American Legion Elects 2009-2010 Commander

Jul 13, 2009, 17:11 ET from American Legion Department of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, July 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 57-year-old Vietnam Veteran from Garrett, Indiana, has been elected State Commander of The Indiana Department of The American Legion.


Robert E. Newman, a 41-year life member of the wartime veterans' organization, was elected by delegates to the 91st annual state convention in Indianapolis July 11, 2009.

Newman served as a radar man in the United States Navy from 1965 to 1969 aboard, first, the USS Bonhomme Richard and, subsequently, the USS Long Beach. The Long Beach was the Navy's first nuclear powered surface ship and was stationed in Haiphong Harbor off the coast of North Vietnam, where it tracked Navy bombers into and out of the combat zones, performed rescue operations for downed airmen, and scored the first ever shoot-down of an enemy aircraft by missile.

Newman retired from the United States Postal Service after a 33-year career which included a five-year stint as Postmaster at Butler, Indiana. He is a 41-year member of Aaron Scisinger American Legion Post 178 in Garrett and has served continuously in Legion offices since 1973.

In a long-standing tradition for newly elected commanders, Newman announced an ambitious fund-raising objective for his year in office. He hopes to provide a pair of six-person golf-cart style transporters to the VA Health Care facilities at both Fort Wayne and Marion.

The Legion historically has supplied VA facilities with a variety of needs exceeding those routinely provided by the federal government, ranging from driving test equipment to patient room amenities to vehicles. According to Newman, none of the estimated $40,000 needed to acquire the transporters will come from Legion funds; rather he will rely, as he said "on the generosity of Legionnaires and his own persuasive skills."

Newman will serve as the top executive in the Indiana American Legion until July 2010.

The Legionnaires also elected four regional vice commanders to serve with Newman. They are Clyde Colgrove of Munster, James B. May of Bloomington, Mike Davis of Warsaw, and David Sharber of Mount Vernon.

W. Darrell Hansel of Vevay was elected to a seat on the National Organization's Board of Directors - the National Executive Committee - and Paul Steward of Elkhart was elected alternate. Gary Parker of Fort Wayne will serve as Sergeant at Arms and Anthony Riley of Whitestown was re-elected State Finance Officer.

SOURCE American Legion Department of Indiana