Friday, October 17, 2008

Submitted by hsoria on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 1:28pm.
Thursday, October 16, 2008

After serving his country in the U.S. Army, Robert W. Spanogle spent three decades serving America's veterans. On Oct. 16, he retired as national adjutant of The American Legion, a position he'd held for more than 27 years. He was replaced by Daniel S. Wheeler, the Legion's executive director at 700 N. Pennsylvania in Indianapolis.

Marty Justis, director of the Americanism/Children and Youth Division, was named as Wheeler's successor.

While being honored during the Legion's Fall National Executive Committee Meeting in Indianapolis, Spanogle instead chose to extend those honors to the men and women he's served.
"You honor me, but frankly, I honor you for the great opportunity to serve for and with you in this great endeavor called The American Legion," said Spanogle, who was named honorary past national commander during the 2008 National Convention in Phoenix, effective upon his retirement.

National Commander David K. Rehbein praised Spanogle – the organization's longest-serving national adjutant – for his service to U.S. veterans.

"There's a spirit in this room – a spirit left behind by every individual who has served in these offices, been a part of this National Executive Committee, who's been a past national commander. And that spirit is being added to immeasurably by Bob Spanogle," Rehbein said. "I think there is not a veteran in this nation, nor a veteran's family in this nation, who has not been touched by the work that Bob Spanogle has carried on so capably during his 36 years with The American Legion."

Past National Commander John "Jake" Comer called Spanogle a valuable asset to all who have served as the Legion's national commander. "All national commanders could stand here like me and say, 'I don't know how I could have gotten through my year without Bob Spanogle.' I couldn't have," Comer said.

Appointed to the position July 1, 1981, Spanogle started working for The American Legion at the national level in 1972. He previously served as director of the National Internal Affairs Division in Indianapolis and as executive director of the Legion's Washington, D.C., office.

A Vietnam War Army veteran and life member of Oldsmobile Post 237 in Lansing, Mich., Spanogle is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he studied economics and mathematics. While at Michigan State, Spanogle was elected president of the National Association of Collegiate Veterans and served as the association's executive director from 1970 to 1971.

Since then, Spanogle has served on various boards, committees and commissions, including the Presidential Commission on Veterans and Military Health Care, and the Children's Miracle Network Board of Governors. He also is a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award – the highest honor the governor of Indiana can bestow on an individual. And in 2004, he was presented with the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth. The award is Scouting's highest commendation.
Wheeler, a Navy veteran who replaces Spanogle as national adjutant, has been executive director of The American Legion's national headquarters since 1995. He has worked for the Legion since 1979, when he was hired as an assistant magazine editor. He was promoted to publisher and editor-in-chief in 1985 and has served as president of the Citizens Flag Alliance since 1994.

Wheeler lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Kathy. He is a member of American Legion Post 137 in Richmond, Va. He has served as president of the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis, and is a member of the Rotary Club and Mensa International. COMMANDER REHBEIN REFLECTS ON SPANOGLE'S CAREER

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