April 28, 2013
The leader of the American Legion visited the Pikes Peak region in mid-April, lauding the decision to downgrade a medal for cyber and drone warfare while calling for Legion posts to seek younger members.
James Koutz, the Legion’s national commander, talked with members of Post 5 in downtown Colorado Springs as part of a worldwide tour to increase awareness for veterans issues.
Koutz said he voiced his concerns to President Barack Obama regarding the decision to create the Distinguished Warfare Medal — a medal for accomplishments including cyber and drone warfare that was ranked higher than the Bronze Star.
The Pentagon on April 15 announced it would scrap plans for the medal, instead opting to create a distinguishing device, which is affixed to other awards.
“We thank him for that,” Koutz said.
Koutz said Legion posts across the country struggle in reaching out to younger veterans, specifically those who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.
He recommended that posts reach out to the news media for events, as well as modernizing their buildings to better cater to younger veterans. He suggested posts begin by equipping each building with wireless Internet.
“We’ve been going far too long the other way,” Koutz said.
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