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Vietnam Service Medal
""Observe view of Vietnam Service Medal
Awarded by U.S. Armed Forces
Type "Campaign medal
Eligibility Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
Awarded for Service in geographical theater areas of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia from 4 July 1965 through 28 March 1973 and the evacuation of "Saigon (USN, USMC, and USAF) from 29-30 April 1975.
The "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued for initial operations in South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 July 1958 through 3 July 1965, and may be exchanged for the VSM.
Campaign(s) "Vietnam War
Status Inactive
Statistics
Established 8 July 1965 - Executive Order 11231
28 Nov. 1967 - Amended, E.O. 11382
2 Feb. 2003 - Amended, E.O. 13286
First awarded 4 July 1965
Retroactive to 1 July 1958
Last awarded 30 April 1975
Precedence
Next (higher) "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Next (lower) "Southwest Asia Service Medal
Related "Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

""Vietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg

""Vietnam Service Streamer vector.svg

"Service ribbon and "campaign streamer

The Vietnam Service Medal is a "military award of the "United States Armed Forces established on 8 July 1965 by order of "President Lyndon B. Johnson. The medal is awarded to recognize service during the "Vietnam War by all members of the United States Armed Forces provided they meet the award requirements.

The distinctive design has been attributed to both sculptor "Thomas Hudson Jones, a former employee of the "Army Institute of Heraldry[1] and Mercedes Lee who created the design.[2]

Contents

Award criteria[edit]

The Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) was awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and its contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. Members of the United States Armed Forces in "Thailand, "Laos, "Cambodia, or airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for the award.[3]

Requirements

Individuals must meet one of the following requirements:[4][5][2][6][7][8]

The Vietnam Service Medal is retroactive to 1 July 1958 and supersedes and replaces the "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) which was issued for initial operations in South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from that date through 3 July 1965. Defense Department regulations do not permit the simultaneous presentation of both the Vietnam Service Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, for the same period of service in Vietnam, however the AFEM may be exchanged for the VSM upon request from a service member. Veterans of the Vietnam War may exchange the AFEM for the VSM and have military records updated to reflect the difference by contacting the National Personnel Records Center, which is the current agency that provides record corrections reflecting an AFEM conversion to the Vietnam Service Medal.[1]

Though the "Mayaguez incident is often referred to as the last battle of the "Vietnam War, U.S. military personnel who participated in it are not eligible for the Vietnam Service Medal by virtue of participating that battle alone,[9] as the eligibility period for the medal ended in April 1975, a few weeks before the battle took place. Instead of the VSM, the "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is authorized for military members who participated in that battle.[10] A congressional bill was introduced in 2016 to award veterans of the Mayaguez battle the VSM, but the bill was referred to a committee, effectively ending it.[11]

South Vietnam also issued its own service medal for the Vietnam War, known as the "Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. This is a separate military award which was accepted by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. military in accordance with DoD 1348 C7. Six months of service in support of South Vietnamese military operations was the general U.S. requirement for the award.[12]

Medal and ribbon appearance[edit]

The Vietnam Service Medal is a rounded bronze shaped medal, 1 14 inches in diameter with a green, yellow, and red suspension ribbon. The obverse side of the medal consists of a figure of an oriental dragon (representing the subversive nature of the conflict) behind a grove of bamboo trees located above the inscription "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM SERVICE". On the reverse, a crossbow (representing the ancient weapon of Vietnam) facing upwards with a ready to be fired lighted "torch of the Statue of Liberty, above an arched inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".[2]

The "service ribbon of the medal is 1 38 inches wide and consists of the following vertical stripes: three narrow (116 inch) strips of red with wider (532 inch) stripes of yellow in the center, flanked by even wider (516 inch) stripes of yellow on each side and narrow 18-inch stripes of primitive green on the ends. The yellow (yellow is traditionally the imperial color of Vietnam) with red stripes (the red represents the three ancient Vietnamese empires of Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China) resembles the former flag of the Republic of Vietnam. The green border on each side alludes to the jungle of that country.[2]

Ribbon devices

The Vietnam Service Medal is authorized three devices for wear on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal:[13][14]

One 316 inch bronze "service star is authorized for each campaign under the following conditions:

1. Assigned or attached to and present for duty with a unit during the period in which it participated in combat.
2. Under orders in a combat zone and in addition meets any of the following requirements:
a. Awarded a combat decoration.
b. Furnished a certificate by a "Commanding General of a "corps, higher unit, or independent force that soldier actually participated in combat.
c. Served at a normal post of duty (as contrasted to occupying the status of an inspector, observer, or visitor).
d. Aboard a vessel other than in a passenger status and furnished a certificate by the "home port commander of the vessel that he or she served in the combat zone.
e. Was an evadee or escapee in the combat zone or recovered from a "POW status in the combat zone during the time limitations of the campaign. POWs will not be accorded credit for the time spent in confinement or while otherwise in restraint under enemy control.

