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History Of The Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States traces its roots back to
1899. That year, Veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine
Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and
benefits for their service. In Columbus, Ohio, they founded the American
Veterans of Foreign Service. In Denver Colorado, they organized the Colorado
Society, Army of the Philippines.
The VFW was chartered by Congress in 1936.
The National Convention is the VFW's supreme governing body. Each August, thousands of VFW members gather to elect new officers, adopt resolutions and handle important business affairs.
National officers,, who serve one year, are elected by delegates to the National Convention. The officers include the Commander-in-Chief, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Quartermaster General (similar to a corporate treasurer), Judge Advocate General (provides legal counsel), Surgeon General and the National Chaplain.
Traditionally, at each National Convention, the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief becomes the Commander-in-Chief, while the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief assumes the role of Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief. For this reason, interest and activity centers around election of the new Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief.
Appointed officials include the Adjutant General (similar to a corporate CEO), National Chief of Staff and the National Inspector General.
The National Council of Administration serves as the VFW's Board of Directors. It comprises elected national officers, the immediate past Commander-in-Chief, three appointed officials and elected members from each of 29 national districts comprising one or more Departments.
Approximately 10,000 Posts comprise 55 Departments in the 50 states plus Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, Panama, the Pacific Areas, Europe and Washington, D.C.
The election, functions and titles of elected and appointed officers in Posts, Districts, County Councils and Departments parallel the national level.