National Personnel Records Center
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100
 NPRC 1865.124
 April 30, 1999

SUBJECT:  Requests for Army replacement medals and certificates

1. Purpose.  This memorandum provides information and instructions on processing requests for issuance of Army replacement medals, and replacement of certain certificates.

2. Background.   On November 4, 1998, the function of processing Army replacement medals and certain certificates was transferred to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).  The memorandum of agreement (MOA) establishes guidelines and responsibility in regard to processing requests from veterans for the replacement of Army medals and certain certificates.  The MOA also stipulates that NPRC will not make Army award determinations.  They will be forwarded to the Department of Army, Total Army Personnel Command (PERSCOM), Alexandria, Virginia.

3. Applicability.   The provisions of this memorandum are applicable to personnel in Army Reference  Branch, Special Inquiries Section of Air Force Reference Branch, Organizational Records Section of the Records Reconstruction Branch, and the Mail and Data Input Section.

4. Instructions.  The instructions concerning requests for Army replacement medals and certain certificates are contained in the Attachment.

5. Forms.

 NA Form 13020, Response to Request Concerning Entitlement to Awards
 NA Form 13081, Change of Record Request
 NA Form 13105, NPRC Search Request and Reply
 OMPF, Official Military Personnel File
 ORB, Officer Record Brief
 DA Form 2-1, Personnel Qualification Record, Part II
 DA Form 20, Enlisted Qualification Record
 DA Form 24, Service Record
 DA Form 66, Officer Qualification Record
 DA Form 201, Military Personnel Records Jacket
 DA Form 1577, Authorization for Issuance of Awards
 DD Form 3, Application for Gold Star Lapel Button
 DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military or Naval Record Under the Provisions of Title 10,  US Code Sec. 1552
 DD Form 214 Series, WDAGO Form 53 Series, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and prior similar Certificates of Discharge
 DD Form 215, Correction to DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty


1. General Information.  The Army Reference Branch and Special Inquiries Section, Air Force Reference Branch, have responsibility for processing requests for Army replacement medals and certain award certificates.  In accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) dated November 4, 1998, NPRC has been authorized to prepare DA Form 1577, Authorization for Issuance of Awards, for replacement medals for veterans, retirees, and their next of kin.

2. Types of decorations and awards.  The types of medals awarded to Army members fall into the following categories:

     a.  Military decorations.  Military decorations are awarded in recognition of individual heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service.  The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that can be bestowed on a service member.  Other decorations awarded are the Distinguished Service Cross, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier's Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.

     b. Unit awards.  Unit awards recognize entire organizations for outstanding heroism or achievement performed during periods of war, international tension, national emergencies, or extraordinary situations that involve national interests.  They are not intended to recognize individual actions, but to acknowledge the combined efforts of the organization.  The various unit awards that have been authorized are the Presidential Unit Citation, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Valorous Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Army Superior Unit Award.

     c. Foreign decorations and service awards.  Awards from foreign governments are given in recognition of active combat service or for outstanding or unusually meritorious performance.  The non-U.S. service medals that have been authorized are the Belgian Fourragere, the French Fourragere, the Netherlands Orange Lanyard, the Philippine Defense Ribbon, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, the Philippine Independence Ribbon, the United Nations Service Medal (Korea), the United Nations Medal, the NATO Medal, the Multinational Force Observers Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation, and the Inter-American Defense Board Medal.

     d. Service medals.  Service medals, campaign medals, and service ribbons denote participation by a service member in a campaign, war, national emergency, expedition, or the fulfillment of specified service requirements in a creditable manner.  The U. S. service medals, campaign medals, and service ribbons that have been authorized are the World War I Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Women's Army Corps Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Honorable Service Lapel Button, the Medal for Humane Action, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Antarctica Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, Prisoner of War Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon.

     e. Badges.  Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Parachutist Badges, Army Aviator Badges, Aircraft Crewman Badges, Drill Sergeant Badge, Recruiter Badges, Marksmanship Badges, Driver and Mechanic Badges, Expert Infantryman Badge, and Expert Field Medical Badge.

     f. Appurtenances.  Appurtenances are devices affixed to service or suspension ribbons or worn instead of medals or ribbons.  They are worn to denote additional awards, participation in a specific event, or other distinguished characteristics of the award.  The following appurtenances are shown on the DA Form 1577:

