Veterans Resources

This page has been developed to help veterans locate the help they need in getting their medals and locating assistance on veteran’s issues, as well as providing other veteran resources.

VETERANS RESOURCES

Resources for Our Veterans

Getting Your Medals

Getting Your Medals – By: Dave Holdorf

There have been many inquiries about the service medals a veteran can or should display. As most veterans have been out of the service for many years, this information can be hard to find. It is easy to find information on the Internet regarding the subject, but any of this information can be incorrect. If any, the information found at genuine U.S. Government military web sites would tend to be the most believable.

Types of medals can be broken down into a few categories:

1.) “Personal/Individual” awards/medals awarded you are usually found listed in box # 24 on your DD-214 discharge form. Unit Commanders recommend awards, award clerks add DD-214 information. Items may include “badges” for various qualifications such as sharp-shooter, mechanic, various driver, airborne, infantry, etc. Other medals/awards could include various individual types such as Purple Heart, Silver/Bronze Stars, Army Commendation, Air Medal, overseas bars ( one each six months ), years of service hash-marks ( one = three years, not listed on DD-214 ), etc. Vietnam Medals “should” be at least National Defense Service, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, and Good Conduct Medal.

2.) “Unit Citations” awarded to the unit you were in during the prescribed periods designated. They would include RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm. This type is awarded by government decree, as the RVN awarded to US units in Vietnam. Information on these types of awards normally have documentation that can be very hard to find.

3.) “Commemorative Medals” struck ( issued ) to honor various wars, time periods, and honorable military services. These include Republic of Vietnam Defense 1960-1975, Army Commemorative 1775-2000, Cold War Victory Commemorative 2 Sep.1945 – 26 Dec. 1991 ( you can apply for a certificate ).

4.) “Others Medals” can include various foreign country medals awarded to individuals or units while serving in those countries. Information on these are also hard to find to confirm correct protocol.

Some information can be found in catalogs and on web sites, but is not clear. While medal companies claim that you can display some of these, they do not appear to offer documentation of awarding those from foreign governments. Be sure to see the D.O.D. webpage titled “Manual of Military Decorations and Awards” at: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/

5.) “Devices” are medal or medal ribbon attachments. These include very small stars, leafs, letters, knots, or palms. Three Bronze Stars on the Vietnam Service medal indicates three campaigns, more if you served longer. One Silver Star equals five Bronze Stars. Stars are also used to indicate multiple awards. Knots on Good Conduct medals indicate one for each three years service: bronze 2nd-5th, silver 6th-10th, gold 11th-15th awards. The Good Conduct Medal can be issued after completion of first enlistment, draftees after two years.

All medals listed on your DD-214 form should have been issued to you. If not, you can order them from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri:

National Personnel Records Center
Medals Section (NRPMA-M)
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132

Send in your DD-214, your completed DA Form 180

(download from The National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html )

and you will receive them free in about 9 to 12 months from the supply center in Philadelphia. All medals will “normally” have your name inscribed on the back.

All foreign and commemorative medals, devices, service bars and hashes must be purchased from medals companies at your own cost. Most medals are about $20 – 30 for full size, ribbons $1.00 – $2.50., some include the ribbons. Miniature medals and hat pins are available also, some sell tie tacks.

Companies that sell medals, awards, devices, collar insignia, some patches, and display cases are Medals of America, Call to Colors, H. J. Saunders, R.W. Fuller, and other smaller companies. H.J. Saunders appears to have the largest assortment of Unit Crests for sale.

Danang Enterprises sells various small hat pin type items in the form of unit patches, awards, military equipment, location script, POW/MIA, flags, and humorous. These range in price from $4.00 – $5.00. In addition, they offer many other memorabilia items. These types of items can also be found at flea markets.

A few other companies offering items are: Graco Industries, Vets Supply Line, Quartermaster, 12 OíClock High, National Capitol Historic Sales, and Overload Military Collection.

More:

Getting Authorization For Military Medals You Believe You Earned
How to Request Military Service Records or Prove Military Service
Military Record Requests: Standard Form SF-180
Rebuilding Lost, Destroyed, Missing, Never obtained DD-214 Military Discharge Documents
Requesting Replacement Medals, Awards, and Decorations
The Institute of Heraldry – Awards, Decorations, Campaign & Service Medals
U.S. Military Award Display Cases: How To Get Started
This article is from the U.S. Department of Veteranís Affairs web site at: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/Herbicide/AOno1.htm

Agent Orange - Korea DMZ Vets and Agent Orange

Source: January 2004 VFW Magazine – Compiled by Ted Sypko
The Pentagon has confirmed that Agent Orange was used from April 1968 through July 1969 to defoliate the fields of fire between the front line defensive positions and the south barrier fence. The size of the treated area was a strip of land 151 miles long and up to 350 yards wide, from the fence to north of the civilian control line. There is no indication that herbicides were sprayed inside the DMZ itself.

Who and What is Eligible
Mandatory requirements
– Service in country between April 1968 and July 1969.
– Assignment to a specified unit in Korea between April 1968 and July 1969.
– Medical evidence of presumptive condition under 38 C.F.R. 3.309

Military Units Eligible (April 1968 to July 1969)
Elements of four combat brigades of the 2nd Infantry Division:
– 72nd Armor – 1st & 2nd Battalions
– 7th Cavalry – 4th Battalion
– 9th Infantry – 1st & 2nd Battalions
– 23rd Infantry – 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions
– 38th Infantry – 1st & 2nd Battalions

3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division:
– 73rd Armor – 1st Battalion
– 10th Cavalry – 2nd Battalion
– 17th Infantry – 1st & 2nd Battalions
– 32nd Infantry – 3rd Battalion

Herbicide-Associated Health Conditions Presumptively Recognized
– Chloracne (must occur within one year of exposure to Agent Orange).
– Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. – Soft tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesthelioma).
– Hodgkin’s disease.
– Porphyria cutanea tarda (must occur within one year of exposure).
– Multiple myeloma.
– Respiratory cancers, including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.
– Prostate cancer.
– Acute and subacute transient peripheral neuropathy (must occur within one year of exposure and resolve within two years of date of onset).
– Type 2 diabetes.
– Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
– Spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta) is a condition recognized in children of some Korea DMZ vets.

Agent Orange - Vietnam Veterans Benefit From Agent Orange Rules, Compensation and Pension Service

They are society’s leaders. They run businesses; direct organizations; hold political office. In their mid-50s, they are at the height of their social and economic power, earning more than others in their age group. Yet, with their success, they can’t escape the inevitable health concerns of a graying population.

They are Vietnam veterans, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is concerned they may regard diseases associated with aging, such as prostate cancer, as just another illness rather than as the result of their military service in Southeast Asia.

VA wants these Vietnam veterans to know that they may be eligible for compensation and health care for certain diseases associated with Agent Orange, the defoliant sprayed to unmask enemy hiding places in the jungles throughout Vietnam.

Special health care and compensation benefits are available to the 2.6 million men and women who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, only 3,300 of whom remain in uniform today. Those discharged during that period are the largest group of veterans receiving VA health care and monthly compensation.

Yet a small percentage of their disability claims are for illnesses scientists have listed as being associated with Agent Orange. VA presumes that all military personnel who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange, and federal law presumes that certain illnesses are a result of that exposure. This so-called “presumptive policy” simplifies the process of receiving compensation for these diseases since VA foregoes the normal requirements of proving that an illness began or was worsened during military service.

Based on clinical research, the following diseases are on VA’s Agent Orange list of presumptive disabilities: chloracne, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx and trachea), soft-tissue sarcoma, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy and prostate cancer. A regulation is being developed to add diabetes mellitus.

In addition, monetary benefits, health care and vocational rehabilitation services are provided to Vietnam veterans’ offspring with spina bifida, a congenital birth defect of the spine. A new law authorizes health care and monetary benefits to children of female veterans who served in Vietnam for certain additional birth defects. Those additional benefits under the new law will not be payable to the beneficiaries until Dec. 1, 2001.

Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war also are eligible for a complete physical examination. If a VA physician suspects a disease might be related to Agent Orange, VA will provide free medical care. Those who participate in the examination program become part of an Agent Orange Registry and receive periodic mailings from VA about the latest Agent Orange studies and new diseases being covered under VA policies.

Vietnam veterans and their families can contact VA for more information about these benefits. For the Agent Orange Registry physical examination, call a local VA hospital or clinic listed in the government pages of your phone book. To file a compensation claim for a current disability related to Agent Orange, veterans can call 1-800-827-1000 for an application form or visit VA’s Web site at: http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov

VA BURIAL

Veterans Burial Resources

The National Cemetery of the Alleghenies covers 292 acres in Cecil Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania approximately 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. The cemetery was dedicated on October 9, 2005 by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration and is one of the newest cemeteries in the National Cemetery system. The first burials took place on August 15, 2005. It was constructed on farmland and contains a small farm cemetery with graves dating to the late 18th Century. When fully completed, it will provide over 100,000 burial spaces. Burials began Aug. 15, 2005, in an initial development area. This small-scale development is separate from the major phase one construction project and allows for burials to begin during construction of the cemetery. Initial operations will be conducted from an office trailer, a temporary committal service shelter, and equipment shed.

The firm, Marshall, Tyler Raush of Pittsburgh has completed the master plan design, and preparation of construction documents.

VA prepared an Environmental Assessment for the Washington County site in June 2001. The Department of Veterans Affairs purchased the first of two parcels from private citizens in December 2002 and the second parcel in March 2003.

This new cemetery to serve veterans in the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area is the third national cemetery in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s other national cemeteries are Indiantown Gap near Annville and Philadelphia. More information on VAís National Cemetery Administration is available on its website, www.cem.va.gov

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs
National Cemetery Administration
September 2005

Official VA National Cemetery Of The Alleghenies Website Info

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