Veterans of Foreign Wars
|Motto||"Pro deo pro patria" (Latin)
"For God, For Country"
|Established||September 29, 1899|
|Merger of||American Veterans of Foreign Service,
National Society of the Army of the Philippines
|Legal status||Federally chartered corporation|
|Purpose||Fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, educational|
|Headquarters||406 West 34th Street,
Kansas City, Missouri
Commander in Chief
Senior Vice Commander in Chief
|John Biedrzycki, Jr.|
Junior Vice Commander in Chief
|National Council of Administration|
|Publication||Veterans of Foreign Wars|
|Slogan||″No One Does More for Veterans″|
|Army of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico|
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Inc. is a federally chartered corporation formed in Columbus, Ohio on September 29, 1899 by Spanish–American War veterans of the Seventeenth U. S. Infantry.
The objects of the organization are to: ensure the national security through maximum military strength, speed the 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 communities. The national organization maintains both its legislative service and central office of its national rehabilitation service in Washington, D.C. The latter nationwide program serves disabled veterans of all wars, members and nonmembers alike, in matters of government compensation and pension claims, hospitalization, civil-service employment preference, and so on. The VFW has more than 10,000 local chapters, which are known as “posts.”
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 military campaign medal”.
Partial list of United States campaign medals, ribbons, and badges the VFW uses to determine membership eligibility:
- Navy and Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon
- Air Force Combat Action Medal
- Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon (with Gold Border)
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Navy Expeditionary Medal
- Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
- Nicaraguan Campaign Medal
- Yangtze Service Medal
- China Service Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- Army of Occupation Medal
- Navy Occupation Service Medal
- Korean Service Medal
- Korea Defense Service Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Southwest Asia Service Medal
- Kosovo Campaign Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Iraq Campaign Medal
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Combat Medic Badge
- Combat Action Badge
- SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia
Cross of Malta
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.
Three national military services programs were created to promote community involvement, communication and financial support to qualified military service members:
Operation Uplink connects deployed and hospitalized service members with their families through free phone calls. The VFW provides 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 is the most direct connection between military units and local VFW Posts. Through the program, posts have held going away, welcome home events, and unit picnics for numerous military units. In the last 5 years the program has helped Posts host more than 1 million service members and their families. The Adopt-a-Unit program also falls under Military Assistance Program and connects military units around the world with a local Post that can offer resources and support.
Unmet Needs was created through a corporate partnership to assist service members and their families who run into unexpected financial difficulties as a result of deployment or other hardships directly related to 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 service members' families that can not be remedied through existing means and provides service members with the comfort of knowing that their families have additional support stateside. 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 an electric company) and not to the individual. Each case is reviewed individually and acceptance determined by a committee.
Annually, the VFW and Ladies' Auxiliary donate more than 13 million volunteer hours of community service. 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. 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 Year. Partnership with the Boy Scouts includes sponsoring more than 1,200 Scouting units with 40,000 members across the nation. Safety programs encourage local posts to conduct presentations in home, auto, motorcycle and bicycle safety, and drug awareness.
Past and current members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars have included:
- Buddy Poppy
- GI Bill
- Memorable Order of Tin Hats
- Memorial Day
- Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States
- Steel Helmet, League of Front-line Soldiers
- Veterans Day
- Mason 1999, pp. 29, 39, 92.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) at Encyclopædia Britannica
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) at Encyclopædia Britannica
- Mason 1999, p. 15.
- VFW National Military Services – Operation Uplink, Unmet Needs, Military Assistance Program. Vfw.org. Retrieved on 2011-03-13.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars. VFW. Retrieved on 2011-03-13.
- Mason 1999, pp. 9, 16, 47, 90-91, 118.
- Watch on the Rhine Post, No. 27, V. F. W. (1999). White, Dean A., ed. Watch on the Rhein: A History. Wiesbaden, Germany: Watch on the Rhine Post, No. 27, V. F. W. (published July 2, 1999).