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Category Archives: News

James McBride

We the Members of Robert Bethel Post 220 deeply regret announcing the passing of our Fellow Comrade William McBride. Comrade McBride Passed on Thursday, June 29, 2022. The service will be held Saturday, July 9, 2022. time and Location TBA

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Weekly Reports August 11, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary


SAL REPORTS

Detachment Membership Summary
Squadron Membership Summary

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President Signs Honoring Our PACT Act, American Legion Commander Praises ‘Patriotic Advocates’

WASHINGTON (August 10, 2022) – The American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard praised President Biden and the bipartisan majority of congressional members who supported the most comprehensive veterans’ health-care legislation in decades.

Dillard, who attended the bill-signing ceremony at the White House this morning, pointed to the law’s overwhelming support. “The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act is now the Honoring Our PACT law,” Dillard said. “We thank President Biden for signing this legislation. Millions of veterans and their families can take comfort in knowing that their government truly appreciates their service and sacrifice. This comprehensive health care law is the result of hard work and bipartisanship by patriotic advocates, members of Congress and American Legion Family members worldwide.  It was a privilege to represent all of our allies at the White House today. I encourage all veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances while serving in the military to contact their American Legion service officers for free assistance in accessing the benefits that they have earned. The claims process can be complicated, and American Legion service officers are happy to help.”

The PACT Act will provide health care for millions of post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to contaminants emanating from open-air burn pits. It establishes presumptions of service connection for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers linked to burn pits and other hazards, including Agent Orange and atomic radiation for veterans whose exposure was previously unrecognized for VA health-care services and disability benefits. It will also provide additional resources and staff to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Enactment of the PACT Act was a major legislative priority for The American Legion in this session of Congress.

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WWII Vet. Seaman Stephen Nemeth honored with the Legion of Honor

Consulate General of France in Miami – July 29, 2022 ~ On Friday, July 29th, 2022 World War II Veteran Seaman Mr. Stephen Alex Nemeth was distinguished on the behalf ot the President of the French Republic with the Legion of Honor from the Consul General of France in Miami, Vincent Floreani, during a moving ceremony, hosted by the American Legion Post 10 in Kissimmee, FL.

Mr. Nemeth’s family, veterans and volunteers at the American Legion, representatives from the government of Florida, as well as members of the French military and the French community, attended the ceremony.

“We are forever indebted to all of you for defending our freedom at the risk of your lives and the welfare of your families”, said Consul general, Vincent Floreani, and “We must never forget it is the bravery of individual men and women who chose to risk their lives in the name of our freedom and fundamental values which led to the victory of democracy over barabity.”

This meaningful ceremony offered also a rare connection to the World War II generation and placed a spotlight on the importance of French-American relations over many generations.

Several news outlets, such as the Osceola News Gazette, WESH Channel 2 which made a video report, and USA Warrior Stories, a non-profit organization preserving veteran stories and legacies, who is preparing an interview with Mr. Nemeth that should air around september, to tell his story.

Mr Stephen Alex Nemeth, Seaman 1st class within the U.S. Navy, helped liberate France and Europe from the Nazi regime. Mr Nemeth joined the military on February 10th, 1943 and was immediately assigned to a special unit known as the “Armed Guard”, responsible for counter-attacks against Nazi naval operations targeting merchant vessels, including many French ones, in the English Channel and the Atlantic.

To this end, Mr Nemeth served successively aboard the SS Surprise, the SS Abel Parker Upshur and ultimately the SS Santa Paula, American warships which took part in combat operations against enemy ships targeting Allied vessels and helped transport troops and ammunition used during D-Day and the Liberation of Normandy; these vital transportation missions often led to military confrontations during which the “Armed Guard” was deployed.

While serving aboard the SS Abel Parker Upshur (from February 15 to August 18 1944), Mr Nemeth helped deliver 8,000 tons of ammunition used on the beaches of Normandy, and secured the landing of 1,000 soldiers in Cherbourg while the city was still in enemy hands.

Through his military involvement in the struggles that took place in the Channel and off the coast of Normandy (during both D-Day and the Battle of Normandy) and the numerous convoys he was assigned to in extremely hostile conditions, Mr Stephen Alex NEMETH helped secure victory for the Allied forces.

Established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte, this honor, which represents the highest award of the French Republic, can be bestowed upon French citizens as well as foreign nationals. In this way, France demonstrates its recognition towards the men who fought beside her during the Second World War: “France will never forget.”

France, through the Consulate General of France in Miami, has recognized over 1,600 American WWII Veterans in Florida and Puerto Rico since 2008.

