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To be a member of the Legion you must have served at least one day of active military duty during the dates following:

Persian Gluf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom: Aug 2, 1990 - Open
Panama: Dec 20, 1989 - Jan 31, 1990
Lebanon: Aug 24, 1982 - July 31, 1984
Vietnam War: Feb 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975
Korean War: Jun 25, 1950 - Jan 31, 1955
World War II: Dec 7, 1941 - Dec 31, 1946 /// US Merchant Marine Dec 7, 1941 - Aug 15, 1945
World War I:  Apr 6, 1917 - Nov 11, 1918

 The American Legion in History

WWI  Apr 6, 1917 - Nov 11, 1918
September 16, 1919  Congress Charters the Legion
WWII  Dec 7, 1941 - Dec 31, 1946   ///   US Merchant Marine Dec 7, 1941 - Aug 15, 1945
June 22, 1950  The GI Bill of Rights is signed into law
May 4, 1950  The Legion votes to contribute funds to the field of mental health, leading to the birth of the National Association for Mental health
Korean War  June 4, 1950 - Jan 31, 1955
Vietnam War  Feb 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975
September 1, 1966  The Legion voices concern over the fate of POWs in Vietnam.  Today the Legion continues to press for accounting of POWs and MIAs and has formed a special group to take the lead on this issue.
May 1, 1972   The Legion implements the Halloween safety program for children.
1982  The Legion contributes 1 mil to the Vietnam Memorial.
Lebanon   Aug 24, 1982 - Jul 31, 1984
July 21, 1983  The Legion announces its sponsorship on an independent study on the effects of the exposure to Agent Orange.  The results were presented to Congress in 1989.
January 1, 1989  The New Dept of Vet Affairs begins Operation.  The Legion fought hard to make this a Cabinet level Dept.
Panama  Dec 20, 1989 - Jan 31, 1990
Persian Gulf War  Aug 2, 1990 - Open
December 3, 1991   veterans of Desert shield/storm are approved for entry into the Legion.
Operation Enduring Freedom  Mar 2001 - Current
Operation Iraqi Freedom  2003 - Current

 Legion to VA: Outsourcing is Not the Answer

Earlier this year, The American Legion hailed the passage of the Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act - commonly known as the "New GI Bill," - contained in Public Law 110-252, which was signed on June 30 and is expected to take effect August 1, 2009. The new law dramatically improves education benefits for veterans and their families, eliminates a $1,200 buy-in now charged to military personnel who choose to use the program, and expands services for members of the National Guard and Reserve components.

However, reports are circulating that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning to hire an outside company to implement the New GI Bill. There are also reports that VA may hire outside companies to inspect state veterans' homes. Any plans VA has to hire outside contractors for any purpose will face fierce objection from the world's largest veterans organization.

The American Legion, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona for its 90th National Convention, passed resolutions Monday to head off any intentions VA has to outsource either the new GI Bill or the state veterans' homes inspections.

"Our newest generation of veterans deserves the benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, not outside contractors," said National Commander Marty Conatser. "Patients, critics and most media all cite the outstanding job the VA is doing. Outsourcing is not the answer."

Representative Harry Mitchell (AZ) told Legionnaires he was surprised and disappointed that VA may be looking to outsource the New GI Bill project. "I just cannot believe that we'd ever allow this to happen," Rep. Mitchell told The American Legion on Saturday. "The level of service won't be the same."

In a resolution opposing outsourcing the new GI Bill, The American Legion argued that VA should hire the staff necessary to fulfill the law's requirements. The Legion, which strongly opposes the movement toward outsourcing critical services that could be handled internally at VA, also passed a resolution opposing efforts to hire outside companies to perform inspections on state veterans homes which have always been performed by trained VA staff.

The American Legion family is urged to contact their members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and insist that VA be persuaded not to use outside contractors for duties that should be performed by VA personnel.


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