During the Fall Meetings in Indianapolis in October, the American Legion National Executive Committee passed a total of 20 resolutions, including Resolution 1, the Reaffirmation for a Strong America. These resolutions are now available to view in the Legion’s Digital Archive; see the full collection here.
Military servicemembers face many challenges when their enlistment ends. They must adjust to living outside a military compound, having more free time and less rigorous social interaction, seeing beloved friends and family every day and losing responsibilities while gaining others. However, the most stressful challenge for most soon-to-be vets is getting a job.
Rarely do servicemembers worry about interviews; even more rarely do they think about resumes and cover letters. Job hunting is as foreign to a military vet as living on an active military facility would be to a civilian; the difference is that vets usually have to find work, whereas few civilians will ever step foot on a base. Fortunately, it can be easy for vets to find jobs — especially if they look in the following industries that eagerly accept military experience.
As most servicemembers know, running into hostile territories equipped with guns and armor is a dying art. So much of America’s defenses have become digital that many servicemembers are trained specifically for information technology positions — which is an outstanding advantage in today’s civilian job market.
There is not a business in America today that does not rely on technology, which means anyone equipped with skills like operating digital equipment and networks, analyzing data, and building and maintaining computer systems is likely to have no problem finding a well-paying job.
Throughout the industry, jobs are expected to grow more than 6 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries for information technology professionals vary based on job title and responsibilities, but servicemembers can always return to school for enhanced credentials and greater earning power.
Aerospace and Defense
The aerospace industry is committed to building technology used in military pursuits: aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. Therefore, it follows that most aerospace firms are eager to employ veterans who have experience using these technologies in the wild. Servicemembers can evaluate and improve defense-related technologies with greater assiduousness than average citizens, who generally do not understand the specific and exceptional needs of military personnel.
However, vets interested in aerospace engineering can look forward to more than building technologies for military use. In fact, many of the discoveries made to actualize air and space travel have become foundational in modern society, including water filtration systems, more energy-efficient lights and electronics, nutritionally enriched foods, and more.
Aerospace has been growing steadily for years — and not just in America. Vets can find ample opportunities for work in aerospace and defense outside the U.S., especially in countries eager to reach space, such as India. A bachelor’s degree is typically the lowest education requirement for aerospace engineers, but vets can return to school for master’s- and Ph.D.-level credentials that will boost earning potential.
Weapons and Security
The weapons and security industry tends to be an attractive option to vets recently out of service. As with information technology, servicemembers are often trained directly in the fields of weapons and security, which means their employment history makes them ideal candidates for jobs in this industry, where knowledge about national security and weapon use — as well as experience with teamwork and leadership — are mandatory.
Within this industry, the types of available positions — as well as job requirements and pay — are incredibly diverse. Vets interested in performing similar duties to their positions in the service should strongly consider investigating opportunities in weapons and security.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the U.S. government is attracted to individuals who have already demonstrated commitment to the country. Passion for protecting and improving the U.S. is critical for work in government agencies, and vets’ history of service is proof of their American patriotism and zeal. Plus, there are two federal departments — the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs — which directly apply vets’ specialized training and experience. Not only can vets help advance the U.S. from these positions, but they can help individual servicemembers, as well.
NALPA embroidered shirts are now available in blue and white for men in sizes small to 4XL, and women in sizes medium to XL. The shirts are tapered at the waist and run small.
Cost of the shirt is $30 plus shipping of $11.90. The shirts are purchased as ordered so it takes about three weeks to receive one by mail.
To order, send name, address, color, size and check made payable to:
NALPA (c/o Pat Rourk), 3 Morton St., Norwood, N.Y. 13668-1100.
American Legion Emblem Sales has the NALPA logo and can have it embroidered on any apparel they carry.
To place a special order, call toll free at (866) 632-7131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
Every American Legion post within the United States will receive three complimentary issues of The American Legion Magazine every month. This started with the October issue. Post members are encouraged to use the free magazine copies as a recruiting tool by showing potential new members one of the many benefits of Legion membership or by leaving copies at the local VA hospital.
If you do not receive your free copies, please contact Jenny Altherr by email at email@example.com or by phone at (317) 630-1221.
I had a wonderful time in Reno, Nev., during The American Legion’s 99th national convention. I traveled to and from by Amtrak. If you haven’t done such a trip you are missing out on America, the home of the brave and land of the free.