Discover some of the ceremony’s pictures below, and all the rest on our Drive:

  • To read the article published by the Osceola News Gazette, click here.
  • To read the article published by WESH Channel 2, click here.
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US ‘will not abandon’ its commitment to Taiwan, Pelosi says in Taipei

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged her commitment to Taiwan on Wednesday as Chinese ships and aircraft ramped up their military activity in response to her visit.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen presented Pelosi the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon award, during a livestreamed ceremony that morning.

“Now more than ever America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial,” said Pelosi, who departed Taiwan on Wednesday evening for South Korea. “Today our delegation, of which I’m very proud of, came to Taiwan to make it unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan, and we are proud of our enduring friendship.”

China held live-fire military exercises Saturday off its coast opposite Taiwan after warning Pelosi to cancel her visit. Ahead of her arrival on Tuesday night, Chinese aircraft and warships brushed up against the median line in the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial dividing line, according to Reuters.

Also after her arrival, China’s Eastern Theater Command announced drills would take place near the Taiwan Strait starting late Tuesday. These included long-range live-fire and conventional missile launches, the official China Military website reported.

Chinese J-20 stealth fighters took off from an airfield that evening to participate in the drills, the official Global Times reported Wednesday.

This map released by China’s People’s Liberation Army shows six zones around Taiwan where extensive military drills are scheduled to take place Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, to Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. (People’s Liberation Army)China also announced a series of naval exercises, to include live-fire drills, slated to run from Thursday to Sunday that will effectively surround the self-governing island, according to a Tuesday report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

China’s planned exercises effectively “amount to a sea and air blockade,” a Taiwan National Defense Ministry official told reporters after Pelosi’s ceremony with Tsai, according to the Washington Post.

The drills show that China seeks “a cross-strait resolution by force instead of peaceful means,” the ministry tweeted Wednesday.

“Activities around our territory are closely monitored by [the defense ministry] and will meet our appropriate responses when needed.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy positioned the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan with the cruiser USS Antietam and the destroyer USS Higgins as escorts near Taiwan, according to USNI News and Reuters.

Reuters cited an unnamed Navy source; USNI cited unnamed Defense Department sources. An unnamed Pentagon official told USNI that the ships were operating normally in the region.

Meanwhile, the USS Tripoli, an amphibious assault ship that carries F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters, steamed near Okinawa.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on Wednesday referred questions about its Western Pacific operations to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which did not answer a telephone call or immediately respond to an email.

Pelosi, the third-ranking member of the U.S. government, and a five-member congressional delegation arrived in Taipei on Tuesday night. Her highly anticipated visit to Taiwan is part of an Indo-Pacific tour that also includes stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

In the days leading up to Pelosi’s arrival, Chinese authorities made clear that a military response of some kind could be expected.

“We are closely following the itinerary of Speaker Pelosi,” China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters Tuesday. “And if the U.S. continues down the wrong path, we will take strong and resolute measures to protect our sovereignty and security interests.”

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. The U.S. government officially abides by the “One China” policy, which acknowledges Beijing’s view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan, which split from the mainland in 1949, but considers Taiwan’s status unsettled.

Assertive Chinese military activity has been taking place beyond Taiwan in the South China Sea, East China Sea and in the Pacific, said Ian Chong, an associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore.

“There has also been a lot of military activity in Taiwan’s [air defense identification zone] for some time,” he told Stars and Stripes in an email Wednesday.

“The Pelosi visit did not cause, nor will it change,” China’s coercive military activities, Chong said.

China’s response to Pelosi’s visit may ultimately be indirect and deniable, New Zealand-based U.S. security expert Paul Buchanan said in a Wednesday email. China could potentially expel U.S. diplomats and attaches to protest the visit, but won’t go to war over it, he said.

“That does not mean that there will be no response or even no kinetic response from [China] … perhaps another island seizure or fishing fleet confrontation that may or may not involve the U.S. and Taiwan,” he said.

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Florida Legion Riders chapter again steps up for Toys for Tots

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The American Legion Hails Senate for Passing Honoring our PACT Act

WASHINGTON (August 2, 2022) – The head of the nation’s largest veterans organization praised the Senate for its passage of legislation that will provide comprehensive benefits to veterans suffering from conditions linked to toxic exposure during their time in the U.S. Armed Forces.  A previous version passed on June 16 but had to be reconsidered due to parliamentarian objections to a technical provision.

“Tonight, the U.S. Senate passed historic legislation that will make a difference in the lives of millions of veterans,” American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard said. “After some unusual delays for a bill that is largely identical to what passed on June 16, a bipartisan majority of senators voted in favor of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act. This act will save lives and offer health care and benefits for those exposed to the poisons of war while serving our country.  It would not have passed without the tireless efforts of our American Legion Family and friends who contacted lawmakers and encouraged them to do right by America’s veterans. We look forward to President Biden signing the PACT Act expeditiously.”

