Veterans for America
is an advocacy and humanitarian organization that works to ensure that America meets the needs of servicemembers and veterans who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom
(OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom
(OIF). VFA focuses specifically on the signature wounds these conflicts: psychological traumas and traumatic brain injuries. VFA concentrates much of its attention on the needs of those who are currently serving in the military since the majority of those who have seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are still in the military and under the care of the Department of Defense. VFA's founder is Bobby Muller
Robert O. "Bobby" Muller is an American peace advocate.He was born on Long Island, and grew up in Great Neck, New York and attended Hofstra University. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967, during the Vietnam War...
, a former US Marine lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...
and Vietnam veteran
Vietnam veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War.The term has been used to describe veterans who were in the armed forces of South Vietnam, the United States armed forces, and countries allied to them, whether or...
In 1980 Co-Founders Bobby Muller and John Terzano came together with a goal to transform the American experience of the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...
into a mission of compassion and justice. This idea became the heart of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, which later became Veterans for America.
The first major initiative was a journey back to Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...
in 1981 to make peace with America’s former enemy. Because of that life-altering experience, VVAF began to lead reconciliation efforts that would ultimately result in lifting the U.S. trade embargo and normalizing relations with Vietnam. It is because of this advocacy that VVAF began a unique friendship with the Vietnamese that endures today.
Nearly a decade later, a 1991 trip to the horrific "Killing Fields
The Killing Fields are a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War ....
" of Cambodia inspired VVAF to co-found and coordinate the phenomenal global campaign to ban landmines, called Campaign for A Landmine Free World
, which was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...
for its efforts to galvanize nearly a third of the world’s countries to sign a treaty eradicating the use of antipersonnel landmines.
Currently, VFA is focused on the consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, marked by roadside bombs, a large inhospitable battlefield, inadequate dwell time, and the repeated deployment of a large number of troops.
Wounded Warrior Outreach Program
VFA’s Wounded Warrior Outreach Program (WWOP) was created to address the psychological and neurological injuries experienced by today’s troops and the lack of resources and programs to provide assistance.
WWOP’s team of Servicemember Liaisons, composed of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans, visits military installations across the country and works one-on-one with returning troops who are suffering from psychological and neurological combat injuries. VFA conducts follow-up visits to military bases across the country to meet with military leaders to discuss trends in treatment identified by WWOP’s Servicemember Liaisons.
Upon completion of VFA's work on a base, WWOP creates a detailed report, along with immediate and long-term policy proposals.
Wounded Warrior Registry
Servicemembers in need of help submit their stories to the internet-based Wounded Warrior Registry. From this registry, VFA identifies trends in treatment and bases that demand attention. The registry is staffed round-the-clock by OIF and OEF veterans who can assist servicemembers and their families.
National Guard Program
VFA is undertaking a state-by-state examination of the effects of deployments on National Guard citizen Soldiers, their families, their communities, their employers, and the America's national security.
VFA provides hands-on assistance to Guard members and their families, as well as feedback to Guard and state leaders regarding changes that need to be implemented and programs that are working effectively.
VFA has deployed its team of Servicemember Liaisons and policy experts to National Guard headquarters and communities across the country to work with families of deployed troops and community leaders. VFA has attended musters and visited bases and Family Assistance Centers, where National Guard citizen Soldiers are preparing to deploy to OIF and OEF—or from which they have recently deployed.
VFA's DoD Policy and Legislative Agenda
VFA works closely with military leaders and members of Congress to ensure that the needs of servicemembers and their families are well understood and that policies and legislation are implemented to better support them and their families as they cope with the effects of multiple deployments, high-intensity combat, inadequate dwell time, as well as sub-standard post-combat care and family support.
Working on a bipartisan basis, VFA has shaped and supported a variety of measures in recent years intended to better the lives of servicemembers and their families, including improved pre- and post-deployment screening for psychological and neurological wounds; increased dwell time; a comprehensive examination of the needs of OIF and OEF servicemembers and veterans; and compensation for servicemembers who have been stop-lossed.
VFA's American Veterans' and Servicemembers' Survival Guide
VFA has brought together three co-authors of the bestselling “The Viet Vet Survival Guide,” as well as former VA analysts and military and legal experts, to create a 21st-century survival guide that includes vital information for servicemembers and veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book presents in three parts— ”Veterans and Their Families”; “Special Non-VA Programs, Opportunities and Problems”; and “Issues Related to Active Duty Servicemembers and their Families”—information every returning servicemember and family member needs to know to best serve as their own post-combat advocate. The guide is available, without charge, through the VFA website
Veterans for America's Military Reports