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804National President's Message - August 31, 2010

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council
    Aug 31, 2010
      Navy League President's Message

       If you have trouble viewing this email, click here.
                                                                                                                            August 31, 2010 
      Dear Fellow Navy Leaguers,
      In late July, I had the pleasure of being keynote speaker at the Sponsor luncheon preceding commissioning of U.S.S. Missouri (SSN-780) in Groton, Connecticut.  The sponsor for the ship was Rebecca Gates, wife of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  The day prior to the commissioning, it was my pleasure to present the traditional silver tray to the Commanding Officer and crew at the commissioning reception on behalf of the Navy League of the United States, whose U.S.S Missouri Commissioning Committee worked tirelessly to make this event one of the more memorable commissionings in recent memory. 
      U.S.S. Missouri was commissioned on July 31 at Naval Submarine Base New London before 2800 guests.  Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri gave the keynote speech at the commissioning. Highlights of the event included Mrs. Gates’ giving the order to "man our ship and bring her to life."  Sailors assigned to U.S.S. Missouri then boarded the Virginia-class attack submarine and broke the commissioning pennant, the American flag, and SECNAV's pennant.  Sea Cadets from Connecticut units assisted as escorts during the festivities. 
      Navy Leaguers from Eastern Connecticut organized the sponsor luncheon and provided other assistance during the three days.  Shortly after the commissioning, there was a pier-side reception luncheon of real Kansas City Bar-B-Que served by a catering staff flown in by the Committee to provide a selection of the finest beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs.  Navy Leaguers who provided unerring assistance during the three-day event included Sam Bushman, Navy League Midwest Region President and Chairman of U.S.S. Missouri Commissioning Committee, who was intent on setting the bar higher for all commissionings to follow after U.S.S. Missouri.  Also on hand were Wayne Olsen, President of the Eastern Connecticut Council, Connecticut Area President Lou DiGuisto, as well as Empire Region President Bill Evanzia and many Navy Leaguers from New England and around the country. With the help of eleven Navy Leaguers on the committee and a big boost from the Connecticut Navy League, the mark was set as U.S.S. Missouri was brought to life and accepted into the U.S. Navy. Navy League members from Missouri who served on the Commissioning Committee were:
      Edward S. Gray, Secretary (Past President, Mid-Mo Council), Ward W. Cook, Co-Chairman West (Kansas City Council), Capt. David S. Durbin, USN (Ret), Co-Chairman (St. Louis Council), Capt. Robert Fredrickson, USN (Ret). Committeemen (Past President St.  Louis Council), Capt. Doyle Wilhite, USN (Ret). Committeemen (St. Louis Council), Tom Schmitz, Committeemen, (St. Louis Council), Jim Erlinger, Committeemen, (St. Louis Council), Norm Besheer, Committeemen, (Greater Kansas City Council), Dan Lara, Committeemen, (Greater Kansas City Council), Melody Green, Committeewomen, (President, Mid-Mo Council), and RADM J. Stanton Thompson, USN (Ret); Committeemen, (Greater Kansas City Council).  Connecticut Area President Lou DiGuisto was also a committee member.
      The fact that two Navy League Regions and multiple councils in Missouri and Connecticut worked together to make it a great event was significant and shows how a joint effort can be accomplished. Congratulations to all—this was a stunning event!
      The submarines next in line for commissioning are California and Mississippi.  For Navy Leaguers willing to chair a commissioning committee or be members, please contact Bill Waylett at wwaylett@....
      Online registration for the 2010 Navy League National Convention being held in Jacksonville, Florida from October 18-24, 2010, is now available.  Please note that the deadline for Convention registration is October 1, 2010.  The hotel for the event is the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.  The Navy League rate at the hotel is $165/night (Group Code:  NALE).  The deadline for reserving a room at the Navy League rate is September 12, 2010.
      Information regarding the National Convention, Convention registration and hotel registration may be accessed via National Convention 2010 Registration.  
      National Convention Chairman Diane Wright and her committee have developed an exciting program with some terrific optional events.  We are also happy to report that Admiral Gary Roughead, U.S.N., Chief of Naval Operations, will be our keynote speaker at the Convention Dinner on October 23.  A special opportunity is the Kennedy Space Center tour on Tuesday, October 19, 2010, departing at 7:15 a.m. (cost $125/person).  During this guided tour of the world’s largest launch facility, you will get an up-close look at the coastal launch pads that unleashed the power to put people on the moon and send space shuttles to the International Space Station.  The tour culminates at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, home of the largest rocket ever built.  As an added bonus, the tour will include personal insights from Navy League Palm Beach Council member Robert Crippen, a former NASA astronaut and former director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.  Bob, a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, was the pilot of the first orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle program, STS-1 in 1981 and Commander of three additional shuttle flights, among his many assignments at NASA. 
      Other optional events include:


          •  Jacksonville Golf Outing on Monday, October 18, 2010

          •  Historic tour of St. Augustine on Wednesday, October 20, 2010

          •  Welcome Aboard Reception on Wednesday, October 20, 2010

          •  Hall of Fame Luncheon on Thursday, October 21, 2010

          • Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Concert on Thursday, October 21, 2010

          •  Dinner Cruise aboard the Jacksonville Princess II on Thursday, October 21, 2010

              (Please note that the cost of the Dinner Cruise is $81 versus $75 which is listed in

               the August and September issues of Seapower magazine.)

          •  Sea Service Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 22, 2010

          •  Reception/Dinner on Saturday, October 23, 2010
      Additional information concerning the events can be found at the Convention Web Site Navy League National Convention 2010 
      The National Awards Board, chaired by the Honorable J. William Middendorf, II for the past 33 years, met at Navy League Headquarters in July to determine the recipients of the 2010 Annual Sea Service Awards.  These awards are presented to active duty military (enlisted and officer) who have made outstanding contributions to the naval service in specific fields of endeavor during the preceding year.  This year’s award winners will be recognized at the 2010 National Convention in Jacksonville, FL, on Friday, October 22, 2010, during the Sea Service Awards Luncheon. 
      The Navy League’s Seattle Council hosted a marvelous series of Fleet Week events in mid-August.  More than 20,000 visitors toured U.S. and Canadian ships moored in the Port of Seattle during an exciting series of Fleet Week events organized by the Seattle Council. Event co-chairs and Seattle Council members Tom and Diane Jaffa, along with members of the Seattle Council, welcomed six U.S. Navy ships to the Port of Seattle, and hosted several receptions including the annual Chief Performance Officer party, and a Sea Services lunch. Other activities included the Parade of Navy ships, vessel embarks, a Coast Guard demonstration, and “Navy Day” and Canadian events.  Congratulations to the Seattle Council! 
      The Navy League's Greater Los Angeles Council (Navy Belles), which sponsors a college scholarship for Region 11 Sea Cadets, presented Petty Officer Jacqueline Phillips with a check for $10,000 at a recent luncheon meeting in Los Angeles. Phillips, 17, is a member of the Trident Patrol squadron, Point Magu, California, which she joined in 2005. She graduated last spring from high school with a 4.0 GPA and will enter California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the fall.
      We want to remind members about our strategic alliance with The International Propeller Club of the United States (www.propellerclubhq.com.)  The Propeller Club promotes the maritime industry through programs and its partnerships, and has more than 8,000 members in more than 100 local ports around the world.  We ask that all councils appropriately located please make contact with the Propeller Club’s local ports (chapters) in order to enjoy some events with each other.
      As Navy League members, we have been asked to assist in getting out the word to encourage more of our young men and women to seriously consider an application to the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), the Naval Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, or the Coast Guard Academy when they are in the college search mode.  Let’s all tell them about the great education that is available and the great chance for service by attending one of these institutions.
      Several staff changes and new hires have taken place at National. Cynthia Bryant, previously a membership services representative, has been named deputy director of membership.  Lindsey Lassiter, formerly executive assistant at HQ, has moved into the position of manager of corporate affairs.   Also in the Corporate Development Department, Michael Carter has been named director of development.  Donald Cheatham and Evan Martella, who served as temps for the better part of last year, have become permanent Navy League staff members. Donald is manager of website content and works in the Communications Department, while Evan is now part of the Operations & Administration team as receptionist. Lastly, Aimee Freeman has joined the membership department team as membership services representative. We welcome everyone and wish them well here at Navy League HQ!
      The month of September has again been proclaimed as Naval Sea Cadets Month in recognition of the many benefits we all realize from this premier youth program.  While I urge you to support the NSCC program fully throughout the year, designating September as a NSCC Month will give you an opportunity to place special emphasis on the Navy League's exclusively sponsored youth education program.
      The national leadership of the Sea Cadets (which is a separate corporation from the Navy League) has gone on record this month with their units and members to encourage Sea Cadets parents to join the Navy League.  For councils working with Sea Cadets, please follow up on this during the summer and fall as appropriate.  I have heard that some Councils have indicated they are looking at funding Sea Cadets Parent’s membership as a way to increase their ranks and gain younger members in the process.   
      There are some positive signs over the last few months. Retention has improved to 80% or better in numerous Councils and our loss rate has slowed a bit.  Thanks to all in the field for taking the round turn which is starting to be felt in the data.  Let’s keep the emphasis on retention and new members going!
      We first want to congratulate the Empire, Liberty, Midwest, Pacific Central, and South Atlantic Coast Regions for posting an 80% or above retention rate through July. Overall, 119 Councils posted an 80% or higher retention rate, and many were in those five regions.  We need increased effort from every member in all regions to talk about the Navy League - and talk about our support of Sea Service members and families.  While you’re at it, go ahead and ask them to join you in your support.
      To grow as an organization, we need a minimum of 80% retention from every Council, and as an organization, we need to recruit at least 4,000 new members every year. With this goal, we will steadily grow back to 60,000 members and beyond over the next few years. 
      If your Council doesn’t have a retention plan in place, I encourage you to contact Sal Chairez, Senior Director of Membership, at schairez@... or 703.312.1569 for ideas that you can use to call your lapsed members. I also encourage every Navy League member to recruit at least one new member to join the Navy League - a $50 membership is a very modest token of support.
      Membership Snapshot
      Membership: 50,765

