Washington Times | May 13, 2009

OP-ED: Armed Services YMCA nears 150th

The Armed Services YMCA will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2011. YMCA support to the military commenced in 1861 and has been continuous since that time. It began when a group of YMCA volunteers offered to provide services to men in uniform engaged in the Civil War.

YMCA support to the military has been continuous through the Civil War, Spanish-American War, Mexican War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and the war on terrorism. Until 1983, YMCA support to the military was managed through a department called Armed Services YMCA of the USA.

In 1983, the department was separately incorporated in the state of Illinois. The Armed Services YMCA of the USA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the sole mission of serving military service members – single and married – and their families. The focus of the ASYMCA is on the junior enlisted, primarily pay grades E-5 and below, offering low-cost programs.

Our programs enhance their lives in spirit, mind and body. In cooperation with unit and area commands, the ASYMCA offers programs and services that strengthen families and encourage individuals to achieve their fullest potential.

The Armed Services YMCA continues its work through 17 branches, 11 community YMCA affiliates and 6 Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security affiliates in 15 states and Puerto Rico.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary, the ASYMCA has petitioned the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postal Service that a stamp be designed to commemorate this anniversary.

All the best,

Frank Gallo
Rear admiral, USN (retired)