And Just How Many Countries Have We Attacked?

by James Glaser
October 15, 2002

Early this morning I was at the VFW Post doing some paperwork and a man came in that wanted to join our Post. Usually that is no problem as most people are transferring from their old Post to ours, when they move into our area. This was different because this man had never joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

We have three rules of eligibility and they are, 1. U S Citizenship, 2. Honorable service in the U S Armed Forces, and 3. Service entitling the applicant to the award of a recognized Campaign Medal as set forth in the VFW Congressional Charter. The only exception is service in Korea. Anyone serving in Korea for 30 consecutive days from 1949 to present is eligible.

Well I asked this man where he had served and he said "Quemoy and Matsu Island in 1962." I knew Quemoy and Matsu are Islands off the coast of China, but didn't know we had service personal there. I had him fill out the application, told him to bring in his DD 214 discharge papers, and when our next meeting was.

I looked up the VFW web page and went to the section for eligibility and to my surprise I found 67 places on this globe that America has been at war in some way, since WW 2. I have read many times in and Lew Rockwell that we have engaged the enemy 23 times since 1945, but the Congress of the United States put that number at 67.

There were no countries that surprised me, however the thing that really caught my eye were the names assigned to some of these operations. Operation Urgent Fury, when we took on that powder keg in Grenada. How about Operation Joint Guard, then there is Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Operation Desert Thunder, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Distant Runner, and my personal favorite "Noble Anvil."

While in Vietnam I went on several operations like "Dewey Canyon 2" and the Vietnam war had hundreds if not thousands of operations, but these eligibility operations are from different countries in different years. Here is the list as written in the VFW site.

1. Quemoy & Matsu Island
2. Taiwan Straits
3. Congo
4. Laos
5. Vietnam
6. Cuba
7. Dominican Republic
8. Korea
9. Cambodia
10. Thailand (in direct support of Cambodia Operation)
11. Operation Eagle Pull-Evacuation of Cambodia
12. Operation Frequent Wind-Evacuation of Vietnam
13. Mayaguez Operation
14. Operation Urgent Fury-Grenda
15. Lebanon
16. Germany (West Berlin)
17. Austria
18. Korea
20. Japan
21. Italy
22. Trieste
23. Germany (except West Berlin)
24. Austria
25. Asiatic Pacific
26. Korean Service Medal (Army, Navy, Air Force)
27. Berlin
28. Lebanon
29. Libyan Operation El Dorado Canyon
30. Persian Gulf Operation Earnest Will
31. Panama Operation Just Cause
32. Somalia-United Shield-Operation Restore Hope
33. Haiti-Operation Uphold Democracy
34. Operation Southern Watch (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Gulf of Omen W. Of 62' E. Long, Yeman, Egypt, Jordan)
35. El Salvador
36. Bosnia-Operation Joint Endeavor
37. Operation Joint Guard
38. Operation Vigilant Sentinel
39. Operation Northern Watch
40. Operation Maritime Intercept
41. Operation Joint Forge (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
42. Operation Desert Thunder
43. Operation Desert Fox
44. Thailand Military Operation
45. Cuban Military Operation
46. Iranian, Yemen & Indian Ocean Operation
47. Lebanon
48. Libyan Expedition
50. Panama - (pre and post invasion)
51. Liberia (Operation Sharp Edge)
52. Rwanda (Operation Distant runner)
53. Vietnam Service Medal
54. Operation Desert Storm/Operation Desert Shield
55. Combat Action Ribbon
56. Korean Service
57. Kosovo Campaign Medal (Allied Force)
58. Joint Guardian
59. Allied Harbor
60. Sustain Hope/Shining Hope
61. Nobel Anvil
62. Kosovo Task Force Hawk
63. Kosovo Task Force Saber
64. Kosovo Task Force Falcon
65. Kosovo Task force Hunter
66. Kosovo Air Campaign
67. Kosovo Defense campaign

Now I know some of these countries are repeated, but the dates of action are different. That means we have repeatedly returned to some countries for new engagements much like we are going to do now in Iraq.

Every one of these actions have been approved by Congress to qualify the combatants for members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Those serving in Afghanistan are really not eligible at this date, but all we are waiting for is the President to sign the bill making them so. I believe that all Posts are taking their applications right now.

As you can see by this list America has been a very busy country in the last 50 years and that our "Military Might" has been in the forefront of American Foreign Policy.

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