NLUS National President's September 2011 Message

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October 13, 2011

Dear Fellow Navy Leaguers,

September and October have been busy.  This was budget time at headquarters and many days were spent preparing the 2012 budget.  Finance Vice President Dick Kennedy and Treasurer Alan Kaplan worked numerous days with the staff, Executive Director Dale Lumme and me to finalize the budget.  A thorough budget review by the Budget and Steering Committees occurred in September.  The Budget Committee met Sept. 21 and the Steering Committee met the next day at Navy League HQ to do a thorough review of the proposed budget, which both panels approved.  We have a strong financial plan to present this year with, growth in income and a nice reserve anticipated.  As before, the staff will continue to trim overhead costs at headquarters and closely monitor spending.  The spending plan will be presented to the Board of Directors at the National Convention in Chattanooga, Tenn., later this month.  Special thanks to Howard Siegel and his team in the Finance Department and to Dick and Alan for putting together a good budget again this year.

In the middle of September, the Maritime Policy Committee began its work in the Pentagon, at Coast Guard HQ and at the Maritime Administration in order to draft the next Navy League Maritime Policy Statement.  We plan to have a first draft available at the convention.  Elsewhere, I attended the Northern Virginia Council dinner Sept. 18.  A good turnout heard Navy Commander Brett Hershman, PXO of Arlington (LPD-24) speak about the ship and its construction schedule.  Council member Nancy Gorell is Chairman of the commissioning committee.  The ship will finish construction in about a year.  Many of us attended the Chief of Naval Operations Change of Command ceremony at the Naval Academy on Sept. 23, during which Admiral Gary Roughead was relieved by Admiral Jonathan Greenert as CNO.  Admiral Roughead completed 38 years of active service and he retires effective Nov. 1.  It has been a pleasure for the Navy League to support the U.S. Navy while he had his firm hand on the Navy’s helm for the last four years.  A very well attended Special Topic Breakfast was held Sept. 29 at which Deputy Commandant for Marine Corps Aviation Lieutenant General Terry Robling spoke about Marine Corps Aviation and the future of the F-35B to 110 attendees at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Va.  This is one of many breakfasts conducted throughout the year for our corporate sponsors to hear from leaders in the military and to interact with them.  The next breakfast is with Cost Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp on Dec. 2.  We anticipate holding eight breakfasts in 2012.  Thank you to our newest sponsor, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which will sponsor each of the breakfasts for the next several years.  Also on Sept. 29, it was my pleasure to address the Sea Cadet Region Representatives, who were here for a meeting with Sea Cadets Chairman Warren Savage and Sea Cadets Executive Director Jim Monahan.  Later that day, the funeral and interment for Joe Sacks was held at Arlington National Cemetery, with a reception following at headquarters.  We were able to pay our last respects to Joe and to offer our condolences again to his family.  Many former staffers, friends and relatives were present at HQ when a special bronze plaque honoring Joe was unveiled on the wall of the lanai.  Many thanks to Stephen Pietropaoli, Susan Fallon, long-time employees and the planning committee for making the plaque a reality and for funding the reception.

The Navy League CALL TO ACTION was promulgated formally on Sept. 15, with the call sent out to members in the monthly President email on Sept. 12.  As you recall, the Congressional Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction started its work on Sept. 8 with a requirement to deliver a deficit-reduction plan for consideration by Congress by Nov. 23.  The Call to Action asks all members of the Navy League to personally visit their members of Congress in the home office between now and winter to request their support to hold the line on Sea Services funding and to grow the fleet to 325 ships near term.  See the Call to Action if you need additional information about the campaign.  I request all to participate, since large numbers of constituents visiting their congressmen and women with a serious message will bring the attention the issue deserves.  Many council members are also writing letters to their members of Congress in addition to making office calls.