Vietnam War campaigns[edit]

The "U.S. Department of Defense established thirty military campaigns during the Vietnam War which covered all U.S. service branches. In 2010, the Department of Defense consolidated the original list of campaigns from the original thirty to a list of eighteen by combining the U.S. Air Force campaign list with the other armed services. The U.S. Army, and U.S. Coast Guard recognize seventeen 316" bronze service stars (also known as campaign stars; 3 silver stars and 2 bronze stars) on the Vietnam Service "campaign streamer.[15][16] Additionally, the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force recognize "Operation Frequent Wind (29–30 April 1975).[17][18]

U.S. Department of Defense consolidated campaign periods[edit]

DoD Consolidated Campaign Periods for All Services
Name of Campaign Start Date End Date
Vietnam Advisory Campaign[a] 15 March 1962 7 March 1965
Vietnam Defense Campaign[a] 8 March 1965 24 December 1965
Vietnam Counteroffensive.[a] 25 December 1965 30 June 1966
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase II[a] 1 July 1966 31 May 1967
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase III[a] 1 June 1967 29 January 1968
Tet Counteroffensive[a] 30 January 1968 1 April 1968
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase IV[a] 2 April 1968 30 June 1968
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase V[a] 1 July 1968 1 November 1968
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VI[a] 2 November 1968 22 February 1969
Tet 69 Counteroffensive[b][a] 23 February 1969 8 June 1969
Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969[b][a] 9 June 1969 31 October 1969
Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970[b][a] 1 November 1969 30 April 1970
Sanctuary Counteroffensive[b][a] 1 May 1970 30 June 1970
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VII[a] 1 July 1970 30 June 1971
Consolidation I[a] 1 July 1971 30 November 1971
Consolidation II[a] 1 December 1971 29 March 1972
Vietnam Cease-fire[a] 30 March 1972 28 January 1973
"Operation Frequent Wind[b][a] (USN USMC USAF only) 29 April 1975 30 April 1975

U.S. Air Force original campaign periods[edit]

Original USAF Campaign Periods Before DoD Consolidation
Name of campaign Start Date End Date
Vietnam Initial Advisory Campaign[b] 15 November 1961 1 March 1965
Vietnam Air Defensive Campaign[b] 2 March 1965 30 January 1966
Vietnam Air Counteroffensive[b] 31 January 1966 28 June 1966
Vietnam Air Offensive[b] 29 June 1966 8 March 1967
Vietnam Air Offensive Phase II[b] 9 March 1967 31 March 1967
Vietnam Air/Ground Campaign[b] 22 January 1968 7 July 1968
Vietnam Air Offensive Phase III[b] 1 Apr 1968 31 October 1968
Vietnam Air Offensive Phase IV[b] 1 November 1968 22 February 1969
Tet 69 Counteroffensive[b][a] 23 February 1969 8 June 1969
Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969[b][a] 9 June 1969 31 October 1969
Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970[b][a] 1 November 1969 30 April 1970
Sanctuary Counteroffensive[b][a] 1 May 1970 30 June 1970
Southwest Monsoon[b] 1 July 1970 30 November 1970
Commando Hunt V[b] 1 December 1970 14 May 1971
Commando Hunt VI[b] 15 May 1971 31 October 1971
Commando Hunt VII[b] 1 November 1971 29 March 1972
Vietnam Cease-fire[a] 30 March 1972 28 January 1973
Operation Frequent Wind[b][a] 29 April 1975 30 April 1975

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Campaign period authorized by Department of Defense Manual 1348.33 Volume 2, dated 23 November 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Campaign period originally authorized by the Department of the Air Force but now consolidated with the Department of Defense list

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Vietnam Service Medal". Naval History and Heritage Command. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.  External link in |publisher= ("help)
  2. ^ a b c d "Vietnam Service Medal". The Institute of Heraldry: Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the ARMY. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  3. ^ AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, 25 June 2015, p. 32-33
  4. ^ Government Printing Office, Section 576.25, Vietnam Service Medal, p. 402, July 1, 2008
  5. ^ AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, 25 June 2015, p. 32-33
  6. ^ Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual, SECNAVINST 1650.1H, Aug. 22, 2006, VSM, p. 8-18, 19, 20
  7. ^ Air Force Instruction, 36-2803, 22 June 2015, Air Force Military Awards and Decorations program, VSM, P. 178
  8. ^ Coast Guard Military Medals and Awards Manual, 15 August 2015, VSM, p. 6-2
  9. ^ "President's Page: President Don Raatz". 8 February 2017. Archived from the original on 22 March 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal". 
  11. ^ "H.R.6374 - Recognizing Mayaguez Veterans Act". Washington, D.C.: United States Congress. 2016. 
  12. ^ AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, 25 June 2015, p. 32-33
  13. ^ Government Printing Office, Section 576.25, Vietnam Service Medal, p. 402, July 1, 2008
  14. ^ EO 11231, 8 July 1965, as amended. Amended by EO 11382, 28 November 1967, and EO 13286, 28 February 2003. Additional details and descriptions given at 32 CFR 578.26.
  15. ^ "US Army Campaigns: VietNam". . US Army Center Of Military History. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  16. ^ Coast Guard Military Medals and Awards Manual, 15 August 2015, VSM, p. 6-2
  17. ^ Campaign, War Service And Unit Award Streamers
  18. ^ Air Force Instruction, 36-2803, 22 June 2015, Air Force Military Awards and Decorations program, VSM, P. 178

External links[edit]

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