The Veterans of Foreign Wars Faces a Challenge

VFW, Veterans of Foreign WarsThe Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW, strives to do good things for deserving people; particularly veterans, their families, and their communities.  From local grassroots ideas to national influence, we work everyday to make a difference.  It’s our strength as an organization.  And, with each individual membership, we only grow stronger.

Except all is not well in VFW land:

I met with a state commander of the VFW last week while he was in DC for some national business. As we talked, through the conversation some aspects of my military service came up. He asked about my own membership in the VFW and I told him I used to be a member but had declined to renew my membership some time ago. He seemed surprised but asked why, I told him about what I found by a number of the members of the VFW where I had been to be a “chip on the shoulder” syndrome.
Despite having been in real no-kidding combat in Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I was often told that these were not ‘real wars’ (which in at least two cases they weren’t – not for the U.S.) The propensity of the members to think that in 2001 Afghanistan or 2003 Iraq there were the creature comforts of modern life that is shown on the news is a gross miscalculation.

VFW, Veterans of Foreign WarsWe briefly discussed how I parachuted into Afghanistan and did not see a shower or hot meal for 68 days. My wife didn’t know where I was (other than I was probably in Afghanistan), multiple firefights, direct and indirect fire and calls for fire on targets seemed like a war to my team, regardless of the year that it took place in. I feel much of the feeling was based on how these men were treated when they came home. Their fathers who had fought in WWII were treated very differently by society than they were, but should that justify contempt for those who have fought after them?

Hmm, I still intend on joining when I retire. I imagine the different VFW units vary by area?

I Joined the Military!

Dear Abby, I joined the Navy to see the world. I’ve seen it. Now how do I get out?

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Are you eligible for the VFW?

Photojournalist Alison Baskerville followed Captain Anna Crossley in Afghanistan

The images captured by Alison highlight how women, both British and Afghan, respond to the often austere conditions in which they find themselves and how they maintain their morale and individuality in the face of demanding circumstances. Captain Alice Homer is an officer with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. She has just spent six months running a small section of soldiers in Camp Bastion.

All Shore Duty

An old Sailor and an old Marine were sitting at the VFW arguing about who’d had the tougher career.

“I did 30 years in the Corps,” the Marine declared proudly, “and fought in three of my country’s wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood-soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade. “As a sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General MacArthur. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire. “Finally, as a gunny sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a firefight, we’d fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we’d charge the enemy with bayonets!”

“Ah,” said the Sailor with a dismissive wave of his hand, “lucky bastard, all shore duty, huh?”