Commander's Blog


"Veterans Groups Are Just For Old Guys"

posted Mar 13, 2015, 11:33 AM by Dean Dyer   [ updated May 1, 2015, 8:35 AM ]

This is a common and unfortunate mindset among young veterans. I know because I felt that way as recently as 10 years ago.  Veterans groups with mostly senior membership face a variety of challenges in reaching young veterans to show them the advantages of joining a veterans group. These factors have led to a decline in membership for all veterans groups nationwide.
I will be posting articles that address this situation over the next few months as I look at how veterans groups can reach their young comrades and stay relevant in the 21st century and beyond.
1 May 2015 Update
Here's a great article describing how one American Legion Post has successfully bridged the age gap

PFC LaVena L. Johnson, casualty of truth

posted Oct 20, 2014, 8:48 PM by Dean Dyer   [ updated Oct 20, 2014, 8:58 PM ]

Today I learned of PFC Johnson's story and felt ill to my stomach.  

YouTube Video


I know that, as with all human situations, there is sexual assault in our armed forces and it is often swept under the rug.  While this is not acceptable, it is a big problem that is finally getting the long needed attention it deserves.  This story, however, took me to a level of disgust and disappointment with my Army that I had never felt before.  I feel compelled to speak out against this obvious cover-up and promote the support of her family in their quest for the truth.  I encourage everyone reading this to support the activities of Protect Our Defenders so that no other family will have to suffer as the Johnson family has.

126th National Encampment

posted Aug 31, 2014, 4:13 PM by Dean Dyer   [ updated Sep 2, 2014, 7:32 PM ]

The event was held 20-23 August 2014 at the Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, Myrtle Beach, SC.  I had the pleasure of meeting many of our Comrades from Ohio, New Jersey and Florida.  I also got to meet many of the Past National Commanders (PNC) and discuss with them the state of the ANU and its history.  Here's a brief outline of the schedule of the encampment.
  • 20 Aug
    • Council of Administration meeting in the evening
      • Garrison #302 charter approved
  • 21 Aug
    • Encampment joint opening ceremony (members and ladies auxiliary)
    • business session & briefings
    • open house at the hospitality suite
  • 22 Aug
    • business session & briefings
    • joint memorial service honoring ANU members who have passed on over the last year
    • caucuses - meetings regarding candidates for National Corps officer posts
    • banquet - National Commander John Montis makes his farewell address and proposes to PNP Rita Fabian
  • 23 Aug
    • election of National Corps Officers
    • installation of new National Corps Officers
    • Council of Administration meeting
Some pictures from the encampment can be seen on our Facebook page

Happy Birthday to LTC Henry A. du Pont!

posted Jul 30, 2014, 10:49 AM by Dean Dyer   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 6:50 AM ]

Born this day in 1838.
Today, we also have our 15 charter officers paperwork finalized
and are now ready to apply for our charter.  A good omen, no doubt.

100 years ago: National Headquarters Moves from Philadelphia to Washington DC

posted Jul 7, 2014, 9:13 AM by Dean Dyer   [ updated Jul 7, 2014, 11:48 AM ]

2 Apr 1914: Washington Herald

Department of New Jersey Encampment

posted Jun 7, 2014, 10:08 PM by Dean Dyer   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 1:43 PM ]


Memorial Ceremony in Wildwood, NJ 
click to enlarge

7 Jun 2014:  I was pleased to attend the 98th Department of New Jersey Encampment today.  Especially pleased to meet the National Commander, John Montis along with National Chaplain Ray Colenaro, Dept of NJ Commander Paul Naphy, Dept of NJ Adjutant (PNC) Jack Cahill, Dept of NJ Surgeon (PNC) Steve Hancock, Dept of NJ Service Officer John Mink and (PNC) Jim Kleyman.  I got to observe the conduct of a department meeting and got a good idea of how things work.  

Garrison #302 will be part of the Department of New Jersey along with Garrisons #51 and #52 in New Jersey and Garrison #65 in Washington, DC.  Almost everyone I met today said roughly the same thing - "oh, you're the Delaware guy."  Nice to know word travels fast in the ANU.

I also learned there was a "Dupont Garrison #105, Penns Grove, NJ" in the past.  Not sure who it was named for but it is one of the many New Jersey ANU Garrisons that have faded from existence.  

note: PNC = past national commander

Memorial Day Discounts

posted May 23, 2014, 8:09 AM by Dean Dyer   [ updated Jun 3, 2014, 6:50 AM ]

I just saw a list on military.com for Memorial Day Events and Discounts.  It brought, once again, the reality of what we are now as a nation - consumers.  That may sound obvious because all people are consumers.  But its the commercialization of everything that I'm talking about and how every holiday is an excuse for a sale or promotion.

I listed the link here because I don't mind the events part, but I have never liked what our greed-driven nation has made of Memorial Day.  Its bad enough that most Americans consider it just the start of summer, just another day off and could care less about its true purpose.  That said, I don't believe any of the sales or promotions are purposefully disrespectful to the holiday.  They just distract people from the kinds of things they should consider doing on Memorial Day. 

We who served, we who know those who made the ultimate sacrifice must work toward reminding the public of what Memorial Day means.  If we called it what it really is, Memorial Day would be "Honored Dead Memorial Day".  I plan to put emphasis on Memorial Day for our garrison and try and preserve its true purpose and just maybe we can make a difference in our community.  Your thoughts and comments are welcome below.

Dean L. Dyer
Commander, Garrison #302

P.S.  I found some interesting information regarding an effort to return Memorial Day to May 30th.


As stated by the late  Senator Daniel Inouye, Medal of Honor recipient:

“Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize our flag to fly at half mast on that day. In addition, this legislation would authorize the President to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as days for prayer and ceremonies honoring American veterans. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation.” (1999 Congressional Record, page S621)

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