On Oct. 1, USS Spruance (DDG-111) was commissioned in Key West, Fla.  Many Navy Leaguers, including members of the President’s Circle, attended.  Region President Bill Dudley represented me and presented the Navy League silver tray to the Commanding Officer and crew at the formal reception before the ceremony.  Congratulations and special thanks to Spruance Commissioning Committee Chairman John Dolan-Heitlinger and his committee for one of the best-ever ceremonies.  I visited Memphis Council Oct. 5-7 and was hosted royally by Director Jim Beaty, Council President Rick Grant, event coordinator Phil Work and Charles Beech.  We had a productive business meeting of council and area leaders, and a great event at the Wilson Air Center.  Memphis conducts an annual “Wine Under Wings” event that includes an all-day display of many vintage aircraft, active Navy and Coast Guard aircraft, including F-18s, helicopters, training aircraft, and Coast Guard crafts at a large hanger located at Memphis Airport.  During the day, students and the public toured the aircraft and boats with the assistance of active duty personnel and Navy Leaguers.  In the evening, more than 500 business leaders, Navy Leaguers and local military personnel attended an event that included a wine tasting, silent auction, speeches, presentations of Sailors of the Year Awards, band music and singing, and great food.  This was an incredible Navy League event and all near Memphis should not miss it next year.

Shortly after this message is being sent out, I plan to attend the Chartering Ceremony for our newest Council.  North Dakota stands up Oct. 16 under the leadership of Bob Wefald.  Corporate Secretary Al Bernard and I will be on hand in Bismarck to officiate for the Navy League.  Congratulations Bob.  Bob has been able to sign up more than 75 new members to start up the new council.

Please see detailed information about the War of 1812 schedule below.  All applicable Councils and Region officers (mainly East Coast and Great Lakes, and major West Coast events) are requested to hook up with their cities and Navy units (to partner with them) who are working War of 1812 events details.  Our goal is to recruit at least 5,000 new Navy League members in 2012 and 10,000 overall for the two years of the celebration.  This is achievable since there are about 25 million attendees anticipated for the many events. We can also capitalize on the fact that 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.  Some councils already have marketing plans and recruiting goals established.  Need help?  Contact Tom Van Leunen or the National President.  I view the War of 1812 two year celebration as the most important and best thing for the Navy League membership wise in decades.  It can be a bonanza for Navy League publicity and for membership.


As you know, our financial situation has been greatly aggravated by the continuing decline in membership for over 12 years and by continuing escalation in expenses. To make up for that, we have exerted extra efforts to recruit corporate sponsors, start affinity programs, start fundraising, etc.  But we need a lot of help to improve our situation and we will need significant effort over the next several years to make this happen.  This is what I am calling our Navy League Challenge.  The object is to form a group of volunteers around the country who can work under the leadership of Senior Director Kevin Traver to identify and develop corporate sponsors, identify and develop potential individual donors, and assist with our recruiting efforts. The purpose is to enable us to achieve a portfolio of $50 Million in the next 10 years.  The group would assist Region Presidents and the National President in making progress toward that goal.  We should have at least one member in each Region but more may be needed in the large Regions.  There is not a limit to the size of the group.  If you are able to assist in this Navy League Challenge, please contact Kevin Traver at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  I am convinced that if we have a group working together on this regularly, we can achieve our portfolio goal.  Please help if you can.


The Navy League President’s Circle has grown to over 100 members today.  By making the yearly commitment, a member leads by example and significantly contributes to the Navy League achieving its mission.  There are a number of benefits.  Included are attending President’s Circle Receptions at Conventions and Board Meetings, networking with President Circle members and guests from the military, administration or industry in a number of forums including Special Topic Breakfasts, attending the Sea-Air-Space President’s Circle Reception, receiving recognition throughout the Navy League, receiving an invitation to Navy and Coast Guard ship commissioning ceremonies periodically, and enjoying the use of a VIP office when visiting Navy League Headquarters in Arlington, VA.  One of our goals is to continue to increase membership in the President’s Circle.  So please consider Standing in the Circle with us today. If you would like more information, please contact Kevin Traver ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), Mike Carter ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), Dale Lumme ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), or National President Dan Branch at ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).


We are working a few new items.  Our affinity programs with Pentagon Federal Credit Union and USAA will be finalized soon.  Great savings for Navy Leaguers, particularly in insurance, is on tap.  We are working to start a Navy League Yacht Club under the leadership of Grant Ivey and it can be a great benefit for us when traveling.  Those in the President’s Circle will have automatic memberships.  We are also changing the President’s Circle to include a provision that a member who recruits 30 new members a year will be afforded President’s Circle membership.  We are exploring starting a Navy League Cruise/Travel program which can be a good benefit financially and a lot of fun to boot.  Please let us know if you have questions about these items.


