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january/february 2007

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Membership Affairs COMMITTEE REPORT
End Of An Era

BY BILL MEEKS, JR., CHAIR

I hope that everyone had a great holiday season. As we move forward into 2007, I would like to touch on the use of the term “Vietnam Era” and provide a little information on why VVA does not use it. At the National Convention on August 14, 1999, the VVA Constitution was amended to read in Article I, National Provisions, Section 3-Membership, paragraph A: “Membership in the corporation is open to any veteran of the military service of the United States of America who served on active duty during the dates established by federal law for the Vietnam War.”

This amendment made the membership-eligibility dates the dates established by federal law for the Vietnam War. Those dates currently are: February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for in-country service and August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for service elsewhere.

The dates were established by federal law in Title 38 U.S.C.S. 101(11); Title 38 C.F.R. 3.2(f) (202), which states: “Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975. However, February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975, for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.”

Since I became chair of VVA Membership Affairs in October 2001, the committee has discouraged the use of the term “Era.” Current VVA membership applications state the following: “Eligibility: Membership is open to U.S. armed forces veterans who served on active duty (for other than training purposes) in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975, or in any duty location between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975.”

The committee has found that deleting the word “era” from our VVA membership materials has been very advantageous in recruiting veterans who did not serve in Vietnam, but at other duty stations during the Vietnam War. This was a strategy to improve our overall membership totals. While VVA has chosen to take the word “era” out of our Constitution and out of our membership materials, the letter of the law is still on the books and the dates are used by VVA for membership eligibility. All VVA members are “war veterans” under the 501 (c)(19) rule, so that VVA does not have to monitor the 75-percent rule or any other percentage rule.

On another note, VVA Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland, has become the largest chapter in VVA with 814 members, and VVA Chapter 451 in Baltimore, Maryland, is second with 762 members. That is truly an outstanding achievement by both chapters in recruiting members and in the retention of members. VVA Chapter 451 has 445 AVVA members affiliated with its chapter also.

Finally, 2007 is a VVA Convention year. Your financial report is due July 15 every year. This year the Convention starts July 17 in Springfield, Illinois. So, please get your financial reports to the VVA Membership Department ASAP and avoid any problems credentialing your delegates at the Convention. Elections reports should be sent to the VVA Membership Department no later than sixty days after you conduct elections at the annual meeting in April. Both reports are closely monitored by the VVA Membership Department.

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