The American Legion
Established March 15, 1919 Founded at Paris, France Type 501(c)(19), war veterans' organization 35-0144250 Headquarters 700 North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, Indiana Coordinates 39°46?37?N 86°09?22?W / 39.7770°N 86.1562°W
(2018) ~1,800,000 James W. Oxford ( NC) Since August 29, 2019 Francis J. MacDonald ( MA) Since August 29, 2019 David L. King ( KY) Since August 29, 2019 Robert D. Liebenow ( OR) Since August 29, 2019 Bruce C. Feuerbach ( IA) Since August 29, 2019 Richard A. Heigert ( MO) Since August 29, 2019
National Executive Committee
61 voting members
6 national officers
National Headquarters Executive Director James Baca Washington Office Executive Director Chanin Nuntavong
National Convention Subsidiaries Secessions Forty and Eight Website legion .org
American Legion, commonly known as the Legion, is a nonprofit organization of U.S. war veterans headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is made up of state, U.S. territory, and overseas departments, and these are in turn made up of local posts. The organization was formed on March 15, 1919, in Paris, France, by a thousand officers and men of the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.), and it was  chartered on September 16, 1919, by the United States Congress.
Roadside American Legion sign, Lubec, Maine
The Legion played the leading role in the drafting and passing of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the "
G.I. Bill". In addition to organizing commemorative events, members provide assistance at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics. It is active in issue-oriented U.S. politics. Its primary political activity is lobbying on behalf of interests of veterans and service members, including support for benefits such as pensions and the Veterans Health Administration. It has also historically promoted  Americanism, individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; peace and good will.
The American Legion was established in
Paris, France, March 15, 1919, by a thousand officers and men, delegates from all the units of the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.) to an organization caucus meeting, which adopted a tentative constitution. The action of the Paris meeting was confirmed and endorsed by a similar meeting held in St. Louis, May 8 to 10, 1919, when the Legion was formally recognized by the troops who served in the United States. The Paris caucus appointed an Executive Committee of seventeen officers and men to represent the troops in France in the conduct of the Legion. The St. Louis caucus appointed a similar Committee of Seventeen. These two national executive committees amalgamated and were the initial governing body of the Legion. The temporary headquarters was located in New York.
List of founding members
The men who initiated the formation of the Legion:
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., of the First Division Col.
Henry D. Lindsley, formerly Mayor of Dallas, Texas Sgt. John J. Sullivan, of
Seattle Lt. Col.
Franklin D'Olier, of Philadelphia Ex-
Senator Luke Lea, of Tennessee Lt. Col. Frederick Huidekoper, of
Washington, D.C. Major Redmond C. Stewart, of
Baltimore Wagoner Dale Shaw, of
Iowa Lt. Col.
George A. White, of Oregon
"Bill" Donovan, of the " Fighting 69th" Major Thomas R. Gowenlock, of
Earl B. Dickerson, of the 92nd Division Sgt.
Alvin York, of Tennessee Col. John Price Jackson, of the
S. O. S. Lt. Col.
"Jack" Greenway, of Arizona Sgt. Roy C. Haines, of
G. Edward Buxton, Jr., of Rhode Island
Eric Fisher Wood, of Pennsylvania Chaplain John W. Inzer, of
Alabama Lt. Col. David M. Goodrich, of
Akron Chief Petty Officer B. J. Goldberg, of
Chicago "Tom" Miller, of
Delaware Major Alex. Laughlin, Jr., of
Pittsburgh Major Henry Leonard, of the
Dwight F. Davis, of the 35th Division Corporal Charles S. Pew, of
Montana Brig. Gen.
William G. Price, of the 28th Division Bishop
Charles H. Brent, Senior Chaplain of the A. E. F. Maj. Gen.
John F. O'Ryan, of the 27th Division
Stewart Edward White, of California Private Jesus M. Baca, of
New Mexico Brig. Gen.
Charles H. Cole, of the 26th Division Sgt. E. L. Malsbary, of
Nevada Lt. Samuel Gompers, Jr., of
New York Col.
Henry L. Stimson, Ex- Secretary of War Lt. Col.
Charles W. Whittlesey, Commander of the " Lost Battalion"
Roy Hoffman, of Oklahoma Lt. Col.
A. Piatt Andrew, of the American Ambulance in France Brig. Gen. Harvey J. Moss, of the
State of Washington John MacVicar, Mayor of
Des Moines before the War Sgt. George H. H. Pratt, of
New Orleans Col.
F. C. Galbraith, of Cincinnati Corporal Joseph H. Fountain, of
Devereux Milburn, of the 78th Division Lt. Col. Wilbur Smith, of the
89th Division Sgt. Theodore Myers, of
Bennett C. Clark, son of Champ Clark Robert Bacon, Ex- Secretary of State
The national headquarters, informally known as American Legion headquarters, is located on the
Indiana World War Memorial Plaza at 700 North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. It is the headquarters for the National Commander of The American Legion and also houses the Legion's archives, library, Membership, Internal Affairs, Public Relations, and The American Legion magazine's editorial offices. The headquarters has since experienced multiple expansions since its establishment.