From Santa Barbara Council President Kevin McTague, Tom Watson, and Karen Crawford

Santa Barbara Council held a huge spectacular Welcome Home Weekend September 8-11, 2011 honoring the Council’s newest adopted active duty unit, the U.S.M.C. Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Division from Camp Pendleton, California. Tom Watson was event Chairman for the 4 day weekend.  The events were very well attended with 112 Marines and their wives and kids including Commanding General Ronald Bailey, U.S.M.C., the Battalion Commander and his wife, and the Sergeant Major in attendance.  Assisting the council with the event were the Fire Department, City Police, the Channel Cat sailboat, the Reagan Ranch, the City Parks, the Sheriff, the Carriage museum, the Yacht Club, many local businesses, the local university, and the Franciscan Inn.  The News Press provided free ads in the newspaper.  Marines and families arrived Thursday at the Reagan Ranch Center, where they met their host families or received room assignments at the Franciscan Inn or the University.  A cruise aboard sailing vessel Channel Cat for 75 marines and family followed.  On Friday, 70 Marines and 10 Council members toured the Reagan Ranch just north of Santa Barbara (the Ranch is not open to the public).  The visit and grand BBQ held there was a first for the marines and their families. Retired Secret Service Agent John Barletta, President Reagan’s primary Secret Service body guard and escort rider for President Reagan when he visited the ranch (and a Council member) told stories about service to the president at the ranch and more. John gave the marines signed copies of his book, Riding with Reagan. (This is a great book and a good read about his experiences over many years riding horses with the President on many trail rides at the mountain top ranch). On Saturday there were softball games at Pershing Park with the fire department and local police teams, and an informal gathering afterwards for all a t the museum where one of the company commanders gave a most riveting talk.  He talked about what it was like for the Marines on a daily basis in their fire base, described the unique countryside of Afghanistan, and experiences with the enemy including stories of amazing individual acts of heroism. When he spoke, everyone was absolutely transfixed, and there weren't many dry eyes.  Although some stories of loss and sacrifice were heart wrenching, what really came through was the courage, bravery, love and brotherhood they shared, and how they did whatever it took to dispatch the enemy and protect fellow Marines.  On Sunday the Marines joined Santa Barbara Fire and Police Departments in the 9/11 Ceremony held at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden. A Marine’s five year old daughter sang ‘I’m Proud to be an American’ with all her heart for the crowd. What a voice. The Santa Barbara Yacht Club took the Marines and families onboard their boats for their Regatta, and later they sailed back for a BBQ.  Santa Barbara will remember the Marines and the great events of the 9/11 weekend in 2011 for a very long time.  Congratulations Santa Barbara for such a spectacular weekend for the Marines.  For information, the Battalion had returned from Afghanistan in April after a seven month deployment conducting 500 engagements.  They sustained 225 casualties including 25 killed in a battalion of 600.  As they departed Santa Barbara for Camp Pendleton, the Marines together sang out a very emotional Semper Fi.

From Bill Waylett and the Sea Cadets in Maine:

Navy League staffer Bill Waylett assisted the Naval Sea Cadet Corps in welcoming a new training facility on September 10, 2011.  The facility is Camp Mountain View located in Madison, Maine. This facility, home of Navy Construction Battalion 39, NSCC, was envisioned, funded, planned and built by Commanding Officer Sergeant Roger Sabourin, USA (Ret).  He will have the responsibility (and pleasure) to operate the facility for the Sea Cadets. Roger had a vision three years ago and he set about to go to work.  The land deeded to him as a donation consisted of seven acres surrounded by another 400 acres the Sea Cadets can access.  Roger recruited several other organizations to help him develop and build the camp.  They were Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 27, Detachment 8 in Bangor, Maine, American Legion Post 39 in Madison, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7865, the Madison Chief of Police, the Kennebec Coun ty Sheriff’s Department, and the Penobscot City Council in Castine, Maine.  Finally, donations for the project have been received including money ($120,000 to date) and supplies from individuals and local businesses. Congratulations Sea Cadets and Sergeant Sabourin for bringing about such a great project for our youth.


