Retired Army Lt. Colonel Dale Barnett was elected National Commander of the American Legion at the organization's annual convention in Baltimore.
(Lt. Colonel Dale Barnett [ret.] is sworn in as National Commander of the American Legion. Barnett lives in Douglasville, Georgia, with his wife. Image courtesy The American Legion)Barnett is a resident of Douglasville, Georgia.
During his acceptance speech, Barnett told the organization saving the Veteran's Administration (VA) health care system is a high priority for him.
"I want each and every one of you to know that I pledged to the (Department of Veterans Affairs) secretary – you have pledged to the VA – that it is a system worth saving, and we’re in it together,” Barnett said. “We’re going to do everything possible to make the VA health-care system provide the best health care in the world to our veterans because they have earned it and they deserve it."
Barnett has a long history with the American Legion.
A member of American Legion Post 105 in Fayetteville, Georgia, he served the organization at every level, including Department (State) Commander of Georgia from 2007 to 2008. Barnett also held the post of American Legion National Membership and Post Activities Chairman from 2008 to 2010 and National Economic Chairman from 2010 to 2013.
Barnett is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. He served as an Army infantry officer from 1974 to 1996, before retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
From 1990 to 1991, Barnett was the battalion executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. His decorations include The Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (3rd Award), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2 Awards), Kuwait Liberation Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and Pathfinder Badge.
“It was an honor to wear the military uniform, and I’m sure many of you still have your uniforms and you’re proud to share those stories,” Barnett said. “But I’m also proud to wear the uniform of The American Legion. It’s an honor to be in this organization and to serve alongside you. I guarantee you your communities respect what you do, and they understand what you do each and every day. That makes their communities a better place.”
After leaving the military, Barnett taught high school social studies and coached basketball, baseball and cross country. He was the Creekside High School Teacher of the Year in 2005-2006 and a national board certified social studies teacher in 2003.