Veterans of Foreign Wars
|Veterans of Foreign Wars|
|Headquarters||406 W. 34th St.|
Kansas City , Missouri
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is a United States interest group devoted to military veterans of foreign wars. The group acts as advocates for the rights of war veterans as well as serving former combat military personnel.
In 1899, two organizations - the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society for the Army of the Philippines - unofficially joined together to ensure the rights and benefits of war veterans that participated in the Spanish-American War and the Philippines War.
It wasn't until 1914 that the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society for the Army of the Philippines officially merged into one entity known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
In 1936, Congress chartered the VFW.
Current objectives and activities
The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization lists a number of "priority issues" it is currently attempting to achieve. These include:
- VA Budget
- Military Quality of Life
- War on Terrorism
- Defense/Armed Forces
The Veterans Health Association is supported by the VFW. They accomplish this through the ensuring funding is authorized and provided to continue and enhance the Veterans Health Association's agenda.
The VFW is working to establish a new GI bill for military veterans seeking further education. The bill would provide full tuition as well as covering living expenses at any institution that a veteran has been accepted to.
War on Terrorism
The VFW continues to support actions taken against countries which support and protect any terrorist groups.
The execution of military strategies is supported by the VFW through increases to the defense budget along with provided necessary resources to accomplish this.
The VFW is actively attempting to update and compile the most possible comprehensive list of Americans identified as "Missing In Action" from World War II through the Gulf War.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars is led by group of elected officials. These leaders include the commander-in-chief, senior vice commander-in-chief, and junior vice commander-in-chief. To elect new officials, adopt resolutions, and discuss business affairs, the VFW convenes once a year in August at a national convention.
In addition to the three elected officials listed above, the National Council of Administration serves as the board of directors.
There are over 90,000 Posts scattered over the all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Latin America, the Pacific Areas, and Europe.
To become a member in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, an individual must meet a number of requirements. These include: 1) Served in a foreign war or overseas operation, 2) honorably discharged from the military, and 3) recognized by a campaign medal.
A potential member who has not been recognized by a campaign member can instead have either served in Korea after June 30, 1949 or been a recipient of hostile-fire or imminent danger pay.
Eligible wars served in which qualify membership include World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Iraq War. The VFW will also recognize participation in Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan, or other smaller campaigns. Occupational duty also deems qualification.
The VFW credits itself with playing an instrumental role in almost all significant veterans legislation passed in the 20th and 21st centuries. Over 60 legislative acts regarding veterans are associated with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, spanning from 1917 to the present. Some of the most recent regard veterans health-care reform with the Veterans Health-Care Act of 1992, the Veterans Health-Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996, and the Veterans Millennium Health-Care and Benefits Act of 1999.
Public perception and controversies
A prominent controversy facing the Veterans of Foreign Wars is the ongoing court case of Salazar v. Buono. The VFW placed a cross within the Mojave National Preserve, a government owned facility, to honor individuals who died at war. The issue raised the question of whether or not the government violated the Establishment Clause.