The 101st American Legion Department of Wisconsin Convention Friday July, 19th Host Committee Report

Day Two: Opening Ceremony, Wisconsin American Legion Press Association Board Member Meeting and Board Member Appointment, and a Whole Lotta GNUTS

Opening Ceremony:

Today kicked off the Department of Wisconsin American Legion Convention ceremony with a beautiful performance of the National Anthem by Department Commander Frank Kotska’s granddaughter. Her performance was nothing short of pure solid gold. After the Pledge of Allegiance and American Legion Constitution were recited, Gurdio Brak, the Mayor of Middleton, gave a speech thanking the members of the American Legion for hosting his son with the Badger Boys State. His son is a Professor of Physics at UW Madison. Department Commander Frank Kotska presented him with a plaque.

Major General Dunbar-Director of Homeland Security and Wisconsin National Guard Commander’s Presentaion:

At 0926 hours, Major General Dunbar presented to Legionnaires a slideshow of the various facets of our Wisconsin National Guard who proudly proclaimed, “the 115th Fighter Wing is scheduled to receive F35 Fighter Jet; the second National Guard unit in the nation, which is the sixth to receive in the Air Force.”

According to Major General Dunbar, our National Guard of Wisconsin has well over 1,000 members deployed in the Middle East with women in the guard leading male-dominated communities to seek diversity. Women in uniform are leading middle east communities.

Lastly, Major General Dunbar went on to share the story of June 6th, the D-Day Invasion, who was invited to the 75th Anniversary in Normandy. His story was about overcoming obstacles. He went on to quote Bruce Springsteen who wrote, “My father said son, were lucky in this town…your flag flying over the courthouse means certain things are set in stone. What we are, what we will do and what we won’t.”

Major General Dunbar left the audience with a powerful ending about our presence in the community as veterans who said, “we defend it, and what we won’t do is ever let this country down.”

Check out this link to see more of the 115th Fighter Wing F35 action:

Commander Kotska Presents Mike Hert—DAV Commander

After witnessing a powerful display of emotion by our State of Wisconsin Adjutant, DAV Commander Mike Hert followed suit. As a Service Officer, I have been through the ringer with VA claims and instantly related to Hert’s story. His compelling truths became evident as to why we strive as Legionnaires to care for one another. Hert spoke of the earlier years where veteran organizations had rivalries between each other during the World War 1 and World War 2 era. He went on to state, “we didn’t always acknowledge one another.”

Hert’s emphasis was of humility who stated, ” I am a disabled veteran, please help me…this is a national disgrace! No more! No more!” Hert went on to share these words were spoken by Robert Marx post World War 1, founder of Disabled American Veterans. Marx claimed the DAV mission was service and advocacy.

Hert stated, “Empowering veterans by leading high quality lives with dignity and respect is how we as a veteran community survive.” Hert went onto quote Abraham Lincoln’s, “a house divided cannot stand” who believed veterans must stand for one another.

Hert’s closing statement lit my PTSD and veteran suicide advocacy by making clear in his statement, “when we stand together as veterans, we are an unstoppable force.”

Thank you Commander Dunbar and Commander Hert for your powerful words. As a member of both the American Legion and DAV I appreciate the influence you both brought to our convention.

Wisconsin American Legion Press Association Board Member Meeting and Board Member Appointment:

At 1300 hours, the Wisconsin American Legion Press Association met in Salon A to discuss the future of the Badger Legionnaire. We were informed the Badger Legionnaire would be going to six newspaper prints for the next year due to cost and demand. Department Communications would like the posts to become more engaged through blogs, websites, and Facebook pages to reach their members to keep cost down. I decided to become a board member to help lead our future Legionnaires learn how to write blogs through my WordPress website blogs called “Outpost 422.”

We are also looking to combine our efforts to converge throughout our districts on one Facebook page for posts to share blogs from. Outpost 422 will be writing blogs for the American Legion Communications Archive Exchange on Facebook and will gladly assist our members and officers with creating blogs. As a board member, I suggested we all meet on one page to share our notes as post level communications and archive. You can print out blogs for those who are unable to access digital mediums, which help out with waste by keeping what you like and leaving the rest.

We are also looking to the future to collaborate at the district level to encourage our districts to update their communications medium through websites.

The American Legion Communications Archive Exchange through Outpost 422 admin can be found here:

Employer Awards:

Thank you employers listed for your excellent dedication to hiring veterans in our community. These employers were recognized by the Wisconsin Departement of the American Legion for their exceptional gallantry above and beyond the call to assist the veteran community.

Being a Legionnaire take GNUTS—the GNUTS Social Meeting for Adjutants

Commander Tom pointed me to the GNUTS Committee meeting who told me “they get pretty rowdy” and warned me not to punch anyone. He encourages me to try out all the meetings and opportunites to explore what the Legion offers. Outpost 422 is a honors Practicum writing program I am designing as the GM of Broadcast for the Madison College Clarion to educate veterans about becoming bloggers. Blogging starts with fast-writing, which is why I am pursuing being an Adjutant when the opportunity presents itself. GNUTS Adjutant Club had me a little uneasy at first, but quickly warmed up when Commander Kotska said, “Smile! Take it easy! Nobody is going to rough you up.”

The Adjutant saying goes, “What goes on at the GNUTS club, stays at the GNUTS Club. If you wanna know more, become an Adjutant and pay the $5 to find out.”

The money we raised went to several agencies to assist veterans. GNUTS is a good time fundraising group and invite all who would like to become Adjutants to let you know it takes a lot of GNUTS to be one.

Closing Food for Thought:

Tomorrow will host two excellent speakers and am looking forward to sharing with you all the many more great things to come. God Bless the American Legion.


Bradley J. Burt

American Legion Post 501 Madison, WI, Service Officer

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