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American Veterans
EstablishedDecember 10, 1944 (1944-12-10)
TypeVeterans' organization
Legal statusFederally chartered corporation
Headquarters4647 Forbes Blvd.,
Lanham, Maryland
Region served
Membership (2016)
Executive Director
Joseph Chenelly
National Commander
Jan Brown (2019-2020)
Main organ
National Convention
  • AMVETS National Service Foundation
  • AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary
  • Sons of AMVETS
  • Junior AMVETS
  • AMVETS Riders
  • ″Sad Sacks″
  • ″Sackettes″
Formerly called
American Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam

American Veterans (AMVETS) is a non-partisan, volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans of the United States military. It advocates for its members as well as for causes that its members deem helpful to the nation at large. The group holds a Federal charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. It is a 501(c)19 organization.

Harold Russell, the handless World War II veteran and Academy Award winner for The Best Years of Our Lives, served three terms as National Commander in the 1950s. As head of AMVETS, Russell wrote to President Harry S. Truman in 1951 supporting his decision to dismiss General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.

Russell's telegram to Truman cited MacArthur's "repeated insubordination in violation of basic American principles governing civil versus military authority." His telegram said those were "obvious grounds" to relieve MacArthur. Erle Cocke Jr., commander of the American Legion, said that he was "shocked by the news" that AMVETS and the American Veterans Committee supported MacArthur's firing.[1]

President Harry Truman at AMVETS headquarters dedication
AMVETS memorial sign on the New York State Thruway
John "J.P." Brown III, national commander,[2] AMVETS, 2008


The prestigious "Silver Helmet Award" or "Veteran's Oscar"

AMVETS presents its annual Silver Helmet Awards to "recognize excellence and achievement in Americanism, defense, rehabilitation, congressional service and other fields."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AMVETS, AVC Support MacArthur Ouster, Legion Head Shocked". The Gazette and Daily. York, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. 12 April 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 19 March 2021 – via
  2. ^ "Honoring John P. Brown, III". May 13, 2003. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  3. ^ "Our History". Amvets. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved September 13, 2007.

External links[edit]