VFW offers free annual membership

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

By By Lee “Lavan” Martin
All of us have heard the old adage, “We need a few good men.” This is especially true with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which needs all the veterans it can get.
In order to enhance membership and to get more veterans involved, the VFW is offering free annual membership until the end of 2008. Entitlement to one of the recognized campaign of service medals should be shown on the separation document or DD Form 214 determines eligibility to the VFW.
In addition, 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. Unless one of these can be established, the individual must be considered as ineligible at that time.
To prove eligibility, the veteran must request verification of his/her entitlement to a campaign medal by completing, signing, and submitting a Standard Form 180 to the appropriate agency housing the military records. This form is available from Mike Hanks, Escambia County Veterans Affairs Officer (368-4223 Ext. 115). The VFW does not have access to military records.
Persons still serving in the active armed forces may be accepted for VFW membership provided they meet eligibility requirements. With their application for membership, they should be required to submit a statement signed by their commanding officer or personnel officer certifying to their having earned a campaign medal, or records establishing Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger Pay.
VFW eligibility requires Honorable Service. If the discharge is a General Discharge under Honorable Conditions, the VFW Post may check the reasons for a General Discharge before membership. A Undesirable, Bad Conduct, Dishonorable or Discharge Certificate under Other than Honorable Conditions does not meet the requirements for VFW eligibility.
All of this may sound like the VFW is an exclusive club. Well, it is. We are Comrades in Arms who enjoy a brotherhood of veterans who served in specific war campaigns, or have a record of serving under Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger. We have much in common as we gather to swap war stories and care for the needs of our Comrades in Arms.
As written in an earlier article, with better than 1500 World War II Veterans passing on daily, veteran organizations need younger veterans to step up and take their place. Veteran organizations can be a powerful force when dealing with the “powers that be” on veteran benefits. We carry a “big stick,” so step up and sign up with the VFW before the end of 2008 and enjoy free membership until the end of 2009.
Call VFW Commander, Lee “Lavan” Martin or Adjutant John James at 368-1336 for an application or more details on how you can become a VFW Comrade.
Lee “Lavan” Martin is commander of the Atmore Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7016. He can be reached at 368-8160 or via email at martinl@frontiernet.net

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