 (1) Service Stars.  Service stars are worn on campaign and service ribbons to denote an additional award.  A silver star is worn instead of five bronze service stars.  Service stars are authorized for wear on the following campaign and service medals and/or ribbons:
   (a) World War I Victory Medal
   (b) American Defense Service Medal
   (c) American Campaign Medal
   (d) Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
   (e) European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
   (f) Korean Service Medal
   (g) Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
   (h) Vietnam Service Medal
   (i)  National Defense Service Medal
   (j)  Humanitarian Service Medal
   (k) Prisoner of War Medal
   (l)  Southwest Asia Service Medal
   (m) Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
(2) Oak Leaf Clusters.  An Oak Leaf Cluster is issued to denote award of second and succeeding awards of decorations (other than the Air Medal), the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and unit awards.  A silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn instead of five bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.
(3) Arrowhead.  An arrowhead denotes participation in a combat parachute jump, helicopter assault landing, combat glider landing, or amphibious assault landing, while assigned or attached as a member of an organized force carrying out an assigned tactical mission.  It is worn on the service and suspension ribbons of the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.  Only one arrowhead will be worn on any ribbon.
(4) Clasps.  Clasps are authorized for wear on the Good Conduct Medal, World War I Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Army Occupation Medal, and Antarctica Service Medal.
(5) "V" Device.  The "V" device is worn to denote participation in acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.  It originally was worn only on the Bronze Star Medal.  Effective February 29, 1964, the "V" device was also authorized for wear on the Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal for heroic acts or valorous deeds not warranting awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross or the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device.  Effective June 25, 1963, the "V" device was authorized additionally for wear on the Joint Service Commendation Medal when the award is for acts of valor (heroism) during participation in combat operations.  Only one "V" device is worn on the service ribbons.
(6) "M" Device.   The Mobilization ("M") device is worn on the Armed Forces Reserve Medal (AFRM) to denote service during a mobilization or contingency designated by the Secretary of Defense.  The "M" device is authorized to be worn on the AFRM by members of the reserve components who on or after August 1, 1990, performed qualifying active duty service in support of the following designated contingency operations:
   Persian Gulf War
   Operation Restore Hope in Somalia
   Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti
   Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia
   Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia
(7) Numerals.  Arabic numerals are issued instead of a medal or ribbon for second and succeeding awards of the Air Medal, Multinational Force and Observers Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon.  The ribbon denotes the first award and numerals starting with the numeral 2 denote the number of additional awards.  The numeral worn on the NCO Professional Development Ribbon will denote the highest completed level of NCO development.
3. Auxiliary sources of information pertaining to decorations and awards.  Listed below are auxiliary sources of information to verify and document eligibility for decorations and awards.

     a. Request for an organization record search.  If a search of organization records, i.e. clinical records, morning reports, rosters, etc. is required to help determine eligibility for an award, forward a request to the Organizational Records Section (NRPMR-O).  Prepare NA Form 13105, NPRC Search Request and Reply, in triplicate, including the veteran's name, service number, the award for which eligibility is to be determined, dates to be searched, name of unit, or hospital, etc.  Send the original and one copy to NRPMR-O.  Attach the third copy to the request and hold with the record until the reply is received.  File a copy of the NA Form 13105 in the record showing the results of the search.  Refer to NPRC memos 1865.111,1865.113, and 1865.121 for guidance pertaining to organization records searches.

     b. General Orders for Vietnam Awards.  Requests for missing Vietnam-Era Award General Orders (GO) will be recorded daily, and transmitted weekly via FAX to PERSCOM Awards Branch at (703) 325-2581.  VIP and congressional cases may be telephoned in, as required, to PERSCOM at (703) 325-4768.

NOTE:  These orders are filed by division or Major Command, and the year; therefore, that information is very important when making a request to PERSCOM for a copy of the GO.  Check OMPF/discharge for unit and refer to  DA Pam 672-3.

     c. CD-ROM listing of Gulf War Veterans (Desert Storm/Desert Shield).  A CD-ROM is available which provides the dates veterans served in Southwest Asia during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.  This information is available by entering his/her social security number or via name search.

     d. Additional Reference Materials.  The following is a listing of reference materials for WWI, WWII, and Korea to assist in verification of eligibility for Army medals:

(1) Prisoner of War Books WWI, WWII, and Korea.  POW books, Army only,  listing prisoners of war of WWI, WWII, and Korea.  Books are in alpha order, includes service number and rank.

(2) Silver Star WWII and Distinguished Service Cross Recipients WWI and WWII.  Book listing veterans that received the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross during WWI and WWII.  These are actually two separate books.  The SS Book is an alpha index in three parts listing recipients of the SS, but it does not contain SN.  It gives the general order number, year, and headquarters that published the order.  It is a starting point from which to check the general order fiche to verify the SN and see if the requester is actually the individual that received the SS.

(3) Casualty Listing of WWII and Korean service members.  List of veterans that are missing, lost or buried at sea during World War II and Korea for Purple Heart verification.  This is an alpha listing which includes all services.

(4) General Order Books WWI.  Book of veterans that served during World War I, listed by unit.

(5) PH Policies for WWII.  Policy binder for award of Purple Heart during World War II.

(6) General Orders for various awards during the 50's.  Microfiche index book of units listing fiche location of Recommendations for Awards, General Orders showing veteran is entitled to the Purple Heart and other awards during the 1950's.

(7) Microfiche index and General Order awards for WWII and Korea.  Fiche index that shows what microfiche to check to find a General Order number for awards, by division and year, during World War II and Korea.

(8) Precedent Files WWI.  Precedent files of specific award cases of rulings made for World War I.

(9) Microfiche of Korean POW Listings.  Microfiche listing of Korea POW's in alpha order.

(10) WWI Card Files and Orders.  Alpha card file of Army veterans who were entitled to the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Campaign Stars during World War I.  Does not show campaign stars; however, some show locations of service.

4. NPRC responsibility for servicing medals requests.  Requests involving fire-related Army and Army Air Corps records will be serviced by NPRC.  Requests involving non-fire-related Army records will be serviced by NPRC if the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) has been retired to the Center.  Requests involving current Army reservists, as well as discharged Army personnel whose OMPF's have not yet been retired to NPRC, will be referred by the Mail and Data Input Section staff to AR-PERSCOM, Attn:  èARPC-ZCC-A (congressional cases) or ARPC-ZCC-B (routine cases)ç.  Requests involving current active Army service members, retired General officers, and all requests for the Medal of Honor will be referred by Mail and Data Input Section staff to Commander, PERSCOM, ATTN:  TAPC-PDO-PA, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, VA  22332-0471.

5. Dual Requests.  All requests received in the Mail and Data Input Section, which contain requests for Army medals and additional documents/information, as well as those involving other branches of service, will be forwarded to the NRPMA Medals Section.

6. Verifying entitlement to medals (non-fire-related cases).

     a. Non-specific requests for all medals.  Review separation documents and, as applicable, DA Form 20, Enlisted Qualification Record, DA Form 66, Officer Qualification Record, DA Form 24, Service Record, ORB, Officer Record Brief, or DA Form 2-1, Personnel Qualification Record, Part II.  Complete the DA Form 1577 in accordance with the instructions in par. 8, below, based on the decorations and awards listed on these source documents.  It is not necessary to review the entire OMPF when the requester asks for "all medals" and does not specify certain ones to which he/she believes that he/she is entitled.

     b. Requests for specific medal(s).  First review the documents listed in par. 6a, above.  If the requested medal(s) is/are documented on those source documents, complete the DA Form 1577 in accordance with instructions in par. 8, below.  If not, review the entire OMPF for general orders, citations, etc. to substantiate the requester's entitlement to the desired medal.

     (1) Documentation found in OMPF.  Complete DA Form 1577 in accordance with instructions in par. 8, below.
     (2) Documentation not found in OMPF.  Search appropriate auxiliary sources described in par. 3, above.  If documentation of entitlement to award is found, complete the DA Form 1577 in accordance with instructions in par. 8, below.  If not, furnish a negative reply to the requester using NA Form 13020, Response to Request Concerning Entitlement to Awards, and request that the veteran submit copies of documents (i.e.; General Order, Citation, or DD214) in his/her possession for further consideration.  If the requester again requests the medals, but provides no or inadequate documentation, refer the case to PERSCOM or AR-PERSCOM, as appropriate.  If there is evidence in the OMPF, Official Military Personnel File, that those offices have already reviewed the case and disapproved the award, send the requester a DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military or Naval Records Under the Provisions of Title 10, US Code Sec. 1552.
7. Verifying entitlement to medals (fire-related cases).  In most cases separation documents  provided by the veteran, from fire related records of WWI, WWII, and the Korea conflict, will be all the necessary verification needed to process Army replacement medals.  The following are the basic medals for each war or conflict:

     a. Basic medals for Korea.

