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The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW, or simply Veterans of Foreign Wars) is an American war veterans' organization headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.[5] The Veterans of Foreign Wars was established by James C. Putnam on September 29, 1899, in Columbus, Ohio.[2][1] The organization's membership consists of veterans who, as soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen served the United States in wars, campaigns, and expeditions on foreign soil or in hostile waters.[4]

Veterans of Foreign Wars
of the United States
Veterans Of Foreign Wars Logo.jpg
Logo of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
Abbreviation VFW
Established September 29, 1899; 118 years ago (1899-09-29)[1]
Founder James C. Putnam[2]
Founded at Columbus, Ohio, U.S.[2]
Merger of American Veterans of Foreign Service (organized on September 29, 1899, at Columbus, Ohio, U.S.) and the Army of the Philippines (organized on December 12, 1899, at Denver, Colorado, U.S., as the Colorado Society, Army of the Philippines)
Type 501(c)(19), war veterans' organization[3]
44-0474290
Purpose Fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, and educational[4]
Headquarters 406 West 34th Street,
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Coordinates 39°04′01″N 94°35′28″W / 39.0668144°N 94.591009°W / 39.0668144; -94.591009
Area served
Worldwide
Membership (2016)
1,234,985
Keith E. Harman
B. J. Lawrence
William J. Schmitz
National Council of Administration
Publication VFW Magazine
Subsidiaries
Affiliations Student Veterans of America
Revenue (2015)
US$98,724,340[3]
Expenses (2015) US$89,099,521[3]
Employees (2014)
224[3]
Volunteers (2014)
3,000[3]
Website vfw.org
Formerly called
Army of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico

Contents

HistoryEdit

The VFW resulted from the amalgamation of several societies formed immediately following the Spanish–American War in 1899, little groups of veterans returning from campaigning in Cuba and the Philippine Islands, founded local societies upon that spirit of comradeship, known only to those who have faced the dangers of war side by side. Similar experiences and a common language drew them together.[2] The American Veterans of Foreign Service (predecessor to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States) was established in Columbus, Ohio, September 29, 1899, by Spanish‑American War veteran James C. Putnam.[6] The Colorado Society, Army of the Philippines, was organized in Denver, Colorado, on December 12, 1899. Shortly thereafter, a society known as the Foreign Service Veterans was born in Pennsylvania. These organizations grew up side by side, increasing in scope and membership until 1913, when at an encampment held at Denver, they merged their interests and identities in a national organization now known as the VFW.[2]

PurposeEdit

The purpose of the VFW is to speed rehabilitation of the nation’s disabled and needy veterans, assist veterans’ widows and orphans and the dependents of needy or disabled veterans, and promote Americanism by means of education in patriotism and by constructive service to local communities. The organization maintains both its legislative service and central office of its national rehabilitation service in Washington. The latter nationwide program serves disabled veterans of all wars, members and nonmembers alike, in matters of U.S. government compensation and pension claims, hospitalization, civil-service employment preference, and etc.”[5]

National Military ServicesEdit

The VFW's National Military Services unites three successful, long-standing programs; Operation Uplink, Unmet Needs, and Military Assistance Program (MAP). These initiatives focus on troop support.[7]

Military Assistance ProgramEdit

MAP is the link between the VFW and the community. MAP is designed to promote VFW interaction within the local military community through the Adopt-A-Unit Program. MAP Grants are available to posts, districts, and departments who participate in a variety of morale boosting functions such as farewell and welcome home events.[7]

Operation UplinkEdit

Operation Uplink keeps military members in contact with their loved ones by allowing deployed troops to call home at no charge from MWR internet cafés in Afghanistan, Kuwait and other locations all around the world. Operation Uplink also distributes "virtual pins" which enable wounded warriors and veterans in Veterans Affairs facilities to call from home at no cost.[7]

Unmet NeedsEdit

 
M60 Main Battle Tank on display in front of C. Robert Arvin Post No. 2408, Veterans of Foreign Wars, at Ypsilanti, Michigan (2010)

Unmet Needs assists 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. Assistance is in the form of a grant of up to US$2,500. Unmet Needs assists with basic life needs such as: mortgage and rent, home and auto repairs, insurance, utilities, food and clothing.[7]

ProgramsEdit

The good will of the VFW reaches far beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans.[8]

Community ServiceEdit

The VFW celebrates Americanism in communities across the nation. Through local and national events, VFW members help others understand the sacrifices made by veterans and the importance of patriotism.[8]

Voice of DemocracyEdit

Each year, more than 39,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the US$2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW's Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.[8]

Patriots PenEdit

Patriots Pen challenges students from grades 6-8, to enter to win one of 46 national awards totaling US$46,000, as well as an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the national first place winner. Students draft a 300-400 word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic, annual theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.[8]

Scout of the YearEdit

Scout of the Year selects three young people – of the Boy or Girl Scouts, Sea Scouts or Venturing Crew – who have demonstrated practical citizenship in school, scouting and the community. The first-place winner receives a US$5,000 award, the second-place winner receives a US$3,000 award and the third-place winner receives US$1,000.[8]

Teacher of the YearEdit

Teacher of the Year recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students. The VFW recognizes the nation's top classroom elementary, junior high and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics – at least half of the school day in a classroom environment – and promote America's history, traditions and institutions effectively.[8]

EligibilityEdit

Membership in the VFW is restricted to any active or honorably discharged officer or enlisted person who is a citizen of the United States and who has served in its armed forces "in any foreign war, insurrection or expedition, which service shall be recognized by the authorization or the issuance of a United States military campaign medal."[5]

