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Sons of The American Legion Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

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How large is the Sons of The American Legion (SAL)

     Each year since 1982, the Sons of The American Legion has set a new all-time high in  membership. Currently, there are more than 223,000 members of the SAL in this country and abroad.

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What is the administrative structure of the SAL

     Every member of the SAL belongs to a Squadron somewhere. The Squadron is the basic level of membership in our organization. Different states (Detachments) use different ways of grouping numbers of Squadrons together. In most states, Squadrons are grouped geographically and report to their own Districts (also called Areas or Divisions). All Districts (or Areas or Divisions) report to the state headquarters, referred to as a Detachment. All state Detachements report to the National Headquarters. In addition to the 50 state Detachments in the U.S., there are also some foreign countries which are Detachments; Mexico, Puerto Rico, Philippines and France. 

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What is the main purpose of the SAL

     The mission of the SAL is to support veterans and their families and the policies of our parent 
organization, The American Legion. Virtually everything that involves the SAL could be grouped under
three areas: 1) support for veterans and their families, 2) promoting patriotism and Americanism and 3) promoting programs which benefit the youth of our country. 

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When was the SAL founded 

     The American Legion established the Sons of The American Legion in 1932.

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Why would someone want to join the SAL 

     Different people have different reasons for belonging to organizations. For many, membership in the SAL has allowed them to become involved in American Legion programs alongside their fathers. Others belong out of respect for their parents' and grandparents' service to our country in the military. Many younger members get involved and learn valuable leadership skills involving organization, public speaking, negotiating, budgeting and fundraising skills. Membership in our organization also provides individuals with opportunities to forge lifelong friendships with people who share a common bond. 

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Who runs the SAL 

     The governing legislative body of the SAL is its National Convention. Detachments (states) send 
representatives to the National Convention each year to elect national officers and conduct the business of the organization. Between conventions, authority is vested in the National Executive Committee, also made up of elected representatives from each Detachment. The N.E.C. meets twice annually. Nationally elected officers include the National Commander, five National Vice Commanders (responsible for Detachments in their own regions), the National Chaplain and the National Sergeant at-Arms. 

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       Questions about the Child Welfare Foundation

What is the CWF 

     The Child Welfare Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation which has two primary
     purposes. First, to contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of
     children and youth through the dissemination of knowledge about new and innovative
     organizations. Second, the CWF makes wider and more effective use of knowledge already
     possessed by well-established organizations. To attain these goals, the CWF raises money
     and awards grants to organizations which help children. The CWF is governed by its Board
     of Directors and a National Chairman. All administrative costs of the Child Welfare
     Foundation are borne by The American Legion so that 100% of all money raised for the
     Foundation is used exclusively for grants. 

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How does an organization get a grant from the CWF 

     Any organization interested in being considered for a CWF grant must obtain a Grant
Application Form from the National Headquarters, fill it out and return it. 

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How can I contact the CWF 

     Questions, comments and donations can be sent to: 

     The American Legion 
     Child Welfare Foundation 
     P.O. Box 1055 
     Indianapolis, IN 46206 

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What is a RAT and who wants to be known as a RAT 

     RAT stands for Regional Action Team. It's made up of people who want to be
     representatives of the CWF. RATs have two objectives: 

     1) raise funds for the CWF 
     2) promote the CWF within that member's Detachment (state). 

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How can I become a RAT 

     To become a Regional Action Team member, send a letter to the National Chairman of the CWF telling him who you are and why you think you'd make a good RAT. All RATs must be approved by the Chairman and the Foundation Board. 

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Does the CWF operate on a calendar year or a fiscal year 

     The CWF operates on a fiscal year, which runs from June 1st thru May 31st. 

