|7/15th FA Vietnam Era
15th Group Leader
5 December 2000
There have been many inquiries about the service
medals a 7/15th FA Veteran can or should display. As most veterans have been out of the
service for many years, this information can be hard to find. It is easy to find
information on the Internet regarding the subject, but any of this information can be
incorrect. If any, the information found at genuine U.S. Government military web sites
would tend to be the most believable.
Types of medals can be broken down into a few
1.) "Personal/Individual" awards/medals
awarded you are usually found listed in box # 24 on your DD-214 discharge form. Unit
Commanders recommend awards, award clerks add DD-214 information. Items may include
"badges" for various qualifications such as sharp-shooter, mechanic, various
driver, airborne, infantry, etc. Other medals/awards could include various individual
types such as Purple Heart, Silver/Bronze Stars, Army Commendation, Air Medal, overseas
bars ( one each six months ), years of service hash-marks ( one = three years, not listed
on DD-214 ), etc. Vietnam Medals "should" be at least National Defense Service,
Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, and Good Conduct Medal.
2.) "Unit Citations" awarded to the
unit you were in during the prescribed periods designated. They would include RVN
Gallantry Cross w/Palm. This type is awarded by government decree, as the RVN awarded to
the 7/15th FA. Information on these types of awards normally have documentation that can
be very hard to find.
3.) "Commemorative Medals" struck (
issued ) to honor various wars, time periods, and honorable military services. These
include Republic of Vietnam Defense 1960-1975, Army Commemorative 1775-2000, Cold War
Victory Commemorative 2 Sep.1945 - 26 Dec. 1991 ( you can apply for a certificate ).
4.) "Others Medals" can include various
foreign country medals awarded to individuals or units while serving in those countries.
Information on these are also hard to find to confirm correct protocol.
Some information can be found in catalogs and on
web sites, but is not clear. While medal companies claim that you can display some of
these, they do not appear to offer documentation of awarding those from foreign
governments. Be sure to see the D.O.D. webpage titled "Manual of Military Decorations
and Awards" at: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/
(requires Acrobat Reader to view)
5.) "Devices" are medal or medal ribbon
attachments. These include very small stars, leafs, letters, knots, or palms. Three Bronze
Stars on the Vietnam Service medal indicates three campaigns, more if you served longer.
One Silver Star equals five Bronze Stars. Stars are also used to indicate multiple awards.
Knots on Good Conduct medals indicate one for each three years service: bronze 2nd-5th,
silver 6th-10th, gold 11th-15th awards. The Good Conduct Medal can be issued after
completion of first enlistment, draftees after two years.
All medals listed on your DD-214 form should have
been issued to you. If not, you can order them from the National Personnel Records Center
in St. Louis, MO:
Medals Section (NRPMA-M)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Send in your DD-214, completed DA Form 180
(down-load from http://www.nara.gov ) and you will
receive them free in about 9-12 months from the supply center in Philadelphia. All medals
will "normally" have your name inscribed on the back.
All foreign and commemorative medals, devices,
service bars and hashes must be purchased from medals companies at your own cost. Most
medals are about $20-30 for full size, ribbons $1-$2.50., some include the ribbons.
Miniature medals and hat pins are available also, some sell tie tacks.
Companies that sell medals, awards, devices,
collar insignia, some patches, and display cases are Medals of America, Call to Colors, H.
J. Saunders, R.W. Fuller, and others smaller companies.
H.J. Saunders appears to have the largest
assortment of Unit Crests for sale.
Danang Enterprises sell various small hat pin
type items in the form of unit patches, awards, military equipment, location script,
POW/MIA, flags, and humorous. These range in price from $4-$5. In addition, they offer
many other memorabilia items. These types of items can also be found at flea markets.
A few other companies offering items are: Graco
Industries, Vets Supply Line, Quartermaster, "12 OClock High ", National
Capitol Historic Sales, and Overload Military Collection.