When it comes to organizations that support veterans, there are many to choose from. Each group has its own qualifications for membership and some are limited to a specific service connection. Examples are the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Korean War Veterans. Some groups are inclusive of all military services but have other requirements for membership, such as the Disabled American Veterans and the Blinded Veterans Association.
As its name implies, the Association of the United States Army is made up of Army veterans but it is open to anyone who supports the history and mission of America’s Army, explained Southern Nevada chapter President Ken Salazar.
The association promotes itself as a private, nonprofit educational organization that supports all aspects of America’s Army: active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retirees, veterans, cadets, family members, government civilians and concerned citizens.
“The organization is open to anyone who supports the Army’s objectives and a strong, national defense,” said retired Sgt. 1st Class Salazar.
The local chapter is named after explorer John C. Fremont, who famously explored the West and has several cities and streets named after him. “One of the main reasons we decided to go with the name John C. Fremont is because he has a tremendous history to our pioneering days in America, helping to grow the nation into what it is today.”
Salazar said one of the AUSA’s activities is being a voice on Capitol Hill, advocating for the Army, soldiers and their families. The group provides education through publications and information concerning what is said to be the critical nature of land forces and the importance of the U.S. Army.
Salazar added that members benefit by connecting with and supporting other members, soldiers and their families. The chapter holds meetings and sponsors dinners and other area activities.
In the political arena, the association is busy in Washington outlining what a spokesman said are actions required to fund, maintain and modernize a combat-ready, all-volunteer American army that is ready to defend the nation in an unpredictable world.
Salazar said ASUA, in particular, wants Congress to pass the fiscal year 2020 defense, construction and veterans appropriations act prior to Oct. 1 to avoid what could be destabilizing effects of continuing resolutions.
Each year, the association publishes a paper that focuses on a range of legislation that is pro-Army.
Among other topics, this year the paper is asking Washington to support improved military modernization, upgraded military housing, wider medical eligibility for National Guard and Reservists and survivor benefits.
In addition to an annual convention held in various U.S. cities, the association sponsors educational forays for members around the world.
“We’ve held gatherings in Paris, France and in the United Arab Emirates,” Salazar said. The 2019 convention next month in D.C. mirrors just how large and influential the membership is.
According to published material, the gathering will attract 30,000 attendees and 700 vendors, including hundreds of Congressional officials and their staffers.
While I am not a member, I do plan to attend the convention to learn about the latest military weaponry, tactics and programs.
The convention provides an opportunity for anyone to meet with tacticians, planners and military strategists and take a brief look into the future of our armed forces.
Salazar is looking to add to the local membership and stresses that one does not have to be a veteran to join. Individuals interested in additional information can contact him at email@example.com.
Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.