Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion are two top organizations that are dedicated to serving American military veterans. Both organizations are well-respected for their support and advocacy efforts for veterans worldwide. However, many people still ask which organization they should join.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the differences and similarities between VFW and American Legion, their goals and missions, and which organization is the right choice for you as a veteran.
What is VFW?
VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) is one of the largest and most respected organizations that serve the interests of veterans. Founded in 1899, VFW provides support and advocacy services to over 1.5 million members in over 6,000 posts worldwide.
The VFW is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping American veterans get the care and respect they deserve. They also provide a range of programs and services that assist veterans with disability compensation, education, and transition assistance.
At present, VFW has over 15,000 trained volunteers who provide guidance and resources for veterans serving in different branches of the military, such as the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The VFW works closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies to ensure that veterans are properly taken care of both in times of war and peace.
What is American Legion?
The American Legion is another non-profit organization that was founded in 1919. It provides support and advocacy services to U.S. military veterans, their families, and their communities. Presently, the American Legion has over 2 million members in approximately 12,500 posts worldwide.
The organization’s programs and services are aimed at improving the quality of life of American veterans, including healthcare, education, and job placement. It collaborates with other government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, to help veterans access the benefits, resources, and care they deserve.
The American Legion has over 14,000 trained volunteers who provide critical support services to veterans and their families.
Differences between VFW and American Legion
Both organizations provide similar services and programs for veterans, but there are a few key differences between them:
The eligibility criteria for VFW membership is based on a veterans’ military service. Members must have served in a military campaign and be able to prove that they served in a foreign war. On the other hand, membership in the American Legion is open to all U.S. veterans who have served at least one day of active military duty since December 7, 1941.
VFW is led by a national commander and a board of directors, while the American Legion is led by a national commander and executive committee.
The VFW was founded before the American Legion, and it mostly caters to the interests of war veterans, while the American Legion caters to the interests of all U.S. veterans regardless of whether they served in a war or not.
Both organizations provide great benefits, but VFW’s benefits are limited to war veterans, while the American Legion provides more diverse programs that cater to all U.S. veterans.
Which Organization is Right for You?
The answer to this question is entirely dependent on your goals and interests as a veteran. Both organizations offer excellent programs for veterans and their families, but you should choose the one that is most relevant to your needs.
If you served in a foreign war, VFW is the organization for you. The VFW has a wealth of experience in serving war veterans, and its programs are tailored to assist this group of veterans.
On the other hand, if you served in the U.S. military but not in a foreign war, the American Legion is the right organization for you. The American Legion provides excellent programs and services for all U.S. veterans and their families.
Both organizations offer career services, educational benefits, and transition assistance for veterans leaving the military.
In conclusion, both VFW and American Legion are great organizations that have made invaluable contributions to the wellbeing of veterans in the U.S. Each organization provides different programs that cater to different groups of veterans, making either one a great choice.
With that said, before joining any of these organizations, ensure that you understand their eligibility criteria, leadership structure, benefits, and programs. This will help you make an informed decision that will benefit you and your family.