  Good Conduct Medal (for enlisted personnel)
  National Defense Service Medal (Honorable service between 6/27/50 through 7/27/54)
  Korea Service Medal ( if served in Korea)
  United Nations Service Medal (if served in Korea on behalf of the United Nations)
NOTE:  Check OMPF/discharge for unit and refer to DA Pam 672-1.

     b. Basic medals for WWII.

  WWII Victory Medal
  Honorable Service Lapel Button (ruptured duck)
  Bronze Star Medal (based on the award of the CIB, CMB or Defense of Philippines)
  American Campaign Medal
  American Defense Service Medal
  European-African Middle Eastern Medal (if served in those areas)
  Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (if served in those areas)
NOTE:  Check OMPF/discharge for unit and refer to DA Pam 672-1.

     c. Basic medals for WWI.

 WWI Victory Medal
 WWI Victory Button (Bronze)
NOTE:  If the medals/decorations requested are not documented on discharge paper, check WWI card file and general orders.

     d. Pre-World War I Medals.  In 1981, the Army, as well as the other military services, discontinued manufacture of pre-World War I service medals.

8. Completion of the DA Form 1577.  NPRC technicians will complete DA 1577, Authorization for Issuance of Awards, and forward number 1 and 2 copies of the completed form to:  U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command, IMMC, Soldier Systems Directorate, 700 Robbins Avenue, PO Box 57997, Philadelphia, PA  19111-7997.  The DA Form 1577 will be completed using the instructions in figure 1 (click here for a sample completed form).  In addition to forwarding two copies of the DA 1577 to Philadelphia, forward copy 3 to the requester, and file copy 4 in the veteran's service record.  When completing the DA Form 1577, using ball point pen, the technician must print clearly and press down hard to ensure the information appears through all copies.  After the last entry, enter on the next line "Nothing Follows."

     a. Fees charged for replacement of medals.  The initial DA Form 1577 processed for each award is free of charge.  Subsequent DA Form 1577's for the same award will include a notation in block 12 that a charge is required.  If payment is required, Philadelphia sends a notice to the intended recipient with payment instructions.  Upon receipt of funds, Philadelphia issues the medal sets.

     b. Multiple/Extra Sets of Medals.  The following is Department of Army guidance pertaining to requests for Multiple/Extra Sets of Medals.  Repeated and/or multiple requests for replacements sets of medals for veterans or for eligible surviving next of kin should be handled on a case by case basis taking into consideration the reasons for replacements and family situations (for example, divorce, separation, remarriage, death, etc.)  Refer unusually difficult requests for multiple sets of medals to PERSCOM, Alexandria, VA for resolution.

      c. Awards availableAppendix A and Appendix B provide lists of awards and decorations available for issue by Philadelphia.

9. Correction of separation documents.  Prepare DD Form 215, Correction to DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  Add the awards not shown on the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  Include the area of operations for the AFEM; e.g., "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (for Bosnia)."  Send the original DD Form 215 to the veteran using NA Form 13081, Change of Record Request, checking the appropriate block.  See the latest revision of NPRC 1865.87, Correction to DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, for distribution of the remaining copies of the DD Form 215.

