A few good legionnaires
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The American Legion National Commander, Charles Schmidt, visited Kadena during his Western Pacific Tour Nov. 28.
The purpose of the Western Pacific Tour is informing service members about the level of care the American Legion has for veterans, both active duty and retired.
During his visit, Schmidt spoke with Brig. Gen. Barry Cornish, 18th Wing commander, about the benefits the American Legion offers service members.
Concern about their families and the well-being of service members drove the organization’s creation and its present operations. The American Legion was formed in Paris in 1919, with the purpose of caring for service members returning home from World War I.
“Our strongest program is advocating for veterans,” said Schmidt. “We’re on Capitol Hill every day advocating for veterans’ benefits. It’s not just about us retired veterans, it’s about those of you still wearing the uniform and those who will be wearing the uniform.”
The American Legion offers education programs, healthcare assistance and support for transitioning out of the military.
Schmidt, a retired Air Force major, commented on the efficiency of present service members with continuing the mission of the armed forces.
“It’s very rewarding to see our men and women in the armed services,” said Schmidt. “The armed forces are serving our country out here in the western Pacific, and their service is keeping the free world safe.”
Cornish commented maintaining this constant state of protection and freedom is achieved by great leadership. Trust between leaders and Airmen is critical to accomplishing the mission in the Pacific.
“I’m always talking with my command team about their role in taking care of the Airmen, because that is our first and foremost job,” said Cornish. “We’ve got a large installation here and a lot going on. We prioritize our Airmen and families as number one. My belief is if you focus on the people, they’ll take care of the mission.”
Support of service members and their families is the top priority of the American Legion.
“The American Legion is just a continuation of my Air Force days,” said Schmidt. “Looking out for and taking care of your buddies sometimes depends on your existence and survival. On behalf of over two million legionnaires, we appreciate you and thank each and every one of you for what you’re doing.”