robert Lloyd ment makes its 3% procurement (608) 873-5926 or firstname.lastname@example.org goal for the first time in history, and
American Legion American legion Riders riders association Association Wisconsin
March 28, 2013
THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE
Playing The Final Note
Wisconsin Legionnaire honored for playing Taps at 2,000 military funerals.
By Jennifer Fetterly When Navy veteran Jack Fitzgerald of the Maynard-Schulgen Post No. 216 of Lodi played Taps for the first time at a military funeral it was personal. His younger brother Rockne, an Air Force veteran, had asked him to play the solemn tune before he died. Now after performing Taps at more than 2,000 military funerals, Fitzgerald considers all those veterans he laid to rest his family. The 87-year-old bugler is just one of the thousands of Legionnaires who perform funeral honors as a service to veterans and their families. At his peak level of activity, Jack played at more than 160 funerals a year, now it’s about one a week. To honor their service to our country, each veteran is entitled to a military honor guard, a flag presentation and the playing of taps at their funeral. Volunteers are in great demand to provide the services, which is why the help provided by Fitzgerald and others like him is so important to Wisconsin veterans and their families. Jack’s became eligible for The American Legion by virtue of his service in WWII. Growing up dirt poor in Green Bay, Fitzgerald had his sights on joining the U.S. Navy after the Pearl Harbor attack, but he wore glasses and was colorblind. After cunningly maneuvering with a friend’s help through some physicals, he came across a Navy doctor who wasn’t going to give him the all-clear. As Fitzgerald slumped depressed towards the examination room exit, the doctor reconsidered. “If you want to be in the Navy that bad, you are in,” the doctor said to him. It was July 1943, World War II was in full swing. “I wanted to be on an aircraft carrier because I loved airplanes and I wanted to be in the ship’s band assigned to the USS Saratoga, the largest carrier in World War II,” Fitzgerald remembers. Always musical, the seaman played in the ship’s 21-piece concert and 15-piece big band. When the ship wasn’t in combat areas, music offered reprieve from battle. The ship’s airplane elevator was raised creating a stage for the musicians while they sailed the Pacific Ocean. “The guys enjoyed it because we were playing all the stuff that they heard back home, the Glenn Miller arrangements and Les Brown. It just brought back memories of home,” he says. But music was only an interlude from war. On Feb. 21, 1945 the USS Saratoga was off Japanese shores, four miles from the battle of Iwo Jima. The crew of the Saratoga took on a brutal attack by ka-
Legionnaire Jack Fitzgerald of Lodi Post No. 216 has performed “Taps” at more than 2,000 military funerals. Jack served aboard the USS Saratoga during WWII.
mikaze fighter planes that day. Jack spent the day loading an anti-aircraft gun and when the sky cleared, more than 400 were injured and 130 were missing or dead. The surviving crewmembers solemnly wrapped the bodies in cotton sheets and weighed down the shrouds with artillery shells for burial at sea. “It took about an hour to deliver them into the sea. The last thing I saw was a line of bodies floating in white cloth as far as the eye could see,” Fitzgerald remembers. The 21-year-old trumpeter stood on deck playing the Navy Hymn for his shipmates. It was the first time he played music to honor a fallen comrade. More than 60 years later, Fitzgerald is still honoring fallen comrades by performing as part of 12 man Honor Guard that includes riflemen, an eulogy reader and flag presenters. The protocol they follow is military precise. Sometimes the guys joke around to lighten the mood. But after the hearse arrives it’s all business. “I always felt that Taps was a really sad thing and when I was asked to play at my first funeral I thought ‘I can’t do this’ but I have adjusted. I only get worked up once in a while.” One widow sitting graveside during Fitzgerald’s first years at funerals made him feel her grief. “She took the American flag from her lap and put it up alongside her cheek, like it was part of her husband. That got to me. I had tears in my eyes when I played that one,” Jack said.
