10 Things You May Not Know About The Vietnam Service Medal
1. The Vietnam Service Medal was established in 1965 by order of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
2. The Vietnam Service Medal is awarded to recognize service during the Vietnam War and is authorized to service members of each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, provided they meet the award criteria.
3. The design has been attributed to Thomas Hudson Jones, a former employee of the Army Institute of Heraldry and Mercedes Lee who created the design.
5. 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.
6. The front of the Vietnam Service Medal consists of a figure of an oriental dragon behind a grove of bamboo trees that represents the subversive nature of the conflict, and the inscription reads "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM SERVICE".
7. The back of the Vietnam Service Medal consists of crossbow facing upwards that represents the ancient weapon of Vietnam. Also depicted is a fired lighted torch of the Statue of Liberty, inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".
8. The color green on the Vietnam Service Ribbon represents the Vietnamese jungles.
9. The color yellow on the Vietnam Service Ribbon represents the imperial color of Vietnam.
10. The color red on the Vietnam Service Ribbon represents the three ancient Vietnamese empires of Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China.
Vietnam Service Criteria
The Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) is awarded 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 C220.127.116.11.5. revised September 1996) between the dates of 15 November 1961 and 28 March 1973, and from 29 April 1975 to 30 April 1975.
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- Christopher Costa