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American Legion Eligibility Requirements

Any person shall be eligible for membership in The American Legion  who was a member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Air Force of the United States and assigned to active duty at some time  during any of the following periods:

April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918

December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946

June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955

February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975

August 24,1982 to July 31, 1984

December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990

August 2, 1990, to the date of cessation of hostilities as determined by the Government of the United States; all dates inclusive....

provided, however, that such service have been terminated by  honorable discharge or honorable separation, or continued honorably  after any of said periods;

provided, further, that no person shall be entitled to membership who, being in such service during any said periods, refused on  conscientious, political or other grounds to subject himself to military  discipline or unqualified service.

Eligibility Dates

WWI --- April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918

U.S. MERCHANT MARINES --- December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945

WWII --- December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946

KOREA --- June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955

VIETNAM --- February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975

GRANADA, LEBANON --- August 24, 1982 to July 31, 1984 

PANAMA CANAL--- December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990

PERSIAN GULF --- From August 2,1990 through the Date of an Official Announcement of Cessation of Hostilities in the Persian Gulf Operation Enduring Freedom and War on Terrorism --- is covered under the Hostilities in the Persian Gulf which is an open date.


Digest of Eligibility Opinions in which persons are Eligible for Membership

Active Duty (honorable discharge, constitutional period) Aliens (Honorable active duty, U.S. Armed Forces)
Allies, Service with (If citizen of U.S. at time of entry therein) Annapolis--Midshipmen
Armed Guard (Navy)-(Naval personnel manning defense ordnance, merchant vessels)
Army Transport Service: (Administrative group comprised of military personnel on active duty for the purpose of administering troops being carried thereon)
Canadian Forces, Service with (If active duty, honorable termination, constitutional period and U.S.  citizenship time of entry)
Coast Guard (Active duty, honorable termination, constitutional period)
Coast Guard Academy (Cadets)
Coast Guard Beach Patrol (CGR) - (If active duty)
Coast Guard, Women's Reserve (SPAR's) - (If active duty)
Disability, Discharged (If active duty, honorable termination)
Marine Corps, Women's Reserve (If active duty)
Marine Officers' Training School
West Point, Annapolis, Coast Guard-Cadets
Nurses, Army and Navy
Officers' Candidate Schools (If member Armed Forces)
Over-Age (Discharged for)
Philippine Scouts
WAAC's (Women's Army Auxiliary Corps). If served on or after May,1942
WAC's (Women Army Corps)-(If active duty)
Wasp ( Women's Air Force Service Pilots). If service between Sept. 10 1942 and Dec. 20, 1944.
WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service)-

               (Naval  Reserve if active duty)

National Guard & Reserve Eligibility

The National Guard and Reserve are required to meet the same eligibility requirements as the time federal active veterans. To be eligible, the National Guardsman/Reservist must have served at least one day on federal active duty during of the delimiting periods, and  either have an honorable discharge or currently be serving in the Guard/Reserve or on federal active duty.

If a Guardsman/Reservist has been on or currently serving on federal active duty is the "Authority Line" on the activation orders of the Guardsman/Reservist. In both cases "Title 10 Subsection 672 or 12301" are orders from the Secretary of Defense and are federal orders.

The authority the Governor used to activate the National Guard as an individual or unit is "Title 32" orders, i.e. Weekend Drills and Annual Training. These are "NOT" federal orders. The Reserves have similar reserve orders which are "Title 10, Subsection 270".

This authority code gives the reserve component the authority to activate the reserves for Weekend Drills and Annual Training. 

Note: A DD-214 will be issued for the time on federal active duty or a DA-1059 for a completion of a school will be issued with a character type of discharge. All Reserve components send their service members to "Basic Training" using Title 10, Subsection 672/12301 orders.

Temporary Duty

During the Vietnam War, it was the practice of the Air Force to call members of the Air National Guard to duty for temporary periods, frequently for more than 10 days. The call is made with the consent of the individual and the Governor of the state concerned.

The duty usually involves flying Air Force cargo from the United States to Southeast Asia. Correspondence with the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C., has established that duty of the type outlined herein is included in the term of "active duty" in the sense that it is full-time duty in the active military service of the United States. Upon the completion of such duty, as evidence by the issuance of a Form DD-214 or other evidence of honorable separation, the individual is eligible for membership in the American Legion, provided, of course, that any part of the duty occurred between December 22,1961, and May 7,1975. 

U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force or Coast Guard Academies

"Cadets who served at the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force or Coast Guard Academies during any of the delimiting periods  set forth under Article IV, Section 1 of the National Constitution, and whose service has been honorably terminated, those individuals are eligible for membership in The American Legion."  Chapter 1 Section 101 (21) Title 38, United States Code provides as follows: The term "active  duty" means service as a cadet at the U.S. Military, Air Force  or Coast Guard Academies or as a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy.