Who We Are

The Mission, Vision, and History of AMVETS

About AMVETS

AMVETS is a veteran’s service organization that is distinctive for its open-door policy. Eligibility for membership includes veterans from wars of all eras who received an honorable discharge, as well as current service members, including the National Guard and Reserves. But is not limited to combat or war veterans. Any person with an honorable discharge is welcome. AMVETS has 8,500 members statewide.

As AMVETS meets the increasing and changing needs of the 21st century, we focus on preserving freedom, supporting America’s defenders and serving her communities. This remains our blueprint for continued service to God and country.

AMVETS History

Formation

Formation

September 1944 – Two independent Veterans clubs in Washington, DC – One formed on the campus of George Washington University, others among veterans employed by the Federal Government, and the Veterans clubs organized throughout America­–­in California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas sponsored a servicemen’s party.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

November 11, 1944 – Veterans Day, an article appeared and entitled in Collier’s magazine, “12 million in Search of a Leader.” These clubs outlined the mutual aims: 1) to promote world peace, 2) to preserve the American way of life, 3) to help the Veteran help himself.

Leaders

Leaders

December 10, 1944 – A National Organization, was formed by 18 leaders, representing 9 groups met in Kansas City, Missouri, known as the American Veterans of World War II–Also, as newspaper headline writers took to calling them and AMVETS. The White Clover was chosen as official flower of AMVETS, meaning, “Remember Me.”

Convened

Convened

October 1945–The First National Convention was convened in Chicago.

Recognition

Recognition

By that time, California AMVETS had been established. On October 20, 1945, World War II National Commander Harold Keats signed a State Department Charter to officially recognize AMVETS Department of California.

Sound Lines

Sound Lines

1946–AMVETS petitioned Congress for Federal Charter. In the words of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the organization being “organized along sound lines and for worthy purposes, having demonstrated strength and stability, is entitled to the standings and dignity which a National Character will afford.”

Chartered By Congress

Chartered By Congress

July 23rd, 1947–AMVETS became the first World War II organization chartered by Congress when President Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 216.

The Proclamation

The Proclamation

May 7, 1975–President Gerald R. Ford signed Proclamation 4373, terminating the Vietnam era and cessation of hostilities among Vietnam Veterans and Era Veterans the opportunity to join AMVETS. Nearly 10 years AMVETS did not accept into membership servicemen and women who served after May 7, 1975.

Making Amends

Making Amends

May 31, 1984–President Ronald Reagan signed public law 98-304, which amended AMVETS’ Congressional Charter to open membership to those whom served honorably and actively after May 7, 1975. Membership is open to anyone who is currently serving, inclusive the National Guard and Reserve components–after September 15, 1940.

 

Mission

As one of California’s leading Veterans Service Organization, Team AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who honorably served, or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves.

Vision

AMVETS shall dedicate themselves towards establishing a strong “Community Collaborative” to build a cohesive network of individuals, rooted by their mutual trust and respect towards veterans and their families. We shall focus on our accomplishments, traditions and culture as staunch role models into the future, while continuing to strive to attract new members.

AMVETS Department of California

Today, with approximately 10,000 members and just over 40 local Posts, AMVETS, Department of California upholds its mission to serve at the forefront of community and veterans’ services for the state of California.

Officers

AMVETS Department Officers are committed to serving those who have served. 

Ross Smith Commander

Commander

Ross Smith

David Black Jr. Past Cmdr

Jr. Past Commander

David Black

Jeff Lukens 2nd Vice Commander

2nd Vice Commander

Jeff Lukens

Lorraine Justin 3rd Vice Commander

3rd Vice Commander

Lorraine Justin

Kevin Benson Finance Officer

Finance Officer

Kevin Benson Sr.

Heidi Holguin NEC Person

NEC Person

Heidi Holguin

Sandra Durbin Alternate NEC Person

Alt NEC Person

Sandra Durbin

Kyle Miles Judge Advocate

Judge Advocate

Kyle Miles

Michael Garcia Provost Marshal

Provost Marshall

Michael Garcia

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Chaplain

Leonard Smith

Ray Delgado Officer at Large A

Officer at Large A

Ray Delgado

Beverly Grabel Officer at Large B

Officer at Large B

Beverly Grabel

Area Commanders

Northern Area

Gary Imhoff Northern Area

Gary Imhoff

Central Area

Ron Robinson Central Area Commander

Ron Robinson 

Southern Area

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Lisa Roybal 

District Commanders


District 4/5 •
Helen Wong 


District 13 • Tom Derrick


District 16 •
Tom Pietila  

District 8 • Lou Nunez 

District 14/15 • Larkin David Cockrill 

Staff

Smokey Rickerd Exec Director

Smokey Rickerd

Executive Director

Bernadette Carlin Exec Assistant

Bernadette Carlin

Executive Assistant

Andy Hinojosa CPA

Andy Hinojosa, CPA

Department Accountant

Claudia Morehead Attorney

Claudia Morehead

Department Attorney

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