10. Certificates.  Award certificates will be prepared upon request from the veteran and next of kin, if the same certificate was never previously issued.  Appendix C provides a list of available Army Military Award Certificates.  The following Army policy guidance applies to the issuance of award certificates:

     a. Award OrdersNO CERTIFICATE WILL BE ISSUED TO THE VETERAN WITHOUT AN ORDER, except for the Bronze Star Medal, World War II (based on the CIB and CMB) or the Purple Heart (WWII and Killed-In-Action (KIA)).

     b. Certificates issued for decorations only.  Award certificates are pre-signed by authorized officials and issued for decorations only.  Certificates are not issued for service medals, with the exception of the Good Conduct Medal, effective January 1, 1981.

     c. Other certificates for decorations not issued.  The following other certificates for decorations not issued by NPRC are:

  Joint Service Commendation Medal
  Joint Service Achievement Medal
  Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  Defense Superior Service Medal
  Defense Distinguished Service Medal
 Refer requests for these certificates to:
  Chief, Military Personnel Division
  Personnel and Security Directorate
  Washington Headquarters Services
  Washington, DC 20301-4000
NOTE:  A copy of the separation document verifying the Joint/Defense Award will be attached to the request prior to forwarding to Washington Headquarter Service.

11. Citations.  Citations are normally issued in an original only at the time of the award.  Therefore, in many cases, copies are not available in the service record.  If available, provide photocopy upon request.

12. Special instructions for certain decorations and awards.

     a. Medal of Honor.  All requests received for the Medal of Honor will be forwarded to PERSCOM Awards Branch, Alexandria, VA.  Prior to forwarding request to PERSCOM, attach a copy of the veteran's final separation document.

     b. Retired General Officers.  All requests for Retired General Officer awards and medals will be forwarded to PERSCOM Awards Branch, Alexandria, VA.

     c. Gold Star Lapel Button.  The Gold Star Lapel Button is issued to widows, widowers, parents, and next of kin of members of the Armed Forces of the United States who lost their lives during WWI, WWII, United Nations Action in Korea; or who lost their lives after June 30, 1958, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an imposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party against an imposing Armed Force.  Request for replacement of Gold Star Lapel Button (lost, destroyed, or unserviceable) must be submitted on DD Form 3, Application for Gold Star Lapel Button.  However, if DD Form 3 is not available and the NOK provides sufficient documentation not found in OMPF, NPRC may issue the Gold Star Lapel Button based on a letter request.

     d. World War II Army Air Corps medals.  Upon receipt of requests for WWII Army Air Corps medals, check separation document for unit and refer to DA Pam 672-1. EXCEPTION:  Forward DFC and Air Medal requests to the Air Force, in accordance with NPRC 1865.110, Request for awards and certificates.

     e. Purple Heart.  Requests for the Purple Heart not supported by documentation (other than while POW) are returned to veteran with instructions to provide medical records, assigned unit, and date of injury.  Upon receipt, NARA will check morning reports (prior to 1975), other NARA sources, and forward packet to PERSCOM Awards Branch for determination.

     f. Purple Heart for injuries while a prisoner of war (POW).  For Purple Heart requests for injuries while a POW, return request with instructions to provide medical records, assigned unit, date of injury, sworn statement from witnesses, Repatriation Physical Examination and/or VA medical documentation.  Upon receipt, NARA will verify POW status from NARA source and forward documentation to PERSCOM, Alexandria, VA for determination.

     g. Republic of the Philippines Medals.  The Philippine Liberation Medal and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge are not supplied by the U. S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command.  Advise requester to write to the following address to obtain these medals and send a copy of the DA Form 1577 completed by NPRC along with the required fee:  Defense and Armed Forces Affairs Office, Embassy of the Philippines, 1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC  20036.  Do not forward request or DA Form 1577 directly to the Philippine Embassy. The Philippine government charges an assessment fee of $7.00 for both medals to defray the administrative cost of processing, shipping and handling.  (The Department of the Army does provide the Philippine Liberation Ribbon at no charge.)

     h. Criteria for award of the Combat Infantryman Badge.  The following are the criteria for the award of the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB).  NPRC can verify entitlement to the CIB if all three conditions are met:

(1) Must have infantry MOS, and

(2) Assigned to infantry unit, and

(3) Participation in combat (campaigns) while assigned to infantry unit and holding an infantry MOS.

     i. Campaigns. Appendix D provides a list of all Army Campaigns.

     j. Appendix EAppendix E provides a list of awards issued for actions and humanitarian reasons since the cold war (1945).

13. National Guard Medal Requests.  Requests from National Guard (NG) veterans requesting replacement medals for their active duty service will be processed, if the records are available in NPRC's holdings.  Requests for medals for which records are not available, or for state awards, will be returned to the veteran with instructions to write to the Adjutant General of the state in which he/she served.