Membership in the Legion was originally restricted to U.S. soldiers, sailors, and Marines who served
honorably between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918. Eligibility has since been expanded to include  military personnel who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, or armed forces associated with the U.S., between December 7, 1941, through a date of cessation of hostilities as determined by the  government of the U.S., and was an American citizen when they entered that service or continues to serve honorably.  U.S. Merchant marines who served between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, are also eligible.
The organization's official publication in its initial phase was a magazine called
The American Legion Weekly, launched on July 4, 1919. This publication switched its frequency and renamed itself  The American Legion Monthly in 1926. In 1936 the publication's name and volume numbering system changed again, this time to  The American Legion.
Notable members of The American Legion have included:
List of National Commanders
Franklin D'Olier, Pennsylvania, 1919-1920
Frederic W. Galbraith, Jr., Ohio, 1920-1921 John G. Emery,
Hanford MacNider, Iowa, 1921-1922
Alvin M. Owsley, Texas, 1922-1923
John R. Quinn, California, 1923-1924 James A. Drain, Washington, 1924-1925
John R. McQuigg,
Howard P. Savage, Illinois, 1926-1927 Edward E. Spafford, New York, 1927-1928
Paul V. McNutt, Indiana, 1928-1929 O. L. Bodenhamer,
Ralph T. O'Neil, Kansas, 1930-1931 Henry L. Stevens, Jr.,
North Carolina, 1931-1932
Louis A. Johnson, West Virginia, 1932-1933
Edward A. Hayes, Illinois, 1933-1934 Frank N. Belgrano, California, 1934-1935
Ray Murphy, Iowa, 1935-1936
Harry W. Colmery, Kansas, 1936-1937 Daniel J. Doherty,
Massachusetts, 1937-1938 Stephen F. Chadwick, Washington, 1938-1939
Raymond J. Kelly, Michigan, 1939-1940
Milo J. Warner, Ohio, 1940-1941
Lynn U. Stambaugh,
North Dakota, 1941-1942 Roane Waring, Tennessee, 1942-1943
Warren H. Atherton, California, 1943-1944 Edward N. Scheiberling, New York, 1944-1945
John Stelle, Illinois, 1945-1946 Paul H. Griffith,
Pennsylvania, 1946-1947 James F. O'Neill,
New Hampshire, 1947-1948 S. Perry Brown, Texas, 1948-1949
George N. Craig, Indiana, 1949-1950
Erle Cocke, Jr., Georgia, 1950-1951 Donald R. Wilson, West Virginia, 1951-1952
Lewis K. Gough, California, 1952-1953
Arthur J. Connell,
Connecticut, 1953-1954 Seaborn P. Collins, New Mexico, 1954-1955
J. Addington Wagner, Michigan, 1955-1956
Dan Daniel, Virginia, 1956-1957
John S. Gleason, Jr., Illinois, 1957-1958 Preston J. Moore, Oklahoma, 1958-1959
Martin B. McKneally, New York, 1959-1960 William R. Burke, California, 1960-1961
Charles L. Bacon,
Missouri, 1961-1962 James E. Powers, Georgia, 1962-1963
Daniel F. Foley,
Minnesota, 1963-1964 Donald E. Johnson, Iowa, 1964-1965
L. Eldon James, Virginia, 1965-1966
John E. Davis, North Dakota, 1966-1967
William E. Galbraith, Nebraska, 1967-1968 William C. Doyle,
New Jersey, 1968-1969 J. Milton Patrick, Oklahoma, 1969-1970
Alfred P. Chamie, California, 1970-1971
John H. Geiger, Illinois, 1971-1972 Joe L. Matthews, Texas, 1972-1973
Robert E. L. Eaton,
Maryland, 1972-1973 James M. Wagonseller, Ohio, 1974-1975
Harry G. Wiles, Kansas, 1975-1976
William J. Rogers,
Maine, 1976-1977 Robert C. Smith,
Louisiana, 1977-1978 John M. Carey, Michigan, 1978-1979
Frank I. Hamilton, Indiana, 1979-1980
Michael J. Kogutek, New York, 1980-1981
Jack W. Flynt, Texas, 1981-1982
Al Keller, Jr., Illinois, 1982-1983
Keith A. Kreul,
Wisconsin, 1983-1984 Clarence M. Bacon, Maryland, 1984-1985
Dale L. Renaud, Iowa, 1985-1986
James P. Dean,
Mississippi, 1986-1987 John P. Comer, Massachusetts, 1987-1988
H. F. Gierke III, North Dakota, 1988-1989 Miles S. Epling, West Virginia, 1989-1990
Robert S. Turner, Georgia, 1990-1991
Dominic D. DiFrancesco,
Pennsylvania, 1991-1992 Roger A. Munson, Ohio, 1992-1993
Bruce Thiesen, California, 1993-1994
