Charles E. Schmidt: May 16, 2017

AMERICAN LEGION Calls on nation to include treatment of veterans, families as top priority to ‘make America greater’


Charles E. Schmidt

National Commander of the American Legion


American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt, a Vietnam War veteran, loves his country but believes that America could do more to love those who have worn the uniform and protect our way of life.

“The American Legion believes that America has always been a great nation, but we do believe that our country could be even greater,” Schmidt, a retired Air Force officer said. “The budget increases for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense by the Trump administration are desperately needed steps in the right direction. But the Global War on Terrorism is far from over. I recently visited Korea’s demilitarized zone and the tension there is very real. Not only is defense of our nation the top constitutionally-mandated responsibility of our government, care for our veterans and their families has been a solemn promise of our government since President Lincoln’s second inaugural address. One hundred years ago, the United States entered what was supposed to be ‘the war to end all wars.’ Sadly it wasn’t. In order to maintain a top All Volunteer Force, we must serve our veterans as well as they have served us. We must also be prepared to prevail against all potential enemies. The American Legion is dedicated to these principles.”

Among issues that The American Legion hopes people will focus on:

·         This year marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Following the war, The American Legion was founded by a group of World War I veterans in Paris and dedicated itself to the four pillars of providing a strong national defense; care and rehabilitative programs for veterans; patriotic programs for young people; and Americanism.

·         Thousands of veterans struggle daily to overcome the hardships inflicted by traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

·         Reforming the VA health care system is not just a task, but a continuing process that will only improve if Americans hold their elected officials accountable and demand that veterans be treated with the dignity and respect that they have earned.

·         80,000 veterans have been waiting more than five years to have their veterans disability claims finally adjudicated.  The problem will only get worse unless Congress passes and the president signs a law that will modernize the VA appeals process.

·         The best way for employers to thank a veteran is to hire one. By providing jobs, employers can help eliminate veteran homelessness.

·         To maintain a strong volunteer military, America should provide a high quality of life for military members and their families, and the training, technology and weapons needed to prevail against any enemy.

·         Veterans are a vital part of communities across the nation.  American Legion programs such as Operation Comfort Warriors, Boys State, Boys Nation, American Legion Baseball, Oratorical Scholarship contests, blood donations and the National Emergency Fund benefit and touch countless lives.

The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization, with about 2.2 million members and more than 13,000 posts worldwide, whose members are involved in community-based support of veterans, service members and their families. The American Legion is strongly committed to helping veterans and military families with its outreach programs and lobbying efforts, as a new generation of returning veterans reintegrate into the community.

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Charles E. Schmidt was elected national commander of the 2.2 million-member American Legion on Sept. 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio, during the 98th national convention of the nation’s largest veterans organization.

Schmidt enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1965 and served on active duty until his retirement in 1993. During that time he advanced from an administrative clerk to become a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Officer Training School, earning a commission and assignments to Executive Support Officer positions at major headquarters.  His Air Force assignments took him to Oregon, California, Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, England, Germany, Philippines and Vietnam.  Schmidt served as department (state) commander of the Oregon American Legion in 2004 and 2005. He has served at every level of The American Legion. Schmidt resides in Hines, Oregon, with his wife, Linda.

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