Home » MOWW History

MOWW History


Incorporated by Act of Congress in January 1919

Originally incorporated as the “American Officers of the Great War”, the name became “The Military Order of the World War” at the very first convention held in Detroit, Michigan, in September of 1920. One of the most significant items of business that was considered at the first convention was the adoption of “The Preamble” to the Constitution of the Order. In its nine tenets it sets forth the focus and purposes of this organization. The Preamble was written by Captain Francis B. Grevemberg, a Charter Member of the New Orleans Chapter, in 1919, who was a delegate to the 1920 convention. Captain Grevemberg was traveling by train, enroute to the Detroit Convention, when he drafted the document on the back of an envelope. The Preamble remains today as written by Captain Grevemberg, and is proudly on display at our National Headquarters, in Alexandria, Virginia.

Granted a Federal Charter

Public Law 102-484, 23 October 1992, Title XVIII, Section 1801, recognized The Military Order of the Military Wars as a corporation and granted to the Order a Federal Charter.

The First Commander in Chief

At the 1920 convention, Major General George H. Harries was elected the first Commander-in-Chief (CINC), and served in that position for five years. Knowing the importance of an informed membership, he published the National Bulletin, now Officer Review, in May, 1921. His enlisting and nurturing the active interest of General of the Armies, John J. Pershing, later to become the first Honorary Commander-in-Chief for Life, was a wise, strategic move.

General Pershing: “Your efforts must not stop now…”

In September, 1926, at the Sixth National Convention meeting in Philadelphia, General Pershing made the main address. Among his words of inspiration, he said: “You have fought a Great War to make the world safe for Democracy, and to keep this Nation free, but your efforts must not stop now. In the future there will be many forces trying to destroy this freedom, so band together and dedicate yourselves to protecting that freedom you have so valiantly won on the battlefield.” The interest and support given the Order by General Pershing, who believed in maintaining a strong military establishment and a consistent national security policy, afforded the MOWW prestige, power and influence that gave it impetus and integrity from the beginning. Its ideal has always been: “It is nobler to serve than to be served” and the way to fulfill that is to: “Take time to serve your country.” The statement of purposes set forth in The Preamble fulfills that ideal, when carried out in practice. No other patriotic organization, composed of those who are, or have served, as military officers, embraces a higher statement of principles. The Order transmits all these ideals “…to posterity, under God and for our Country.” As a result today, Companions of MOWW do not engage in lobbying for anything of personal value, nor do they engage in any partisan political activities. Early on, General Harries set the standard by insisting, “The work must necessarily be the primary thing … It (the Order) does not exist for a purely social purpose.” That standard still holds.

The MOWW was featured on every radio and television station in America…

It was at the 1963 National Convention of MOWW in San Antonio, where guest of honor Senator Barry Goldwater announced his intention to run for President of the US. The CINC, Commander Hans von Leden said: “For the first time, the MOWW was featured on every radio and television station in America that night.”

Six U.S. Presidents are Perpetual Members of the Order

The Order has been honored by having several U. S. Presidents as Perpetual Members of the Order. They are Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford and Reagan. In addition, Presidents Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan were honorary CINCs.