Veterans Service Records

Military Awards and Decorations

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) does not issue service medals; that is a function of each military service department. Requests for the issuance or replacement of military service medals, decorations and awards should be directed to the specific branch of the military in which the veteran served. However, for cases involving Air Force and Army personnel (click here for exceptions), the NPRC will verify the awards to which a veteran is entitled and forward the request along with the records verification to the appropriate service department for issuance of the medals. Use the addresses listed below, and mail your request accordingly.

How Do I Request Military Awards and Decorations?

For the Veteran: in general, the military services will work replacement medal requests for the veteran at no cost. This includes family members with the signed authorization of the veteran.

For the Next-of-Kin: the process (and cost) for replacement medals requests differs among the service branches and is dependent upon who is requesting the medal, particularly if the request involves an archival record. Click here for details.

For the General Public: if the service member separated from military service before 1953, the public may purchase a copy of the veteran's Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) to determine the awards due and obtain the medals from a commercial source. If the service member separated after 1952, the public may request such information from the OMPF via the Freedom of Information Act (see Access to OMPFs by the General Public).

Army Air Force
(includes Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces)
Navy
Marine Corps Coast Guard Cold War Certificates

ARMY
Where to write for medals National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138 or

REQUEST MEDALS ONLINE!
Where medals are mailed from U.S. Army TACOM
Clothing and Heraldry (PSID)
P.O. Box 57997
Philadelphia, PA 19111-7997
Where to write in case of a problem or an appeal U.S. Army Human Resources Command
Soldier Program and Services Division - Awards and Decorations Branch
ATTN: AHRC-PDP-A
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Dept 480
Fort Knox, KY 40122-5408

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AIR FORCE
(includes Army Air Corps & Army Air Forces)
Where to write for medals National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138 or

REQUEST MEDALS ONLINE!
Where medals are mailed from, and where to write in case of a problem or an appeal
Active Duty Veterans Reserve & Air Guard Veterans
Headquarters Air Force
Personnel Center
AFPC/DPPPR
550 C Street West, Suite 12
Randolph AFB, TX
78150-4714
Air Reserve Personnel Center
HQ ARPC/DPTARA
18420 E Silver Creek Ave Bldg 390 MS 68
Buckley AFB, CO 80011

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NAVY
Where to write for medals, and where medals are mailed from Navy Personnel Command
Liaison Office Room 350
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Where to write in case of a problem or an appeal Chief of Naval Operations
(OPNAV 09B33)
Awards & Special Projects
Washington, DC 20350-2000

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MARINE CORPS
Where to write for medals, and where medals are mailed from Navy Personnel Command
Liaison Office Room 350
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Where to write in case of a problem or an appeal Commandant of the Marine Corps
Military Awards Branch (MMMA)
3280 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5100

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COAST GUARD
Where to write for medals, and where medals are mailed from Navy Personnel Command
Liaison Office Room 350
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Where to write in case of a problem or an appeal Commandant U.S. Coast Guard
Medals and Awards Branch
(PMP-4)
Washington, DC 20593-0001

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Important Information for the Next-of-Kin (NOK):

Who is the Next-of-Kin (NOK)?

  • For the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps & Coast Guard, the NOK is defined as: the un-remarried widow or widower, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister

  • For the Army, the NOK is defined as: the surviving spouse, eldest child, father or mother, eldest sibling or eldest grandchild

If you do not meet the definition of NOK, you are considered a member of the general public.

How the type of record (archival or non-archival) affects NOK requests for medals:

The Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) is used to verify awards to which a veteran may be entitled. OMPFs are accessioned into the National Archives, and become archival, 62 years after the service member's separation from the military. This is a rolling date; hence, the current year, 2014, minus 62 years is 1952. Records with a discharge date of 1952 or prior are archival and are open to the public. Records with a discharge date of 1952 or after are non-archival and are maintained under the Federal Records Center program. Non-archival records are subject to access restrictions. As such, the veteran's date of separation (separation is defined as discharge, retirement or death in service) will affect how the request is processed. See below:

NEXT-OF-KIN, MEDAL REQUESTS
Veteran's Separation Date Army Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, & Coast Guard
If the veteran separated from military service before 1953 Requests are accepted at

NO COST
These Services do not accept NOK archival requests. The NOK may purchase a copy of the veteran's OMPF to determine the awards due and obtain the medals from a commercial source
If the veteran separated from military service after 1952 Requests are accepted at

NO COST
Requests are accepted at

NO COST

WHAT MAKES A RECORD ARCHIVAL?   Learn more

Cold War Recognition Certificate:

In accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified Federal government civilian personnel who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era from September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.

What Service does the NPRC Provide?

The NPRC, upon request, will provide copies of DD-214s (or equivalent) or SF-50s to authorized requesters. These documents may be used to apply for the Certificate. For information on how to obtain a copy of your DD-214 (for military service personnel) or SF-50 (for Federal civilian personnel) see:

MILITARY PERSONNEL RECORDS CIVILIAN PERSONNEL RECORDS
If the veteran separated from military service before 1953:

CLICK HERE
If the veteran separated from military service after 1952:

CLICK HERE
If the Federal civil servant's employment ended before 1952:

CLICK HERE
If the Federal civil servant's employment ended after 1951:

CLICK HERE

How Do I apply for a Cold War Recognition Certificate?

While the NPRC provides proof of service and separation documents; the Center does not supply the Certificate itself, nor does it have the application form available. For more information concerning the application process visit the Cold War Recognition Certificate webpage.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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