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I hear the SAL is a major contributor to the CWF. Is this true 

     Yes. The Sons of The American Legion is the single largest contributor to the CWF. In
     1998-99, the S.A.L. contributed more than $181,000 to the CWF. In less than a decade,
     the S.A.L. has accounted for more than $1 million to the CWF

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If the SAL is such a large contributor, why isn't there a
designated Foundation Board seat for the SAL 

     The current CWF Constitution and By-Laws do not provide for the addition of an
S.A.L.-specific Board member. Such a change would impact the CWF's standing before the IRS which could cost the Foundation thousands of dollars. Perhaps it's important to note that the National Chairman of the CWF is David Ridenour, an active member of the S.A.L. who also serves as Chairman of the S.A.L. National Child Welfare Committee. 

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Can donations be made to the CWF as a memorial 

     Yes. Memorial certificates are made for donations of $20 or more. Donations of $300 or more are recognized with plaques.

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My Squadron wants to get S.A.L./CWF pins to sell. What is
the cost 

     Detachments, Districts, Squadrons and individual S.A.L. members can obtain CWF pins by sending $5/pin (20 pin minimum) to: 

     David Ridenour, National Chairman 
     1222-177th Place 
     Hammond, IN 46324 

     Pins will be sent to you via UPS. 

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How can we get CWF collection canisters, coffee cups and
other CWF items to sell 

     Contact the National Headquarters by phone: (317) 630-1202 and ask for the Child
     Welfare Foundation.

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Can we get awards for selling CWF items 

     Yes. Every year at the National Convention, the National Chairman gives out certificates to Detachments, Districts, Squadrons and individual members who have made significant donations to the CWF. Awards are also given out to recognize the Detachments which has made the largest per capita donations. These awards are given out at the National Convention: 

     - Garland R. Murphy, Jr. Award - for the Detachment with the highest $$ donations 
     - Mighty RAT - for the Top RAT in the nation 
     - Top Ten Award - for the top ten Detachment dollar amounts 
     - Foundation Alumni Network Plaques - Bronze ($500), $750 (Silver), $1,000 (Gold) 
     - Foundation Alumni Network Pins - $100-199 (amethyst), $200-299 (blue sapphire),
     $300-399 (ruby), $400-499 (emerald), $500-999 (diamond), $1,000-or more (5 diamonds) 

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What is the CWF Walker Program 

     The Walker Program is a program for younger members and younger members at-heart. It's a program designed to help members raise money during parades, walkathons, etc. 

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How do I know if I'm eligible to join the SAL 

 Membership in this organization is established through an individual's parents' or grandparents' military service. Essentially, if your parents or grandparents are (or were) eligible to join The American Legion, you would be eligible to join the SAL of The American Legion. 
     Active Duty Service Eligibility Dates for Membership in The American Legion 

      (note: potential S.A.L. members should use these dates 
      to determine if their parents or grandparents are/were 
      eligible for membership in The American Legion) 

      World War I       April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918 
      World War II      December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946 
      Korean War      June 25, 1950 - January 31, 1955
      Vietnam Era      February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975 
      Lebanon/Grenada      August 24, 1982 - July 31, 1984 
      Panama      December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990 
      Persian Gulf      August 2, 1990 - (this eligibility period remains open) 

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Are girls or women eligible to join the SAL 

     No. Only males are eligible to join the Sons. Women who are veterans and are eligible to join The American Legion are welcome and encouraged to do so. The American Legion Auxiliary was established to provide Legion Family membership for female relatives of Legionnaires. 

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How can I sign up for the SAL 

     You can contact the SAL in Princeton by contacting us at:
     You may also check with someone at The American Legion Post in Princeton. They have applications available. 

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I am a member of The American Legion. Can I also belong
to the Sons 

     Yes! Many veterans who are eligible for membership in The American Legion are also
     eligible to join the Sons. They are very much welcome to belong to both organizations. We
     call these individuals dual members. They are quite often an important link between the
     Sons and The Legion Post in their home towns. 

