View Full Version : VFW / American Legion

09-16-2013, 01:03 AM
Anyone a member?
Anyone go to their local post?
Is the post decent or is it a smoky, dingy dungeon of decades past?
First visit: Greeted with open arms or disdain?
Will today's veterans join? (should they?)
Has the V and Legion run its course?

If your post is a vibrant, happening place please share your tips for success!

09-16-2013, 01:21 AM
Anyone a member?
Anyone go to their local post?
Is the post decent or is it a smoky, dingy dungeon of decades past?
First visit: Greeted with open arms or disdain?
Will today's veterans join? (should they?)
Has the V and Legion run its course?

If your post is a vibrant, happening place please share your tips for success!

I'm an American Legion member. Decent place, but a bit smoky for me. Big difference between the organization and the local post IMO. It may change, but the Legion and VFW will continue.

09-16-2013, 01:27 AM
I have been to a few posts in various locations.

Some i have been to are doing well with an age diverse membership that does not isolate the newer generation of war vets, some are not as diverse and those are the ones I see struggling most often, probably related to tapping into a pretty large pool of eligible veterans for membership/dues/involvement.

Should today's vets join? In my opinion yes, the tenants of the organization are good, but I have seen some locations that alienate potential new members with excessively rude or bitter members. I earnestly hope these VSOs have not run their course since I think they offer community and resources to vets, by vets.

09-16-2013, 01:33 AM
The organizations have been around for quite some time. Some are great, other not so good.

09-16-2013, 06:50 AM

Anyone a member? Yes, Lewis L. Millett Hill 180 Memorial Post 10216, Songtan, Korea. Named after Captain Lewis Millet, MOH Recepient, who led a bayonet charge on Hill 180 against the Chinese during the Korean War. Hill 180 is on present day Osan AB.

Anyone go to their local post? Regularly try to attend some kind of function weekly, even if its just our Saturday poker game.

Is the post decent or is it a smoky, dingy dungeon of decades past? It can be at times, depending on who/what's is going on at the time. No smoking at any time when host official events as well as when we have families and kids during our annual Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners. Side note: We normally serve anywhere from 500 - 600 servicemembers, retirees and their families during those periods (free to all).

First visit: [COLOR="#0000CD"]Greeted with open arms or disdain? We greet all visitors/members with open arms. Of course non-members cannot attend the meetings.

Will today's veterans join? (should they?) [COLOR="#0000CD"]Yes, the VFW is still fighting/lobbying for Veteran's rights on captital hill. We need someone to speak for us since there is very little military leadership left in congress and most of those few are in the pockets of special interests.

Has the V and Legion run its course? I don't know about the American Legion, but the VFW has not run its course.

If your post is a vibrant, happening place please share your tips for success! Without participation of the younger veterans from our recent engagements/wars no veteran's organization will be successful. VFWs in Korea and other areas throughout the Pacific could not be self-sustaining within encouraging our younger members to be active and seek elective offices within the organization. It should not be about a bunch of old men sitting around telling war stories abuput WWII, Korea or Viet Nam, but a vibrant place where all war veterans can participate. Diversity is also a must. We don't forget the past as we dedicated a wall in our post in tribute to our own Tuskegee Airman two-mothns before his untimely death, but have also feted Cpt Millett who the post was named after, and continuing on with our male and female members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. Our next project is a tribute to women in the military. Keep checking our website for further news on this project at http://www.vfw10216.com. Again, enpower your younger servicemembers/veterans and they will make things happen.

09-16-2013, 12:28 PM
I researched 11 VFW and AL websites before I retired in anticipation of joining one. All of the websites showed photos of their activities, hanging out with their motorcycles (I don't ride), playing pool or hanging out drinking cheap American beer, neither of which I do. I respect their lobbying efforts with Congress, but outside of being a vet I honestly don't feel like I have much in common with them, at least from the pictures I saw. So, no thanks.

By the way, most of the websites claimed to be involved with the community, yet I never saw one photo of community service on any website. As far as I'm concerned, they're all biker bars. Convince me otherwise!

