National Commander

James W. Oxford
National Commander of The American Legion

James W. “Bill” Oxford was elected national commander of The American Legion on Aug. 29, 2019, in Indianapolis, during the organization’s 101st national convention. He has been a member of the nation’s largest veterans organization since 1986.

A native of Lenoir, N.C., Oxford is a paid-up-for-life member and past commander of Post 29 in Lenoir. He served as department (state) commander of the North Carolina American Legion from 2010 to 2011. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Oxford was an aviation electronic technician for the A-6 Intruder and served in Vietnam during his initial enlistment. After being discharged as a sergeant in 1970, Oxford joined the North Carolina National Guard.  He subsequently attended officer’s candidate school and transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, where he ultimately retired as a colonel after more than 34 years of military service.

Oxford has served at every level of The American Legion.  A former mayor and city council of Cajah’s Mountain, N.C.,  he has worked since he was a high school student, with most of his career choices being in the maintenance and engineering field. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and multiple safety and environmental certificates.

Oxford has volunteered as a coach, umpire, referee and administrator in several youth athletic programs, including service as the public address announcer for the Post 29 American Legion Baseball team.

An active volunteer with several organizations, Oxford is a member of Masonic Lodge-York Scottish Rite and the North  Carolina Army Retirees Council. His theme as national commander of The American Legion is “A Foundation for the Future,” as the organization enters its second century of service.

Oxford and his wife, Frances, have been married since 1967.  They have a son, Charles (married to Deah Reid), and a daughter, Jackie (married to Mike Carr). They also have four grandsons, Isiah, Micah, Jaggar and Dawson.

National Commander's Pin Incentive Program

American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford will award his national commander “A Foundation for the Future” membership excellence pin to any Legionnaire who obtains three new members into The American Legion.

A new member is any eligible person joining for the 2020 membership year who was not a member of The American Legion during the 2019 membership year.

Each member listed must be eligible for membership in The American Legion. Forward names of Sons of The American Legion members or Auxiliary members to your detachment or unit for use in their respective incentive programs.

Only one pin will be awarded per individual. Upon receipt, national membership staff will confirm the names and mail the pin directly to the person who earned it.

Download the form:

“A Foundation for the Future” incentive pin form PDF document

Post Excellence Award

The American Legion’s Post Excellence Award has added new criteria. To qualify for the Post Excellence Award, a post is required to achieve excellence in four areas: membership, submission of the Consolidated Post Report (CPR), attaining a 90 percent renewal rate and community activity.

The purposes of this award is membership growth, exposure of American Legion values to the youth of the community, and increased visibility of the American Legion Family through service projects. A post achieving this qualification will have had numerous post members involved in planning and achieving these goals. Many posts are most likely already active in these areas and will qualify without extra effort. Others, however, will need to increase their efforts in one or more areas to qualify for the award.

The standard to be achieved in each area is as follows:

Membership: Post must attain at least 103 percent of their membership goal. At least one post officer attends district meetings.

Consolidated Post Report: CPRs must be submitted by July 1. The American Legion’s federal charter requires the submission of an annual report to Congress on activities for the year. has made it simple for a post to submit its CPR in a timely manner.

90% Renewal Rate: The post must renew at least 90 percent of their members that were on the 2019 roster.

Community Activity: The post must conduct an event that connects the local community with The American Legion post. The objective is to open your doors, welcome the community in, and educate them on what The American Legion is all about and how the post is an asset to the community. Posts do not need to have a physical building to accomplish this. This activity can be held in a park, a community center, or anywhere the post can welcome and interact with the local community.

The district commander responsible for the post will certify a post as having achieved the four specified criteria. The district commander will submit a list of posts meeting the criteria to department headquarters. That list should include the post name, phone number, address and commander’s name. If possible, accompany the last two criteria with copies of press releases submitted to the local media about the projects to show that the projects were not only accomplished but that an attempt was made to enhance the image of The American Legion through local media. The copy submitted should include a date and time stamp showing receipt by the media outlet.

The department adjutant will transmit information as posts qualify to:

The American Legion National Headquarters
Attn: Membership 
P.O. Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1055

National Commander's Honor Ribbon

American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford will award his 100 percent American Legion Family Ribbon to any American Legion Family that achieves 100 percent membership by May 30, 2020. For this award, the Legion Family is defined as a post and any combination of an Auxiliary unit, Sons squadron or Legion Riders chapter. Each branch must achieve 100 percent membership to qualify for the award.

National Commander’s 100 percent American Legion Family Ribbon form:

The department adjutant will transmit information as posts qualify to:

The American Legion National Headquarters
Attn: Internal Affairs & Membership 
P.O. Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1055

National Commander's 103 Percernt Membership Award

American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford will award his national commander “A Foundation for the Future” membership incentive pin to any post, district, county, division, department commander or membership chairman who achieves 103 percent of their assigned membership goal for 2020.

Download the 103 percent membership goal form: