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Joining a Military Association

Is joining a military association the right move for you? There are many to choose from, and there is a variety of options. Some military associations are focused on veterans and family members from specific war eras, others are meant to support disabled vets, and some are meant to encourage a general sense of community among retired and separated servicemembers.

Depending on the agency, military associations may provide veterans services, function as lobbyists, and help with networking and job prospects. Joining a military organization can help foster a sense of community and rebuild bonds between veterans and their families, all while advocating for veteran issues.

Here are some organizations you may consider when looking for a veteran’s association.

American Legion

The American Legion encourages veterans to strengthen their communities and America. The organization offers veterans the chance to help educate, mentor, and lead those coming after them. The official site offers a variety of services, including a benefits calculator and an online veteran service officer locator.

Learn more about American Legion at the official site.


A conglomeration of veteran clubs founded the American Veterans of World War II in 1944 in Kansas City, which, over the years, has changed to include members of various conflicts from all military service branches, including the reserves.

AMVETS offers assistance via qualified veteran service officers who need help filling out VA forms or applying for VA benefits. You can also explore scholarship options and learn more about local AMVETS programs.

Learn more about AMVETS at the official site.

Armed Forces Benefit Association

The Armed Forces Benefit Association helps military families receive the maximum death benefits from their fallen family members, offering aid and benefits to survivors. The AFBA has been in service since 1947 and offers additional help to families.

Learn more about Armed Forces Benefit Association at the official site.

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association brings people together for networking and education throughout the world, combining the talents of military, industry and education to strengthen the community and propel technology and progress forward. Since 1946, this organization has served military veterans and their communities.

Learn more about Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association at the official site.

Association for Rescue at Sea

The Association for Rescue at Sea supports the services of those who conduct rescue missions on the water. This organization supports volunteers who save lives, earning the organization six maritime rescue awards.

Recognized for their lifesaving success, the Association for Rescue at Sea has won the VADM Thomas Sargent III Gold Lifesaving Medal, the Silver Lifesaving Medal, the Amver Award and the Cruise Ship Humanitarian Assistance Award, The C-PORT Award and the Caribbean SAR Award.

Learn more about Association for Rescue at Sea at the official site.

Association of Naval Services Officers

The Association of Naval Services Officers brings new opportunities in leadership, education and career to those who serve or have served at sea.

Membership allows you to be updated about current events and to meet other Sea Service officers. It also offers mentoring from leaders, networking, opportunities for professional development, and family support.

Learn more about Association of Naval Services Officers at the official site.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

The prominent Medal of Honor represents and honors individual service members and veterans who have gone beyond their duties to demonstrate courage, sacrifice and commitment in their field.

This honor connects the service member community and the nation in a demonstration of patriotism to be respected. Imagined by Senator James W. Grimes from Iowa, it was intended to be the highest recognition in military dedication.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society also participates in educational missions and promotes the stories of veterans through the Medal of Honor Museum.  Learn more about Congressional Medal of Honor Society at the official site.

Disabled American Veterans

Veterans of all conflicts and generations can benefit from associating with the Disabled American Veterans organization, currently retaining over one million members nationwide.

Disabled American Veterans offers aid to veterans suffering the effects of PTSD or who are currently unhoused. Specializing in recognizing the seen and unseen effects of military service, this organization supports veterans from all demographics. The organization provides support  through mentorship, claims filing and crisis assistance, especially at times of transition from military to civilian life.

Learn more about Disabled American Veterans at the official site.

Fleet Reserve Association

The Fleet Reserve Association is a combination organization that includes service members and veterans from the sea services including the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Focused on loyalty and service, the Fleet Reserve Association emphasizes protective measures for service members’ pay and benefits especially when it comes to new legislation and guidelines that encompasses veteran health care, compensation and other benefits. The FRA also pushes to increase pay for those enlisted. Joining this organization helps this generation and the future.

Learn more about Fleet Reserve Association at the official site.

Military Benefit Association 

With over 130,000 members, the Military Benefit Association consists of members from all military branches as they move from military to civilian status offering help with financial and educational tools as well as life insurance for families.

The MBA has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and corporate partnerships to benefit its members. Learn more about Military Benefit Association at the official site.

Military Coalition 

The Military Coalition is composed of over 30 military organizations seeking to fortify national security through recruiting, managing benefits for service members and representing their interests through government lobbying as well as communicating how the public can serve service members as well.

With a combined membership of over 5 million people and counting, the Military Coalition through numbers continues to promote veterans services throughout the nation by encouraging recruitment of quality candidates to serve and keeping veterans’ needs on the forefront of legislation and community movements.

Learn more about Military Coalition at the official site.

The Military Officers Association of America 

The Military Officers Association of America strives to protect the benefits of military service members and veterans in all branches of service.

The main push of The Military Officers Association of America is to advocate and encourage advocacy at the governmental level to maintain and improve the lives of current service members, their families, veterans and surviving spouses.

Learn more about The Military Officers Association of America at the official site.

Military Order of the Purple Heart 

The Military Order of the Purple Heart holds yearly national conventions to renew connections between veterans and Purple Heart award recipients, paying respects to those who have been wounded in combat.

Conceived by George Washington, the MOPH offers scholarship opportunities for members and their close families to attain skills to reenter the workforce or to move up. Accidental death benefits are also extended to members to help protect families against loss. The organization also advocates at the national level for veteran’s causes.

Learn more about Military Order of the Purple Heart at the official site.

Military Order of World Wars

After returning from the “great war,” many veterans wanted to stay connected with those they served with on the battlefield. Fully established in 1919, members came from all over the country to continue to develop improved conditions for veterans while supporting the fight against communism and patriotism.

The Military Order of World Wars has also contributed to the development of the JROTC and ROTC programs in schools and contributed to Boy and Girl Scouts to support upcoming community leaders.

Learn more about Military Order of the World Wars at the official site.

National Military Family Association

The National Military Family Association helps veterans and their families confront common issues such as food insecurity, finding affordable child care, unemployment and mental and emotional health challenges.

The NMFA has stood up for veterans and their loved ones for more than five decades, participating in programs such as Operation Purple, which connects families to educational workshops and opportunities.

The program also helps them enhance and grow their careers and even supports them through their journey as entrepreneurs, ensuring that military families have the best chance at future success after serving.

Learn more about National Military Family Association at the official site.

National Naval Officers Association

The National Naval Officers Association is a group of retired, reserve, active duty and civilians who are committed to open communication to uphold the needs of the Sea Services and support their efforts for diversity in recruitment to accurately depict the population of our country and strengthen readiness for future conflicts.

Learn more about National Naval Officers Association at the official site.

Navy League of the United States

First created in 1902, with the help of President Theodore Roosevelt, this nonprofit agency aids in the accomplishments of sea service branches, including the Marines, Coast Guard, Navy, and U.S. Merchant Marines. This organization aims to uphold the needs and morale of sea service members and their families through national and regional programs, advocate for their needs at the government level and provide them their best chance at prosperity.

Learn more about Navy League of the United States at the official site.

Paralyzed Veterans of America

The Paralyzed Veterans of America organization has served paralyzed veterans since 1946. Their mission is to preserve the independence and freedom of paralyzed veterans by connecting them with appropriate health care, determining the results of paralysis-specific research, helping address benefits questions, and protecting members’ rights.

The organization has helped countless veterans who find themselves with spinal cord injuries from service; it was founded by service members who lived it for themselves, determined to push forward with dignity.

Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America at the official site.

Reserve Officers Association of the US

Since 1922, The Reserve Officers Association of the United States has protected the rights of veterans and their families as imagined by General of the Armies, John Pershing. For over a century, the founders of the ROA anticipated future conflicts and developed ways for the reserve to contribute to national security and national defense.

Currently, the ROA advocates for the interests of those in the Reserves at the legislative level in Washington D.C. as well to make sure that reserve members are trained and have the tools they need to serve successfully.

Learn more about Reserve Officers Association of the US at the official site.

The Retired Enlisted Association

Since 1963, The Enlisted Association has served military service members, surviving spouses, and all military families, including those with connections to the National Guard and the Reserves. The Retired Enlisted Association was created by Air Force veterans George Skonce and Dean Sorrell and now has almost 30 active chapters. Their mission is to raise the quality of life for service members, veterans and their families.

Learn more about The Retired Enlisted Association at the official site.

Sea Service Leadership Association

The Sea Services Leadership Association, founded in 1978, specifically supports service member women in the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard in their educational and leadership journeys. This non-profit provides opportunities to advance through networking and mentorship supporting the women of the military seas.

Learn more about Sea Service Leadership Association at the official site.

Society of American Military Engineers

The Society of American Military Engineers has elevated government and industry leaders since 1920 by combining public and private sector talents in engineering and technology to support national security.

SAME has over 100 posts worldwide and boasts almost 30,000 members who extend the chance to train and attain professional development through member programs. The Society of American Military Engineers also fosters philanthropic programs to support the community.

Learn more about Society of American Military Engineers at the official site.

U.S. Naval Institute

Since 1873, the non-profit U.S. Naval Institute has promoted free speech and professional literature about sea power through The Independent Forum of the Sea Services.

The U.S. Naval Institute offers a monthly journey. It supports blogs and newsletters to ensure members have equitable access to events, conferences and quality literature to build understanding about the contributions of sea power and its role in global security.

Learn more about U.S Naval Institute at the official site.


Targeting service members stationed in isolated regions or in perilous conditions, the USO contributes to their well-being by sending care packages, food, and items that connect to home to keep morale high in moments of need. Programs sponsored by the USO include USO2GO, the USO Care Package Program, Mobile USO, and USO Gaming.

The USO brings entertainment to troops stationed abroad to celebrate while far from home to encourage resilience and community while serving. Learn more about USO at the official site.

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, also referred to as the VFW, united veterans of many conflicts together to support one another and their communities to make sure veterans are recognized for the honors they deserve. With over one million members and over 100 years of dedication to veteran communities, the VFW can trace its roots back to 1899 and the Spanish-American War.

This organization grew to push for proper compensation for vets exposed to poisonous chemicals in combat, preserving the GI Bill, supporting the Veterans Access and Accountability Act and improve medical health care for veterans in general. The VFW has also advocated for national cemeteries and memorial monuments to honor the fallen.

Learn more about Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States at the official site.

Veterans of the Vietnam War and the Veterans Coalition

The Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc, an organization established in 1978, hopes to aid the specific needs of Vietnam War Veterans.

With almost 100 posts worldwide, its programs are directed toward improving the quality of life of veterans from this conflict. These include housing programs, casework help, support packages, scholarship programs, and community service.

Learn more about Veterans of the Vietnam War and The Veterans Coalition at the official site.

Vietnam Veterans of America

Established in 2009, with over 4,000 members, the Vietnam Veterans of America non-profit pushes to improve health care for veterans and ensure the government carries out its responsibility of care after service-related injuries and disabilities.

The VVA also maintains the memories and importance of keeping those missing in action and prisoners of war of both past and present conflicts at the top of mind so that they may be found and come home. These issues are essential for this organization because advocating for these issues protects the next generation of military service members.

Learn more about Vietnam Veterans of America at the official site.

Women in Homeland Security 

Focusing on developing a strong community support system, Women in Homeland Security gives women in the field a hub to learn more about their careers, prevention and protection to apply in their work and their community.

Women in Homeland Security also holds monthly meetings with a more communal and social purpose to discuss charity work and social events to create a peaceful future for all.

Learn more about Women in Homeland Security at the official site


About the author

Website | + posts

Kena Sosa is an award-winning author, filmmaker and percussionist. She
earned her BA from OLLU and her MBEGT from SMU. She published two
award-winning children’s books. Kena has written for CBS/DFW Local and
Multicultural Review Magazine. She was the Guest Editor for the Fall/Winter
2023 ChildArt Magazine issue. Kena has written for Recon Media since 2023.