Veterans of Foreign Wars
Overview
 
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a congressionally chartered
Congressional charter
A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code....

 war veterans organization in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, VFW currently has 1.5 million members belonging to 7,644 posts, and is the largest American organization of combat veterans.
Members must be a US citizen or national with an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces or currently serving in the United States Air Force
Air force
An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or...

, Army
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

, Coast Guard
Coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

, Marine Corps
Marine corps
A marine is a member of a force that specializes in expeditionary operations such as amphibious assault and occupation. The marines traditionally have strong links with the country's navy...

, or Navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

.
Encyclopedia
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a congressionally chartered
Congressional charter
A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code....

 war veterans organization in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, VFW currently has 1.5 million members belonging to 7,644 posts, and is the largest American organization of combat veterans.

Membership Eligibility

Members must be a US citizen or national with an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces or currently serving in the United States Air Force
Air force
An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or...

, Army
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

, Coast Guard
Coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

, Marine Corps
Marine corps
A marine is a member of a force that specializes in expeditionary operations such as amphibious assault and occupation. The marines traditionally have strong links with the country's navy...

, or Navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

. Membership also requires military service overseas during an operation or conflict and decoration with an expeditionary medal
Expeditionary Medal
An Expeditionary Medal is a military decoration which is awarded by the United States of America to its military personnel for deployment to a foreign region to participate in a campaign or conflict. Expeditionary medals are unique to the United States Armed Forces, but similar medals are commonly...

, a campaign medal
Campaign medal
A campaign medal is a military decoration which is awarded to a member of the military who serves in a designated military operation or performs duty in a geographical theater...

 or ribbon. A Leave and Earnings Statement
Leave and Earnings Statement
A Leave and Earnings Statement, generally referred to as an LES, is a document given on a monthly basis to members of the United States military which documents their pay and leave status on a monthly basis....

 showing receipt of Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger Pay is also acceptable proof for membership eligibility.

Partial List of Awards, Devices, Ribbons & Medals for Eligibility

  • SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia
    SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia
    The SSBN Deterrent Patrol Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by officers and men of the United States Navy's submarine service who have completed strategic deterrent patrols in nuclear ballistic missile submarines...

  • Combat Infantryman Badge
    Combat Infantryman Badge
    The Combat Infantryman Badge is the U.S. Army combat service recognition decoration awarded to soldiers—enlisted men and officers holding colonel rank or below, who personally fought in active ground combat while an assigned member of either an infantry or a Special Forces unit, of brigade size...

  • Combat Medic Badge
  • Combat Action Ribbon
    Combat Action Ribbon
    The Combat Action Ribbon is a personal military decoration of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard which is awarded to those who, in any grade including and below that of a Captain in the Navy and Coast Guard , have actively participated in ground or...

  • Combat Action Badge
    Combat Action Badge
    The Combat Action Badge is a military badge worn in the U.S. Army. The emblem features both an M9 bayonet and M67 grenade. The Combat Action Badge may be awarded to any soldier after the date of September 18, 2001 performing duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is...

  • Air Force Combat Action Medal
    Air Force Combat Action Medal
    The Air Force Combat Action Medal is a relatively new medal issued by the United States Air Force. It was first awarded on June 12, 2007 for actions from September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined and may be awarded posthumously.-Criteria:...

  • Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
    Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
    The Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon is a military award of the United States Air Force which was first created in June 2003. The ribbon is awarded to any member of the Air Force who completes a standard contingency deployment....

     (with Gold Border)
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
    Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
    The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is a military award of the United States military, which was first created in 1961 by Executive Order of President John Kennedy...

  • Navy Expeditionary Medal
    Navy Expeditionary Medal
    The Navy Expeditionary Medal is an award of the United States Navy which was first created in August 1936 by General Orders of the Department of the Navy...

    , & Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
    Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
    The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal is a decoration of the United States Marine Corps which was first created on 8 May 1919. Originally known as the Marine Corps Expeditionary Ribbon, a full-sized medal was authorized in July 1921 by Presidential Order of Warren G. Harding...


  • Nicaraguan Campaign Medal
    Nicaraguan Campaign Medal
    The Nicaraguan Campaign Medal is a military decoration of the United States Navy which was authorized by Presidential Order of Woodrow Wilson on September 22, 1913. The medal was again authorized by an act of the United States Congress on November 8, 1929...

  • Yangtze Service Medal
    Yangtze Service Medal
    The Yangtze Service Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created in 1930 for presentation to members of the U.S. Navy and United States Marine Corps...

  • China Service Medal
    China Service Medal
    The China Service Medal was a military medal awarded to U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel. The medal was instituted on August 23, 1940 and featured a yellow ribbon with narrow red edge stripes...

  • American Defense Service Medal
    American Defense Service Medal
    The American Defense Service Medal is a decoration of the United States military, recognizing service before America’s entry into the Second World War but during the initial years of the European conflict.-Criteria:...

  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
    European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
    The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal is a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

  • American Campaign Medal
    American Campaign Medal
    The American Campaign Medal was a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
    The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal is a service decoration of the Second World War which was awarded to any member of the United States military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945 and was created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The medal was...

