VFW at a Glance
The VFW is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service
members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. The VFW and its Auxiliary are dedicated to veterans
service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs.
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 (1898) 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.
Membership Eligibility
Citizens or nationals of the United States 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 World War II, Korea,
Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and
other smaller expeditionary campaigns, as well as occupation duty, qualify.
Partner Organization
A national volunteer service organization, the Auxiliary of the VFW was founded in 1914 and is
the backbone of many local VFW volunteer efforts.
Membership Size
More than 1.5 million VFW and Auxiliary members in all 50 states, and many foreign territories.
Organizational Structure
Thousands convene each year at the VFW’s national convention to elect officers, adopt resolutions
and discuss business affairs. Leading the organization are the elected commander-in-chief, senior
vice commander-in-chief and junior vice commander-in-chief. The National Council of
Administration serves as the VFW’s board of directors.
Nearly 6,000 Posts worldwide comprise 52 Departments in the 50 states, the Asia/Pacific Areas
and Europe. Posts form the basic local chapter.
Priority Issues
• Budget: Fully fund programs for veterans, service members and their families.
• Health Care: Provide service members and veterans timely access to high-quality health care
without increasing cost shares.
• Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs: Ensure veterans and their dependents have timely
access to earned benefits.
• Education, Employment and Transition Assistance: Provide veterans the opportunity to
succeed after leaving military service.
• Military Quality of Life: Maintain a quality, comprehensive benefits and retirement
package that is the backbone for an all-volunteer force.
• National Security, Foreign Affairs and POW/MIA: Fully support service members and their
mission to fight the war on terrorism, and protect our nation’s citizens and interests around the