The Honoring Our PACT Act, which had already passed in the House of Representatives, will provide health care for millions of veterans who were exposed to contaminants emanating from open-air burn pits. It establishes presumptions of service connection for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers linked to burn pits and other hazards. It will also provide additional resources and staff to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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American Legion National Commander Extends Well Wishes to President Biden

(INDIANAPOLIS—July 21, 2022) – –   American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard issued the following statement regarding the announcement that President Biden tested positive for COVID-19:

“The American Legion extends its heartfelt prayers that President Biden will have a full and speedy recovery from COVID-19. Our nation has made remarkable progress in combatting and defeating this horrific virus, though far too many people have been lost to the disease worldwide. We are fortunate to have access to life-saving vaccines and we are gratified that the White House described the president’s symptoms as ‘very mild.’ The American Legion looks forward to having our nation’s president back to good health.”

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Madeline (Lindy) Jordan

With our sincerest condolences, we are sad to announce that Madeline (Lindy) Jordan passed away yesterday, July 17, 2022, at 5:00 pm in Charlotte, NC.  Lindy was Past Commander of  Flagler Post 115, Past Commander, 17th District, served on Department Committees, and the nurse at Boys State during my tenure as Director.

Several years ago, she sold her home in Palm Coast and moved to Charlotte to be near her family.  She was very active in Legion work prior to her departure from Florida.  She traveled extensively participating in Legion golf tournaments.  She was a high-spirited, fun lady, but also very dedicated and committed to Legion work.

Anyone wishing to send condolences to the family may do so at the following address:

14901 Wyndham Oaks, Charlotte, NC 28277.

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Norma J. Walker

Norma J. Walker (Dept of South Carolina) 143 California Ave, Oak Ridge, TN 37830-4001, died June 10, 2022 at the age of 81. Source: Department Adjutant. A Vietnam War Navy Veteran and a member of Post #71 with 38 continuous years of membership. ID#100934562.

Memorial donations may be made to American Legion Post 71 at PO Box 6036, North Augusta, SC 29861-6063.
Condolences may be shared online at weatherfordmortuary.com or William Walker and family at 143 California Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

RECORD:

Dept Americanism Chmn 7-01-2002 to 7-01-2003
Dept Civil Defense Chmn 7-01-2002 to 7-01-2003
Dept Commander 7-01-2004 to 7-01-2005
Dept Convention Chmn 7-01-2005 to 6-24-2006
Dept Historian 6-23-2007 to 6-02-2013
Dept Internal Affairs Chmn 7-01-2003 to 7-01-2004
Dept M&PA Chmn 7-01-2003 to 7-01-2004
Dept National Security Chmn 7-01-2001 to 7-01-2002
Dept Public Relations Chmn 7-01-2002 to 7-01-2004; 7-01-2008 to
7-01-2009
Dept Vice Commander 7-01-2001 to 7-01-2004
Natl Americanism Council Vice Chmn 2002 to 2003
Natl M&PA Committee Memb 2004 to 2010
Natl Security Council Vice Chmn 2001 to 2002

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Clifford Dean Collins Jr.

OBITUARY

CLIFFORD DEAN COLLINS Jr.

MAY 18, 1946 – JUNE 15, 2022

Clifford D. (Skip) Collins, Jr. Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Navy

Loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend passed away peacefully Wednesday June 15, 2022 in Ocoee, FL after a long illness at age 76. Born in Davenport Iowa to the late Clifford D. Collins, Sr. and L. Elaine (Handley) Collins. He was predeceased by his sister Cheryl (Collins) Sargent and nephew Joseph (Joey) Platt. He is survived by his wife JoAnn (Flannery) Collins of Ocoee FL, his son Clifford D. (Dean) Collins, III, his sisters Barbara (Barbie) Platt and Mary Helen Collins-Weldon all of Jacksonville FL, his stepsons Gregory Blotzer of MA, Brian and Kevin Blotzer both of FL, 6 grandchildren, Christopher Brock of AL, Aryette and Emilyn Collins of FL, Ethan and Ava Blotzer of FL and Esme of MA.