William M. Detweiler, Louisiana, 1994-1995
Daniel A. Ludwig, Minnesota, 1995-1996
Joseph J. Frank, Missouri, 1996-1997
Anthony G. Jordan, Maine, 1997-1998
Harold L. Miller, Virginia, 1998-1999
Alan G. Lance, Sr., Idaho, 1999-2000 Ray G. Smith, North Carolina, 2000-2001
Richard J. Santos, Maryland, 2001-2002
Ronald F. Conley,
John A. Brieden III, Texas, 2003-2004 Thomas P. Cadmus, Michigan, 2004-2005
Thomas L. Bock,
Colorado, 2005-2006 Paul A. Morin, Massachusetts, 2006-2007
Martin F. Conatser, Illinois, 2007-2008
David K. Rehbein, Iowa, 2008-2009
Clarence E. Hill,
Florida, 2009-2010 Jimmie L. Foster,
Fang A. Wong, New York, 2011-2012 James E. Koutz, Indiana, 2012-2013
Daniel Dellinger, Virginia, 2013-2014
Michael D. Helm, Nebraska, 2014-2015
Dale Barnett, Georgia, 2015-2016
Charles E. Schmidt, Oregon, 2016-2017
Denise H. Rohan, Wisconsin, 2017-2018
Brett P. Reistad, Virginia, 2018-2019
James W. Oxford, North Carolina, 2019-2020
List of Honorary Commanders
List of past National Commanders by vote of National Conventions
Henry D. Lindsley, Texas, 1919
Milton J. Foreman, Illinois, 1921 Bennett Champ Clark, Missouri, 1926
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., New York, 1949
Eric Fisher Wood, Pennsylvania, 1955
Thomas W. Miller, Nevada, 1968 Maurice Stember, New York, 1975
Hamilton Fish III, New York, 1979 E. Roy Stone, Jr.,
South Carolina, 1987 Robert W. Spanogle, Michigan, 2008
Wheat 1919, pp. 14, 19, 206, 209
"American Legion Day". The American Legion Magazine. Indianapolis, Indiana. September 2016. p. 8. ISSN 0886-1234.
Burtin, Olivier (2020). "Veterans as a Social Movement: The American Legion, the First Hoover Commission, and the Making of the American Welfare State". Social Science History. 44 (2): 329-354. doi: 10.1017/ssh.2020.5. ISSN 0145-5532.
Wheat 1919, pp. v, vi
Wheat 1919, pp. 206-207
Wheat 1919, pp. 207-208
^ American Legion:
"Office Locations, accessed December 30, 2010
Wheat 1919, p. 206
National Constitution and By-laws. Indianapolis, Indiana: The American Legion National Headquarters. February 2016. p. 3.
"11 key things to know about the LEGION Act". The American Legion. August 6, 2019 . Retrieved 2019.
"Membership in The American Legion". The American Legion Magazine. Indianapolis, IN. September 2016. p. 5. ISSN 0886-1234.
The American Legion Weekly, OCLC 1480272. Master negative microfilm held by University Microfilms, now part of ProQuest.
, The American Legion Monthly OCLC 1781656.
American Legion Magazine, OCLC 1480271.
^ a b
. Indianapolis, Ind.: The American Legion. 1927. p. The American Legion Ninth Annual Convention: Official Program and Guide Book 115 – via Internet Archive.
Littlewood, Thomas B. (2004). . Carbondale: Soldiers Back Home: The American Legion in Illinois, 1919-1939 Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN . 080932587X OCLC 54461886.
McFarland, Keith D. & Roll, David L. (2005). . Bloomington, IN: Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years Indiana University Press. pp. 24-26. ISBN . 978-0-253-34626-1 OCLC 1023102538. OL 22709936M.
Moley, Raymond (1966). . New York: The American Legion Story Duell, Sloan and Pearce. ISBN . 978-0809325870 OCLC 712139.
Moorhead, Robert L. (1920). "Chapter XXI: The American Legion". The Story of the 139th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces. Indianapolis, Indiana: The Bobbs-Merrill Company. pp. 179-182. OCLC 263171531 – via Internet Archive.
National Executive Committee of The American Legion (October 17, 2019). "Resolution No. 10: 100th Anniversary Remembrance Of Our Comrades In The 1919 Centralia Tragedy" (PDF). The American Legion Digital Archive. Indianapolis, Indiana: The American Legion . Retrieved 2020.
Pencak, William (1989). For God & Country: The American Legion, 1919-1941. Boston: Northeastern University Press. ISBN . 1555530508 OCLC 18682663. Spencer, Dewey, ed. (1979). History of The American Legion, Department of Arkansas, 1919-1979. Little Rock.