      Overall Retention Rate: 71.4%

      Lapsed Members: 3,680

      New Members: 2,276

      Number of Regions at 80% or above: 5

      Number of Councils at 80% or above: 119
      Please don’t forget to consider shopping at the Navy League’s Ship Store. The Navy League Ship's Store is the official provider of Navy League logo merchandise. They are your on-line supplier for top quality wearables, quality gifts and Navy League memorabilia. We think that they have put together a great collection of items. Whether you are in need of something simple, or a lasting treasure, we hope you will find what you need. The Ship's Store is happy to accommodate custom orders for as little as one piece. Their toll-free direct customer service number is 1.866.640.NLUS (6587). Office hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday. Access to the online catalog is here.
      USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) Commissioning (Ft. Lauderdale)    November 13, 2010

      National Convention, Jacksonville, Fl.                                                     Oct. 20-24, 2010

      Sea-Air-Space Exposition*                                                                      April 11-13, 2011

      Board of Directors Meeting, Washington, D.C.*                                    June 22-26, 2011

      National Convention, Chattanooga, Tn.                                                  October 25-30, 2011

      National Convention, Honolulu, Hi.                                                          June 2012

      National Convention, Long Beach, Ca.                                                  June 2013

      National Convention, San Diego, Ca.                                                    June 2014
      *The 2011 Sea Air Space Exposition and the 2011 Board of Directors Meeting will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor.
      My personal thanks to all of our dedicated Navy Leaguers throughout the nation, from the Black Sea to Thailand, who are doing the good work for the Navy League day in and day out.  Did you know that we have adopted 131 Navy ships, 113 Coast Guard Cutters, 282 Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Units, and that we support 731 youth groups including 201 Sea Cadet Units?  Our Councils and National headquarters gave the Sea Cadets over $848,000 last year, and Councils provided more than $194,000 for scholastic achievement last year.  And, did you know that Councils recognized 1,551 Sailors for excellence, and held 890 membership meetings/dinners last year?  In Florida, Region President Bill Dudley has honored about 1,000 Individual Augmentees (IAs) at luncheons and receptions.  The IAs have been returning from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Djibouti, and we congratulate Bill for such a phenomenal undertaking in reaching out to these IAs and their families.  For more information, please contact Bill at anuday00@....   
      We are doing great work thanks to you and we can be proud of our Navy League accomplishments.
      My warmest wishes,
      Daniel B. Branch, Jr.

      National President

      Navy League of the United States

      This message was sent from Dan B. Branch, Jr. to nlsac@.... It was sent from: Navy League of the United States, 2300 Wilson Blvd. Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22201.