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History of the VFW

The VFW was created from the merger of several societies that formed immediately following the Spanish–American War. In 1899, small groups of veterans returning from campaigning in Cuba and the Philippine Islands, founded local societies based on the comradery known only to those who faced the dangers of war and the issues they faced when returning home. Through these similar experiences and a common language, the American Veterans of Foreign Service was established in Columbus, Ohio on September 29, 1899 by Spanish‑American War veteran James C. Putnam. 3 months later The Colorado Society, Army of the Philippines was organized in Denver, Colorado on December 12, 1899. Shortly after a society known as the Foreign Service Veterans was born in Pennsylvania. These organizations grew side by side, increasing in scope and membership until 1913, when the three organizations met. Driven by their shared interests, identities and comradery; these organizations agreed to merge together to form what is now known as the Veteran of Foreign Wars of the United States.

Our Post History

Who was John R. Simpson?

John R. Simpson was a decorated veteran of WWI who fought in the St. Mihiel and Meusse-Argonne battles in France.

He was born on March 14, 1891 in the newly established small town of Chillicothe, Texas. In 1914 John’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Simpson decided to move to Escondido, he followed them a year after. When the United States declared war against Germany, John immediately registered for service and received registration certificate #1, ten days later he enlisted in Company F, 7th Texas Regiment. He was stationed at Linda Vista until Camp Kearny (present-day MCAS Miramar) was established and transferred to Company D, 160th Infantry, 40th Army Division known as the “Sunshine Division” commanded by General Frederick S. Strong. 


Private Simpson was among 20,000 men ordered to France sailing out from Hoboken, New Jersey on June 3, 1918. Upon his arrival in France, he was transferred to Company H, 103rd Infantry, 26th Army Division where he fought in the St. Mihiel and Meusse-Argonne battles surviving both conflicts without injury. Afterwards, Private Simpson sent a letter home stating he felt well and looked forward to coming home. Simpson’s parents received this letter shortly after Armistice Day, fifteen days later they received a telegram from Washington, D.C. informing them of their son’s death from bronchial pneumonia. Private Simpson passed away in Hospital #53 Langres, France on December 19, 1918. He was 27 years old.

John R. Simpson’s life, service, and character are an inspiration to the members of Post 1513, named in his honor. His march may be over, but his brave spirit lives on in the heroes who have followed his footsteps in service to our great country.

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