New State of Arkansas American Legion Commander Elected "Only the Third Female in 104-Year History"

August 02, 2023

Little Rock, AR - The American Legion Department of Arkansas is pleased to announce the election of Marie Wilbanks, of Londagin-Hardcastle American Legion Post #159 in Gentry, Arkansas as the 2023-2024 State Commander. Commander Wilbanks was recently elected in North Little Rock during the 104th Arkansas State Convention of the American Legion Department of Arkansas…the state’s largest veteran’s organization.

Commander Wilbanks is only the third female commander of the organization in 104 years, and the “second” female commander of the state’s largest veteran’s organization during wartime.

Commander Wilbanks continues her family tradition of service to her country. The oldest of nine children, she is the granddaughter of a World War II veteran and daughter of a Korean War veteran. Her four brothers served (two in the Air Force and two in the Army), with one sister who retired from the Air Force.

A 20-year Air Force veteran, Commander Wilbanks started in the first class of female aircraft mechanics. She eventually cross-trained and spent much of her career in Civil Engineering as a Production Control Manager, with the highlight of her career being selected as the 1984 Civil Engineering Non-Commissioned Officer-of-the-Year. After finishing her Air Force career, she went back to school and earned three (3) master’s degrees: MS Project Management; MS Human Resource Management; and an MBA with a Certificate in Information Systems Management, as well as a Doctor of Management (DM).

She and her husband Jim (USAF, Ret) reside in Gentry. They share five children and have 19 grandchildren. Wilbanks has one son (United States Navy, Ret.); one daughter (United States Air Force, Ret.); one son (United States Army, Ret.); and to top off this GREAT family tradition…Commander Wilbanks is proud to have a grandson who served in the United States Navy, and yet another grandson currently serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

For more information, please see the attached bio or contact the American Legion Department of Arkansas at (501) 375-1104 or visit the Department website at: