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Vietnam Service Medal

Authorized on July 19, 1965 and awarded to all service members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, between July 4, 1965 and March 28, 1973, served in Vietnam and the contiguous waters, and airspace, in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia or airspace in direct support of military operations in Vietnam. Personnel previously awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for services between July 1958 and July 1963 could exchange these medals for the Vietnam Service Medal.




The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded to all members of the armed forces, who had service in Vietnam and its contiguous waters and airspace, between 15 March 1962 and 28 March 1973. In addition, personnel serving in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia, in direct support of operations in Vietnam, during the same time period, also are eligible for the medal.

To qualify for award of the Vietnam Service Medal an individual must have met one of the following qualifications:

Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations.

Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations.

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

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.

Vietnam Service Medal - Eligible Campaign periods

I - 15 March 1962 to 7 March 1965 - Vietnam Advisory Campaign
II - 8 March 1965 to 24 December 1965 - Vietnam Defense Campaign
III - 25 December 1965 to 30 June 1966 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase
IV - 1 July 1966 to 31 May 1967 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase II
V - 1 June 1967 to 29 January 1968 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase III
VI - 30 January 1968 to 1 April 1968 - TET Counteroffensive
VII - 2 April 1968 to 30 June 1968 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase IV
VIII - 1 July 1968 to 1 November 1968 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase V
IX - 2 November 1968 to 22 February 1969 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase VI
X - 23 February 1969 to 8 June 1969 - TET 69/Counteroffensive
XI - 9 June 1969 to 31 October 1969 - Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
XII - 1 November 1969 to 30 April 1970 - Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970
XIII - 1 May 1970 to 30 June 1970 - Sanctuary Counteroffensive
XIV - 1 July 1970 to 30 June 1971 - Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase VII
XV - 1 July 1971 to 30 November 1971 - Consolidation I
XVI - 1 December 1971 to 29 March 1972 - Consolidation II
XVII - 30 March 1972 to 28 January 1973 - Vietnam Cease Fire Campaign

NOTES: - Ribbon and one (1) bronze star with first award

- Additional bronze stars awarded for each subsequent campaign period of service

- A silver star is used in place of five (5) bronze stars (Don's five campaigns are bold faced above)

The descriptive text for this award was excerpted from "American Medals and Decorations" by Evans Kerrigan. (Quintet Publishing Limited, Mallard Press, New York, N.Y., 1990, ISBN 0-792-45082-5) with special thanks to the Naval Helicopter Association for publishing this information on the web.


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