Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), organization created (1899) at Columbus, Ohio, by veterans of the Spanish-American War. It received a charter from Congress in 1936. The organization later admitted veterans who saw action in subsequent wars and U.S. military expeditions. At the close of World War II, the VFW vastly increased its membership; it now rivals the American Legion in size and influence. The organization's program is devoted to the rehabilitation of disabled veterans, protection of national security through maximum military strength, and promotion of patriotism and community service activity. It has a membership of nearly 2 million (1999).