Eligibility For VFW

While your enlistment oath to serve your country never expired. Take an oath to serve your community.

While your enlistment oath to serve your country never expired. Take an oath to serve your community.

The fundamental difference between our organization and other veterans organizations, and one in which we take great pride, is our eligibility qualifications.

VFW welcomes all who meet our eligibility criteria. It’s through service to this country that all our membership has earned their elite status.

There are three primary requisites for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States:

  1. U.S. Citizen or U.S. National
  2. Honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States
  3. Service entitling the applicant to the award of a recognized campaign medal or as set forth in the Congressional Charter and By-Laws and Manual of Procedure and Ritual.

Sec. 103 — ELECTION:

Applications. After the applicant has filled out the application card, it should be provided to the post adjutant or quartermaster,

together with the dues (and admission fee, if applicable). A receipt shall be given to the applicant.

An applicant may be recommended after eligibility has been fully determined by the post reviewing committee. With respect

to a department member-at-large, the department headquarters is responsible for the eligibility determination.

The original application of every member will be retained on file with the adjutant.

Balloting on Applications. Before voting on the application during a post meeting, the commander shall allow the members present an opportunity to state their objections, if any, to the admission of the applicant. Unless one member present shall request a written ballot, a vote shall be taken and a majority of the votes cast shall decide acceptance or rejection of the application.

Rejection of Applicant. Should an applicant be rejected by the post, the admission fee and dues shall be returned. After one year (12 months), he may again make application, but a person shall not be proposed for membership more than twice in one post. An applicant rejected in one post may apply to another post or become a department member-at-large.

Notification. The member shall be notified of his acceptance and that he is in good standing, subject to the by-laws governing the organization. The member shall receive a membership card and will be eligible to receive a lapel pin.

Obligation. New post members may receive the obligation according to the ritual.

CHECKING ELIGIBILITY: Proof of service to establish eligibility for membership rests with the applicant. The post is responsible for assuring the eligibility of every member accepted to membership. A careful check of eligibility at the time a person joins will save a great deal of trouble and embarrassment later. A veteran who is not accepted for membership because of ineligibility at the time of application is only disappointed. A member who is removed for ineligibility after having paid dues for several years is justifiably angry.

Assuming that a person is a United States citizen or United States national and has an honorable discharge from the U.S. armed forces, it only remains to be proven that the person has earned a recognized campaign medal or badge; served in Korea between June 30, 1949, until present; or earned Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger Pay eligibility. Those people in the armed forces of the United States shall become eligible for membership immediately upon arrival on hostile soil, in hostile waters or the airspace above in the performance of service.

Discharges issued during and immediately after World War II have a section on the back listing the medals and decorations that have been earned. Persons discharged later received a DD-214, “Report of Separation” form, which lists the medals and decorations on the front. Lost separation documents can be replaced by completing and submitting GSA Standard Form 180, “Request Pertaining to Military Records.”

There is always a possibility of an omission on the separation documents. If an applicant claims entitlement to a medal, which is not shown on the individual’s separation papers, that person may request verification and correction of records by submitting a GSA Standard Form 180. The GSA Standard Form 180 is available from any office of the Veterans’ Affairs or state veterans’ departments. The form must be completed and signed by the veteran in order to receive the information requested or authorize the release of the information to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Request for records can also be obtained through the National Personnel Records

Center at www.archives.gov/veterans.

For subsequent service, refer to Sec. 101 of the Manual of Procedure.

ELIGIBILITY REGULATIONS: The following is to be used as a guide in determining eligibility for membership. The following campaign medals and the periods issued have been authorized by the United States of America, and the holder of any such medal or medals is recognized as possessing the campaign medal requisite of eligibility.

