We are dedicated to a single purpose:

Keeping Our Promise to America's Veterans

DAV is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than 1 million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year.

With over 1,200 chapters and more than 1 million members across the country, DAV empowers veterans and their families by helping to provide the resources they need and ensuring our nation keeps the promises made to them.

We accomplish our mission by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them, fighting for their interests on Capitol Hill, providing employment resources to veterans and their families, and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

Serving disabled veterans is DAV’s legacy and helps distinguish our mission from other veterans’ service organizations. However, research shows that many people, including veterans and supporters, associate the word “disability” with extreme examples of injuries and illness (loss of limbs, severe traumatic brain injuries, etc.) and, for this reason, may not turn to DAV. This is why we have developed specific and intentional communication practices that allow us to talk about disabilities and the great work DAV does by portraying strength in the word “disabled” without limiting our reach and creating misconceptions about our mission.


  • A network of state-level departments and local chapters.  
  • Providing cost-free programs that empower disabled veterans and their families to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. 
  • Providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other agencies of government.
  • Providing outreach concerning its program services to the American people generally, and to disabled veterans and their families specifically.
  • Representing the interests of disabled veterans, their families, their widowed spouses and their orphans before Congress, the White House and the Judicial Branch, as well as state and local government.
  • Extending DAV’s mission of hope into the communities where these veterans and their families live through a network of state-level Departments and local Chapters.
  • Providing a structure through which disabled veterans can express their compassion for their fellow veterans through a variety of volunteer programs.
  • Connecting veterans with meaningful employment, hosting job fairs and providing resources to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in the American Dream their sacrifices made possible.

Serving veterans since 1920

How it began


The hard facts of history brought about DAV’s creation. But compassion and service have been the tools that made our organization what it is today.

DAV was born out of necessity. Soldiers returned from the first World War, many wounded and ill. They faced poor economic conditions, and there was no VA programs in place designed to care for those returning from combat. Because of this, veterans adapted, and did what they could to care for themselves and each other. One such place where veterans were gathering for mutual support and job training was the Ohio Mechanics Institute in Cincinnati. Ill and wounded members formed the Ohio Mechanics Institute Disabled Soldiers, and recruited Colonel Peter Traub and Cincinnati Judge, Captain Robert S. Marx. This group would later become the DAV, and Judge Marx connected with veteran groups all around the country, realizing the more veterans could unite, the more powerful their voices would be.

This idea remain true today. While our nation has more resources and programs in place to care for our veterans than they did 100 years ago, thanks to the efforts of the veterans who came before us, there are still many changing needs our returning soldiers face. Our legacy hasn’t changed. We are still a group of injured and ill veterans joining together to help one another.

A great deal has changed since DAV was founded, but this much has remained the same: those who return from war must have men and women waiting for them at home who will stand with them as they work to take back their lives. Through DAV, veterans and civilians alike can fully express their appreciation and concern for those who have risked so much for our country.

The historical account of DAV in Wars and Scars on the pages that follow tells the story of that journey, from the days after World War I to the men and women of today returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. It tells the story of the veterans, families and civilians who made the commitment that none of America’s heroes should ever go it alone.


The issues today’s veterans face are as varied and diverse as the veterans themselves. Just as the early DAV needed to gather numbers of veterans to validate their cause, the greatest value in DAV membership today is still in our numbers, making our voices louder to policy-makers.  

To ensure the longevity and strength of our organization, membership remains important. Members have the opportunity to submit resolutions, proposing important changes they would like to see. These resolutions have the potential to be voted on by our state and national membership, and if resolutions are adopted, they are brought before lawmakers and backed by the strength of our numbers.

Click here to learn more about the other benefits of membership in the DAV. 

leave no one behind


DAV membership means more than you might imagine. Each member strengthens our ability to generate grassroots support for legislative issues that are important to disabled Veterans, their families and survivors.

Making your voice heard is simpler than ever. Sign up for the “DAV Commander Action Network” or C.A.N., this will alert you on key National Legislative involving Veterans and their Dependents. You can also receive alerts for key Veteran legislation in California. Follow the links and sign up. It’s that easy!

We hope that you, as a DAV life member, will give your full support to this coordinated effort to educate our elected officials on the issues affecting disabled veterans and on what is required to ensure adequate healthcare and compensation for those who have contributed to preserve our way of life. 

Join Our Grassroots efforts and be heard

Pledge of Allegiance

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Old Glory

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