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US Congress sets the eligibility dates for membership in any of the Veterans organizations.
It is unfortunate that your service falls just perfectly into the ineligible period between VN (2/28/1961 - 5/7/1975) and Lebanon/Grendada (8/24/1982 - 7/31/1984). The American Legion and VFW is or can be audited for their membership rolls and they must have a copy DD214 on file on any member or the member can be challenged to offer proof of eligibility -- it is not a law breaker for a Post to accept a member without proof but they are subjecting themselves to having their charter pulled and the post shut down. By the way the VFW requires that a member has served in the battle zone whereas the AL just requires service during the period of the war as determined by Congress.
Right now the American Legion has open membership for Gulf War Vets "August 2, 1990 to Cessation of hostilities as determined by the US government."
I believe that your service entitles you to a Class 8 eligibility for VA medical care, you might check into that if it is of interest to you.
I thank you for your service.
30 year member of AL
Thank you for your reply. I will not stop my desire to join. I am registered and do go to the VA. In fact I just came back from the VA on 11/25/09 with a clean bill of health. Thanks again. 0swannie