The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization. A community-service organization which now numbers nearly 3 million members -- men and women -- in nearly 15,000 American Legion Posts worldwide. These Posts are organized into 55 Departments -- one each for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.
The American Legion's national headquarters is in Indianapolis, Indiana, with additional offices in Washington, DC. In addition to thousands of volunteers serving in leadership and program implementation capacities in local communities to the Legion's standing national commissions and committees, the national organization has a regular full-time staff of about 300 employees.
Membership eligibility in The American Legion is based on honorable federal active duty service with the U.S. Armed Forces between --
- April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 (World War I)
- December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946 (World War II)
- June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955 (Korean War)
- February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975 (Vietnam War)
- August 24, 1982 to July 31, 1984 (Lebanon/Grenada)
- December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990(Operation Just Cause - Panama)
- August 2, 1990 to today (Operation Desert Shield/Storm)*
* Because eligibility dates remain open, all members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to join The American Legion at this time, until the date of the end of hostilities as determined by the government of the United States.