Rev. 09/05/12

Expeditionary Navy – Marine Corps Feb. 12, 1874 – Open

Spanish Campaign Army May 11, 1898 – Aug. 16, 1898

Navy Apr. 20, 1898 – Dec. 10, 1898

Army of Cuba Occupation Army Jul. 18, 1898 – May 20, 1902

Army of Puerto Rico Occupation Army Aug. 14, 1898 – Dec. 10, 1898

Philippine Campaign Army Feb. 4, 1899 – Dec. 31, 1913

Navy Feb. 4, 1899 – Sep. 15, 1906

China Relief Expedition Army Jun. 20, 1900 – May 27, 1901

Navy Apr. 5, 1900 – May 27, 1901

Cuban Pacification Army Oct. 6, 1906 – Apr. 1, 1909

Navy Sep. 12, 1906 – Apr. 1, 1909

Mexican Service Army Apr. 12, 1911 – Jun. 16, 1919

Navy Apr. 12, 1914 – Feb. 7, 1917

First Nicaraguan Campaign Navy Jul. 29, 1912 – Nov. 14, 1912

Haitian Campaign Navy Jul. 9, 1915 – Dec. 6, 1915

Apr. 1, 1919 – Jun. 15, 1920

Dominican Campaign Navy May 4, 1916 – Dec. 5, 1916

World War I Victory Army Apr. 6, 1917 – Apr. 1, 1920

(with battle or service clasp incl. Navy Apr. 6, 1917 – Mar. 30, 1920 Siberia and European Russia)

Army Occup. of Germany Army Nov. 12, 1918 – Jul. 11, 1923

Second Nicaraguan Campaign Navy Aug. 27, 1926 – Jan. 2, 1933

Yangtze Service Navy Sep. 3, 1926 – Oct. 21, 1927

Mar. 1, 1930 – Dec. 31, 1932

China Service Navy J u l . 7, 1937 – Sep. 7, 1939

Sep. 2, 1945 – Apr. 1, 1957

American Defense Service Army – Navy Sep. 8, 1939 – Dec. 7, 1941

(with foreign service clasp)

European-African- Army – Navy Dec. 7, 1941 – Nov. 8, 1945

Middle Eastern Campaign

American Campaign Army – Navy Dec. 7, 1941 – Mar. 2, 1946

(30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive

days of duty outside

continental limits of the U.S.)

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Army – Navy Dec. 7, 1941 – Mar. 2, 1946

Army of Occupation

(30 consecutive days of duty)

Italy May 9, 1945 – Sep. 15, 1947

Germany (except West Berlin) May 9, 1945 – May 5, 1955

Austria May 9, 1945 Jul. 27, 1955

Germany (West Berlin) May 9, 1945 – Oct. 2, 1990

Korea Sep. 3, 1945 – Jun. 29, 1949

Japan Sep. 3, 1945 – Apr. 27, 1952

Navy Occupation Service Medal

Italy May 8, 1945 – Dec. 15, 1947

Trieste May 8, 1945 – Oct. 26, 1954

Germany (except West Berlin) May 8, 1945 – May 5, 1955

Austria May 8, 1945 – Oct. 25, 1955

Asiatic Pacific Sep. 2, 1945 – Apr. 27, 1952

Korean Service Medal Jun. 27, 1950 – Jul. 27, 1954

Navy & Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal

Cuban Military Operation Jan. 3, 1961 – Oct. 23, 1962

Thailand Military Operation May 16, 1962 – Aug. 10, 1962

Iranian, Yemen & Indian Ocean Operation Dec. 8, 1978 – Jun. 6, 1979

Nov. 21, 1979 – Oct. 20, 1981

Lebanon Aug. 20, 1982 – May 31, 1983

Libyan Expedition Jan. 20, 1986 – Jun. 27, 1986

Persian Gulf Feb. 1, 1987 – Jul. 23, 1987

Panama Apr. 1, 1988 – Dec. 19, 1989

(pre and post invasion) Feb. 1, 1990 – Jun. 13, 1990

Operation Sharp Edge – Liberia Aug. 5, 1990 – Feb. 21, 1991

Operation Distant Runner – Rwanda Apr. 718, 1994

(11th Marine Exped. Unit USS Peleliu)

Vietnam Service Medal Jul. 4, 1965 – Mar. 8, 1973

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Lebanon Jul. 1, 1958 – Nov. 1, 1958

Taiwan Straits Aug. 23, 1958 – Jan. 1, 1959

Quemoy & Matsu Islands Aug. 23, 1958 – Jun. 1, 1963

Vietnam Jul. 1, 1958 Jul. 3, 1965

Congo Jul. 14, 1960 – Sep. 1, 1962

Laos Apr. 19, 1961 – Oct. 7, 1962

Berlin Aug. 14, 1961 – Jun. 1, 1963

Cuba Oct. 24, 1962 – Jun. 1, 1963

Congo Nov. 23-27, 1964

Campaign Military Qualifying Medals Service Dates Campaign Military Qualifying Medals Service Dates

VFW ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Dominican Republic Apr. 23, 1965 – Sep. 21, 1966

Korea Oct. 1, 1966 – Jun. 30, 1974

Cambodia Mar. 29, 1973 – Aug. 15, 1973

Thailand Mar. 29, 1973 – Aug. 15, 1973

(only those in direct support of Cambodia) Operation Eagle Pull – Cambodia Apr. 11-13, 1975

(includes evacuation) Operation Frequent Wind –Vietnam Apr. 29-30, 1975

(includes evacuation) Mayaquez Operation May 15, 1975

El Salvador Jan. 1, 1981 – Feb. 1, 1992

Lebanon Jun. 1, 1983 – Dec. 1, 1987

Operation Urgent Fury – Grenada Oct. 23, 1983 – Nov. 21, 1983

Eldorado Canyon – Libya Apr. 12-17, 1986

Operation Earnest Will – Persian Gulf Jul. 24, 1987 – Aug. 1, 1990

(only those participating in, or in direct support) Operation Just Cause – Panama Dec. 20, 1989 Jan. 31, 1990

(USS Vreeland & other SVS-designated aircrew mbrs. outside the Conus in direct support)

United Shield – Somalia Dec. 5, 1992 – Mar. 31, 1995

Operation Restore Hope – Somalia Dec. 5, 1992 – Mar. 31, 1995

Operation Uphold Democracy – Haiti Sep. 16, 1994 – Mar. 31, 1995

Operation Joint Endeavor – Bosnia, Nov. 20, 1995 – Dec. 19, 1996

Croatia, the Adriatic Sea & airspace. Operation Vigilant Sentinel – Iraq, Dec. 1, 1995 Feb. 15, 1997

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, & Persian Gulf. Operation Southern Watch – Iraq, Dec. 1, 1995 Mar. 18, 2003

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Persian Gulf, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Gulf of Oman W of 62o E Long.,Yemen, Egypt, & Jordan, Operation Maritime Intercept – Iraq, Dec. 1, 1995 Mar. 18, 2003

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman W of 62o E Long., Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Egypt, & Jordan. Operation Joint Guard – Bosnia, Dec. 20, 1996 – Jun. 20, 1998

Croatia, Adriatic Sea & airspace. Operation Northern Watch – Iraq, Jan. 1, 1997 – Mar. 18, 2003

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Persian Gulf W of 56o E Long., and Incirlik AB, Turkey (only pers. TDY to ONW) Operation Joint Forge – Jun. 20, 1998 – Mar. 23, 1999

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Adriatic Sea & airspace Operation Desert Thunder – Iraq, Nov. 11, 1998 – Dec. 22, 1998

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Egypt,Jordan, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea support. Operation Desert Fox – Iraq, Dec. 16, 1998 – Dec. 22, 1998

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, USN Red Sea support.

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Operation Desert Shield/ Aug. 2, 1990 – Nov. 30, 1995

Operation Desert Storm (combat areas of operation only)

Personnel assigned to support units Jan. 17, 1991 – Apr. 11, 1991

serving in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Jordan. Kosovo Campaign Medal

Operation Allied Force Kosovo Air Campaign Mar. 24, 1999 – Jun. 10, 1999

Kosovo Defense Campaign Ground Action Jun. 11, 1999 – Open

Combat Infantryman Badge & Combat Medical Badge Army Dec. 6, 1941 – Open

Air Force Combat Action Medal Sep. 11, 2001 – Open

Combat Action Ribbon Navy – Marine Dec. 6, 1941 – Open

Coast Guard Dec. 6, 1941 – April 30, 1975

Coast Guard Combat

Action Ribbon Coast Guard May 1, 1975 – Open

Combat Action Badge Army Sep. 18, 2001 – Open

SSBN Deterrent Patrol Insignia Navy Jan. 21, 1961 – Open

Korea Duty Jun. 30, 1949 – Open

Service on the Korean Peninsula, its airspace and territorial waters for (30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days of duty)

Korea Defense Service Medal Jul. 28, 1954 – Open

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Sep. 11, 2001 – Open

Afghanistan Campaign Medal Sep. 11, 2001 – Open

Iraq Campaign Medal Mar. 19, 2003 Dec. 31, 2011

Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with GOLD BORDER Apr. 2004 – Open

Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger Pay Jan. 1, 1971 – Present

This information is to be used for guideline purposes only. The separation

document or DD 214 MUST reflect campaign medal service to establish

eligibility. Service in Korea without the issuance of a campaign medal can

be established with additional, support documentation. Hostile Fire or

Imminent Danger Pay can be established with pay records.

Campaign Military Qualifying

Medals Service Dates

Campaign Military Qualifying

Medals Service Dates