The following is a list of U.S. campaign medals, ribbons, and badges used by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States to determine membership eligibility.[9]

Eligibility Guide
Campaign Medal Start Date End Date
  Navy Expeditionary February 12, 1874 Open
  Marine Corps Expeditionary February 12, 1874 Open
  Spanish Campaign April 20, 1898 December 10, 1898
  Army of Cuban Occupation July 18, 1898 May 20, 1902
  Army of Puerto Rican Occupation August 14, 1898 December 10, 1898
  Philippine Campaign February 4, 1899 December 31, 1913
  China Relief Expedition April 5, 1900 May 27, 1901
  Cuban Pacification September 12, 1906 April 1, 1909
  Mexican Service April 12, 1911 June 16, 1919
  First Nicaraguan Campaign July 29, 1912 November 14, 1912
  Haitian Campaign April 9, 1915 June 15, 1920
  Dominican Campaign May 4, 1916 December 5, 1916
  World War I Victory (with battle or service clasp – including Siberia and European Russia) April 6, 1917 April 1, 1920
  Army of Occupation of Germany November 12, 1918 July 11, 1923
  Second Nicaraguan Campaign August 27, 1926 January 2, 1933
  Yangtze Service September 3, 1926 December 31, 1932
  China Service July 7, 1937 April 1, 1957
  American Defense Service (with foreign service clasp) September 8, 1939 December 7, 1941
  Combat Infantryman Badge December 6, 1941 Open
  Combat Medical Badge December 6, 1941 Open
  Navy Combat Action December 6, 1941 Open
  European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign December 7, 1941 November 8, 1945
  American Campaign (30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days of duty outside continental limits of the U.S.) December 7, 1941 March 2, 1946
  Asiatic–Pacific Campaign December 7, 1941 March 2, 1946
  Navy Occupation Service May 8, 1945 October 25, 1955
  Army of Occupation (30 consecutive days of duty) May 9, 1945 October 2, 1990
  Korean Service June 27, 1950 July 27, 1954
  Korea Defense Service July 28, 1954 Open
  Vietnam Service July 1, 1958 April 30, 1975
  Armed Forces Expeditionary July 1, 1958 Open
  SSBN Deterrent Patrol Insignia January 21, 1961 Open
  Coast Guard Combat Action May 1, 1975 Open
  Southwest Asia Service August 2, 1990 November 30, 1995
  Air Force Expeditionary Service (with gold border) October 1, 1999 Open
  Kosovo Campaign March 24, 1999 December 31, 2013
  Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary September 11, 2001 Open
  Afghanistan Campaign September 11, 2001 Open
  Air Force Combat Action September 11, 2001 Open
  Combat Action Badge September 18, 2001 Open
  Iraq Campaign March 19, 2003 December 31, 2011
  Inherent Resolve Campaign June 15, 2014 Open

Great SealEdit

The Cross of Malta is the VFW's official emblem. The cross, radiating rays, and Great Seal of the United States together symbolize the character, vows and purposes distinguishing VFW as an order of warriors who have traveled far from home to defend sacred principles. Its eight points represent the beatitudes prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure, the merciful, the peacemakers; blessed are they who mourn, seek righteousness and are persecuted for righteousness' sake. The eight-pointed Cross of Malta harks back to the Crusades, launched during the 12th century.[10][11]

Notable membersEdit

Notable members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States have included:[12][13]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Mason, Jr., Herbert Molloy (1999). VFW: Our First Century. Foreword by Senator Chuck Hagel. Lenexa, Kansas: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. pp. 29, 39, 92. ISBN 1-88611072-7. LCCN 99-24943. OCLC 777720483 – via Addax Publishing Group. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Proceedings of the 34th National Encampment of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (Report). Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Veteran. 1933. pp. 5, 31 – via Internet Archive.    This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax." Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Guidestar. August 31, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Congressional Charter, National By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual (2018 Podium ed.). Kansas City, Missouri: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 2017. p. 7. 
  5. ^ a b c "Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ Mason, Jr., Herbert Molloy (1999). VFW: Our First Century. Foreword by Senator Chuck Hagel. Lenexa, Kansas: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. pp. 29, 38–40. ISBN 1-88611072-7. LCCN 99-24943. OCLC 777720483 – via Addax Publishing Group. 
  7. ^ a b c d "National Military Services". Recruiter Success Pocket Guide [Brochure]. Kansas City, MO: Veterans of Foreign Wars. January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Programs". Recruiter Success Pocket Guide [Brochure]. Kansas City, MO: Veterans of Foreign Wars. January 2014. 
  9. ^ Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Congressional Charter, National By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual (2018 Podium ed.). Kansas City, Missouri: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 2017. pp. 56–61. 
  10. ^ Mason, Jr., Herbert Molloy (1999). VFW: Our First Century. Foreword by Senator Chuck Hagel. Lenexa, Kansas: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. p. 15. ISBN 1-88611072-7. LCCN 99-24943. OCLC 777720483 – via Addax Publishing Group. 
  11. ^ Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Congressional Charter, National By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual (2018 Podium ed.). Kansas City, Missouri: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 2017. p. 44. 
  12. ^ Mason, Jr., Herbert Molloy (1999). VFW: Our First Century. Foreword by Senator Chuck Hagel. Lenexa, Kansas: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. pp. 9, 16, 47, 90–91, 118, 104, 132, 204. ISBN 1-88611072-7. LCCN 99-24943. OCLC 777720483 – via Addax Publishing Group. 
  13. ^ Ford, Gerald R. (1979). A Time To Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row. p. 62. ISBN 0-06-011297-2. LCCN 78020162. OCLC 4835213. OL 4731652M. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit