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First department-sanctioned American Legion softball program shares successes

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As Major League Baseball and USA Baseball support the Play Ball initiative to get more boys and girls playing bat-and-ball sports, The American Legion Department of North Carolina decided to capitalize on the success of hosting the American Legion World Series by getting more young people on the diamond.

Prior to the 2018 season, the department became the first in the nation to sanction a statewide American Legion softball league: North Carolina American Legion Lady Fastpitch.

Mike Hasson, state chairman for softball and member of the department's Baseball Committee, led the way in the creation of the league in 2017.

“I had a vision a few years ago as my daughter was growing up that it would be nice to have a place for girls to play competitive softball outside of high school and travel ball,” Hasson said. “I took it to The American Legion in North Carolina and they wanted it to be veteran-led and that is where I came in as I am a veteran, as are my son and sister.”

In 2017, North Carolina American Legion Lady Fastpitch featured 11 teams in a provisional season to test the viability of the program.

Following the success of the season, Hasson sought approval from the department’s baseball committee, Americanism commission and executive board. With approval from all of those entities, North Carolina American Legion Lady Fastpitch grew to 24 teams this year, with 18 competing in the senior division and six in the junior division. The league hosted 572 games this year leading to a state tournament in Morganton.

Concord Post 51 defeated Hickory Post 48, 9-4, to win the first-ever sanctioned state title after also winning the unofficial title in 2017. In the junior level, Shelby Post 82 defeated Burke Post 21 to claim the title.

Following the conclusion of the season, three dozen players from across the state participated in the Commanders Cup All-Star Battle in Shelby prior to the championship game of the 2018 American Legion World Series.

Denise Rohan, then national commander of The American Legion, was on hand for a luncheon pregame and for the contest, offering her support for the program.

The Central North Carolina All-Stars topped the Western North Carolina All-Stars in a well-played nine-inning exhibition by a score of 6-5. Both teams went on to Keeter Stadium prior to the American Legion World Series title game to be honored on the field.

This September, Hasson had the opportunity to present to the department baseball chairmen and The American Legion’s Baseball Committee in September to help any interested departments support softball.

“We appreciate the support of all of the people who have been involved in this at the local, state and national level,” Hasson said. “We wanted to be an American Legion program because of the reputation, honor and patriotism involved in the program.”

“This is low-cost, very competitive, it brings the girls within your local community together and it gets your community involved,” Hasson told the group. “This puts community back into fast-pitch softball.”

“We are going to continue to grow and are looking at having 30 to 40 teams next year.”

Follow North Carolina’s Legion Lady Fastpitch Softball League on Twitter at @LegionLadyFP and Facebook.

Hasson can be reached by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Those interested in bringing softball to their state are encouraged to reach out to their department’s leadership.

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Sailors, Afghan medical professionals team up to improve medical care

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KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — As a rifleman in the Marine Corps, Travis Fitzpatrick said he felt a sense of comfort when he and his fellow Marines went out in harm’s way because he trusted the skills of their medical team to help them if anything went wrong.

Now a nurse anesthetist and a Navy lieutenant commander with NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit, Fitzpatrick is able to help Afghan infantry soldiers feel that sense of comfort for their medical team at the Kandahar Regional Military Hospital.

The Kandahar Regional Military Hospital, which is located in the Kandahar Province, is ran by Afghan military and civilian medical professionals. The hospital provides medical care for injured Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and civilians.

Fitzpatrick and other medical officers from the Role III conduct routine medical training and case studies with the medical staff assigned to KRMH.

“Some of the physicians at KRMH have very extensive training, they have very highly trained and professional individuals at that hospital,” said the Lincoln, Missouri native. “I think by partnering up we can learn from each other to then be able to provide the best care for all patients.”

However, the idea to collaborate the medical staff of the NATO Role III and KRMH isn’t something new, according to Navy Capt. Cynthia Gantt, NATO Role III commander.

“Past rotations did outreach and training with the staff at KRMH,” said Gantt. “Once we got to country we wanted to make sure we built upon what the other teams did and build a sustainment plan for others to continue.”

Gantt said the training does not just broaden the medical knowledge of her staff but also brings awareness and understanding of the culture.

“We receive Afghan patients at the Role III and if we can increase our understanding of the culture it makes us more competent and we are able to provide relevant care to our Afghan patients,” she said.

Fitzpatrick, who recently taught an airway class to the KRMH medical staff, said he enjoys learning as much as he can from his counterparts.