Growing up the son of an Insurance salesman his family moved several times from Iowa to Pennsylvania to Florida before settling in Jacksonville when his dad began working for the US Postal Service becoming President of the Postal Union. It was while living in Pittsburgh that he became a lifelong fan of (in this order) the Pirates, the Steelers and the Penguins. He joined the Navy in 1967 during the Vietnam war where he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Meritorious Unit Commendation. After Honorable discharge he briefly attended Georgia Tech and the University of Florida, Gainesville before starting to work for Seaboard Coastal Railroad which later became CSX Railroad. After leaving the railroad he opened King Video in Jacksonville and when Blockbuster took over the video scene he sold it and started a home renovation business where he bought run down houses and brought them back to their original beauty. He enjoyed turning houses into homes. Sadly, that business came to an end when we moved to Ocoee. He gained employment with the American Legion, Department of Florida working with what began as the Gilchrist Fund and evolved into what is presently Project VetRelief. He assisted countless Veterans obtain financial assistance with rent and utilities. He also had the privilege of being on an Honor Flight, being the escort of a WWII Veteran. In his time working at The American Legion he made several lifelong friends. He never met a stranger. Cliff was a kind and caring soul, he will be forever loved and missed.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to your local Humane Society or Project Vet-Relief, both organizations were special to Cliff.

A gathering of family and friends to Celebrate Cliff will be held at The American Legion, Department Headquarters 1912 A Lee Rd., Orlando FL 32810 on Saturday, August 13, 2022 from 11am to 4pm.

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Weekly Reports June 30, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary

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The American Legion Calls for State Funeral for Woody Williams

(INDIANAPOLIS—June 29, 2022) – American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard called for President Biden to authorize a state funeral for Woody Williams, the last Medal of Honor recipient from World War II to pass away.

“Delegates at our national convention in 2018 unanimously passed a resolution calling for a state funeral to honor the last of these remarkable heroes,” Dillard said. “Even before Woody’s passing today, our Washington staff has been working with Congress to permit the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient to lie in honor in the Capitol rotunda. All Medal of Honor recipients are extraordinary and Woody Williams was particularly special to The American Legion. He was a proud Legionnaire who demonstrated legendary valor at Iwo Jima and then spent a lifetime serving veterans and Gold Star Families. He was a true American hero in every sense of the word. We extend our condolences to his family.”

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Weekly Reports June 27, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary

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The American Legion Hails Senate, 117th Congress for ‘Historic Bipartisan Achievement’ on PACT Act

WASHINGTON (June 16, 2022) – The head of the nation’s largest veterans organization praised the Senate for its passage of legislation that will provide comprehensive benefits to veterans suffering from conditions linked to toxic exposure during their time in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Today, the U.S. Senate has saved lives and truly delivered for veterans,” American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard said. “By passing the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, the 117th Congress has put substance behind the phrase, ‘Thank you for your service.’ The American Legion is grateful for the service of millions of veterans who were exposed to burn pits, atomic radiation, Agent Orange and other environmental poisons. Thanks to the U.S. Congress, these men and women will be able to receive the care and benefits they have earned. The PACT Act is an historic bipartisan achievement. The American Legion thanks not only those who voted for this legislation but the thousands of Legionnaires and advocates who worked to make this happen. We look forward to President Biden signing the Honoring Our PACT Act into law.”

The Honoring Our PACT Act, which had already passed in the House of Representatives, will provide health care for millions of veterans who were exposed to contaminants emanating from open-air burn pits. It establishes presumptions of service connection for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers linked to burn pits and other hazards. It will also provide additional resources and staff to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Weekly Reports June 9, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary

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Weekly Reports June 2, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary

SAL REPORTS

Detachment Membership Summary
Squadron Membership Summary

 

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Weekly Reports May 26, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary

SAL REPORTS

Detachment Membership Summary
Squadron Membership Summary

 

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Weekly Reports May 19, 2022

LEGION REPORTS

Department Membership Summary
Post Membership Summary

SAL REPORTS

Detachment Membership Summary
Squadron Membership Summary

 

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American Legion calls PACT Act agreement ‘historically impactful’ for generations of vets

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2022) – The head of the nation’s largest veterans organization is calling the bipartisan agreement by Senate leaders to assist veterans who have been exposed to environmental toxins “historically impactful.”

“The work is still not yet complete, but the agreement between Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., and ranking member Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is proof that Democrats and Republicans can achieve great things for veterans when they work to put country ahead of partisanship,” American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard said.

“The Honoring Our PACT Act would deliver needed benefits for up to 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to the poisons of war due to the prevalence of burn pits, radiation, contaminated water, Agent Orange and other toxicants during deployments and military assignments. The House of Representatives deserves great credit for passing this legislation, and I am confident that with the continued support of The American Legion, the Senate will now follow suit. This is an historic opportunity for the 117th Congress to pass the most meaningful veterans legislation in a generation. I am asking all Americans to tell their senators to vote for the Honoring Our PACT Act.”

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