WHAT IS 40&8?
La Societe Des Quirante Hommes et Huit Chauvaux, which in English is "The Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses" or shortened to the 40&8 is a Veterans organization whose membership is restricted to Honorable Discharged Veterans and active-duty members of the Armed Forces.
We are often referred to as "The Honor Society of American Veterans" and you must be invited to join by a current member. Once the 40&8 was a club of the American Legion and you had to be a Legionnaire to be eligible to join. However, after several disagreements with Legion National, the 40&8 decided to split away from the Legion and became a separate charted organization at the National Convention in 2009 in Orlando Florida. It should be noted that 99% of current 40&8'ers are also Legion members, and in many cases still meet in the Legion Post.
The 40&8 is often referred to as the Fun group of the Legion, even though we are not officially connected to the American Legion. Our organization is based on the small French boxcars that would move troops to the front from the ports. The boxcars (Voiture) were clearly marked the capacity was 40 men or 8 Horses where the term 40&8 derived from. The WW1 veterans' only complaint was they often did not clean out the cars after hauling the 8 horses. All the Officers and members are referred to in the French term.
Example: The Local Commander is referred to as the Locale Chef de Gare (in charge of the station), the Grand (State) commander is the Grande Chef de Gare, and the National commander is Chef de Chemin de Fer (in charge of the national railroad).
While each locale supports many local charities and events the 40&8 sponsors on a national level many programs such as:
Child Welfare: The National will reimburse the locals and Grands for funds expended helping children during local emergencies such as fire, storms, and other disasters. They will provide health and comfort items to children under fifteen, up to $300 per child if some other charity such as Red Cross does not respond.
Nurses Training: National and local 40&8 voitures have provided scholarships to help over 50,000 nurses complete their training since its conception in 1955.
POW/MIA: The 40&8 provides scholarships to the Spouses, children, and grandchildren of veterans listed as POW or MIA by the Department of Defense who served after Dec 7, 1941.
VAVS: This is a program that provides voluntary service to the various Veterans Affairs hospitals and Clinics and Homes.
For additional information contact the Local Post 30, Judge Advocate, Charles Nicholson 229-395-3258
The 40&8 was a French railway car that was used to transport troops and prisoners during World War I. The name comes from the car's capacity, which was either 40 men or eight horses. The cars were cramped, uncomfortable, and often unsanitary, as they had no ventilation, heating, or toilets. The soldiers who traveled in them had to endure long journeys under harsh conditions, sometimes without food or water. The 40&8 became a symbol of the sacrifice and camaraderie of the Allied forces in the war. Some of the details that illustrate the experience of the 40&8 passengers are:
- The cars were originally designed for freight, not for human transportation.
- The cars had no windows, only small openings for air and light.
- The cars were often overcrowded, with more than 40 men squeezed inside.
- The cars were exposed to the weather, making them freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in summer.
- The cars were infested with lice, fleas, and rats, which spread diseases among the passengers.
- The cars had no sanitary facilities, so the passengers had to relieve themselves in buckets or on the floor.
- The cars had no seats or beds, so the passengers had to sit or lie on wooden planks or straw.
- The cars had no food or water supply, so the passengers had to rely on whatever they brought with them or received from the stations along the way.
- The cars had no communication system, so the passengers had no idea where they were going or how long it would take.
- The cars were often targeted by enemy fire, bombs, or sabotage, putting the passengers at risk of injury or death.
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