Our media awards luncheon was a great success. We awarded 45 print and digital publications, however, every entry into the media awards program was a winner. I encourage every media producer in The American Legion to enter the contest next year. Remember, the entry fee is waived thanks to NALPA’s recurrent national sponsorship. While mentioning sponsors, I would be greatly remiss not to recognize the super folks at the Reno-Sparks Convention Authority for their outstanding support of the 2017 award year and taking that initial step to be the first sponsor of our awards program.
You’ll notice in this issue that there are two NALPA leadership positions open for those who might be interested. NALPA is running well at this time so the learning curve should not be too difficult for either position. Both the executive director and finance officer positions are an integral part to the operation of NALPA. Although the bylaws indicate these resumes can be received up to 30 days prior to national convention in August, we would like to receive resumes by this Dec. 31. This will provide time for the NALPA Executive Committee to make a decision and to help ensure a smoother transition at convention.
We have been able to obtain some very nice NALPA embroidered shirts that are available for purchase. I will say they are nice enough that someone bought the shirt off my back at convention.
Finally, I must continue to mention membership. Growth of NALPA will improve our health and productivity. I recently saw the notes for our reorganization and rebranding meeting from 2015. When I reviewed those notes and remembered we spoke of over 1,500 newsletters and like numbers of digital products now, we should easily have between 2,500 and 3,000 members. We still have a way to go folks. Talk to your friends, post members and acquaintances in social media that produce The American Legion post media products.
And lastly, a small reminder.
As you know, NALPA has a nice membership card that features your name, American Legion membership number, city and state. This year I have had to make quite a few new cards due to address changes.
When you move, please let us know. It’s much easier to make the change before the cards are printed.
November 2015 seems like forever ago when I sat in a conference room with National American Legion Press Association (NALPA) leadership and staff from The American Legion’s Media and Communications Division in Indianapolis to discuss the future of NALPA.
We started the meeting with the thought that if we could not develop a plan or path then NALPA would cease to exist. The association was struggling with its identity, brand, image and purpose.
I left National Headquarters that day ready for the challenge to make NALPA what it could be – the go-to association for public relation officers and communicators from every level of The American Legion that would provide the tools to train, inspire and grow the image of The American Legion.
With support and resources from the Media and Communications Division, we changed the NALPA newsletter's look, feel, content and purpose of what it should convey to members. And we placed NALPA's website under the Legion's national one (www.legion.org/nalpa) for consistent branding.
NALPA leadership, with the help of Media and Communication Division staff, took front and center stage at the Legion’s annual Washington Conference in 2016. The large NALPA banner and table display was in the path of everyone. We handed out postcards about the social media blast scheduled for that event. We promoted NALPA, we signed up new members, and NALPA was given the opportunity to speak in front of conference attendees to encourage the Legion Family to Tweet, Facebook and talk about the meetings they were about to have in Washington, D.C., using the hashtags presented.
Under the leadership of immediate past NALPA President Dave Wallace and the steadfastness of Executive Director Patrick Rourk over the past year, NALPA’s relationship with the Media and Communication Division is strong and it’s working. This relationship is ready to take aim at the next level.
NALPA is ready to fire on all cylinders, we are ready to take up the challenge to help our fellow Legionnaires and family make better newsletters, make better use of their websites, and make better use of social media. If we deliver more robust newsletters then members will want to renew. If we deliver interesting content then perspective members will learn about who we are, what we do and will want to join. If we make better use of social media then we can reach out to more veterans, their spouses and children to join the Legion Family and take advantage of all the Legion has to offer.
Technology is changing how the world communicates at warp speed. NALPA is well positioned to fire our rockets and keep up to teach the Legion Family how to use that technology.
Watch for it, encourage your fellow communicators to join, follow us and give us the opportunity this year to show you why NALPA matters. You will not be disappointed.
When it comes to an effective communications strategy, the first place to start is with a well-organized and detailed calendar. It doesn’t matter if the calendar is digital, on paper, a whiteboard or Post-it. What does matter is how the calendar is used.
Why is the calendar so important? Because everything we do has a deadline. Veterans Day is approaching so how are the parade or dinner plans coming? How is the promotion of your posts events for the day coming along? Have you sent out a press release to notify your community?
Whether you’re at the post, district or department level, you need to start with a calendar. Grab the free calendar distributed by Emblem Sales, open Microsoft Word and print a calendar template, or download one from the Internet.
Where to begin
Step one: Begin with your meetings at the post, district and department level. Find the date and write the description of the event, time and place. Second, list all known planned events, the time and place that are scheduled. Third, list the important holidays your post, district and department recognize for the year.
