Jim Willis of Lebanon, Oregon was elected Department Commander of the American Legion Department of Oregon on June 24th, 2016, during the Department Convention in Florence, Oregon.
Jim served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1969 including a 13-month wartime tour in South Vietnam. Upon his honorable discharge from the service, Willis went on to serve a 32-year career in law enforcement and retired as a major with the Oregon State Police in 2003.
In 1999, Jim was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Committee to the Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) where he served as chair of numerous committees and was elected chair of the committee. In 2003, the Governor appointed Willis the Director of ODVA, a position he held until his retirement in 2013.
Jim is a member of Post 51 in Lebanon and has served as a Post Commander, District Commander and Department 1st Vice Commander. Willis has held many offices and served on numerous committees at the Post, District and Department level. Jim is a PUFL and a twenty-five year member of The American Legion.
At the National level, Jim is a past member of the VA&R Commission, a past Consultant to the National Cemetery Committee and a current member of the National Legislative Commission, Vice Chair of the National Legislative Council and a member of the Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Committee.
During the 2016-17 Legion year, Commander Willis has dedicated himself to strengthening all of the programs dealing with Children and Youth.
Jim and his wife, Dee, live in Lebanon, Oregon, have two adult children and three grandchildren.