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JJ Bettencourt Obituary

There will be a Funeral service for John "JJ" Bettencourt on Friday, January 27, 2017 at 11 a.m., St. Mary's By-The-Sea Episcopal Church, 126 12th Street, Pacific Grove, CA. Burial with military honors to follow at Mission Memorial Park, 1915 Ord Grove Ave., Seaside, CA . A reception will take place at the American Legion Post #41, 1110 Jefferson St, Monterey, CA after the committal.

To offer online condolences visit - www.missionmortuary.com

Current Membership Status

The Department of California is on target to reach 100% of our 2016-2017 membership goal. The Department Membership Committee, under the leadership of Mike Hooper, Membership Director, is putting a lot of time and energy into post and district revitalizations.

With your help, we can meet and hopefully exceed our membership goal this year.

Four Chaplains Sunday

The first Sunday in February is Four Chaplains Sunday. More than 70 years after they made the supreme sacrifice, the story of these heroic chaplains – Methodist, Jewish, Roman Catholic and Dutch Reformed – is still being told.

The Department of California encourages its posts and districts to hold a Four Chaplains Ceremony. The Department is conducting a Four Chaplain Ceremony on Saturday, February 11 @ 2 p.m. in Sanger. You are all invited to attend. Here is a flier with the details: Four Chaplains flier

Read more about the Four Chaplains - HERE

The High School Oratorical Competitions for 2017 are fast approaching. Post and District contests will soon be held.

Each of our six areas will also conduct contests with the winners competing in the State Oratorical Contest.

Here is a link to the Area and State contest information:

During his time as leading candidate for national commander, Charles E. Schmidt
spoke to the Membership and Post Activities Committee in Indianapolis.
Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion.

Legion Membership Plan To Be Reviewed

The American Legion

Members of The American Legion’s National Membership & Post Activities (MP&A) Committee are meeting in Indianapolis Jan. 6-7 to review the Legion’s five-year strategic membership strategic plan, discuss progress toward it, and determine departments’ ongoing responsibilities for the plan’s success. The committee will also review several membership resolutions passed last September during the 98th National Convention in Cincinnati.

The new M&PA Committee Chairman, Randy Goodman of Georgia, will lead the meeting, and opening remarks will be given by National Commander Charles E. Schmidt and leading candidate for 2017-2018 national commander Denise Rohan of Wisconsin.

National commander leads veterans
walk in California

By Michael Hjelmstad

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt led members of the Department of California Legion family on a chilly, yet enthusiastic, second annual Walk for Veterans in Sacramento, Calif., Dec. 16.

The walk kicked off with a wreath laying ceremony at the California State Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, located on the grounds of the Capitol Park. Department leadership and Legion family members from across the state walked with the national commander around the park to engage the community and raise awareness about the Legion and issues facing America’s veterans.

Read the complete story HERE

The Ways and Means Commission

The Department of California, Ways and Means Commission is responsible for developing plans, ideas, and promotions to secure needed funds to help operate The American Legion programs we conduct in the Department of California. For many years the Department of California, in addition to other campaigns, has conducted the following fund-raising campaigns:
  • Legion Calendar
  • Holiday Cards
  • Spring and Fall Sweepstakes
All funds generated by these important campaigns go directly to support our Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation (VA&R) work. It is through our VA&R work that our Veterans Service Officers most directly serve our California veterans to help them receive VA benefits they have earned and with their disability claims. Many agree, the work of our VA&R Program is some of the most noble and important work of The American Legion.

When you support our fund-raising campaigns, (as we hope more of you will do) your donations help The American Legion succeed in serving more of our veterans. As you support our fund-raising campaigns, please ask your Legion friends to also participate. We do need your help to raise critical VA&R Program funds.  
Thank you!
Janice Somers
Chairman, Ways & Means Commission
Department of California

Commission Members

American Legion Invites High School Students to Compete in Speech Contest

Our Oratorical Speech Contest is one of the most exciting youth programs in The American Legion! If your post does not currently conduct an Oratorical Speech Contest, please do. It will benefit your post, your community and most importantly our youth.

The main purpose of The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students. Other objectives of the contest include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, the rights and privileges of American citizenship

Legion posts will be holding preliminary contests which will lead up to the state finals.

Oratorical State Finals
State Capitol March 4, 2017

More information on the High School Oratorical Competition can be found in these documents:

Oratorical Competition

Policy Change Recording Speeches

The following information is from the Oratorical Rules on the National web site.

