10 Things You May Not Know About The Vietnam Service Medal

10 Things You May Not Know About The Vietnam Service Medal

10 things you may not know about the Vietnam service medal, Vietnam veterans information

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.

4. Defense Department regulations do not permit both the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, for the same period of service in Vietnam.

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".


Vietnam Veterans Pocket Square Heroes


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.


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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 C6. 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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  • The "Bear" c/o PS Heroes
Comments 10
  • Dan Vaughan
    Dan Vaughan

    My understanding, if u were in the service during Vietnam, u should have received one. We got ours in basic training 1972

  • Thomas Hill
    Thomas Hill

    I was stationed at the US Naval Security Group Activity located at San Miguel, Philippines during 1969 and 1970. Am I eligible for the Vietnam Service Medal?

  • Larry Watkins
    Larry Watkins

    I served in Thailand between 12/68 to 11/70 as an engineer on an U.S. Army Large Tug. I have the Vietnam Service Ribbon.

  • Albert Chavez
    Albert Chavez

    what is the significance of two bronze stars

  • robert T land
    robert T land

    I served during the Vietnam War here in the States training Pilots who flew in Vietnam during that time. I was wondering if that qualified me to have the Vietnam Ribbon/Medal?

  • Lewis Carswell
    Lewis Carswell

    I was at udorn Thailand sept74 until 29 july75 nothing on …did form 214

  • Ysabel Torres
    Ysabel Torres

    I was in operation frequent wind and i was wondering if i was also suppose to get a service ribbon for that operation

  • Bruce Gaetos
    Bruce Gaetos
    @Louis Polovick, according to Wiki:

    Service star (campaign star): for participation in or support of operations in the seventeen designated campaigns of the Vietnam Conflict, a ​3⁄16 inch bronze service star is authorized for wear on the Vietnam Service Medal suspension and service ribbon for each of the campaigns from 15 March 1962 to 28 January 1973; a ​3⁄16 inch bronze star is also authorized for Operation Frequent Wind, 29-30 April 1975, for Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force personnel. A ​3⁄16 inch silver star is authorized in lieu of five bronze stars.

    One ​3⁄16 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.

  • WIlliam MUlvaney
    WIlliam MUlvaney

    I got mine for serving During operation frequent wind April 1975

  • Louis Polovick
    Louis Polovick

    I was presented with this award with two bronze stars. W hat is the significance of the two ?

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