  • Army of Occupation Medal
    Army of Occupation Medal
    The Army of Occupation Medal is a military award of the United States military which was established by the United States War Department on 5 April 1946. The medal was created in the aftermath of the Second World War to recognize those who had performed occupation service in either Germany or Japan...

    , Navy Occupation Service Medal
    Navy Occupation Service Medal
    The Navy Occupation Service Medal is a decoration of the United States Navy which was issued to Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel who participated in the European and Asian occupation forces following the close of the World War II. The decoration was also bestowed to personnel who...

  • Korean Service Medal
    Korean Service Medal
    The Korean Service Medal is an award of the United States military and was created in November 1950 by executive order of President Harry Truman. The Korean Service Medal is the primary United States medal for participation in the Korean War and is awarded to any U.S. service member, who...

  • Korea Defense Service Medal
    Korea Defense Service Medal
    The Korea Defense Service Medal is a United States military award that was first created in 2002 when it was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The bill to create the proposal was introduced and championed by Rep. Elton Gallegly and Sen. Ben "Night Horse" Campbell...

  • Vietnam Service Medal
    Vietnam Service Medal
    The Vietnam Service Medal is a military award which was created in 1965 by order of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The distinctive design was the creation of sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, a former employee of the Army Institute of Heraldry. The medal is issued to recognize military service during...

  • Southwest Asia Service Medal
    Southwest Asia Service Medal
    The Southwest Asia Service Medal is a military award of the United States armed forces which was created by order of President George H.W. Bush on March 12, 1991. The award is intended to recognize those military service members who performed duty during the years of the Persian Gulf War...

  • Kosovo Campaign Medal
    Kosovo Campaign Medal
    The Kosovo Campaign Medal is a military award of the United States armed forces established by Executive Order 13154 of President Bill Clinton on May 3, 2000...

  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
    Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
    The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is a United States armed forces military award created by George W. Bush on March 12, 2003 by Executive Order 13289. It recognizes those military service members who have deployed overseas in direct service to the War on Terror from September 11,...

  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
    Afghanistan Campaign Medal
    The Afghanistan Campaign Medal is a military award of the United States military which was created by Executive Order 13363 of President George W. Bush on November 29, 2004. The Afghanistan Campaign Medal was designed by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry....

  • Iraq Campaign Medal
    Iraq Campaign Medal
    The Iraq Campaign Medal is a military award of the United States armed forces which was created by Executive Order 13363 of President George W. Bush on November 29, 2004. The Iraq Campaign Medal was designed by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry....



and/or

Service for thirty (30) consecutive days duty in Korea or sixty (60) days of non-consecutive duty in Korea.

Service members currently deployed to a combat zone meet the qualification for joining the VFW.

A DD214 or World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 era discharge paper with campaign medals, and/or badges printed on back is used to verify membership eligibility.

History

The VFW became a government-chartered non-profit organization by an act of the United States Congress on May 28, 1936; as such, it receives no funding from United States tax receipts and is supported by charitable donations. The first VFW (then known as the American Veterans of Foreign Service) was founded in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 in 1899 and officially "VFW Post 1, John S. Stewart Post". There are two other Posts which try to claim being Post 1, however the VFW National organization recognizes VFW Post 1 in Denver, CO as the first VFW Post.

The VFW name was created on September 17, 1914 at a conference at the Schenley Hotel
William Pitt Union
The William Pitt Union is the student union building of the University of Pittsburgh main campus and is a Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark...

 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

 from the merger of two prior veterans organizations which both arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines. The former was formed for veterans of the Spanish–American War, while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine–American War.

Mission

VFW works on behalf of American veterans by lobbying Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 for better veteran
Veteran
A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; " A veteran of ..."...

s' health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 and benefits. The VFW also maintains a nationwide organization of employees and volunteers to assist veterans with their VA disability
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

 claims.

VFW also donates millions of dollars and millions of hours for community service
Community service
Community service is donated service or activity that is performed by someone or a group of people for the benefit of the public or its institutions....

. One of their most popular programs, Operation Uplink, provides free phone calls to overseas service members.

The current Commander of the VFW is Richard L. DeNoyer.

National Military Services

VFW National Military Services (NMS) promotes positive awareness of the VFW through community involvement, communication tools, and financial support to qualified military service members. With the variety of support offered, three separate programs were developed under the VFW National Military Services department. These programs are the Operation Uplink, Military Assistance Program, and Unmet Needs.

Operation Uplink

VFW started Operation Uplink in 1996 to connect deployed and hospitalized service members with their families through free phone calls. In 2004 VFW began providing Free Call Days twice a month to service members deployed abroad. Since then Free Call Days have provided service members with more than 4 million free phone calls home.

Military Assistance Program

The Military Assistance Program (MAP) is the VFW's most direct connection between military units and Posts at the local level. Through MAP Posts have held going away, welcome home events, and unit picnics for numerous military units. In the last 5 years MAP has helped Posts host more than 1 million service members and their families. The Adopt-a-Unit program also falls under MAP and connects military units around the world with a local Post that can offer resources and support.

