When did The American Legion officially establish its service officer program?

Helping fellow veterans obtain the benefits they earned through military service was one of The American Legion’s founding values. As early as 1919, Legionnaires were working with their fellow veterans and families to file for benefits through the Veterans’ Bureau [what is today VA], the War Risk Insurance Bureau and other government agencies.

But it wasn’t until the 1922 National Convention in New Orleans, in the midst of a flurry of internal organizational initiatives, that a resolution was passed formally establishing American Legion service officers. Resolution No. 156 called for the national adjutant to "direct all Departments of The American Legion to maintain a Service Division, under a competent director whose duty it shall be to assist claimants to the Veterans’ Bureau in the proper presentation of their claims and to give intelligent assistance to service claims to hasten the completion and adjudication of such claims."

Today, nearly 2,500 Legion service officers assist veterans and their families throughout the country. Click here to read articles from the September 2012 American Legion Magazine special report, "One Veteran at a Time."