Friday, February 8, 2008

Legion post seeks Gulf-Iraq wars members

Express Staff Writer

Maurice Charlat

Men and women who responded to the "Uncle Sam Wants You!" recruiting appeal of the U.S. armed forces are now the objects of "The American Legion Wants You" plea—especially veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the current Iraq war.

In fact, only three of the estimated 221 members of the David Ketchum American Legion Post No. 115 are veterans of the most recent major U.S. military expeditions abroad, according to post commander Maurice Charlat.

He said he estimates that World War II veterans (36 members) account for 16 percent of the post makeup; Korean War vets (66 members) account for 30 percent, while Vietnam War veterans (72) compose 33 percent. Charlat said 44 others are unclassifiable for any of the specific major wars.

Charlat said all military personnel on active duty are being sought for membership, as well as those who've left the services.

He said younger veterans may have overlooked the benefit of joining the Legion because they're occupied raising young families and establishing their careers.

He said the Ketchum Legion post not only provides the camaraderie veterans were accustomed to during their activity duty, but the post needs veterans to assist in several programs involving wounded and disabled vets, particularly the Sun Valley Adaptive Sports and Wood River Ability program hosting patients from the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

"We want to get the word out that everyone is welcome," Charlat said.

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