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What Is The Difference Between The American Legion And VFW? (Explained)

What Is The Difference Between The American Legion And VFW? (Explained)

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between the American Legion and VFW? While both organizations are dedicated to honoring and supporting United States veterans, they have different eligibility requirements for membership.

The American Legion requires any veteran who served during wartime to be eligible for membership, while the VFW has a stricter requirement of having served in a war zone. To become a member of either organization, a veteran must have an honorable discharge on their DD214 form.

This blog post will explore the differences between the two veteran-focused organizations and what it takes to become a member of each one. So, let’s get into the details…

VFW

Have you ever wondered what the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is?

The VFW is an organization dedicated to serving America’s veterans, and no one does more for them than they do.

Those who wish to be associated with the VFW must have served overseas. It is their mission to honor and respect those who have experienced the horrors of war.

What is VFW?
What services does VFW provide?

The VFW provides a variety of services to veterans, including access to health care, job training, educational resources, legal assistance, and financial support. They also run an online magazine with a circulation of 1.3 million subscribers that costs just $15 per year.

Through their efforts, the VFW works to ensure that no veteran is ever forgotten and that their service is remembered.

American Legion

The American Legion is a veteran’s service organization and the largest of its kind in the United States.

It has a strong voice before Congress that works to defend the rights of veterans. Its membership criteria typically include being an American citizen and showing proof of honorable military service. 

As a member, you will have access to facilities and be able to participate in activities that promote patriotism and pride, such as charity work and social gatherings. It provides an opportunity for veterans to connect with each other and continue to serve their country even after returning home from active duty.

Additionally, members of the organization are able to advocate for veterans’ rights in Congress and work with other organizations on behalf of their fellow service members.

VFW vs. American Legion

VFW Vs. American Legion
VFW vs. American Legion
VFWAmerican Legion
Eligibility Criteria Served in a foreign war zoneServed during wartime
Services Provided Health care, job training, educational resources, legal assistance, and financial supportFacilities access and activities that promote patriotism and pride
AdvocacyGet a discount on home goods Representation in Congress and working with organizations on behalf of veterans
Online Magazine YesYes
Magazine Membership Price $15 $15 domestically
VFW vs. American Legion

Is the American Legion part of the military? 

The American Legion is not part of the military. The American Legion is a veteran’s service organization and the largest of its kind in the United States.

In 1919, it was founded by veterans returning from World War I who wanted to represent their interests and advocate on their behalf. The organization is comprised solely of volunteers who are dedicated to helping veterans and their families. 

The American Legion does not have any direct affiliation with the military but does work closely with them in order to advocate for veterans’ rights in Congress and provide services to those who have served.  

Additionally, the organization provides a variety of programs and services to veterans, including access to healthcare, job training, educational resources, and more.

The American Legion is an independent nonprofit organization that is devoted to serving America’s veterans. Membership is open to all who have served honorably during wartime in any branch of the military. Though the membership fees vary by location.

Below is a Youtube video with a detailed account of the history of the American Legion.

History of the American Legion

Who can join the American Legion? 

Membership in the American Legion is open to all members of the United States Armed Forces who have served honorably during any war, campaign, or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or who have served after December 7, 1941.

Honorably discharged members of the National Guard and Reserve components may also join. Additionally, any child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of a veteran is eligible to join the American Legion Auxiliary.

The American Legion also offers membership to members of the U.S. Merchant Marine who served during World War II and their dependents, as well as civilian personnel who were awarded the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart for service in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. Surviving spouses of veterans are eligible for membership with certain restrictions.

The American Legion also provides membership to foreign military personnel who served with or alongside U.S. armed forces during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

Who can join American Legion?
Military Helicopter

Is a VFW membership good at all locations? 

A VFW membership can be beneficial in many different ways depending on the specific location.

Most locations will offer discounts on food and drinks, priority seating, access to special events, and more. Additionally, many locations provide members with opportunities to participate in volunteer programs, join community activities and build meaningful relationships.

Ultimately, the value of a VFW membership is dependent on the individual location and what it can offer to its members. By doing research on the specific benefits available at each VFW post, people can determine if joining would be beneficial for them or not.

Conclusion 

  • The American Legion and VFW are two veteran service organizations that offer different programs and services to members.
  • The American Legion is open to U.S. Armed Forces members who have served honorably in war or campaigns, as well as their dependents and surviving spouses, with certain restrictions.
  • VFW membership is beneficial in many different ways, depending on the specific location.
  • By researching the benefits available at each VFW post, potential members can determine if joining would be beneficial for them or not.
  • Both organizations provide invaluable support to veterans and their families and are a great way to honor those who have served our country.

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