The military bugle call Taps was originally adapted by Union General Daniel Butterfield in 1862 to signal lights out to his brigade. The earliest record of it being played at a funeral was in 1891. Since then its haunting tune has been honoring the military’s dead. Over the years Fitzgerald has learned procedure to play the call correctly. He admits at first he played Taps not quite to proper procedure. “I know now that the Department of Defense protocol is that the bugler not be seen. I stood out front of the crowd for more than four years,” he says. “Now I play behind the people.” Other times have also required quick thinking, like putting hand warmers in between the valves to keep them from freezing during winter ceremonies, or other improvisations. “One time a piece of the horn fell off in the snow and I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t hit certain low notes but I was able to play the service song without anyone noticing,” he recalls. Since his Navy days, Fitzgerald went on to be a college music professor and a member and director of the Lodi Soon-to-beFamous Band, but the somber notes he plays as fellow sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines are laid to rest may be the most important he has ever played. “I feel privileged to play Taps. I feel very lucky to do it,” he says. “Sometimes people come up to me after the service and tell me how thankful they are. But for me it’s an honor.”
THE SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM IN WISCONSIN The Selective Service System, the military Draft. There is no Draft and hopefully there will never be a draft. The Selective Service System is in place, and is the least expensive insurance policy our country has. Even though there is no draft, young men are required by law to register when they turn eighteen. Registration can be completed on line by going to www.sss.gov, at the Post Office, in most high schools, or while applying for a drivers license. The Selective Service System National Headquarters is located in Arlington, VA under the direction of Mr. Lawrence Romo, a President Obama appointee. The National Headquarters is divided into three regions in Chicago, Atlanta, and Denver. Wisconsin is part of Region 1, located in Chicago. In Wisconsin, there are ten Area Offices located in Rice Lake, Wausau, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Racine, Menasha, LaCrosse, Madison, West Allis, and Brookfield. The Area Offices are not physically in operation, however, locations are identified in case they are needed to be activated in the event of a National emergency proclaimed by the President and ratified by Congress. Forty two Local Boards are divided up among the ten Area Offices. Each Local Board is made up of five uncompensated Local Board members who are appointed by the President through
the recommendation of the Governor. The Local Board members are trained and meet periodically for follow up training. In addition, there are two Appeal Boards with five members each and coincide with the Eastern and Western Federal Judicial Court Districts. These 220 volunteers are recruited by Reserve Force Officers. The non-partisan applications are reviewed and the applicants are interviewed for eligibility and forwarded to the WI State Director where they are again reviewed and then forwarded to the Appointment Secretary in the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Office reviews the application and if all is in order, a recommendation is sent to the WI State Director who will forward it to the Regional Office of the Selective Service System for processing and a Presidential Appointment. Local and Appeal Board members are male or female and must be at least eighteen years old, however, they may not be military retirees. Presently there are openings in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Burnett, Brown, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Walworth, Racine, Waupaca, and Jackson Counties. Applications and/or additional information can be obtained by visiting www.sss.gov or contacting the WI State Director, John Cumicek, 933 Fulton St., Seymour, WI 54165-1611, phone (920) 833-2859.
Swifty’s Swabys Slip by 6 Pins
Department Commander Wayne Jensen enjoys a light moment prior to the start of the Annual Wisconsin American Legion Bowling Tournament in Plover on March 9th. “Swifty’s Swabys” were barely able to hang on and defeat Adjutant Kurtz’s “Headquarters Hell-
cats” in a three game series by a mere 6 pins. Pictured left to right are Department Vice Commanders Randy Lenser and Ron Hessil, Bruce Jensen of Milwaukee Police Post No. 415, Department Vice Commander Ken Rynes and Commander Wayne Jensen.
The Last Bugle
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If You’re a Member In Good Standing With Your Department of The American Legion… Endorsed by Your Department of The American Legion
You are eligible for LegionCare; $5,000.00 in Accidental Death Insurance at NO COST TO YOU if a covered accident occurs while traveling on official Legion business*, or $1,000.00 at NO COST TO YOU for all other covered accidents. This has been arranged on your NAME ADDRESS
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March 28, 2013
THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE
Have you filled out all the above information? Please mail to: Legionnaire Insurance Trust • P.O. Box 26720 • Phoenix, AZ 85068-6720 © 2012 AGIA
Complete details of the coverage are contained in accident only Master Policy LIT102002 underwritten by Life Insurance Company of North America. This plan is not available in all states.