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How much does it cost to belong to the Sons 

     Membership Dues for Princeton Squadron 216 are : 
     If you are under 21 years of age the cost is $7.00 per year. 
     If you are over 21 years of age the cost is $12.00 per year. 
     If you are over 21 years of age and a dual member (Member of The American Legion   and SAL) the cost is $7.00 per year. 
     We have a slogan within the Sons which addresses the issue of dues: It's not the cost you pay for's the price your forefathers paid to make you eligible!"

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The American Legion offers programs for honorary
memberships and "Paid Up For Life" (PUFL). Does the
SAL offer these same membership programs 

     Not really. Squadrons that want to honor an individual with an honorary membership must take care of renewing 
that individual's membership annually. There is no way to pre-pay for future years' memberships. Also, there is no program for an individual to make a lump-sum   payment that will cover his membership for the rest of his life. 
In these respects, the Sons is quite different from its parent.

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Can an SAL member sign up a new Legion member and
vice versa 

     Yes! The same applies to Auxiliary membership. As long as the necessary membership application is filled out and the prospective member provides a copy of his/her DD-214 discharge papers (this applies to Legion membership...prospective S.A.L. and Auxiliary members need to supply a copy of discharge papers for the relative through whom their eligibility is established) and they pay the appropriate amount for dues, simply submit these materials to the Legion or S.A.L. Adjutant. In fact...many members of the Sons like to carry around blank copies of membership applications for each of the Legion Family organizations, just in case. 

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How does The SAL assist veterans 

     The number of possible responses to this question is infinite. Sons assist veterans and their families in many, many ways. There are many programs designed to aid current veterans.
     Many Squadrons go out of their way to assist the families of servicemen/women who are away from home on active duty. Sons volunteer untold numbers of man-hours doing chores for veterans who need help around their homes. Sons rack up hundred of thousands of man-hours volunteering in VA hospitals around the country. The list could go on forever! 

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Does the SAL have an interest in Fisher House 

     Yes! Fisher Houses are much like the well-known Ronald McDonald Houses located
     around the country. Fisher Houses are located near a number of VA hospitals or medical
     centers or military bases. The houses are there to assist veterans and their families overcome
     the costly burden of staying somewhere when a loved one is using a VA medical facility. The
     S.A.L. now activley raises money to help the Fisher House Foundation. 

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How can I become more involved in assisting with veterans'issues in my community 

     The American Legion elects individuals to serve as Service Officers at the local, District, state and national levels. There are many established Legion programs to assist veterans.
     Contact a Legion Service Officer in your area and find out where your assistance might be needed.

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What the heck is the National Update 

     National Update is the official newsletter of the Sons of The American Legion. It is printed and mailed out to members three times a year. A special issue is also printed at the site of the National Convention each year. The newsletter contains information of interest and importance to members at all levels of the organization. Each issue of the newsletter contains feature stories, news articles, messages from National Officers, updates from National Commissions and Committees. There are also pictures and newsclips from Squadrons and Detachments around the nation. 

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Why am I not getting my newsletter 

     There are many reasons why people might not be receiving a copy of the newsletter through the mail. They include: 

     The most common reason is that the member has moved sometime in the recent past and his change of address was not properly recorded at the Squadron, District, Detachment or  National level. The first person to check with would be the Squadron Adjutant, to see if the Adjutant's records properly reflect your current mailing address. 
     The time of year that you joined the S.A.L. or renewed your membership can have an effect on receiving the newsletter. The massive mailing lists at the National Headquarters are updated a couple of times each year. If your address has changed, it might miss one of the computer update cycles, which would cause a delay in getting your newsletter to you. 
     It's important to remember that only one copy of the newsletter is mailed to any single
 address. If there is more than one S.A.L. member at the same address, the computers at the National 
Headquarters will only print out one mailing label for that household (it's done alphabetically). 
     It's also important to remember that the newsletter is mailed only to addresses inside the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. 

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I've tried everything, but still no newsletter. What do I do now 

     Keep trying! We want to solve any problems we have with members' mailing addresses. In the meantime, it's possible to view an electronic version of the newsletter by clicking here. 

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