On Jan. 3, while attending an honors banquet at American Legion Escondido Post 149 in the San Diego 22nd District, 3rd-generation Legionnaire Nikolai Camarato asked American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad how he could someday likewise become a national commander.
Reistad emphasized first finding great mentorship to learn from. Then, learning the intricacies of the organization beginning at the post level, then through the district, department and national levels. The commander also emphasized taking time to gain experience and, most importantly, being at the right places at the right times.
Nikolai is a member of Larry E. Holmberg Post 731, San Diego. Nikolai served in the Army as a combat engineer with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, After being medically discharged from injuries received in an IED explosion, Nikolai returned to California where he is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Nikolai's father, Chuck "Pitbull" Camarato, a former U.S. Marine, recently served as the 2018 California department sergeant-at-arms and now serves as the Vice Chairman of the department's CALVAR Foundation. Nikolai's grandfather, Bob Camarato, served in the Army during the Cuban Missile Crisis and is a member in the Department of Washington.