From Doug 4/5/2013

Day 5 has come to an end. Just got back from an Ethiopian resteraut. Again another successful day. We did seven briefings as a team Jim LishAnthony NoePam BlainPeter Trzop and I. Mission accomplished for getting the troops a wealth of information they will need in the future. Awhole lot of neww Legion members throughout the state of Kentucky. E-mail not had time to get stuff out on. Michael Lee Bonza if possible forward my short reports and pictures from facebook. We have been up since about 3{30 this morning and it is now almost midnight, so I am going to bed shortly.I will update picture tomorrow morning and posssible additional info. Thanks for your prayers and support.

From Doug Day 4

Day 4 in Djibouti is complete with a full day ahead of us tomorrow. We had an extremely successful day. We spent time on base meeting the members of our unit here and then time in town meeting the locals and having a meal in a local pizzeria. Our deployment team is doing well, with an ache here or there from the travel and busy schedule, but all is well. The level of good things happening is over the top. The command staff has put together a lot of great opportunities for us to complete the missions we came to accomplish. I will be meeting with the public affairs officer for the unit in a few hours and hope to have a ton of pictures and more info by tomorrow evening.

From Doug 4/4/2013

What a meaningful day so far, how do I begin? I am humbled by the outpouring of troops to greet us and thank us for caring enough to come and see them. We are taken back by the fact that they want so much to be part of the American Legion. I can honestly say they need us just as much as we need them. What an honor!!! Great team to carry out the mission with Peter Trzop Jim Lish Doug N Brenda Alexander Pam Blain. Thanks for all the support. Boo.

From Doug Day 3

Day 3 of deployment has come to an end. We arrived at 5:00 this morning . It was hot and humid, natural for here. Got through our passport check and luggage without any problems and off to base. We got the Red Carpet treatment and the the day was a great adventure. I am having difficulty getting e-mails out so those of you media members on facebook, for now please take your material from here. I am working on getting it corrected.

From Pete 4/3/2013

Before I pass out from sleep, our team is settled in, showering, and already working for our soldiers. Pam Blain,Doug N Brenda AlexanderJim Lish and Anthony Noe are driving hard on little more than pure love of Country. They are representing our Legion, communities, and families with Honour. I feel truly humbled by being with these guys. Quick link that just came out | Legion Team deploying

The American Legion Overseas Deployment Project will send four Department of Kentucky Legionnaires to Djibouti, Africa, where they will take the message of The American Legion to the Kentucky National Guard 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery deployed there.

At noon today, four Department of Kentucky Legionnaires will step onto a plane in Lexington, Ky., that will eventually find its way to Djibouti, Africa. The group’s mission: to take the message of The American Legion to the Kentucky National Guard 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery deployed there.

The four Legionnaires, along with another man representing different national firefighters’ chaplain services, will provide daily briefings to the 138th, the most highly decorated Guard unit from Kentucky.

“We’re always talking about support, but we asked, ‘Why can’t we go to the theater of operation?’ All we could come with was ‘good question,’” said Pete Trzop, who spent six years in the Army and six in the Air Force before exiting the military in 2005. “We want to be able to touch their lives before they come home.

The 39-year-old Trzop, commander of Post 121 in Bardstown, will join fellow Legionnaires Pam Blain (Post 157 of Shepherdsville), and Anthony Noe and Jim Lish (both of Post 81 in Leitchfield) as a part of The American Legion Overseas Deployment Project.

During their 10-day stay with the 138th, they will provide daily briefings in smaller group settings, covering such topics as Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and health care, the Legion’s Family Support Network and Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA), and information on membership in the Legion.

A Home Base team in Kentucky also has been established to provide support to the deployed Legionnaires, including benefits claims and TFA requests processing, as well as other issues arising with the Guardsmen families.

Care packages also are being taken to distribute, while Blain – a licensed massage therapist – will provide massage therapy for as many Guardsmen as possible.

The group sessions also will include a question-and-answer portion, as well as ‘anything else we need, all the way up to parts X, Y and Z,” Trzop said. “We want to provide them actual service and earn their trust.”

The possibility of the Legion deployment came while the department was developing a pilot program to provide support to Kentucky Guard units that included barbecues, family days, bus trips for troops and fundraising. Officers within the Guard supported the idea, leading to the deployment becoming a reality.

“These kinds of programs are transformational and will help us reach thousands of new Legionnaires,” Department of Kentucky Commander Joe Flynn said. “This is new and innovative, and will bring us closer to our core mission of veterans serving veterans.”

Trzop said it’s an exciting opportunity for The American Legion. “I just believe you’ve got to go where the troops are,” he said. “As Joe Flynn told us, we’re the Johnny Appleseeds of The American Legion. We’re going out there to spread the word. Let them see what we can do. Then, when they hear about The American Legion down the road, there’s a pretty good chance they’ve got a good memory of us.”

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