Monday, May 30, 2016
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The American Legion Post 353 in Mustang will stay open despite the recent closing of the state headquarters.

By Jon Watje
Managing Editor

Members of the Mustang American Legion Post 353 say the post will operate as normal after the recent closing of the state office.

The American Legion shut down the Oklahoma headquarters due to financial losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and a criminal investigation is currently underway regarding a former chief executive officer who was charged in January.

David Austin Kellerman, 43, of Mustang was charged in January with taking ceremonial World War I and World War II rifles from Legion posts and selling them for personal profit. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, however, more charges are expected to be filed against him.

The Oklahoma attorney general’s office, along with the State Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are currently involved in the investigation of lost funds.

For only the second time in the history of the organization, Legion officials from across the country decided to close a state office. They also fired the Oklahoma Legion’s chief executive officer, Frederick L. Speir and relieved state Legion leaders of their duties.

However, Legion posts across Oklahoma, including in Mustang, stay open.

"This will not have an effect on our post at all and we will continue to operate normally," said Don Kuntze, adjutant of Post 353 in Mustang. "This won’t affect any of the posts in the state."

The American Legion is a organization of patriotic veterans and there are about 28,000 members in Oklahoma.

Mustang’s Post 353 has around 130 members and the post has been established for almost 20 years.

"The national office has selected someone to serve as the temporary state commander," Kuntze said. "This investigation will go on for a long time, but we will continue to serve our community like we have in the past."

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