Arizona VFW commander addresses Rotary Club of Scottsdale

Ken Marshall, commander of the Department of Arizona Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States,  spoke to Rotary Club of Scottsdale members and guests earlier this week at a capacity-filled luncheon meeting held at McCormick Ranch Golf Club’s Pavilion.

Veterans Day

Club President Charlie Kester and Ken Marshall prepare to greet Rotarians.

The meeting, held Nov. 6, was part of the club’s annual program to honor veterans.

Kenneth B. “Ken” Marshall was born in Salem, Ohio.  He joined the U.S. Navy in March of 1965 and did basic training in San Diego.  Mr. Marshall’s first assignment was in the Philippines as a communications technician.  From this base, Mr. Marshall was assigned to Vietnam during 1966-67, both in country and in the Gulf of Tonkin on several surface vessels.

Mr. Marshall left the military in March of 1969 and joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol in September of that year as a cadet.  During his career in the Highway Patrol, he served in every rank, retiring in July of 2000 as the superintendent. Mr. Marshall stayed in Ohio government for six more years, finally retiring in November 2006 as executive director of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

Mr. Marshall shared insights into his personal life, which included being at Kent State campus on May 4, 1970 during the student riots against the Vietnam War and serving on various commissions for the State of Arizona, such as director of the Unified Veterans of Arizona.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. According to Mr. Marshall, 20 years ago Veterans of Foreign Wars had 2.2 million members. Now there are 1.2 million VFW members, which include 25,000 Arizona VFW members and 5,000 Arizona auxiliary members.

The VFW traces it roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. The VFW voice was instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, development of the national cemetery system, in the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome.

In 2008, the VFW won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America’s active duty service members, and members of the guard and reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VFW is the driving force behind the Veterans Access and Accountability Act of 2014, and continually fights for improved VA medical centers services for women veterans.

For more information about Rotary Club of Scottsdale – see www.scottsdalerotary.org.

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