Unmet Needs

VFW Unmet Needs was created in 2004 through a corporate partnership to assist military service members and their families who run into unexpected financial difficulties as a result of deployment or other hardships directly related to military service. Unmet Needs assists with basic life needs such as: mortgage and rent, home and auto repairs, insurance, utilities, food and clothing. Unmet Needs helps meet unanticipated financial demands on our service members' families that can't be remedied through existing means and provides our service members with the security of knowing that their families have additional support here at home. The financial assistance is in the form of up to $2,500 in grants that do not need to be repaid. All grants are paid directly to the "creditor" (such as the electric company), and not to the individual. Each case is reviewed individually and acceptance determined by a committee.

National Veterans Services

The National Veterans Services exist to assist veterans in dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs may refer to:*Department of Veterans' Affairs, Australia*United States Department of Veterans Affairs*Veterans Affairs Canada*Ministry of Patriots' and Veterans' Affairs...

. This is usually in the form of providing advice and assistance to veterans filing disability claims for pensions, but can also come in the form of advice filing for VA home loans, education benefits, small business loans, or filling out other VA forms. VFW National Veterans Services can offer guidance to veterans wishing to file their own claims, or full-on support preparing, submitting and tracking the progress of a claim. VFW Service Officers can also help veterans or surviving spouses resubmit denied claims or file a Notice of Disagreement as well as simply answer questions regarding medical, death/burial and other miscellaneous benefits.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is, in basic principle, Christian as indicated by the three regular prayers offered at each Post meeting and additional prayers at ceremonies for deceased members. Additionally, in the initiation ceremony for new members the Bible, which is always on the altar at all meetings, is pointed out to new members by the Post Commander where it is usually stated to be the source of all wisdom and where one can find the rules of comradeship. The VFW, along with the American Legion, refused to assist pagan families, churches and veterans organizations around the country in their campaign to have the US Department of Veterans Affairs allow the creation of a separate emblem of spirit for use on the headstones of deceased pagan veterans. Such an emblem of spirit, the Pentacle, was finally approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Community Involvement

Direct community involvement is a VFW priority, extending beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans.

Annually, VFW and the Men's and Ladies Auxiliaries donate more than 13 million volunteer hours of community service. VFW members mentor youth groups, help in community food kitchens, volunteer in blood drives and visit hospitalized veterans. Others help veterans file compensation claims.

VFW's Community Service programs are designed to encourage community service and increase civic pride, which ultimately enhances education, improves the environment and ensures the availability of health services for our nations veterans.

VFW's Citizenship Education program is designed to stimulate interest in America's history and traditions and to promote citizenship, civic responsibility and patriotism.

VFW's Youth Scholarship programs provide more than $3.5 million in scholarships to our nation's youth. They include Voice of Democracy
Voice of Democracy
Voice of Democracy is an annual nationwide scholarship program sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars . It is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades 9-12. The program annually provides more than $2.3 million in scholarships...

, Patriot's Pen youth essay contest and Scout of the Year.

The VFW's partnership with the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 includes the sponsoring of more than 1,200 Scouting units with 40,000 members across the nation.

VFW's Safety Program encourages VFW Posts and Auxiliaries to conduct programs in home, auto and bicycle safety, as well as programs dealing with drug awareness and substance abuse.

The VFW National Home for Children is a community development in a family-like environment that is home to orphaned or single parent children of VFW or Ladies Auxiliary members. The home, which was established in 1925 on 160 acre (0.6474976 km²) in Eaton Rapids, Mich., emphasizes the values of education, good work habits and sound moral character.

See also

  • AMVETS
    AMVETS
    AMVETS or American Veterans is a volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans which accepts honorably discharged veterans as members....

  • American Legion
    American Legion
    The American Legion is a mutual-aid organization of veterans of the United States armed forces chartered by the United States Congress. It was founded to benefit those veterans who served during a wartime period as defined by Congress...

  • Disabled American Veterans
    Disabled American Veterans
    The Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, is an organization for disabled veterans that helps them and their families through various means. It currently has over 1.2 million members...

  • Grand Army of the Republic
    Grand Army of the Republic
    The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, US Marines and US Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War. Founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, it was dissolved in 1956 when its last member died...

  • Returned and Services League of Australia
    Returned and Services League of Australia
    The Returned and Services League of Australia is a support organisation for men and women who have served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force ....

  • The Royal British Legion
    The Royal British Legion
    The Royal British Legion , sometimes referred to as simply The Legion, is the United Kingdom's leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to those who have served or who are currently serving in the British Armed Forces, and their dependants.-History:The British Legion was...

  • Royal Canadian Legion
    Royal Canadian Legion
    The Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit Canadian ex-service organization founded in 1925, with more than 400,000 members worldwide. Membership includes people who have served as current and former military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police, direct relatives of...

  • Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association
    Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association
    The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, often referred to as the Returned Services' Association but best known simply as the RSA, is one of the largest voluntary welfare organisations in New Zealand and one of the oldest ex-service organisations in the world.Wounded soldiers...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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