How to replace military medals and decorations

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military medals

How to replace military medals and decorations?

Every single man and woman who has served our country deserves to receive their military medals. Whether they were never properly documented, lost to unforeseen acts of God or simply misplaced, there should be a guide readily available to our veterans to assist them in getting the awards they deserve.

Surprisingly enough, the most common circumstance involves a citation that’s been drafted and approved, but for one reason or another never gets issued. Somehow these things just happen – it’s unfortunate and downright silly, but it happens.

Even though we provide military medals and ribbons, it is our duty to verify that the award belongs to the recipient. So it can be very tough when a veteran knows they are entitled to an award, but are unable to prove anything. Pawns shops, military surplus stores and vendors do sell ribbons, medals and other insignia, but did you know that if done correctly, there are ways to obtain your medals for free? Before I take you much further, you can learn more about this process by visiting the link below:

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/replace-medals.html

Should you have no luck at the archives, your journey should continue with contacting the specific branch of military in which you or the service member was active. For the Air Force (yes the Army Air Corps too) and any Army personnel, your first point of contact should always be the National Personnel Records Center. They are very helpful and although they did have a fire in 1973, which destroyed untold caches of military records, they can very easily forward your requests to the appropriate service department should it be necessary.

Nine times out of ten, there will be no charge for the process as long as the request is made by the veteran or a verified family member. Note that only one replacement per decoration will be given at no cost. It should also be noted that there may be a processing fee for family members of a deceased service member.

I cannot stress this enough: should you be successful in locating the sought-after records, the turn-around time before the process is completed and the medals are sent may take up to several months, sometimes longer…so be patient.

Beneath this article, I’ve listed some contacts where you can get the ball rolling. It’s a good idea to print off an SF-180 military records request, which you can find information about here:

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html

Don’t be shy, list as much info as you can and be very specific. Be sure to highlight that you are seeking replacements for the military awards or documentation. Once you’ve done this, you can send the form to the pertaining address:

Army

National Personnel Records Center
Medals Section (NRPMA-M)
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Air Force (including Army Air Corps& Army Air Forces)

National Personnel Records Center
Air Force Reference Branch (NRPMF)
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard

Bureau of Naval Personnel Liaison Office
Room 5409
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

The following address will be where your awards are sent from:

Army

U.S. Army Soldier& Biological Chemical Command, IMMC
Soldier Systems Directorate
700 Robbins Avenue
P.O. Box 57997
Philadelphia, PA 19111-7997

Air Force

Headquarters, Air Force Personnel Ctr
AFPC/DPPPR
550 C Street West, Suite 12
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4714

Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard

Bureau of Naval Personnel Liaison Office
Room 5409
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Should you run into a major road block, or need to appeal, you may write to the following:

Army

Commander PERSCOM
Attn: TAPC-PDO-PA
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, VA 22332-0471

Air Force

Headquarters Air Force Personnel Ctr
AFPC/DPPPR
550 C Street West, Suite 12
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4714

Navy

Chief of Naval Operations
(OPNAV 09B33)
Awards & Special Projects
Washington, DC 20350-2000

Marine Corps

Commandant of the Marine Corps
Military Awards Branch (MMMA)
3280 Russell Road
Quantico VA 22134-5100

Coast Guard

Commandant U.S. Coast Guard
Medals and Awards Branch
(PMP-4)
Washington, DC 20593-0001

PHEW! Hope this helps. Locating military ribbons and awards can be plenty difficult and trust me, I understand it can be frustrating. Just remember that any of the folks you contact also understand. Be patient, be specific and most of all, don’t give up! Good luck!

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