“They have limited resources so it’s interesting to see what process they go through in order to help their patients with what they have,” he said. “The way I do things isn’t the only way, I like to learn different techniques especially if less resources can be used.”

As Gantt and her medical staff prepare to head back to the United States, she said it has been a great experience for her and her staff to work alongside Afghan medical professionals at the KRMH.

“I hope that my team is able to reflect on this deployment in the future and know they helped the Afghan community,” said Gantt. “It has been an honor and privilege to help increase the military health care system and support them as they continue to progress to provide better healthcare to their soldiers and civilians.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

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Democrats Are Ignoring One Key Voting Group: Veterans

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Democrats have a rare opportunity to gain a foothold against the Republican Party. If they come up short, it may be in part because of a failure to pursue veterans.

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What you might not know about the Navy

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The U.S. Navy celebrates its birthday on Oct. 13. In 1775, a naval force was established by the Continental Congress to aid in the conflict with the British.

Here are some things you might not know about the Navy.

1. Five cities claim the right to be considered the Navy’s birthplace: Beverly, Mass.; Marblehead, Mass.; Philadelphia; Whitehall, N.Y.; and Providence, Rhode Island. The Navy takes no position on its place of origin. (via Mental Floss)

2. All submariners are volunteers who have passed rigorous psychological and physical tests. (via Mental Floss)

3. Navy ships named for individuals are christened by “the eldest living female descendent” of that individual. (via Mental Floss)

4. Humphrey Bogart, Bob Barker and MC Hammer all served in the Navy. (via Mental Floss)

5. Bill the Goat has been the Naval Academy mascot since the early 1900s. Legend has it that a Navy ship once had a goat for a pet, and on the way home to port the goat died. Two ensigns were entrusted to have the goat stuffed, but got distracted by a Naval Academy football game. One of the ensigns allegedly dressed up in the goat skin and pranced around at halftime. The crowd loved it and Navy won the game. (via USO)

6. The first version of the Navy was dissolved following the Revolutionary War, but it was reconstituted to deal with piracy. (via The Vintage News)

7. During World War II, the Navy produced six future presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Bush Sr. And before the war, there had been no naval veterans in the White House. (via The Vintage News)

8. Cadets and midshipmen played the first Army-Navy football game Nov. 29, 1890, on "The Plain" at West Point. Navy had been playing organized football since 1879 and defeated the newly established Army team 24-0. (via

9. The Blue Angels – the Navy’s flight exhibition team – was established in 1946 by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Chester Nimitz to raise the public's interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. (via

10. The Navy Marine Mammal Program trains bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions to detect, locate, mark and recover objects in harbors, coastal areas, and at depth in the open sea. (via

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TAKE ON HEP C tour to make stop in Daytona Beach

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The American Legion joined forces with AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, to launch TAKE ON HEP C. This nationwide movement has been bringing free hepatitis C (hep C) antibody testing to veterans and their communities since early August.

Hep C is a disease that affects the liver and is caused by the hep C virus. Approximately 3.4 million people in the United States are thought to have chronic (long-lasting) hep C, making it the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the nation. As the nation’s largest veterans service organization, The American Legion is dedicated to addressing issues that affect veterans. Hep C is one of the most significant health concerns facing veterans today. One out of every 20 veterans enrolled with the Veterans Health Administration has hep C, more than three times the infection rate of the general U.S. population.

The TAKE ON HEP C tour bus will make a stop in Daytona Beach, Fla., for Biketoberfest. The TAKE ON HEP C tour bus serves as a mobile veteran outreach center offering free hep C antibody testing with same-day results. Visit the tour bus Oct. 18-21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day for free testing.

American Legion Service Officers also will be on hand to provide free, expert assistance with VA benefit claims for veterans and their families. Veterans and their communities receive valuable educational resources to help them learn about the disease, understand their risk factors, get tested for free and be energized to TAKE ON HEP C.

Other stops for the TAKE ON HEP C tour bus include Galveston, Texas, Nov. 1-4, for the Lone Star Rally; Los Angeles Nov. 9-10 at Hollywood Post 43; Coronado, Calif., Nov. 11 for the Silver Strand Half Marathon; and Miami, Fla., Nov. 16-18 for the NASCAR 2018 Ford EcoBoost 400.

Visit for a complete list of tour dates and locations and to learn more about the disease, exposure risks, symptoms and testing information.

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