Veterans of Foreign Wars

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Veterans of Foreign Wars
of the United States
Veterans Of Foreign Wars Logo.jpg
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)[3]
Type 501(c)(19), war veterans organization[4]
44-0474290
Purpose Fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, and educational[5]
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
Official language
English[6]
B. J. Lawrence (NM)
Since July 25, 2018
William J. Schmitz (NY)
Since July 25, 2018
Hal J. Roesch II (VA)
Since July 25, 2018
National Council of Administration

63 voting members

  • 8 elected officers
  • 3 appointed officers
  • 52 elected members
Main organ
VFW National Convention
Subsidiaries
Affiliations Student Veterans of America
Revenue (2015)
US$98,724,340[4]
Expenses (2015) US$89,099,521[4]
Employees (2014)
224[4]
Volunteers (2014)
3,000[4]
Website vfw.org
Formerly called
Army of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico[3]

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.[7] 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.[5]

History

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 a spirit of comradeship known only to those who faced the dangers of that 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.[8] 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]

Purpose

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."[7]

National Military Services

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.[9]

Military Assistance Program

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.[9]

Operation Uplink

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.[9]

Unmet Needs

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.[9]

Programs

The good will of the VFW reaches far beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans.[10]

Community Service

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.[10]

Voice of Democracy

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.[10]

Patriots Pen

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.[10]

Scout of the Year

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.[10]

Teacher of the Year

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.[10]

Eligibility

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."[7]

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.[11]

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

Great Seal

The Cross of Malta is the VFW's official emblem.[12] 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.[13]

Notable members

Notable members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States have included:[14][15]

See also

References

  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 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. 225. ISBN 1-88611072-7. LCCN 99-24943. OCLC 777720483 – via Addax Publishing Group. 
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 42. 
  7. ^ a b c "Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ a b c d "National Military Services". Recruiter Success Pocket Guide [Brochure]. Kansas City, MO: Veterans of Foreign Wars. January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Programs". Recruiter Success Pocket Guide [Brochure]. Kansas City, MO: Veterans of Foreign Wars. January 2014. 
  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. pp. 56–61. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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 reading

  • Bottoms, Bill (1991). The VFW: An Illustrated History of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Foreword by Senator Bob Dole. Rockville, Md.: Woodbine House. ISBN 0933149344. LCCN 89040627. OCLC 22593204. OL 8387800M. 
  • Proceedings of the 99th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States [Summary of Minutes] (Report). Washington: GPO. 2000 – via Internet Archive. 
  • Proceedings of the 100th Annual Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States [Summary of Minutes] (Report). Washington: GPO. 2000 – via Internet Archive. 
  • White, Dean A., ed. (1999). Watch on the Rhein: A History. Wiesbaden, Germany: Watch on the Rhein Post 27, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

External links

Official
  • Official website
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars on Facebook
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars on Google+
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars on Instagram
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars on Pinterest
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars on Twitter
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars's channel on YouTube
  • "2017 Annual Report" (PDF). 
General information
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