09-16-2013, 04:44 PM
I have a V near me that I go to occasionally. I joined as a Life member back in 95 to a post in NJ.
At this post, I've never been asked for member ID or anything. It's mostly people have a few beers and doing really really bad Kareoke in Saturday nights. I go there occasioanaly for the Firday night Fish Frys. It's a pretty good deal for the family. Illinois is a no smoke state now so everyone has to go outside. Kind of nice.

09-16-2013, 05:38 PM
Was a legion member years ago-very uncomfortable and when we went to Bingo, were asked to leave because we brought our 2 year old. Went to a couple VFWs. As a smoker, they were like caves with enough smoke to make your lungs burn and your eyes water...

09-16-2013, 07:54 PM
Initially joined the American Legion in Waldorf, Germany (outside of Rhein Main) back in 1975. That post had a lot of active duty members and we did do a lot of community work - mostly on-base. Became a life member later. I go to the one in a small town in Illinois now. It does do a lot of community activities and I guess I would be in the older crowd now. But, we are close to Scott AFB and we do have a lot of active duty, guard, and reserve members. But, we do also sponsor a biker poker run.

I'm also a life member with the VFW. Frequented the post in a small town near Montgomery, AL when I was down there. It was set up as a private bar (members only/signed in as a guest). It was the smoky bar room type and didn't see a lot of community activities there. It was mostly the older generation there WWII, Korean, and Vietnam vets.

I do have to say it all depends all how many younger/active duty folks you get in the post that dictates what the post will be and what they actually do.

But, at the national level - if it wasn't for the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, DAV, etc - the VA would be in worst shape than they already are.

09-18-2013, 02:16 AM
I've been to two VFWs. One was "open", which meant that anyone could go. The other was "closed", which meant that you can't just walk in off the street and eat a burger with a beer (which I did). The open one was dirty and loud and pretty gross. The people were very welcoming, but I was promotly knocked to the floor by the drunk guy that overshot his butt on the stool he was sitting on. The closed one was dark and a dungeon of decades past in the best possible way. The bartender ended up buying me a year's membership by the time the night was over. They were wonderful. I'm glad they were snobby there because it was a huge relief to know that they all weren't like the open one. The open VFW had fights all the time and was a horrible place. So I guess it just depends on the club and it's members.

09-18-2013, 09:08 PM
I only have had two experiences with Legions. (And none with VFWs.)

Back when MA used to have blue laws, the only place you could buy booze on Sundays was an American Legion. I have no idea why this was so, but I did it many times -- even when I was underage.

At my first base (Mather) a buddy of mine told me about this hot new punk rock hangout in downtown Sacramento. It was an American Legion. I went there with him once and it was surreal -- old guys sitting at the bar drinking shots and beers, and spiky-haired punkers shooting pool while the jukebox played the likes of The Sex Pistols. Bizarre.

There's also an organization called AmVets -- anyone know anything about them?

AF Comm Guy
09-19-2013, 02:42 PM
I've considered joining AL. I keep getting packets in the mail asking me to sign up but I'm very hesitant. On the one hand, I'd like to stay at least somewhat involved with veterans affairs and advocacy. On the other hand, it still seems like a hyper right-wing, jingoistic organization that doesn't want you if you don't love Jesus. They also have their other problems which have been covered already such as being out of touch with the younger crowd, the rituals and the silly hats. If anyone knows different, please fill me in.

Also, does anyone thing that maybe the VFW and AL should combine into one veterans advocacy group? They both seem geared toward the same ideas so why not pool their resources? The only difference in membership requirements I've seen is that VFW requires you to have served in a war and AL only requires that you serve during a war. With our nation's undeclared wars these requirements start to seem hard to meet or vague at best. WWII was the last war that congress declared yet VFW includes Korea, Vietnam, Gulf I&II and other actions which were obviously wars but were never officially declared. Yeah, I'm just nit picking at the details here. It's part of my job.