To be eligible to join the VFW, or Veterans of Foreign Wars, a person must be a U.S. citizen who has served in the military honorably in an overseas conflict, received a campaign medal for overseas service, served 60 nonconsecutive or 30 consecutive days in Korea, or received imminent danger or hostile-fire pay. There are no age requirements for joining the organization.
Founded in 1899 by Spanish-American war veterans, the VFW is committed to bettering the lives of veterans. Its basic mission is to ensure the security of America through military strength, speed up the rehabilitation of the country's needy and disabled veterans, assist veterans' widows and orphans, help disabled veterans' dependents and promote patriotism and Americanism through constructive community service.
As of 2014, the VFW has more than 1.4 million members and over 10,000 local units, which are referred to as "posts." The organization's legislative service and the central office of its rehabilitative service are both located in Washington, D.C.
Benefits of joining the VFW include camaraderie with fellow foreign-conflict veterans; access to a vast network of resources; assistance securing veteran benefits and compensation; and discounts on health care plans, insurance plans and travel services.
A number of presidents have been members of the VFW, including George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt.