Younger Veterans

VFW, American Legion Left Behind By Younger Veterans

Younger veterans are thumbing their nose at traditional veterans organizations like VFW and American Legion due to the orgs perceived lack of connection with their communities.

Are traditional veteran organizations involved enough in local communities? Veteran Kate Hoit certainly does not think so.

Hoit, an Army Reserves veteran having served one tour in Iraq, is one such veteran who feels disenfranchised with traditional organizations where members fit the stereotype of sitting around drinking and telling war stories. For Hoit, she would much rather be engaged in the local community with new organizations such as Team Rubicon and Team Red White and Blue.

To Hoit, these new organizations fit a model of giving back to communities that helps veterans get more engaged than in the past by focusing on positive attributes of what it means to be a veteran.

Team Rubicon is an organization dedicated to helping others through disaster relief by using skills and experiences of veterans to aid as first responders. The organization first got its start bringing aid to Haiti following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010 and has grown ever since while running similar operations.

Team Red White and Blue is another organization dedicated to increasing local connections between veterans and the community through physical and social activity. This is clearly not the model of traditional organizations. The organization first received its 501c3 status in 2010.

In defense of traditional organizations like VFW and Legion, they do provide veteran benefits services that most of the new organizations do not. Benefits assistance is a main staple for the traditional orgs to increase their membership numbers, and many veterans would be left in a world of hurt had their local veteran orgs not helped them get their benefits.

So where do we stand as veterans at this time? How can traditional veteran organizations like Disabled American Veterans (DAV), VFW and American Legion evolve to stay relevant in the lives of this country’s newest group of veterans? Do you feel the same way?



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  1. I am a 100%service connected disabled vet. I was told by the big two CLUBS that I am not a REAL Vet . I wont belong to any if them now! And I know of others that feel the same.

    1. The VFW Rep in my area, who was to assist veterans with problems with the VA and handled a case against my local VAMC outpatient clinic, where Management lied and said I had been Disruptive on many occasions and noting was done by the Rep, to stop Management from lieing about me. So since the Rep did not do anything to stop it, She was hired by the same person, whom is hurting me. So it seems that the DAV Rep was rewarded for doing nothing about my Mistreatment. She is now in a position to keep doing the VA’s Bidding. Is the VA really above this country veterans civil and constitutional rights, These clubs are only helping the VA cover up whats really happening to veterans. You scratch my back, I will scratch your back. Wonderful. That Rep has copies of everything I gave her and I am sure she has handed it over to her new Boss. The very same person I was having her investigate. Does something smell funny or stinks.

  2. I am a Vietnam era veteran. My father was a WWII veteran and an American Legion member. I was in the Sons of the American Legion. I now am a member of the VFW and American Legion and am most proud to serve on the Memorial Honor Guard representing our US Government at the funerals of fallen veterans, I believe there is no higher honor, and respect, I can bestow upon our American veterans than performing the graveside ritual for our community. Continue to serve your comrades and your country by supporting your veteran organizations in your communities. They need your help as much as you need them.

    1. Thousands of veterans are being harmed by the v.a. disruptive committee cinil and constitutional rights taken away. Where is the service orginazations that are to stand up for veterans. V.A. gives them lip service and they vfw ect reply, ok that good enough for us. Go ahead and keep hurting our veterans with lies about them. I have not seen 1 veterans group fighting for the veterans. Its a shame. If the v.a. would stop hurting the veterans there would be fewer funerals to attend. I have been to many funerals and it tears my heart out to hear taps and the families do thank those that provide those services, but do we really have to wait for someone to die to give them respect. A little to late.

  3. VSO club with bars are part of the fraternal aspect, not the advocacy and service. I heard from WWII & Korean war vets they felt alienated by WWI vets, just as we Vietnam vets out of place and unwelcome by the WWII & Korean war vets. But, we were welcomed and so are vets from all eras into the DAV. VSO’s play an important part in Congress and how active duty troops afe treated. I suggest before badmouthing any organization you learn first hand what it does in the way of service to the entifre military and veteran communities. You do not have to attend VSO meetings, but it is imperative that they keep high membership numbers. Numbers equal power in Wash DC.

  4. I remember reading comments by a Mr. Goreman, some higher up in the DAV that he medefrom the Wash DC office, that he made when he retired some years ago about the VA healthcare system. He had high praise for it and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread! He saw absolutely no wrong with VAHS at all, and that everything was handled real well within the system. He’s still alive, abiet retired from the DAV. He’s probably saying the same stuff these days regardless of the scandal and everything else that came out about the entire VA system. Goreman was considered the best person the DAV ever had by the organization and that he cared for any and all veterans. The organization simply adores this guy and they want you to know you had your back covered with him on the job!
    Go figure.

  5. I’m not sure what they do. I know they didn’t do enough to stop changes in the military that affect readiness and combat effectiveness. They sat back and laughed, I suppose, as Clinton instituted “don’t ask don’t tell” which allowed gays to serve covertly. This allowed a gay mafia to flourish and corrupt the military. Then there is the “zero tolerance” atmosphere, which also breeds corruption. In that environment, a person better be squeaky-clean before they report an infraction. Next was the whole Army Beret thing. I’m sure they thought it was funny, sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing to stop it. Then they sat back and watched Affirmative Action policies elevate incompetent boobs to high command and leadership positions. More recently, they did not stop the policy changes that allow gays to serve openly and basically just laugh as loud as they can when they hear about females in combat arms.
    But worst of all, these veteran organizations have not prevented the military from instituting ridiculous Rules of Engagement. Had they raised a little hell, I’d respect them a little more. These organizations are made up of people who have been to where the rubber meets the road. They have seen first-hand what works and what does not. However, they sit back and laugh as the U.S. Military gets turned into a big stinking pile of crap.
    So maybe that’s why younger veterans don’t join them. Younger veterans had to deal with the stupid policies, the new military culture, and the non-stop social experiments that quite frankly, get good people killed and embarrass America.

    1. Jed, although I can sympathize with the weakening of our military you described, by definition, a veterans organization serves vets, not active military. I would also like to point out that the military is constantly changing, and just as I wouldn’t recognize the military today compared to the 1960’s, you will not recognize the military in another 40 years.

      Let’s place blame where it belongs. On the politicians. It is the politicians who do not permit the military to complete their missions, not veterans organizations.

      The fact there are so many veteran organizations is confusing and dilutes representation in the political arena. The big ones (AL, DAV, VFW, VVA) have Veteran Service Officers, some of which are damn good. Yet, there are others that my dog could do a better job. I would say it is similar to different parts of the country where, in smaller communities, the VFW is the center of the community. It is where wedding receptions are held, the monthly community breakfast, fund raisers and hall rental for other social gatherings are the norm. In big cities, the impact of a VFW or AL is much smaller.

      Also, the older organizations are more involved in community service on a consistent and noticeable basis. Most of the newer organizations focus only on the veteran and their well being. I am not making a value judgement which is better, just pointing out the differences.

      1. Dan,
        I appreciate your thoughtful response. I once worried the US military would be so weakened by bad policy that the enemy would show up here, in America. We’re past that. Hajji is here. Maybe after this nation is destroyed from within, Hajji Bob’s veteran’s groups will have more participation.

  6. 30 years ago I was recruited into the American Legion by a member who was a Korean War veteran. I felt honored and joined. Although I did not join for a place to hang out, I did go to several meetings and a couple of dinners. Usually, it was one or two Vietnam vets in these affairs and 50 to 60 Korean and WWII vets. We (the Vietnam vets) were shunned and actually I had several occasions where I was treated with absolute rudeness. Needless to say, I left and never renewed my membership.

    Perhaps the same is happening today with the younger vet? They just don’t feel welcomed?

    I belong to the V V A, and am a member at large (don’t belong to a chapter). I support the organization through donations. But, talking about a dying organization, we will be extinct in less than 25 years.

  7. It is most unfortunate that each of these organizations fail in so many areas. While some vets do obtain claim awards through the VSOs, the success/failure rate is based on the tenacity and expertise of individuals. Most are trained/indoctrinated by the BVA and accept verbatim the lies of the VA. I was told for 18 months that my claim was stayed by the Haas/Ribaudo stay and had to go to the VA OGC to get the RO to get off its duff. There are too many horror stories about claims never having been filed, miscommunications, et. al from all the VSOs.

    The VSOs are not standing up for vets on the most important issues and actually attempt to usurp legislation intended to help vets and provide options (i.e. the DAV trying to undermine the use of lawyers after the initial denial. In fact, I know of almost no military associations or VSOs who are not heavily influenced or have not come under pressure by the government to “tone down or ignore” major contentious issues.

    And I have to agree with Dennis about the VSOs being bar/bingo parlors without real purpose.

    It is very much past time to encourage more lawyers to engage in helping vets through offering contingency based assistance for fees that allow them to make a decent living. The argument? Is it worth it for a vet to win a claim and pay lawyer or being denied and giving up!

  8. The American Legion at White River Junction in VT helped me get my benefits as a disabled veteran and I am thankful for that. I withdrew from the Legion after my local Post 80 engaged in a foul agreement to allow a bunch of industrial wind developers to use the Legion parking area to turn big wind turbines around for transport to a mountain ridge that was destroyed by these people. Why did the local Legion do it? They wanted money to re-pave the parking lot. They collaborated in the disruption of our town and the destruction of a fragile ecosystem for a stinking parking lot. Unforgivable. While I don’t blame the American Legion as a whole for the disgusting behavior of the local post I did send a formal complaint to the national commander who said he wouldn’t do anything about it because I had withdrawn from the Legion. Very disappointing.

  9. I can very well see where all this is coming from. Every veterans org. I’ve gone to was just a club or a bar. They’re not entirely all that welcoming either. When you go there and they’re always telling you that you didn’t win your war and your service doesn’t deserve any respect and those medals that you were awarded in Viet-Nam, you didn’t earn; then none of this is going to actually make you feel at home, is it?!

  10. If the VFW and American Legion want my membership, then they need to start protesting against the coming executive amnesty by Obama. There is no dispute that once 32 million illegal aliens are given preference for jobs in America because they will work for peanuts, the scarce employment opportunities for veterans will dry up and those fortunate veterans that have jobs will soon see their hourly wage or salary greatly reduced to unlivable levels.

    The coming Job Apocalypse is going to get real scary as all veterans will feel the pain of even worse economic hardship when employers choose illegal aliens over veterans!

    1. With veteran unemployment ACTUALLY running around 14% and expected to go even higher as illegal aliens take all the available jobs in America, I figure that the VFW and American Legion watering holes will see an uptick in unemployed veterans coming by to drown their sorrows in cheap swill.

      This is especially true in Florida where the majority of jobs were given to illegal aliens for the LAST 14 YEARS!

      These anti-veteran businesses in Florida decided to hire illegals over American veterans!


  11. That was the purpose of the VFW/American Legion, to provide the Vet with a place to feel “AT HOME” and not to acclimate the VET bac into SOCIETY.
    I believe that the govt felt that the VET was in NEED of a place to “LET OFF STEAM” with people that would “UNDERSTAND”. sSo, in the early years these “CLUBS” were where the VET was steered. A lot cheaper than “THERAPY”.
    Now do not think ALL VFWs/American Legions are not COMMUNITTY orientated, some are, but for the most part, they are just CLUBS for Vets.

    1. I think we all understand what they were originally meant to be, were, and are. Although that is the problem with them now. Vet’s do not simply want to go to some building and drink their sorrows away like our WWII vets did. They want to be active, give back, interact, and feel some value with their communities. The VFW needs to re-evaluate what they provide if they are to increase numbers and interest. If they don’t they will soon be gone…

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