Department of Pacific Areas History
The Provisional Department of Pacific Areas was formally instituted on 3 December 1966 at VFW Post 9467 in Yokohama, Japan. The formation of the Department was a direct result of the continued cooperation of VFW Posts in the Far East Area over many, many years starting in 1948. Following the end of WWII and with the surge of occupational U.S. Forces throughout the Far East it seemed only natural that the VFW would establish itself and become an active stalwart in the support of U.S. Forces and veterans throughout the Pacific basin. The first Posts organized were in Yokohama (Post 9467) and Tokyo (Post 9450) during the summer of 1947. Posts in Nagoya (Post 9794), Osaka (Post 9876), and Yokohama (Post 9612) were established during 1948. In October 1948, an “All Japan Muster” involving these five Posts was held. They petitioned National Headquarters for a Department Charter. However, due to the constant shifting and reduction of occupational troops, resulting in the relocation and reorganization of many Posts, the petition was held in abeyance until activities in the Far East settled down. Then the Korean War started. Once again the influx began with changes and moves being made everywhere. Post 9794, originally chartered at Nagoya, was moved to Tachikawa Air Force Base, Japan and re-chartered in October 1952. Post 9612, which was chartered in Yokohama, lost its charter but was re-chartered at the Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan in February 1952. Post 9876 in Osaka was moved in 1958 to Yokota AFB, Japan and re-chartered in November of 1958.
In October 1953, the first Far East VFW Convention (Encampment) was held in Tokyo, Japan. The object of this meeting was to discuss and set forth ideas for accomplishing the many VFW programs necessary for the good of our organization, and also to achieve that one ultimate goal – to establish the Department of the Pacific Areas. The first step in this process was accomplished in 1960 when a quasi-official liaison unit, The Far East Provisional District, was organized and was the direct forbearer of the Provisional Department of the Pacific Areas formed in October 1966. Its jurisdiction encompassed the areas 160 degrees longitude to 90 degrees longitude, and from 50 degrees north latitude to 50 degrees south latitude, but not to include the Hawaiian Islands. During this period membership and new Posts began expanding due mainly to the buildup of U.S. Forces and logistical support for the war in Vietnam. In addition to the Posts previously mentioned, Post 9689 at Itazuke Air Base Fukuoka, Japan was chartered in 1955 and became part of the Provisional District in August 1960. Post 9681 Misawa Air Base Japan was chartered and became part of the Provisional District on 30 November 1961. Post 9555 Johnson Family Housing Annex, Japan (located near Yokota AFB) was chartered 9 May 1962. Post 9985 Seoul, Korea and Post 9951 Bangkok, Thailand were also chartered during this time frame. And in 1966, a significant first for the VFW occurred. Bien Hoa Post 3883, Bien Hoa, Vietnam became the first Post in the history of the VFW to be chartered and installed in an active combat Zone. It would not be the last.