(By Major Gary Dwight LotenBeckford Fort Bragg) - Retirement from military service does not preclude a former first sergeant from giving back to his organization. Giving back can be measured in time and resources.
1st Sergeant (retired) Joseph Belskie, during his military career served in the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade. Belskie served as an operations noncommissioned officer from 1986-88, First Sergeant for Charlie Company, 319th Military Intelligence Battalion from 1988-90 and ultimately retired with 26 years of service.
"I loved my time in the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade and Charlie Company, 319th MI BN," said Belskie.
Joseph Belskie and members of American Legion Post 72 bought supplies for the soldiers of the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, currently deployed to Afghanistan to defeat terror networks, combat the illegal drug trade and protect coalition troops. The supplies in the form of care packages will be sent to soldiers during the holiday season to express an appreciation of service to nation.
1st Sergeant (retired) Joseph Belskie is a member of American Legion Post 72 in Aberdeen, North Carolina. He's been a member of the same post for 13 years, "I started coming to the (American) Legion regularly due to a friend," said Belskie.
There's another reason Joseph Belskie continues to serve and give back. Patricia Belskie, Joseph Belskie's wife and vice president of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 72 in Aberdeen.
"I arrived in India on August 11, 1976 and met Joe (Belskie) the same day," said Patricia Belskie. "We got married on an astrologically auspicious day, which happened to be Martin Luther King's birthday- January 15th (1977)."
Patricia and Joseph Belskie have been married for the past 41 years.
The American Legion is a patriotic veteran's organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. The organization was chartered and incorporated by the U.S. Congress in 1919. It is the nation's largest wartime Veterans Service Organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.
Top Picture: 1st Sergeant (Retired) Joseph Belskie and wife Patricia, members of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Post 72, take a break from packing care packages to send to deployed service members of the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, at American Legion Post #72 in Aberdeen, N.C. on November 13, 2018. (Photo Credit: Major Gary LotenBeckford)
Second Picture: Members of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Post 72, gather for a group photo after packing 37 care packages to send to deployed service members of the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, at American Legion Post #72 in Aberdeen, N.C. on November 13, 2018. (Photo Credit: Major Gary Dwight LotenBeckford)