Charles E. Schmidt: November 7, 2016



Charles E. Schmidt

National Commander of the American Legion

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt, a Vietnam War veteran and retired U.S. Air Force officer, has been calling on Congress and the White House to modernize VA benefits and strengthen the U.S. military so it can properly defend freedom against the growing threats of rogue regimes and international terrorism.

“In a world where ISIS, North Korea, Iran, China and Russia dominate headlines, there is absolutely no excuse for the United States to field a military at pre-World War II levels. And the care and well-being of our veterans and current active-duty military members is the cost of providing a strong defense. You can’t have one without the other,” said Schmidt.  “Lawmakers and the White House should not just use Veterans Day to deliver platitudes.  The best way to honor veterans is through substantive policies which will make America safer and military life more attractive for those who serve.”

Among issues that The American Legion hopes people will focus on during and beyond Veterans Day:

·         This year marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The few remaining survivors of Pearl Harbor have repeatedly stressed the importance of being militarily prepared and on-alert.

·         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 Veterans appeals process.

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

·         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.


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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