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Civilian Campaign Medals For Vietnam

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These both probably date from the mid to late 1980s. As with most American awards, many of those entitled never got their awards at the time (I have a WW2 veteran friend here now who has never bothered applying for his Pacific campaign medals) so most U.S. medals are "open ended" and still being issued.

On the other hand, in recent years, VAST quantities of never-going-to-BE-issued "official" medals have gone to the Direct To Collectors market, so it is not always possible to judge what is an issue piece and what is a contractor's extra money on the side piece.

By contrast, see the WW1 Victory Medal thread.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Darrell

Of all the US medals I have ... only one is for the Merchant Marine ... and that is the Victory Medal ....

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One interesting thing about Merchant Marine medals is that they were issued with wallet sized cards showing the recipients' entitlement to them, which was supposed to be carried at all times.

If a MM medal was issued for the first Gulf War, I haven't seen one-- though we had press reports of retirees into their 80s called up to ship things across the globe. I assume that is what the Vietnam medal was given for-- actual voyage(s?) made delivering supplies-- no Uboat danger there!

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Greetings from Virginia, I'm new to the club but a long time collector of US medals. patches and insignia.

The Vietnam Civilian Service Medal was awarded for 12 months of civilian service in Vietnam. Civilians who were injured or forced to leave Vietnam before one year of service were also eligible. It was established on 15 Jan 1968 and was retroactive to 1 January 1962.


Edited by ehrentitle
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I looked for information on the Merchant Marine Vietnam Service Medal and got nowhere until I realized that it was issued as a ribbon bar at the time, apparently the medal came out later. The Merchant Marine Vietnam Service Ribbon Bar was awarded to Merchant Marine personnel which served on US ships in and adjacent to Vietnam. It was designed by R.A. Chandler or the Maritime Administration.

As a side note the Merchant Marine were authorized a number of WWII ribbon bars which roughly paralled the US WWII campaign ribbons. They were:

Merchant Marine Defense Ribbon Bar

Merchant Marine Pacific War Zone Ribbon Bar

Merchant Marine Atlantic War Zone Ribbon Bar

Merchant Marine Mediterranean, Middle East War Zone Ribbon Bar

Other Merchant Marine ribbon bars were:

Merchant Marine Gallant Ship Citation (Ships cited for gallantry by the Administrator of the War Shipping Administration)

Merchant Marine Combat Ribbon Bar (Service on ship that was attacked or damaged)

Merchant Marine Korean Service Ribbon Bar

The Merchant Marine also at least two decorations parallel to US military decorations. They are:

Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal

Merchant Marine Meritorios Service Medal

They also have the Merchant Marine Mariners Medal and of course the Merchant Marine WW II Victory Medal shown in this thread.


Edited by ehrentitle
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Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal - Awarded to Merchant Mariners who served on vessels in the Persian Gulf in direct support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm between August 2, 1990 and December 31, 1991.

Edited by David S
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Here is the background on the medals that had previously been service bars:

"On May 19, 1992, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the availability of new medals for civilian merchant seamen, in recognition of their service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The medals are being issued to supplement war zone ribbon bars previously awarded to civilian mariners who supported the nation's armed forces in these wars."

So these medals are less than 15 years old and can be ordered directly from 4 companies selected by the Maritime Administration. See this link for details:



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