Welcome to the Post 291 membership and command year for 2019-2020! We have a new Executive Board and we’re looking forward to a great, successful year of Post 291 fulfilling its Number 1 Mission: Serving our fellow military veterans and their families.
At the outset, I want to emphasize that this Executive Board is committed to and will:
- Serve with honesty, integrity, highest character, transparency, and fair play.
- Obey and comply with all laws and regulations:
- Obey all Federal, State, and Local laws;
- Comply with all American Legion Rules, Regulations, and Policies; and
- Comply with all Post 291 Constitution, Bylaws, Rules, Regulations, and Policies.
In addition, Robert’s Rules and Post 291 Bylaws govern the conduct of all Post 291 meetings.
And since we need everyone’s support in accomplishing our mission for military veterans, it’s very important for all of us to have an understanding of how Post 291 is organized and operates.
Executive Board — 2019 – 2020
The Post 291 Executive Board for the 2019–2020 command year includes nine newly elected members, six members continuing on from the previous command year, and three appointed officers.
Members of the four Standing Committees prescribed by the Post 291 Bylaws have also been appointed and approved by the Executive Board at its meeting on Tuesday 2 July.
- 1. The Finance Committee, with seven members, is chaired by Finance Officer Bob Wine.
- 2. The House Committee, with eight members, is chaired by Adjutant Mike Berdine.
- 3. The Judicial Committee, with six members, is chaired by Judge Advocate Burt McChesney.
- 4. And the SAL Committee, with four members, is chaired by First Vice Commander Bob Brennan.
Three other committees have also been appointed.
- 1. The Donations Committee, with seven Post 291 members and four “associate” members from the other Post 291 Family organizations, is chaired by Service Officer Chase Wickersham. With the leadership of Chase Wickersham, this committee is initiating an innovative approach of coordinating the fundraising and donation activities of all the Post 291 Family organizations.
- 2. The Audit Committee, with three members, is chaired by Sverre Thomassen. This committee is essential to establishing and ensuring effective financial controls at the Post for proper fiduciary stewardship.
- 3. The Yacht Clubs Committee, with seven members, is chaired by Frank Reinhart. The primary objective of this temporary committee is to arrive at recommendation to the Executive Board for the satisfactory resolution of the arrangements with the Veterans 291 Yacht Club and the American Legion Yacht Club.
— Membership of all these committees will be published on the Post website.
Post 291 Family
The Post 291 Family plays a vital role in the success of Post 291 in serving our military veterans and their families. All these organizations — Auxiliary Unit 291, SAL Squadron 291, and the American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC) — have been and continue to be very effective in fundraising, donations, and community service. — And they’re fun and exciting organizations for their members to be a part of as well.
In addition, Post 291 is extremely fortunate to have a current staff of exceptionally capable, conscientious, and dedicated employees. There are about 40 Post employees, and most are part-time and hourly. There are only 12 full-time employees, and of those only three are salaried. But they all make the whole place work in serving all our Post 291 Family members and their guests at the Post.
American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC)
Contrary to any information or impressions that may have been conveyed over the past couple of years, ALYC is — and always has been since its inception — a Program of Post 291. Article VIII of the Post 291 Constitution and Article 5.1. of the Post 291 Bylaws make that very clear — and neither the Post 291 Constitution nor the Post 291 Bylaws has ever been amended to change that. At the Executive Board meeting on Tuesday 2 July 2019, the so-called “termination” of ALYC by the Executive Board at its meeting on Thursday 6 December 2018 was determined to be — under Post 291 Constitution and Bylaws, California State Law for Mutual Benefit Nonprofit Corporations, and Robert’s Rules — null and void, and was vacated. In addition, the Executive Board received correspondence from the American Legion Yacht Club on Tuesday 2 July 2019 thoroughly documenting full compliance by ALYC with the “Five Rules” from National American Legion. As a result, the Executive Board revoked and removed the suspension of ALYC that had been approved by the Executive Board at its meeting on Thursday 6 September 2018.
A letter was sent to National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler on Tuesday 9 July 2019 confirming that ALYC is in full compliance with the Five Rules and continues to be — as it has been since its founding in 1966 — a Program of Post 291.
And ALYC is authorized to immediately resume activities on Post 291 property with full access to and use of American Legion Yacht Club assets, resources, and property; and ALYC may immediately and fully restore reciprocity with other yacht clubs.
Because of the controversy about ALYC at Post 291 over the past year or so, it’s important to present a one-time expanded discussion of the organization.
Some History of Post 291 and ALYC — and Context
The American Legion Yacht Club was formed by military veterans — members of Post 291 — in 1966, and was incorporated in 1967 as a California Mutual Benefit Nonprofit Corporation. Therefore, ALYC has been in existence for over half the lifetime of Post 291 itself, which was established in 1924.
