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A majority of membership.

With thousands of future disabled veterans at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the DAV passed a new milestone recently when Vietnam War veterans became the largest demographic in membership.

"This change is a histoic landmark for our organization. It is a sign of the gradual evolution in leadership that's taken place over the past decades. Vietnam veterans have great shoes to fill. The veterans who've been dubbed the 'Greatest Generation' have created a legacy that we must maintain and build upon," said National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson. "At the top of our minds are the coming generations of veterans who are counting on us to strengthen and evolve to serve their needs."

Meanwhile, the organization continues its drive to meet National Commander Paul W. Jackson's challenge of 1 million fully paid life members before the 2006 National Convention in Chicago Aug. 12-15.

"We've known all along that this goal is within our grasp. When Commander Jackson issued his challenge, there were 1.3 million members out there. And we were around 21,000 fully paid members short of the landmark. All we had to do was get more people to commit," said National Membership Director Anthony L. Baskerville.

Every month, Baskerville has reached out to Departments, Chapters, members, recruiters and National Service Officers. Beyond encouraging them to band together as a community, his goal has been to unite everyone behind the Commander's challenge.

"I knew there was no way we were going to make this happen from behind our desks at National Headquarters. We needed our leaders throughout the country to feel like they were a part of this goal. If they were on board, we were confident it was going to happen," Baskerville said.

As an incentive, the DAV is offering a fully paid trip to the National Convention for the recruiter and the one millionth full paid life member.

As the battle wears on, Baskerville said he saw recruiters exceeding expectations. Chapters and Departments were eager to join the fray. With so many members in communities around the nation, local leaders supported efforts to get current members fully committed to the organization.

By the end of March, DAV was just 6,000 full paid members short of the objective. However, with the help of NSOs, the organization was gaining nearly 1,000 average full commitments every week.

With that goal in sight, Baskerville said he is already working toward new ones.

The organization will continue to push for everyone to commit and become fully paid life members. However, the next challenge will be to get more members involved in the organization and recruit veterans of recent conflicts.

"We're going to need to strengthen our ranks. We're going to need to establish a beachhead of Desert Storm and younger folks who can help us evolve and remain relevant for the men and women who are returning from combat today," said Baskerville. "This is really a critical time for the DAV. But we're fortunate to have leaders throughout the country who are working hard to ensure the future of the organization."
WAR DESCRIPTION MEMBER COUNT PERCENT

Unknown 33,985 2.848
unitive Expedition into Mexico 8 0.001
World War 1 480 0.040
World War 2 330,050 27.658
Post WW2 and Pre Korea 40,190 3.368
Korea 114,441 9.590
Vietnam 479,351 40.169
Iran, Lebanon, Grenada and Panama 95,076 7.967
Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq 99,744 8.358
 and Afghanistan
 1,193,325
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Title Annotation:Disabled American Veterans
Author:Clare, D.
Publication:DAV Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:583
Previous Article:March of the Bonus Army.
Next Article:We will be remembered for what we do.
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