There are many partnering opportunities which can help councils grow and get out the word about the Navy League and our missions.  Contact the Parents Clubs and the Alumni Associations of Navy, Coast Guard, and Kings Point in your area to start partnering activities.  Many councils are currently engaged in this with excellent results.  Information about these groups is readily available on the internet.  If you need assistance with this, please do not hesitate to contact Senior Director of Communications Tom Van Leunen or Dale Lumme at HQ.


The 2012 Convention is in Honolulu at the Sheraton Waikiki June 18-24.  Sea Air Space is April 16-18.  The Board of Directors fall meeting is Oct. 17-20 at the Crystal City Hyatt in DC.  The Long Beach Convention is June 2013, and the San Diego Convention is June 2014.


I am regularly receiving Council newsletters via e mail.  This is great.  There are so many good deeds ongoing for our troops, families, and the Sea Services, and it is wonderful to hear from the field regularly.  Please keep them coming to me and Tom Van Leunen.  Thank you to Council Secretaries and Presidents for keeping us informed in HQ. This is also an important information feed for the Navy Leaguer about to be launched soon.

WAR OF 1812

As I have written often in these monthly President’s messages, the Navy League is a full formal partner with the U.S. Navy and OpSail in next year’s commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Although the first event is in April, detailed planning by the city and Navy is now in full swing.  Now is the time for applicable councils to start preparations for active involvement.   The Navy believes that approximately 9-25 million people will attend the seven “Signature” events during the yearlong celebration.  As noted above, this provides a tremendous opportunity for councils to really make a difference in not only supporting our Sea Services and educating the public, but also in attracting many new members to the Navy League.

The schedule of current 2012 signature events, so designated because they include flight demonstrations by the Blue Angels includes:

New Orleans – 17-23 April
New York City – 23-30 May
Norfolk – 2-12 June
Baltimore – 13-19 June
Boston – 30 June-6 July
Chicago – 15-20 August
Cleveland – 27 August-4 September

The first five events will include a number of Tall Ships from around the world, while the Great Lakes celebrations will include the first port visits by Navy ships to that region since 1999.

While the detail schedule of events for each city are still under development by the Navy and the cities involved, all of the events include a Parade of Ships upon arrival with media and DV embarks, nightly receptions held either aboard U.S. and foreign ships or in the host city, general ship visiting, Blue Angels flight demonstrations, community relations events featuring Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from the U.S., Canada, and other navies.  To get a sense of how big these events are, the draft schedule of events for the New York event next summer already has 338 events being conducted during the one week period.

Other important War of 1812 Bicentennial events are also scheduled and although they don’t include the Blue Angels, they do include Navy and Coast Guard port visits and in some cases Tall Ships as well:

Fort Lauderdale - TBD (Tall Ships only currently scheduled)
New London - 7-9 July
Milwaukee - 8-13 August
Toledo - 22-26 August
Detroit - 5-10 September
Buffalo - 12-17 September

The Navy is also working to include War of 1812 events in West Coast Fleet Weeks and Festivals in 2012 to include San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle.  More on this as details are developed.  If you have any questions regarding the events please don’t hesitate to call or email Tom Van Leunen ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  NLUS HQ staff will be working over the next few months to develop and disseminate products to help support council efforts.  Please let Tom know the names and email addresses for the Navy League action personnel in your area so coordination gets underway soon.  There are many web sites with detailed information on events.  Please start checking now in order to enable partnering with the local groups involved to mature over the next couple of months.  The schedule of events and activities is so voluminous and ever changing, that it is not possible to include it in a message such as this.   Check out the following sites please:

If you are in New England, also check the web site for U.S.S. Constitution.

Meanwhile, if you need information about regular Fleet Weeks, check

Go to Sea

Arrange a trip to sea for business leaders and educators.  Contact the Navy Office of Community Outreach at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; telephone 901-874-5800 in Millington, Tennessee or check out their website at

Thank You Navy League

Many thanks to all of our dedicated and hard working Navy League volunteers for making my two years as President very rewarding.  It truly has been an honor to serve, and to associate with such wonderful Americans.  You make the Navy League what it is today.  I can truly say that Kathleen and I will miss the regular contact and the visits to councils, and I will miss receiving all of the council newsletters each month.  Best wishes for continued success in such an important mission for the Sea Services of the United States.  And to the United States Navy on its 236th anniversary today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

With my warmest regards,

Daniel B. Branch, Jr.
National President


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