Vietnam Service Medal

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Vietnam Service Medal
Observe view of Vietnam Service Medal
Awarded by U.S. Department of Defense
TypeSingle-grade Medal
EligibilityMilitary personnel only
Awarded forAwarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, or the airspace thereover, during eligible periods and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam.
Campaign30 campaigns of the Vietnam War
StatusInactive
DescriptionObverse: On a bronze medal, 1-1/4 inches in diameter, an oriental dragon behind a grove of bamboo trees above the inscription "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM SERVICE".

Reverse: On the reverse, a crossbow surmounted a by a torch above the arched inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA". Ribbon: The ribbon is 1-3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: three narrow (1/16 inch) strips of red with wider (5/32 inch) stripes of yellow in the center, flanked by even wider (5/16 inch) stripes of yellow on each side and narrow 1/8-inch stripes of primitive green on the ends. The yellow with red stripes was suggested by the flag of the Republic of Vietnam. The green alludes to the jungle.

ClaspsDevices: campaign stars, arrowhead device and the FMF combat operation insignia may be authorized.
Statistics
EstablishedEO 11231, July 8, 1965, as amended[1]
First awardedNovember 15, 1961 (retroactive)
Last awardedApril 30, 1975
Precedence
Next (higher)Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Next (lower)Southwest Asia Service Medal
RelatedRepublic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg

Streamer VS.PNG
 
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Vietnam Service Medal
Observe view of Vietnam Service Medal
Awarded by U.S. Department of Defense
TypeSingle-grade Medal
EligibilityMilitary personnel only
Awarded forAwarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, or the airspace thereover, during eligible periods and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam.
Campaign30 campaigns of the Vietnam War
StatusInactive
DescriptionObverse: On a bronze medal, 1-1/4 inches in diameter, an oriental dragon behind a grove of bamboo trees above the inscription "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM SERVICE".

Reverse: On the reverse, a crossbow surmounted a by a torch above the arched inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA". Ribbon: The ribbon is 1-3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: three narrow (1/16 inch) strips of red with wider (5/32 inch) stripes of yellow in the center, flanked by even wider (5/16 inch) stripes of yellow on each side and narrow 1/8-inch stripes of primitive green on the ends. The yellow with red stripes was suggested by the flag of the Republic of Vietnam. The green alludes to the jungle.

ClaspsDevices: campaign stars, arrowhead device and the FMF combat operation insignia may be authorized.
Statistics
EstablishedEO 11231, July 8, 1965, as amended[1]
First awardedNovember 15, 1961 (retroactive)
Last awardedApril 30, 1975
Precedence
Next (higher)Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Next (lower)Southwest Asia Service Medal
RelatedRepublic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg

Streamer VS.PNG

The Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) is a U.S. Military award which was created in 1965 by order of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The distinctive design was the creation of sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, a former employee of the Army Institute of Heraldry.[2] The medal is issued to recognize military service during the Vietnam War and is authorized to service members in every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, provided they meet the qualification criteria in United States Department of Defense regulation DoD 1348.

The Vietnam Service Medal is presented to any service member who served on temporary duty for more than 30 consecutive days, or 60 non-consecutive days, attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days with an organization participating in or directly supporting ground (military) operations or attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations in the Republic of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos within the defined combat zone (DoD 1348 C6.6.1.1.5. revised September 1996) between the dates of 15 November 1961 to 28 March 1973, and from 29 April 1975 to 30 April 1975.[3][4] [5]


For the United States Navy, vessels operating in Vietnamese waters qualify for the Vietnam Service Medal provided that the naval vessel was engaged in direct support of Vietnam combat operations. The United States Air Force also grants the Vietnam Service Medal exclusively to flight crews that flew missions over Vietnamese air space, even if the home base of the flight mission was hundreds of miles away requiring in flight refueling.

Contents

Campaigns

The Department of Defense established thirty military campaigns during the Vietnam War. For those service members participating in one or more campaigns, a 3/16 inch campaign star (formerly a "service star" and then an "engagement star") is now authorized to be attached on the Vietnam Service Medal (a campaign medal) for each campaign participated in. Silver campaign stars are issued in lieu of five bronze campaign stars. Some campaigns apply to all of the military services while others are specific to a particular branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, (the United States Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy and is eligible only for Navy campaigns). The exception to this rule is Operation Frequent Wind. The arrowhead device is authorized for campaign participation which involved an aerial or amphibious assault. The Fleet Marine Force (FMF) combat operation insignia is also authorized for certain Navy personnel. The United States Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard recognize 17 campaign stars (3 silver and 2 bronze campaign stars) on the Vietnam Service campaign streamer. The United States Navy and the United States Air Force recognize one more.[6][7]

The Vietnam Service Medal is retroactive to 1961 and supersedes and replaces the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) which was issued for Vietnam service prior to 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 upgrade to the Vietnam Service Medal.[2]

The Republic of Vietnam also issued its own version of the VSM, known as the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. This is a separate foreign award from the Vietnam Service Medal 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 military operations in the Republic of Vietnam was the normal requirement for the award.

Vietnam service campaign dates
Name of campaignStart dateEnd dateArmyUSN/
USMC
USAFUSCG
Vietnam Initial Advisory Campaign[a]15 November 19611 March 1965XXXXX
Vietnam Advisory Campaign[b]15 March 19627 March 1965XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Air Defensive Campaign[a]2 March 196530 January 1966XXXXX
Vietnam Defense Campaign[b]8 March 196524 December 1965XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive.[b]25 December 196530 June 1966XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Air Counteroffensive[a]31 January 196628 June 1966XXXXX
Vietnam Air Offensive[a]29 June 19668 March 1967XXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive

Phase II[b]

1 July 196631 May 1967XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Air Offensive

Phase II[a]

9 March 196731 March 1967XXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive

Phase III[b]

1 June 196729 January 1968XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Air/Ground Campaign[a]22 January 19687 July 1968XXXXX
Tet Counteroffensive[b]30 January 19681 April 1968XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Air Offensive

Phase III[a]

1 Apr 196831 October 1968XXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive

Phase IV[b]

2 April 196830 June 1968XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive

Phase V[b]

1 July 19681 November 1968XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Air Offensive

Phase IV[a]

1 November 196822 February 1969XXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive

Phase VI[b]

2 November 196822 February 1969XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Tet 69 Counteroffensive[a][b]23 February 19698 June 1969XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969[a][b]9 June 196931 October 1969XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970[a][b]1 November 196930 April 1970XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Sanctuary Counteroffensive[a][b]1 May 197030 June 1970XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Counteroffensive

Phase VII[b]

1 July 197030 June 1971XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Southwest Monsoon[a]1 July 197030 November 1970XXXXX
Commando Hunt V[a]1 December 197014 May 1971XXXXX
Commando Hunt VI[a]15 May 197131 October 1971XXXXX
Consolidation I[b]1 July 197130 November 1971XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Commando Hunt VII[a]1 November 197129 March 1972XXXXX
Consolidation II[b]1 December 197129 March 1972XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Vietnam Cease-fire[b]30 March 197228 January 1973XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Operation Frequent Wind[a][b]29 April 197530 April 1975XXXXXXXXXX

Notes

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

References

See also