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In 1899, the American Veterans of Foreign Service (Columbus, Ohio) and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines (Denver, Colo.) were organized to secure rights and benefits for veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippines War (1899-1902). Tese two organizations merged in 1914, creating the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. VFW was chartered by Congress in 1936.

Organizational Structure: 
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, senior vice commander-in-chief and junior vice commander-in-chief. The National Council of Administration serves as the VFW’s board of directors. More than 7,200 Posts comprise 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 1.3 million.

Membership Eligibility  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 World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and other expeditionary campaigns, as well as occupation duty, also qualify.