Getting your medals
Maybe all you wanted at the time was to get out, to leave the service and not look back. But now, with the passage of years, perhaps you want the medals you earned and never received.
If that’s you, there are steps you can take to get what you earned. The more time that’s passed, the more difficult it might be, but it can still be done, especially if you have your original paperwork.
Go online to vetrecs.archives.gov and click on Replacement Medals. You’ll be taken to eVetRec or you can click Mail or Fax
to get the Standard Form 180 (SF-180). Both veterans and next of kin can use this form.
If you’re going to apply by mail, you’ll need to be service specific in your request. Not only are there different mailing addresses, but depending on the service and whether you’re a veteran or next of kin, the request for replacement medals will either be free … or not. To learn the details about who can request replacement medals, go online to archives.gov and search for Military Awards and Decorations.
You best bet, however, is to use the eVetRec link. Have all
your information in hand when you start answering the questions. You’ll need your DD-214,
and some of the information on it, including your service number, Social Security number, place of birth and date you left the service. If you don’t have your separation papers, apply for them at the eVetRec link.
It gets complicated if you were in more than one service or if you were both enlisted and officer. The drop-down menus only allow one choice.
If you need help, call the National Records Center in St. Louis at 314-801-0800. They don’t issue the medals but can help you with the paperwork.