IAVA was founded in 2004 by Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and fellow veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning home from their tours, these veterans came together after quickly becoming concerned with the way the war in Iraq was being portrayed in the media and the overall plight of newly returned veterans. There were many policy experts and talking heads on TV, but very few people who had actually served on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. There was no one talking about what wounded veterans needed and the issues they faced. The creation of IAVA allowed thousands of veterans to join the national dialogue, and to explain what was really happening on the ground overseas and back home in the United States.