Television and radio

Live television and radio broadcasts are permitted in all contests, as well as filming, taping or other types of media for later showing, provided:

1. Lighting and other site conditions are the same for all contestants.

2. Filming or broadcasts in no way distract the contestants or interfere with the pre-announced scheduled time of the contest.

3. The normal speaking voice of the contestant is not interfered with or amplified within the auditorium.

4. The American Legion is in no way financially obligated without prior approval.

Legion Legislative Day

For those who are unfamiliar with this event, this explanation of the Legion Legislative Day was written by Pete Conaty, Department Legislative Advocate,

"The culmination of the Department’s grass roots advocacy is the Annual Legislative Day at the State Capitol, which is the premier opportunity for Legionnaires to establish and maintain relationships with local legislators, key staff members, and policy consultants. These all day events feature speakers from the Legislature, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and other state agencies that offer services to veterans, and key legislative staff and consultants. Legionnaires circulate through the Capitol and visit their local Senators and Assembly members, introduce themselves, and leave behind informational materials and talking points regarding American Legion and the Department’s supported bills. This is a great opportunity to educate legislators and staff on issues important to veterans and to establish a working relationship which can sometimes evolve into a Legionnaire becoming the go-to person regarding veteran’s issues."

Automatic Online Renewal

Name and Emblem Use and Protection Guide

Name and Emblem Use and Protection Guide

How do we properly use The American Legion emblem?

The American Legion "Name and Emblem Use and Protection Guide" give us the answers.

"The purpose of this manual is to provide a set of guidelines on how to use the marks of The American Legion for all who have a need to use them – our members, local post officers, department officers, and suppliers of benefits and vendors of products for The American Legion and our members."


All member of our American Legion Family must remain vigilante in the proper use and protection of The American Legion emblem. This includes our subsidiaries, such as the Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Riders. The following rules relating to subsidiaries are taken directly from the "Name and Emblem Use and Protection Guide" (pages 18-19). All our Legion leaders should understand these rules.

"Moreover, because of the requirements of the trademark law, such subsidiary corporations, trusts or foundations – including Sons of The American Legion and the American Legion Riders – must meet the following requirements:

1. All officers, directors, trustees, etc. must be named by the department (usually nominated by the department commander and confirmed by the Department Executive Committee).

2. All vacancies in the subsidiary corporation must be filled by the department.

3. The subsidiary corporation must report to the department, no less frequently than monthly. These reports must include financial reports.

4. The department treasurer or finance officer must be a signatory on all accounts.

5. All amendments to articles of incorporation or by-laws must be approved by the department. (If the current text has not been approved by the department, it too must be so approved.)

These same rules apply to subsidiaries of posts, squadrons and Riders chapters. Of course, all references to departments also reference posts in the appropriate situation.

Remember: the subsidiary does NOT tell the parent what to do.

Post subsidiaries are subject to the same rules. Merely replace the word “department” with “post.” This is also true of American Legion Auxiliary units. Merely replace the word “post” with the word “unit.” Departments of the American Legion Auxiliary use language identical to that used by The American Legion."

Department Guidance for ALR Programs 

National Commander's Pin Incentive Program

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt will award his national commander pin to any Legion member who obtains three new members into the Legion. A new member is any eligible person joining for the 2017 membership year who was not a member of The American Legion during the 2016 membership year.

Each member listed must be eligible for membership in The American Legion. Forward names of SAL members or Auxiliary members to your detachment or unit for use in their respective incentive programs.

To maintain the integrity of the national commander's pin incentive program, only one pin will be awarded per individual.

Upon receipt, national membership staff will confirm the names and mail the pin directly to the person who earned it. Commander Schmidt's incentive program will end June 30, 2017, or when supplies are exhausted.

National Commander's Incentive Pin New Member Form (PDF) »

National Commander's Incentive Certificate Form (PDF)

100% American Legion Family


100% American Legion Family Ribbons will be awarded to any post family that achieves 100% membership by the 2017 100% target date. A Legion Family is defined as a post and/or any combination of Auxiliary unit or SAL squadron. 
(Each must achieve 100% to qualify)

100% American Legion Family Ribbon Application

Pete Conaty

Our Legislative Commission under the guidance of Pete Conaty, Legislative Advocate and Don Harper, Commission Chairman have been very busy supporting legislation for California veterans.

