MOUNT IDA – Marine veteran Dixie Fecho was recently appointed to serve as Commander of American Legion Post 313, becoming the first female to serve in that capacity for the post.
Fecho had been elected to serve as Vice Commander a few months prior. She stated that she was proud to be the first female elected as an officer in the 69 year tenure of the local post. The relocation of Commander Larry Barrows allowed for her historic promotion to the position of Commander.
This has been a historic year for women within the American Legion. Fecho joins Denise Rohan who became American Legion’s first female national commander in July of this year.
Fecho is accustomed to being the first at things.
She joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17. During her six year tenure she was wounded in Somalia. She still carries shrapnel from the grenade that wounded her. Fecho was also awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the first female Marine to receive this honor.
She was also one of the first female Marines to become involved with the Lioness Program. She explained that men are not allowed to search females in Muslim countries. The Lioness Program is an all female search team which specializes in taking a culturally sensitive approach to searching Muslim women.
She joined American Legion Post 313 two and a half years ago. She has been a member of American Legion since 1998. She is also a member of VFW Post 2278 and the Marine Corps League detachment #1251 where she is the Fire Team Leader Alpha for Montgomery County.
She explains that she comes from a long line of service members. Although she only moved to Montgomery County five years ago, three of her grandfathers moved to the county following the Civil War. She stated that all three saw the opportunity to be found in Arkansas while serving in the Confederate Army. After the war they moved their families to the area to start a new life.
A proud Marine, it doesn’t take long to learn how much the Corp means to her. Any time she meets another Marine, or just hears the Marine Corps name mentioned, she responds with a hearty “Oorah!”
Fecho is looking to bring this wealth of energy and passion to the position of post commander. She is excited to begin her tenure as commander, but doesn’t take the opportunity lightly.
She hopes that as commander she will be able to refocus Post 313 to become more involved with the community. Fecho pointed out that there are scholarships they can offer to local students through the American Legion. There are also school programs that can provide much needed funds for locals schools and students. They also sponsor local students to attend Boys State and Girls State.
Fecho stated that these programs work to promote patriotism in local schools. One of the scholarships she mentioned allows students to acquire scholarships beginning in Middle school. These scholarships allow students to accumulate money for college as they progress through school. The scholarships are earned through patriotic themed essay contests.
When asked about the ambitious future she sees for American Legion Post 313 she stated, “I am not an unbusy person. I run a crystal mine and a shop, but I am very passionate about this and if there is no one passionate they go away. They just go away”
She added that the post is blessed to have several retired members who are able to accomplish some of these things if they have direction. “And I am the direction.” She quipped.
Fecho is proud of the older veterans who are members and the experience they bring to the post, but she would like to involve younger veterans as well.
She explained that to be a member of American Legion you have to have served in the military during a time of combat. You don’t have to see combat, you just have to have been in the military at that time.
She added that Montgomery County has several men and women who have served in the military during the current Middle East crisis. She hopes to get them involved in the post as well.
American Legion Post 313 meets the first Tuesday of every month at the Montgomery County Annex Building at 6:30 p.m.