Viet Nam Service Medal

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1. Description: On a bronze medal, 1 ¼ inches in diameter, an oriental dragon behind a grove of bamboo trees above the inscription "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM SERVICE." On the reverse, a crossbow surmounted a by a torch above the arched inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA."

2. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/8 inch Primitive Green 67188; 5/16 inch Air Force Yellow 67103; 1/16 inch Old Glory Red 67156; 5/32 inch Air Force Yellow; center 1/16 inch Old Glory Red; 5/32 inch Air Force Yellow; 1/16 inch Old Glory Red; 5/16 inch Air Force Yellow; and 1/8 inch Primitive Green.

3. Criteria: a. Awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, or the airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for this award. To be eligible for award of the medal, individual must

        (1) Be attached to or regularly serve for one or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations; or

        (2) Be attached to or regularly serve for one or more days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations; or

        (3) Actually participate as a crewmember in one or more aerial flights into airspace above Vietnam and contiguous waters directly supporting military operations; or

        (4) Serve on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days in Vietnam or contiguous areas, except that the time limit may be waived for personnel participating in actual combat operations.

    b. Individuals qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam between 1 July 1958 and 3 July 1965 shall remain qualified for the medal. Upon request, the individual may be awarded the Vietnam Service Medal in lieu of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In such instances, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal will be deleted from the list of authorized medals in the individual’s personnel records. No person shall be entitled to both awards for Vietnam Service.

4. Components: The following are authorized components and related items:

    a. Medal (regular size): MIL-DTL-3943/230. NSN 8455-00-926-1664 for set which includes a regular size medal and ribbon bar.

    b. Medal (miniature size): MIL-DTL-3943/230. Available commercially.

    c. Ribbon: MIL-DTL-11589/151. NSN 8455-00-926-1530.

    d. Lapel Button (metal replica of ribbon bar): MIL-L-11484/69. Available commercially.

    e. Streamer: MIL-S-14650. Manual requisition in accordance with Chapter 9, Army Regulation (AR) 840-10.

5. Background: a. On 21 August 1964, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (DCSPER) requested that The Institute of Heraldry provide proposed designs for the possible adoption of a Vietnam Service Medal. Proposed designs were submitted to DCSPER on 29 September 1964. The Vietnam Service Medal was established by Executive Order 11231, dated 8 July 1965. The design approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 12 July 1965, and the policy for award was promulgated by DOD Directive 1348.15, dated 1 October 1965.

    b. The design, created by Miss Mercedes Lee, includes bamboo trees which are adapted from the flag of the President of Vietnam and the half-concealed dragon represents the subversive nature of the conflict. The crossbow, on the reverse, is the ancient weapon of Vietnam and the torch of the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of the United States devotion to liberty and freedom. The yellow ribbon with three vertical red stripes suggests the color of the flag of the Republic of Vietnam. The green border on each side alludes to the jungle of that Country.

    c. Soldiers receiving the Vietnam Service Medal are authorized to wear a bronze star to indicate each campaign. There are 17 designated campaigns during the period of 15 March 1962 through 28 January 1973. Units which receive campaign credit for any of the campaigns would display a streamer with inscription as shown on the unit's lineage and honors. The designated campaigns are:

    • Vietnam Advisory 1962-1965
    • Vietnam Defense 1965
    • Vietnam Counteroffensive 1965-1966
    • Vietnam Phase II 1966 - 1967
    • Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase III 1967-1968
    • Tet Counteroffensive 1968
    • Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase IV 1968
    • Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase V 1968
    • Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VI 1968-1969
    • Tet 69 Counteroffensive 1969
    • Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
    • Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970
    • Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1970
    • Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VII 1970-1971
    • Consolidation I 1971
    • Consolidation II 1971-1972
    • Vietnam Cease-Fire 1972-1973


1st Signal Brigade
United States Army
Republic of Viet Nam
Updated 06/14/2003

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