There are fifteen (15) veteran related bills that the The American Legion, Department of California sponsored, supported, or watched that are currently on the Governor’s desk. For more information visit: calegion.org




MyLegion.org Update

New Reports in Report Server

myLegion Update Bulletin

MyLegion.org is a free, secure internet site that provides access to member data and more. It is the ‘Members Only’ Section of Legion.Org.

Using myLegion.org Post Adjutants can take care of a number of important administrative functions for your post, including:

  • View Post Member Records
  • Update Records
  • Track Online Renewals
  • Generate Post Rosters & Reports
  • Submit CPR Data
  • Find Local Post 1000 Members
  • Global Member Look Up

New features have been added to myLegion.org, they include:

Letters - HQ Transfer Invitations

This is a new feature that generates a pre-written letter that can be sent to Post 1000 members (members currently assigned to our state headquarters post, aka Post 1000) inviting them to transfer into your post. The invitation letter has a signature line for members to approve their transfer into your post.

Project - Stay Active by Area

Americans are on the move, and Legionnaires are no exception. National Headquarters’ Project Stay Active helps local posts maintain contact with members who move into your area. When moving into your area, the post should contact and welcome the member to the area. This is an ideal time to offer assistance and to invite the member to visit your post.

Listing - Find Members in My Area

"Find Members in My Area" is a report designed to assist with identifying and contacting members who belong to Post 1000 or are expired members. Using the pull down menus, select the zip code(s), last paid year(s), and available posts to View Report.

Note: this new method of finding Post 1000 members in your area uses zip codes, not miles from your post. You can enter multiple zip codes using a comma to separate them. The results of your search can now be downloaded in a number of file formats including CSV, PDF, Excel and Word.

Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion


'We must leave our footprints'

By Steve B. Brooks
September 01, 2016

The founders of The American Legion had a vision for the organization when they first gathered in 1919. Nearly 100 years later, newly elected American Legion National Commander Charlie Schmidt said it’s the job of current Legionnaires to make sure that vision continues.

“Our time and responsibility is here for us, you and I, …to ensure that that vision is passed on to the next generation of veterans to insure those who have borne the battle, and their families, will be cared for by a grateful nation,” Schmidt told Legion family members on Sept. 1 at the Legion’s national convention in Cincinnati. “You and I must leave our footprints on today’s American Legion.

“Our Founding Fathers had a vision for America and its veterans. That vision is still relevant today. As long as there are conflicts around the world, our nation must be prepared to defend those vital interests to our nation and our allies with a strong and capable military. Where there are active-duty, Guard and Reserve personnel, and veterans, there will always be a need for The American Legion. You and I have inherited that vision.”

Read the complete story.

If You are not Interested in Computer Graphics, Please Ignore this Post

California Graphic Resources

California Graphic Resources is a new feature on the Department of California web site. It is basically a link to a Dropbox account where we started to share quality graphics with our Legionnaires.


From a link to the Dropbox graphic on the Resources page of the web site, you can access the web team Dropbox account. You do not need a Dropbox account to download the graphic files.

The ‘American Legion’ folder contains graphics developed at the National office. We are making them available in our Dropbox, as higher quality graphics than you might otherwise find on the internet and to make them easier to find. We did the searching for you

The ‘Department of California’ folder contains graphics developed by our web team. You cannot use them to make money. We encourage you to use them to help communicate our good Legion message and to make The American Legion stronger. Agreed?

In the ‘Department of California’ folder is a folder titled, ‘2016-2017 Department Leaders’ this folder contains photos of our key department leaders. The large majority of these pictures were taken by Lillian Moss, Department Historian. More pictures will be added as time goes by and they will always identify who is in the picture and if possible, what leadership role the person holds.

If you would like the web team to help you access other graphic images or photos, just send your request in an e-mail (please include a contact phone #) to:


We will do our best to serve you. For God and Country.

American Flags

Veteran's Crisis Line

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Current Events

January 21, 10-12 p.m.
American Legion Extension Institute (ALEI)
Post 43, Hollywood

January 26, 27, 28
District Revitalizations
District 24
District 5 & 28

March 10 - 12, 2017
Department Executive Committee (DEC)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Department Calendar Photo Contest
Photo Contest Flier

Saturday, March 4, 2017
State Oratorical Contest
Oratorical Contest Flier

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Post Adjutant Page



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Book of Reports




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American Legion Extension Institute (ALEI)

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I'm One. I Served. I'm a Veteran. Women Veterans Hotline.
Female Veterans, looking for support? Call the Women Veterans Hotline.

1-855-VA-WOMEN  (829-6636)


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