The specific purposes of ALYC, as stated in the second article of its Articles of Incorporation, “are to bring together those persons who are interested in boating and yachting in order to further and promote the sport and sportsman-like conduct of those interested in the sport.” And the ALYC Bylaws, Article III, further state that: “The purpose of this Club shall be to encourage yacht racing and cruising, to promote the science of seamanship and navigation, and with the parent American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291 to provide a suitable clubhouse and marina for the education, recreational, and social use of its members and families.”
Further, ALYC is governed by Post 291 members — military veterans — since, under ALYC Bylaws, only members of Post 291 may serve as Officers and Directors of ALYC. In addition, as stated in Post 291 Bylaws, Article 5.2., “The American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC) is self-governing with their own Bylaws.”
Not surprisingly, given the unique venue of Post 291 right on the water in Newport Beach, the histories of Post 291 and ALYC since 1966 have been integrally entwined — with a result being that Post 291 has been closely involved in the boating community. Although Post 291, as an entity, operates and manages the marina and leasehold property, ALYC is the “nautical adjunct” to the Post for providing and conducting on-the-water related activities and events. In an “arms length” business arrangement, ALYC pays rent to the Post for use of the Hut, for slip fees for its two sailboats, and for dry storage of its trailerable utility boat. In turn, the Post enables yacht club reciprocity by allowing visiting members of other yacht clubs to sign in as guests and use Post amenities — primarily, the bar, restaurant, and Guest Dock.
ALYC has brought a great amount of favorable community admiration, respect, and credit for the Post as well as for itself through its many community service activities. The annual Sail for the Visually Impaired is an immensely popular humanitarian event for blind and partially sighted individuals who look forward each year to be able to spend a few hours on the water and sailing. The Fourth of July Old Glory Boat Parade is another long tradition of ALYC that emphasizes patriotism and celebration of our Nation’s Independence Day — and underscores the American Legion Pillar of Americanism. And ALYC is noted for its sponsorship of numerous highly regarded sailboat races and other boating activities that invite and encourage participation of other yachting and boating organizations in Newport Harbor, Orange County, and throughout Southern California. As a result of its extensive and highly successful involvement in boating activities, ALYC has won the coveted and prestigious “Club of the Year” award nine times from the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA).
Moreover, ALYC offers major ways for the Post to appeal to younger military veterans. ALYC provides youth sailing courses each summer for children eight to eighteen, with a certified US Sailing Association instructor and a fleet of the latest technology in beginner sailboats. Further, ALYC has an exceptionally popular and active Dive and Snorkel group; cruising and racing programs; and two sailboats that members may check out and sail on Newport Harbor. It also has opportunities for members to participate as Race Committee members in running sailboat races. And soon, it may provide model yachting (model sailboats), which has great appeal to younger Post members and their children. — In summary, ALYC is a major player and influence in attracting new members to Post 291.
Fourth of July
Post 291 enjoyed a fabulous Fourth of July this year! The SAL Squadron again sponsored an exceptionally successful Pancake Breakfast open to the public. The Auxiliary Unit again graciously hosted 250 Make-A-Wish children and their families in the Main Hall, including providing them with a delicious pancake breakfast and entertainment with face painting and balloon art. ALYC sponsored the annual Old Glory Boat Parade, featuring dozens of patriotically decorated boats proceeding around Newport Harbor — with several boats carrying active duty military members and the lead VIP boat with the Grand Marshal, Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon. And our outstanding kitchen staff provided a superb lunch on the West Patio. — In all, the Fourth of July was another grand celebration of Independence Day at Post 291!
Our Post 291 Honor Guard continued to excel and to bring special recognition for themselves — and to Post 291 — with its First Place win in the Honor Guard competition at the Department of California Convention in Ontario, CA, last month. And next month, they will again be competing at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis. — Congratulations to them, and best of luck in the next competition!
Coming up next month is an especially important annual event, the World War II and Korean War Veterans Luncheon, to be held at the Post on Thursday 15 August. The usual full-capacity turnout is expected again this year, and Veterans Park will be reserved for additional parking. All WW II and Korean War veterans are invited and encouraged to attend this nostalgic and entertaining event that provides an opportunity for veterans of that era to share memories and some time with each other.
Also next month is the annual American Legion National Convention, to be held in Indianapolis from Thursday 22 August to Thursday 29 August. The Post 291 Honor Guard and other Post 291 officers will attend the Convention.
Throughout the coming year, there are numerous social events and activities going on at the Post. In addition, there are weekly events and entertainment at the Post that members are encouraged to enjoy. As former Post Commander Randy Eling used to like to say, “this is our foxhole.” This Post is a special and unique place for military veterans and their families. — Please come and enjoy it with your family and friends!