Step two: Take each even written on the calendar and count backward and mark 14 days, 30 days, 45 days, 60 days and 90 days out. A suggestion is that you use a different color pen to indicate that an event is coming up. Why so many reminders? It depends on what must happen for the event. If you need to invite the mayor to your Veterans Day dinner than you may want to consider sending the invite 90 days before. It will also depend on what your media strategy for each event calls for that you should have written out when planning.
Because you are thinking about these events further out with your calendar, it creates a successful promotion.
Step three: Using a different color from the other events, write down the dates when your post newsletter article is due, the deadline for submitting stories to your local paper, and the deadlines for everyone you must send a press release to.
While these dates are not connected to your events, as you use different colors on your calendar you will see that based on deadlines of newspapers and such, 14 days may have to be moved to 20 days, depending on where dates fall.
Hang the calendar on the wall and have three months visible so it can serve as a reminder.
Make friends with the calendar
Don’t fear the deadlines, embrace them and never miss another one again. Stay on top of your calendar and you will stay on top of your communications strategy.
American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan is calling on the Legion Family nationwide to serve up the biggest and best Veterans Day dinner in history by inviting the whole community to join them at the dinner table on Nov. 11.
The 2017 Family First! Veterans Day Dinner is an opportunity to share about The American Legion and to raise awareness about the coming 100th anniversary of the organization.
Promotional materials to help posts, units and squadrons serve up a bigger-than-ever Family First Veterans Day Dinner Nov. 11 are now available at www.legion.org/publications under Media & Communications. They are also available at www.legion.org/nalpa/resources.
A suggested timeline for planning the event, tips on getting local sponsors involved, and a set of message points that can be presented, and localized, at the dinner or to the press.
Sample letters of invitation to local groups to attend and participate in the dinner, a press release, a sample media advisory, a downloadable flyer with fields for posts to provide local information, social media posts (hashtag #LegionFamilyDinner) and a radio PSA.
Even after the Veterans Day Dinner, ideas can be taken from the materials as needed to be used in future events, such as a celebration of the Legion’s birthday in March or a Memorial Day get-together in May.
The NALPA executive director provides the day-to-day supervision and operation of the association. The incumbent must be fluent and comfortable in both oral and written presentations, knowledgeable with current digital communication tools, and have the ability to adapt to changes in technology to keep current with more efficient ways of communication and management of the association. General duties include:
Serves as the liaison between NALPA and staff of The American Legion National Headquarters Media and Communication Division and Convention Division to ensure coordination and understanding remain fluid.
Manages the membership database and issuance of membership cards.
Implements sound fiscal policy and management of accounts.
Supervises the annual Media Contest, which includes the receiving of all entries, making arrangements for judging, and developing and arranging for award construction and delivery to national convention site.
Coordinates with Legion Convention Division staff and convention catering personnel for the annual awards luncheon, as well as space for the Executive Committee and annual general meetings.
Operates an office at the national convention either within American Legion National Headquarters staff offices or the exhibit hall if a NALPA booth is provided.
Attends other national meetings as requested to represent NALPA and to help recruit new members.
Other duties may be assigned as needed. This is a non-competitive and non-compensated, 100 percent volunteer position. Additional requirements include being a current member in good standing within the American Legion Family and NALPA.
General duties of the NALPA fiscal officer include:
Uses bank statements and debit/credit logs to provide oversight of the budget, profit and loss statements for the annual general meeting and the Executive Committee.
Completes an analysis of expenditures in comparison to the approved budget (report); evaluates the past fiscal year for the fiscal health of the association (report); and provides a proposed budget to the Executive Committee.
This is a non-competitive and non-compensated, 100 percent volunteer position. Experience or educational background in bookkeeping, accounting or finance is preferred. Additional requirements including being a current member in good standing within the American Legion Family and NALPA.
To apply, send a cover letter and resume by Dec. 31 to:
NALPA President Mark Sutton, 5377 Durfee Road, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (248) 390-5481.
A new mobile-friendly online training program for members of The American Legion, Sons of The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary is now available free of charge, replacing the former American Legion Extension Institute.
“Basic Training” is a five-part lesson housed on The American Legion Education Institute site at www.legion.org/training. The module updates and refreshes the former online training program, makes it free of charge for members of The American Legion Family and has been developed for mobile phones, electronic tablets and desktop computers.
Topics covered are:
- History & Organization
- Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation
- National Security
- Children & Youth
Each topic area offers ways in which American Legion Family members can advance the organization’s values and services in their local communities.
Following a Course Conclusion step in the training program, a 40-question exam is provided. Graduates can download and print a certificate of completion and order a Basic Training Graduate pin from Emblem Sales.