Beginnings of the VFW
In 1899, the American Veterans of Foreign Service (Columbus, Ohio) and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines (Denver, Colorado) were organized to secure rights and benefits for veterans of the Spanish-American War (1899-1902) and the Philippines War (1899-1902). These two organizations merged in 1914, creating the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The VFW was chartered by Congress in 1936.
Thousands convene each August at VFW's National Convention to elect officers, adopt resolutions and discuss business affairs. Leading the organization are the elected Commander-in-Chief, Sr. Vice Commander-in-Chief and Jr. Commander-in-Chief. The National Council of Administration serves as the VFW's board of directors. More than 7,400 Posts comprise of 54 Departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Latin America, the Pacific Areas and Europe. Posts form the basic local chapter. VFW membership currently stands at 1.4 million.
Those serving honorably in the U.S. armed forces in a foreign war or overseas operation recognized by a campaign medal, in Korea after June 30, 1949, and recipients of hostile-fire or imminent danger pay. Veterans of WWII, the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and other expeditionary campaigns, as well as occupational duty, also qualify.