National Commander

“The greater part of my work as national commander was the undramatic organization of a large public-service corporation – for such, in terms of my business vocabulary, is the Legion.” – Franklin D’Olier, writing in The American Legion Monthly, July 1929

Franklin D'Olier

National Commander Franklin D'Olier

D'Olier's tenure as national commander set a precedent of service and concern for mutual helpfulness that continues to characterize The American Legion's goals. Although the convention fixed a salary for the national commander, D’Olier refused both the salary and compensation for expenses.

Some of us experienced for the first time the great satisfaction arising out of unselfish service to our country at a time when the need was great and pressing…Now as civilians once more it is our purpose to continue to serve our country as citizens in the same spirit that inspired us under arms” - Franklin D’Olier in his first public address as national commander, Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 1919

Presidential address on Soldier's Adjusted Compensation Bill

Cover of President Harding's address on the Soldier's Adjusted Compensation Bill, which articulated much of The American Legion's viewpoint. 

Franklin D’Olier’s chief aim as national commander was the development and implementation of policies expressing the values of individual Legionnaires.

His position on adjusted compensation for veterans, highly controversial at the time, evolved significantly as he listened to Legionnaires he met in his travels.

D’Olier initially opposed adjusted compensation, saying “I do not need the compensation myself, do not want it and would not take it,” but after taking office he made an earnest effort to determine if a majority of veterans wanted and needed it, if they were entitled to it, and if its payment was economically justifiable.

After listening to Legionnaires around the country on the issue, D’Olier and The American Legion became one of the most prominent voices in favor of adjusted compensation, much to the detriment of D’Olier’s personal and professional business relationships.

Throughout his administration, D’Olier’s kind and courteous nature combined with his quiet efficiency and interest in hearing all sides of every issue earned him the respect and admiration of Legionnaires around the country.

White House Presentation, 1921

Legion officials joined French Ambassador Jusserand in making a presentation to President Harding on June 30, 1921. Past National Commander Franklin D'Olier is pictured at the far left. 

Commander D'Olier's Western Tour

July 23, 1920 article announcing Commander D'Olier's travel itinerary

National Commander D’Olier traveled around the country visiting posts and encouraging local Legionnaires to be active in continuing to serve their country.

On his trip west from July to September 1920, his wife Helen accompanied him and received warm greetings from many newly formed American Legion Auxiliary units. 

National Commander Franklin D'Olier visits Watertown, SD during the department's first Department Convention, Aug. 24, 1920.

National Commander visits Helena

National Commander D'Olier, front row, third from the right, visits with Legionnaires in Helena, Montana, Aug. 14, 1920.

National Commander D'Olier's colors

National Commander D’Olier’s colors, faded from their original red, white and blue.

Differing significantly from the colors of modern national commanders, D'Olier's colors once read “National Encampment American Legion”.

The banner was donated to the Emil A. Blackmore Museum in 1969 by Gibraltar American Legion Post 326 in Newark, NJ. Post 326 was founded by employees of the Prudential Insurance Company, during D’Olier's tenure as president.