“For God and country we associate ourselves together for the following purpose: To assist and promote the welfare and well-being of those who served in the Armed Forces of the United States, during all wars and conflicts recognized by the Congress of the United States, and their widows and orphans; to participate in all Memorial Services for and to be part in and to encourage others to participate in the proper observance of all days honoring Veterans; to preserve the memories of our Services in the Armed Forces of our Country; to actively participate within membership in projects relating to (a) the welfare of the Children of America; (b) the health of our Nation by fostering a nurses training program; and (c) selected charitable endeavors.”
(Preamble to the 40/8 Constitution)
A Legacy of Honor
La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux – in English, The Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses. More commonly known as the “Forty & Eight” – is an independent fraternal organization of U.S. veterans. Established in 1920 by members of the American Legion as a fun and honor society, the Forty & Eight’s founders based the organization on their shared military experiences in WWI France. The boxcar of the French railways, which carried either 40 men (quarante hommes) or 8 horses (huit chevaux) to the front, is the symbol of the organization. Titles and functions are in French. The numerals “40/8” on a triangle of French horizon blue is the logo of The Forty & Eight.
“Originally an arm of the American Legion, the Forty & Eight became an independent and separately incorporated veteran’s organization in 1960.”
A Legacy of Charity
The Forty & Eight’s Child Welfare program was founded in 1923 to aid children in distress. In the 1930s, the Forty & Eight lead a national effort to inoculate every child against Diphtheria, bearing the expense for thousands of destitute American children.
Today, the Child Welfare program, in conjunction with the Charles W. Ardery Memorial Child Welfare Trust Fund, disburses thousands of dollars annually. Local units of the Forty & Eight, called Voitures, provide timely, direct grants to families of children in distress when local government or relief agencies are unable to act rapidly, or cannot act at all.
The Forty & Eight’s Nurses Training program, unique to our organization, was established in 1955 as a means of ensuring adequate numbers of skilled nurses for our nation in time of war and peace.
Augmented by the George B. Boland Nurses Training Scholarship Trust Fund, the program has resulted in assistance to over 50,000 nursing students nationwide. In many cases, without The Forty & Eight, many would fall short of the funds necessary to complete their education.
The Forty & Eight has a long association with the former Gillis W. Long Center Hansen’s Disease Center (now Museum) in Carville, Louisiana. The Forty & Eight funds entirely, the publication of the Carville Star Magazine, dedicated to educating and enlightening the public on the facts about Hansen’s Disease (formerly known as leprosy) and to dispel myths about the disease.
In partnership with the Veterans Administration Voluntary Service VAVS program, our members volunteer at the over 1100 VA healthcare facilities. The Forty & Eight’s Keep The Wheelchairs Rolling program meets patient needs for medical and recreational equipment in those facilities.
The Forty & Eight’s Youth Sports program provides financial assistancefor youth 7 to 20, encompassing all amateur sports programs, including AAU, USSSA, Junior Olympics and Special Olympics.
Our Americanism program is committed to furthering the American way of life by sponsoring Flags for First Graders, Boys State, Girls State, civic programs for youths and seniors, memorial and dedication ceremonies. The Forty & Eight offers annual national awards for Law Officer of the Year and Hero of the Year.
Our POW/MIA program raises awareness of the POW/MIA issue, and provides annual scholarships to family members of verified POWs and MIAs.
The Forty & Eight has over 21,000 men Voyageurs worldwide. Voitures Locales meet at American Legion Posts or at their own Chateau (meeting house). Many Voitures have Locomotives (parade trains) and Hobo Clowns that bring smiles as they delight children and promote patriotism.