James W “Bill” Oxford: April 20, 2020

The Nation’s Largest Veterans Organization Supports National, Community Recovery Efforts Throughout Coronavirus Epidemic

James W “Bill” Oxford

American Legion National Commander




Throughout the national emergency, American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford has continued to lead the nation’s largest veterans’ organization as many American Legion posts closed their homes and postponed events due to coronavirus concerns. In typical Legion fashion, The American Legion has responded to the needs of many local communities by providing essential supplies, promoting “buddy checks,” and assisting veterans, military families and servicemembers with service claims and other benefits.


While working from his home in Lenoir, N.C., Oxford has regularly convened teleconferences with Legion representatives from all 50 states and five regional departments.  He has directed his Washington staff to continue regular communication with top officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House, Congress, the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor.


“This has been an extremely challenging time for our nation,” Oxford said. “But The American Legion has always believed in the strength and resiliency of the American people. This country has survived a civil war, two world wars, a great depression, natural disasters and many tragedies. Even during times of great sadness, we have seen acts of triumph and inspiration. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different.”


Among issues that The American Legion has focused on:


  • The COVID-19 virus is a threat to everyone.  While The American Legion takes pride in its patriotic youth programs, public memorials and other events, the organization urges Americans to follow the instructions and recommendations of their local public health and government officials.
  • Job opportunities for veterans. The economic downtown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made this a particularly challenging time for transitioning military veterans to enter the job market. The American Legion will continue to assist veterans who are seeking employment, business loans or other career opportunities.
  • Buddy Checks. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of coronavirus. PTSD impacts veterans of all ages. Family members of deployed servicemembers also face the additional burdens of extended separation from their loved ones. The American Legion has ratcheted up outreach efforts, while also maintaining the recommended social distancing in order to keep people safe.
  • Support for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the health care needs of all veterans. VA has been especially challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Legion supports the Fourth Mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs as a back-up to the Department of Defense and FEMA during times of national emergency.
  • From drive-through food service to providing essential supplies, American Legion posts from coast-to-coast have been responding to their communities by putting service before self – while also keeping appropriate distances in order to minimize COVID-19 exposure.
  • The American Legion has adapted to the emergency by relying on teleconferencing, social media and other technology as a temporary means to minimize physical contact and reduce exposure.
  • The American Legion fully supported efforts to continue GI Bill benefits being delivered on time to student veterans impacted by school shutdowns due to the coronavirus.
  • For 101 years, The American Legion has focused on service to America through the organization’s four founding pillars of a strong national defense, the wellbeing of veterans, patriotic youth programs and Americanism. This was true before the current national emergency and during the emergency. The American Legion is committed to continuing that service long after the emergency ends.


The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization, with about two million members and nearly 13,000 posts worldwide, whose members are involved in community-based support of veterans, servicemembers 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.


For more information go to: www.legion.org



Vietnam War veteran James W. “Bill” Oxford was elected national commander of the nearly 2 million-member American Legion on August 29, 2019 in Indianapolis, during the organization’s 101st national convention. He has been a member of the nation’s largest veterans organization since 1986.


A native of Lenoir, N.C., Oxford is a paid-up-for- life member and past commander of Post 29 in Lenoir. He served as department (state) commander of the North Carolina American Legion from 2010 to 2011. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Oxford was an aviation electronic technician for the A-6 Intruder and served in Vietnam during his initial enlistment. After being discharged as a sergeant in 1970, Oxford joined the North Carolina National Guard.  He subsequently attended officer’s candidate school and transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, where he ultimately retired as a colonel after more than 34 years of military service.


An active volunteer with several organizations, Oxford is a member of Masonic lodge-York and Scottish Rite. His theme as national commander of The American Legion is “a foundation for the future,” as the organization enters its second century of service.

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