Cold War Veterans

CWVA Sign-Off Statement: Thanks to Legislation Passed by Congress and Signed into Law by President Trump, CWVA Members are Urged to Now Join the American Legion

My Dear Friends,

This is the announcement that we have wanted to make for nearly 20 years... The raison d'etre of the CWVA is now (largely) obviated with the passage and signing into federal law of the LEGION Act which makes ALL Cold War Veterans eligible to join the American Legion (i.e., there is no longer a need for a separate organization for Cold War Veterans).

We now call upon all honorably-discharged Cold War Veterans to join the American Legion to help us fight for two remaining objectives: (1) Benefits Parity for Cold War Veterans and (2) the awarding of the Cold War Victory Medal to the Warriors who earned it.

Thanks to each and every one of you for your many years of support. Without that support, this announcement would not have been possible.


Vince Milum, Chairman Emeritus — Cold War Veterans Association


Photo: President Donald J. Trump signs S. 504, the Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service (LEGION) Act Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

LEGION Act Signed Into Law
The American Legion
JUL 30, 2019

In a significant legislative victory for The American Legion, President Trump signed a bill July 30 that declares the United States has been in a state of war since Dec. 7, 1941.

The American Legion sought the declaration as a way to honor approximately 1,600 U.S. servicemembers who were killed or wounded during previously undeclared periods of war.

The LEGION Act (Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act) also opens the door for approximately 6 million veterans to access American Legion programs and benefits for which they previously had not been eligible.

“Recognizing the service of these wartime veterans is the right thing do and it is long overdue,” National Commander Brett Reistad said. “The families of those who were killed or wounded during these wartime acts should take pride in knowing that we recognize their sacrifice and service. Moreover, we are proud to welcome any of the six million living veterans from the previously unrecognized periods into our organization and call them ‘Legionnaires.’”

Now that the legislation has been signed, The American Legion’s eligibility criteria immediately changes from seven war eras to two: April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918, and Dec. 7, 1941 to a time later determined by the federal government. No other restrictions to American Legion membership are changed.

The law’s journey began on Feb. 14 when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., introduced S. 504, along with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. A companion measure, H.R. 1641, was introduced in the House by Reps. Lou Correa, D-Calif., and Ben Cline, R-Va.

Reistad expressed gratitude to the bipartisan members of Congress for passing the legislation.

“We are grateful that President Trump fully acknowledges the importance of The American Legion by signing the LEGION Act in the White House today – just one week after it passed the House of Representatives,” Reistad said. “In an era of partisan gridlock, Republicans and Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly recognized the importance of allowing thousands of honorable but previously ineligible veterans the right to join the largest and most influential veterans organization in the country.”

Reistad pointed out that existing American Legion membership applications are in the process of being updated but can still be used. “In the meantime, I recommend that prospective Legionnaires and recruiters write ‘LEGION Act’ in the eligibility date section of American Legion membership applications if they fall outside the previous war eras,” Reistad said. “The larger pool of veterans now eligible for The American Legion will also open their family members to eligibility in the Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary as well.”



Picture: Eric Bartlett (right) served in the Marine Corps from August of 1985 to June of 1989. He’s now eligible for American Legion membership and has joined the Michigan Department Headquarters post and plans to join a local post soon.

The First “Cold War” Legionnaire
The American Legion
JUL 30, 2019

When President Trump signed the LEGION Act into law Tuesday afternoon it ushered in a new era for The American Legion. The LEGION Act, formally titled “Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service” recognized all veterans since World War II as being “wartime veterans” and opened Legion membership for all those who served during periods that were previously not considered eligible.

Eric Bartlett of Plymouth, Mich. has been waiting over 30 years to finally be eligible for membership, and was the first member to join under the LEGION Act.

"I'm proud that the U.S. government now recognized that the years I served in the Marine Corps was really war-time service” Bartlett said. “We trained for war and were always ready for war. There were many times we were ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

Bartlett served in the Marine Corps from August of 1985 to June of 1989, sandwiched between the Lebanon/Grenada era, which ended in July of 1984 and the Panama era, which began in December of 1989. An infantry rifleman for over three years Bartlett served with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines of the 2nd Marine Division. He would also earn the MOS of Marine Scout Sniper.

Bartlett, who already is a member of the Sons of The American Legion, will become a member of Post 32 in Livonia, Mich., the same post that his step-father is in. Bartlett’s son, Will, also will be transferring to Post 32; he was signed up for a Legion membership when he left for Marine boot camp by Bartlett’s brother, Kevin Bartlett, who is the national judge advocate of The American Legion.

“I am very proud of my son, who is currently serving as a US Marine as an 0311 with 3/6 India Co., 2nd MarDiv.” said Eric Bartlett, a professional fitness trainer specializing in kettlebell and original strength training and a former No. 3-ranked competitor in the Senior World Cross-Fit games. He’s married to his high school sweetheart, Michele.

“I feel very honored that I now qualify for The American Legion,” Bartlett said. “I look forward to helping them grow because of all the work they have done for our veterans, but, more importantly, helping them because of what The American Legion does for those who now serve their country.”

The LEGION Act extends the ongoing declared period of war was extended back to Dec. 7, 1941, while redefining The American Legion’s membership eligibility dates. The eligibility now span from Dec. 7, 1941, until a time when the U.S. is no longer at war, as determined by Congress.