Veterans of Foreign Wars

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At the turn of the 19th century, veterans returned from the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection in need of medical care or pensions. Some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations that would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. By 1925, membership included 5,000 veterans and by 1936 membership included almost 200,000. Today, the 2.1 million members annually contribute more than 11 million hours of volunteer service and provide more than $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds to students.

The mission of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is to foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts; serve our veterans, the military, and our communities; and advocate on behalf of all veterans.

The vision of the VFW is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.

The VFW core values include the following:

  • Always put the interests of our members first.
  • Treat donors as partners in our cause.
  • Promote patriotism.
  • Honor military service.
  • Ensure the care of veterans and their families.
  • Serve our communities.
  • Promote a positive image of the VFW.
  • Respect the diversity of veteran opinions.


Currently, the VFW includes more than 2.1 million members in 7,700 posts nationwide. Membership criteria include those who have received a campaign medal for overseas service, have served 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days in Korea, or have ever received hostile fire or imminent danger pay.

The VFW is a chartered organization for Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturing units. In 2012, Scouting membership in the VFW, Auxiliary, and Cootie included:

  • 18,966 Cub Scouts in 471 packs
  • 10,382 Boy Scouts in 470 troops
  • 1,851 Venturers in 143 crews

Role of Scouting in the VFW

Since the inception of VFW, the Boy Scouts of America has played a major part in supporting the VFW's efforts. During World War I and II the Boy Scouts helped collect food and other items to support troops in the war. Since then, Scouting has continued to be a supporter of the VFW and Scouts have become members of the VFW.


VFW Wood Badge Scholarship Program

Through a cooperative effort with the Boy Scouts of America, the VFW national headquarters offers Wood Badge scholarships to assist selected chapter members in acquiring skills that will better equip them to serve the youth of their communities.

The Scout of the Year Award

High school students who are at least 15 years of age; registered, active members of a Boy Scout troop or Venturing crew; have received either the Eagle Scout Award, the Venturing Silver Award, or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award; and have demonstrated practical citizenship in school, Scouting, and the community are invited to apply.

Voice of Democracy

The premier youth scholarship program of the VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary VFW. It is open to students in ninth through 12th grades and provides more than $2.5 million annually in awards and scholarships. Created in 1947, it gives students a chance to extol the virtues of democracy and experiment with the technologies of radio broadcasting.

VFW Scouters Achievement Award

The award recognizes VFW Scouters who serve on the VFW state and national Scouting teams and complete required tasks during a three-year period.


For information regarding unit formation, VFW committees on Scouting, VFW emblems and recognitions, and other materials contact:

Steve Van Buskirk
Director of Programs
VFW National Headquarters
406 West 34th St., Kansas City, MO 64111



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