*For Purposes of the Legionnaire Insurance Trust, a member of The American Legion, with current year’s dues paid, could be eligible for the $5,000 Accidental Death benefit if he/she is traveling to, attending, or returning from an official function at which the Legionnaire represents his/her Post, District, Department, or National Organization in an official capacity.
For additional information call Adjutant David Kurtz at (608) 745-1090 or visit online at www.thelit.com.
March 28, 2013
THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE
City of Haugen Receives a Memorial
Members of the Brunclik-Konop Post No. 540 of Haugen in Barron County recently dedicated a memorial in front of the Haugen Area Historical Museum. Thanks to the efforts and fund raising by members of Post No. 540, this small community of 287 residents now has a memorial honoring their veterans. Pictured from L to R; LeRoy Subrt, Jim Hill and Post Adjutant Allen Schieffer. Monuments in cities across the state remind citizens of veterans sacrafices.
6th District Visits the Highground Memorial Park
I WANT THEM! Fond du Lac County Commander Jerry Lauby of the Abler-Engel Post No. 454 in Mt. Calvary led a group of more than 90 members of The American Legion Family on a visit to The Highground Veterans Memorial Park in Neillsville. The group came from Ripon, Fond du Lac, Neenah, Waupun, Fairwater, Chilton, Stockbridge, Mount Calvary, St. Cloud, Johnsburg, Malone, St Peter and other surrounding areas. Jerry and committee arranged two coach buses for the trip. Both buses departed from Fond du Lac and while one made stops in Oshkosh and Appleton, the other picked up passengers in Ripon. The entire group met for lunch at the Haugen-Richmond Post No. 73 in Neillsville. It was there that they held a surprise birthday party for Larry Beuthin, Adjutant of the Mattox-Henslin Post No. 378 of Brandon/Fairwater. The Highground was originally dedicated as a memorial to Wisconsin Vietnam veterans. Since its’ original dedication, The
Highground has been expanded to include tributes to all veterans since World War I. Visitors are welcome in the park at any time. Funds are currently being raised for a monument dedicated to those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to be titled “Boots in the Sand” and a tribute to Military Working Dogs. The group took a guided tour of the grounds and rang a replica of the “Liberty Bell”. Those from Ripon spent some time at the “Seven Doves” monument, which is a tribute to Ripon veteran, Andrew Wallace who was killed in Iraq. Many also visited the Education Center where a travelling tribute to Wisconsin Servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan was on display. The tribute included photos and a short biography of each of these brave Wisconsin warriors. A number of events and exhibits will take place this year at The Highground. For more information, please contact The Highground at (715) 743-4224 or email@example.com.
Do you know a Veteran? Someone who is not a Member?
Square Knot Awarded to Legionnaire
National American Legion Commander James Koutz has awarded the “Square Knot” award to Legionnaire Steve Ramin of the Larson-Torgerson Post No. 169 in Amery. The Square Knot is presented to outstanding Boy Scout leaders who meet certain criteria. More information on the Square Knot Award can be found in the Post
Packer Photo Located in Museum
Wisconsin American Legion Museum volunteers came across an interesting artifact while conducting an inventory. Pictured left to right are Green Bay Packers player Ed Jankowski, Vice President of the United States John Garner and US Senator F. Ryan Duffy, (a WWI veteran, Past Depart-
ment Commander and Past National Vice Commander). Vice President Garner and Senator Duffy visited with Jankowski at a Washington DC hospital after Jankowski suffered severe head injuries in a November 28, 1937 Packer-Redskins football game. Visit the museum at American Legion headquarters in Portage.
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Administrative Manual or by contacting Kim Shanks at (608) 745-1090 or email@example.com. Presenting the award is Post Commander Dick Pelc with Adjutant Walt Boerum and Vice Commander Jerry Olson looking on. Steve had to complete eighteen requirements over a five year period to qualify for this prestigious National award.
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