Awards and Certificates
Q. Where can I get information on medals for service in the Gulf War?
A. The U.S. and Coalition allies awarded four medals for service in the Gulf War:
Any new U.S. Army unit awards or citations will be posted to the Army's Military Awards Branch Web site.
Veterans who served in the Gulf War and who are still on active duty or in the active reserve should contact their personnel officer for information about these medals or other citations, ribbons or decorations earned by their units, and about their eligibility for individual awards.
Discharged and retired veterans who wish to request issuance or replacement of their medals or awards may write to:
National Personnel Records Center
Attn: Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: (314) 538-4200
Fax: (314) 538-4175
State your request and provide a copy (NEVER an original) of the following
If you do not have these forms, provide the following information:
Family members may only request the medals and awards of living veterans by obtaining their signed authorizations. For deceased veterans, requests will be accepted from next of kin.
There may be a delay of up to one year after release from active service before a military servicemember's records are received by the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Further, due to a combination of many requests and recent staff reductions, there is a delay in responding. Consequently, the NPRC advises that it takes about 18 months now to process a request.
To request information from military service records, the National Personnel Records Center recommends you use the Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records." Remember, by law, records can only be released to an individual or his/her next of kin.
Additional information for the different services is provided below.
Department of the Army (DA) publishes General Orders on approved awards for units, including those serving in Desert Shield / Desert Storm, on a yearly basis. Determinations on some awards are still pending. The DA General Orders are distributed to every Army installation and maintained in their military operational specialty libraries. Veterans may also contact any installation's personnel officer.
Discharged and retired veterans who need copies of their records can call the Army Reserve Personnel Center at (314) 538-4261. A recorded message advises you that all requests must be made in writing, provides an address, and also explains what to do if you are calling about a medical emergency.
U.S. Marine Corps
For questions concerning policy on awards and decorations, call the Secretary of the Navy Awards Board at (202) 685-6530. A veteran in the inactive reserves (meaning that you are still affiliated with the Marine Corps) can request a copy of his or her record by writing to:
Marine Corps Reserve Support Command
15303 Andrews Rd. (Code PMD)
Kansas City, MO 64147
For questions concerning policy on awards and decorations, call the Secretary of the Navy Awards Board at (202) 685-6530.
The telephone number for the Navy Liaison Office, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO, is 314-538-3071, ext. 882. A veteran in the inactive reserves (meaning that you are still affiliated with the Navy) can request a copy of his or her record by writing to:
Naval Reserve Personnel Center
Service Record Maintenance Center
New Orleans, LA 70149-7800
U.S. Air Force
Air Force veterans can write to:
Air Force Personnel Center/DPA
550 C Street West, Suite 1
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4703
Q. Where can I find information on the Kosovo Campaign Medal?
A. In May 2000, former President Clinton approved the establishment and award of the Kosovo Campaign Medal and campaign streamers to recognize the accomplishments of our military servicemembers who participated in, or were in direct support, specific Kosovo operations.
Those individuals authorized to wear the Kosovo Campaign Medal must have participated in or served in direct support of one or more of the following Kosovo operations: Allied Force, Joint Guardian, Allied Harbor, Sustain Hope/Shining Hope, Noble Anvil or Kosovo Task Force Hawk, Task Force Saber, or Task Force Hunter within the Kosovo Air Campaign or Kosovo Defense Campaign. The Kosovo Air Campaign began on March 24, 1999, and ended on June 10, 1999. Eligible verterans must have served within the total land area and air space of Serbia (including Kosovo), Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy and Slovenia, or within the waters and air space of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea north of 39 degrees north latitude.
The Kosovo Defense Campaign began on June 11, 1999, and will end on a date to be determined. Eligible verterans must have served within the total land area and air space of Serbia (including Kosovo), Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, or the waters and air space of the Adriatic Sea within 12 nautical miles of the Montenegro, Albania, and Croatia coastlines south of 42 degrees and 52 minutes north latitude.
