The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
(VFW) is a congressionally
war veterans organization. VFW currently has 1.6
million members and is the largest American organization of combat
Members must be US citizens and be currently serving in the US
military or have an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces.
Membership also requires military service overseas during a
conflict and decorated with an expeditionary medal, a campaign
medal or ribbon. Receipt of imminent danger/hostile fire pay is
accepted for membership.
Service for thirty (30) consecutive days duty in Korea or sixty
(60) days of non-consecutive duty in Korea.
Soldiers currently deployed to a combat zone meet the qualification
for joining the VFW.
or World War
era discharge paper with campaign medals, and or badges
printed on back is used to verify membership eligibility.
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 was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1899.
The current VFW was first formed in
1914 from the merger of two prior veterans organizations which both
arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign
and the National Society of the Army of
. The former was formed for veterans of the
while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine–American
VFW works on behalf of American veterans by lobbying Congress
for better veterans
' health care
benefits. The VFW also maintains a nationwide organization of
employees and volunteers to assist veterans with their VA disability
VFW also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of
hours for community service
of their most popular programs, Operation Uplink, provides free
phone cards to overseas service members.
The current Commander of the VFW is Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr.
Direct community involvement is a VFW priority, extending beyond
the realm of veterans helping veterans.
Annually, VFW and 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
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, Patriot's Pen youth essay contest and Scout of the
The VFW's partnership with the Boy Scouts of America 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 in Eaton Rapids, Mich., emphasizes the
values of education, good work habits and sound moral