The American Legion Department of Michigan elects New and First African American State Commander

LANSING - Delegates to Michigan’s 93rd State convention elected Richard I. Chatman of Coleman A. Young Post 202, Detroit, MI. as the 2011 – 2012 and first African-American State Commander for The American Legion Department of Michigan Sunday June 26, 2011 at the DeVos Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Chatman earned his American Legion membership eligibility as a Vietnam Veteran who served in the United States Air Force from June 1968 to June 1972 earning the rank of Staff Sergeant.

He is a lifelong Michigander and Detroiter having resided in the city of Detroit for over 62 years. He is a product of the Detroit Public Schools system graduating in 1967 from Northwestern High School, has attended and graduated from Wayne State University (bachelor-general studies – 1990), and Marygrove College (Master of Arts Human Resources – 1997).

He retired from AT&T after 35 years (1967-2002).

As a 15 year member of The American Legion, Chatman has served the organization on all levels, post, district, department and national, including, 1st District Commander, 1st Zone Commander, VA& R Committee Chairman, Public Relations Committee Chairman, Department Homeless Task force Coordinator and member of the National Americanism Council. He is also a member of The Metro Detroit Veterans Coalition, Veterans Assistance Council-Detroit and Voiture 102 40 ET 8.

The American Legion Department of Michigan represents over 70,000 members in the State of Michigan. The American Legion was founded in 1919, based on “The Four Pillars”; veteran rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security and continued above all its mission as a consumers’ advocate for veterans. For more information contact the Michigan Legion at 517-371-4720 ext 16,, or visit our website at

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