Servicemembers must have served, or be currently serving, in a unit participating in or directly supporting the operation for 30 consecutive days in the specified or for 60 non-consecutive days, provided this support involves entering the specified operations areas or servicemembers must meet one or more of the following criteria:
Be engaged in actual combat, or duty that is equally as hazardous as combat duty, during an operation with armed opposition, regardless of time in the specified areas; Be wounded or injured and require medical evacuation while participating in an operation, regardless of time spent in the specified areas; Be participating as a regularly assigned aircrew member flying sorties into, out of, within, or over the specified areas in direct support of a military operation.
One bronze star shall be worn on the Kosovo Campaign Medal for qualifying participation in each campaign period.
Q. I have heard there's a Cold War Recognition Certificate available to individuals who worked for the Federal Government. What is it and who is eligible to receive one?
A. In the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served the United States any time during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945, through Dec. 26, 1991.
Applicants must certify that their service was "faithful and honorable," and they must supply a copy of supporting documentation which proves that they served during the Cold War era. The certificate may be awarded posthumously to those whose relatives apply on their behalf.
There is no charge for a Cold War Recognition Certificate. Note that no medal has been authorized or issued for Cold War Recognition.
The program is scheduled to run for 10 years, so there is plenty of time to send in your request and supporting documentation. You have up to one year after requesting a certificate to supply the supporting documentation. As of August 31, 2000, the Army has received 590,794 requests, has mailed 369,044 certificates, and has a backlog of 90,483, not counting the many received duplicate requests. If a year has passed since requesting a certificate, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the information number at (703) 325-6027.
Q. Who is eligible for a certificate?
A. Anyone who worked for the U.S. Government at any time during the Cold War era, September 2, 1945 through December 26, 1991, is eligible, provided their service to the country was faithful and honorable.
Q. How do I request a certificate?
A. The easiest way to request a certificate is by using the U.S. or International request forms which can be found on the Internet at http://coldwar.army.mil/. The site is secure, but if you are uncomfortable sending your social security number over the Web, you may send in a letter to request a certificate. Note that any request must contain the words "I certify that my service was honorable and faithful" or it will be rejected.
Q. What kind of supporting documentation is acceptable?
A. Any document which shows that the intended recipient was a U.S. government employee during the Cold War era will be accepted as proof. The document must contain the name of the recipient, the Social Security Number, Military Service Number, or Foreign Service Number that was included in the request for the certificate, and a date which is within the range of September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991.
Examples of acceptable documentation include a Leave and Earnings statement, DD214, and Discharge Paper, SF50.
Please send a copy of your documentation, do not send the original document. The information you send cannot be returned.
Q. Where do I send my request?
Cold War Recognition, Hoffman II
Attn: TAPC-CWRS, 3N45
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, VA. 22332-0473
Fax Number: (800) 723-9262 or
Q. Is there a service medal for Korean veterans available?
A. U.S. veterans of the Korean War are eligible to receive the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. Criteria for award of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal (ROKWSM) have been established by the Republic of Korea government. To qualify for the medal, the veteran must have:
To obtain the medal, those who meet the criteria above must provide the U.S. Air Force Personnel Center (contact information listed below) a copy of their discharge paper, commonly known as a DD-214, or a corrected version of that document, a DD-215. National Guard members must provide their statement of service equivalent, NGB Form 22.
Please only send copies of these documents; do not send original documents.
U.S. Air Force Personnel Center contact information:
550 C Street West, Suite 12,
Randolph Air Force Base, Texas 78150-4714
Office hours: Monday - Friday,
7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (CST)
Telephone numbers: (800) 558-1404, (210) 565-2432/2520/2516
Fax (210) 565-3118
To obtain information about your personnel records (e.g., DD Form 214 and medical records) contact the National Personnel Records Center. When requesting information, provide the veteran's full name, Social Security Number, mailing address, applicable service number, branch of service, dates of service, type of information needed, and the veteran's signature on the request. Please forward all personnel records requests to:
National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: (314) 538-4200
Fax: (314) 538-4175
The U.S. Air Force is the lead agency to distribute the medals to U.S. servicemen and women from each branch of Service. The Air Force will provide the medal at no cost, and on a first-come-first-served basis, based upon the medal's availability, to veterans who meet the criteria and provide a copy of their discharge paper.