A number of United States War Veterans (veterans) were attending the
July, 1980 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (GMHG)
in North Carolina, USA. These veterans had been friends for a number of
years, and had over the years attended
various highland games as members of Scottish Clans. When not
participating in clan activities, these veterans
(along with other veterans they would meet) would discuss things of
mutual interest including military history, current military
affairs, and individual war stories. Among this group of veterans were
Randy Downey, Jim Kilpatrick, Pat Little,
Hal Morrison, and Doug Talley.
The meeting of veterans at the 1980, GMHG was special in that some of the veterans noted left the games for the day and
met again that evening at the home of Alvera Morrison in Pineola, North Carolina not far from where the games were
being held. The meeting that evening included Hal Morrison's mother Alvera was also a war veteran.
As these veterans talked, they discussed their long held view that
there needed to be some type of formal group, or organization
to represent veterans who were attending highland games. They felt
such a group would provide an ongoing "clan"
type arrangement for veterans to meet at games and exchange military
information and stories. This would also
provide a focus or location at games to have educational material on
Scottish and American military history for the general public.
All agreed they needed to form such a group. Randy Downey proposed
that the group be called
The Scottish-American Military Society or as it was to become known as
SAMS or SAMS-OWN (referring of course to Uncle Sam
from the famous poster "I Want You for the U.S. Army"). Over the next
nine months, the organizers developed the
organizational structure of the group including formal Articles of
Incorporation and Bylaws, membership structure, and its purposes.
On April 12, 1981, SAMS was incorporated as a voluntary, non-political,
non-sectarian and non-profit, war veterans' organization
under the laws of the State of North Carolina, dedicated to the
preservation and promotion of Scottish and American Armed Forces
customs, traditions, and heritage. Subsequently, SAMS filed for and
received U.S. Government Internal Revenue
Service recognition as a IRS Code Section 501 (c) 19 Organization of
War Veterans of the United States (see Background on
SAMS for additional information). Randy Downey served as National
Commander on the corporate organizational papers.
The first official membership meeting of SAMS was held on July 11, 1981, at the GMHG just one year from the meeting in Pineola.
Charter Life (CL) and Charter Regular (CR) membership were accepted and officers were introduced.
William Wright (CL-2) served as the first elected National Commander.