Replacing Lost Military Medals and Decorations

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The military recognizes that military medals are often a cherished part of family history and makes replacement medals, decorations, and awards available to veterans or their next of kin if the veteran is no longer living or able to make the request on his or her own behalf. Requests for replacement medals, decorations, and awards…

The military recognizes that military medals are often a cherished part of family history and makes replacement medals, decorations, and awards available to veterans or their next of kin if the veteran is no longer living or able to make the request on his or her own behalf.

Requests for replacement medals, decorations, and awards should be made to the veteran’s respective branch of service, with the exception of Army and Air Force (including Army Air Corps) veterans; requests should be sent to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis where the records will be reviewed and verified. The NPRC will then forward the requests to the respective service where the medal, decoration, or award will be issued.

Who Can Request Replacement Medals or Decorations?

how to replace military medals and decorationsThe military won’t issue replacement medals or awards to just anyone. You typically need to be the veteran or next of kin to receive a replacement medal or decoration.

Are you Next-of-Kin, or part of the general public? When it comes to military records requests, there are three categories of people who can make a request. They include the veteran, Next-of-Kin (NOK), and the general public. It is important to note that Next-of-Kin doesn’t include all familial relationships. According to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), NOK includes:

  • 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 to Submit a Request

You can request replacement military medals, decorations and awards via form SF 180, Request Pertaining To Military Records. This form can be downloaded from https://www.va.gov/vaforms/.

Each request should be filled out neatly, and should include the veteran’s branch of service, social security number, dates of service, and it should be signed by the veteran or the next of kin if the veteran is incapacitated or deceased. Supporting documentation such as discharge paperwork or the veteran’s DD Form 214 or other military records can help speed the process. Additional information on where to send the form and who is eligible to make the request can be found at the NPRC website.

How Much Does it Cost?

In general, military records requests made by the veteran are fulfilled at no cost. This includes requests made by family members who have the signed authorization of the veteran. There may be an associated fee for requests made by next of kin, especially if the request involves archival records (records are considered archival records 62 years after the veteran’s date of separation from military service).

Members of the general public may be able to request a copy of the servicemember’s military records, but are not able to receive a medal issued by the service. However, they would be able to purchase these from commercial sources (see below for more information on where to buy replacement military medals, rank insignia, and other military decorations).

Where Can I Get Copies of Other Military Records?

Your military personnel file is part of your legacy. I recommend maintaining a copy of your military records forever. This can help you prove your military service, help you support a VA disability claim, serve as a record of when and where you served, and provide your family with something to commemorate your military service.

Most military records are maintained at the National Archives. These records include your service contracts, separation paperwork, records of military awards, decorations, and medals, records of your duty stations, and possibly more.

The following links offer additional references for obtaining these military records:

Where Can I Purchase Replacement Medals, Ribbons, Rank Insignia, or other Military Items?

If you are a servicemember or retiree, you can purchase them at your base clothing sales store. Everyone else should look at military surplus stores, or any of the many online stores that specialize in military rank, insignia, medals, ribbons, uniform items, and similar military gear. A quick online search should bring up many results. It’s always a good idea to shop around for quality and price. A good place to start is USAMilitaryMedals.com, which guarantees the quality of the products they sell.

What about replacement dog tags? The military, the VA, and the National Archives do not reissue dog tags to veterans. The military does issue them to currently serving military members. This article explains how to order replacement dog tags.

USAMilitaryMedals.com Military Medals Store

Photo credit: The U.S. Army.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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  1. Sandra Rodriguez says

    Hello, How do I go about getting a set of medals my father got while in the Army? I am his oldest child and would love a set to make a shadow box with.

  2. Barbara Wardwell says

    Hi, I have been trying to request more medals my Dad had 5 daughters, 2 of us have medals the other 3 won’t them also. I did fill the form out months ago how do I find out if they even received my request thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Barbara,

      I would try calling them. However, the National Archives most likely will not send medals to all family members. They will most likely send a list of the awards your father earned. You can buy military medals and decorations from authorized retailers, including USAMilitaryMedals.com, which is mentioned above. Those medals will be of the same quality as those issued by the U.S. government.

      Best wishes.

  3. Jerrie says

    Hoping you can help I am my Dad’s only child “daughter” and I need help. I have written to the Navy before but have never ever gotten anywhere. I am hoping you take the time the time to read this. My dad, 1st Class Petty Officer Forrest Gerald Bradley, was in the Navy for 20 years. He fought in Vietnam and was in the Navy and was proud to wear his Nave colors. Unfortunately, my dad died in a car accident 1mo before he was to retire his 18th year. At the funeral, he was honored with the 21 gun salute and I was given the flag and the cases from the gun and all my dad’s metals. It was a lot for a 16-year-old to deal with so my mom put everything in storage. Years later I asked for everything so I could proudly display my dad’s flag and metals and his Navy whites in my home. She told me she did not have the heart to tell me when I was younger but it was all stolen all. ALL OF IT the flag, his Navy whites, all his metals!! Who would do that?! I have nothing of my Dad’s but a glass horse bookend. I am begging for help to get my dad’s metals remade from the Navy and a flag to honor him. I have tried other avenues but to no avail. Can you please help me? If you are unable to can you please pass this on to someone that can help me.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jerrie,

      I’m sorry for your loss. The best thing to do is to request your father’s military service records from the National Archives. His service records should include a list of the medals and decorations he earned. You can then purchase authentic military medals from authorized retailers as described in the article.

      I understand it may not seem “proper” to purchase replacement medals, but I assure you this is the right way to do things. Military members are only issued medals and ribbons one time while they are serving in the military. They are required to purchase replacements if they need another medal or ribbon (this is common as many servicemembers maintain at least two sets of ribbons for their uniforms).

      I hope this points you in the right direction and I wish you and your family the best.

  4. Johnny R says

    I have been trying for years but have not come across or been directed in the right direction for my certain situation. Howto obtain my american flag in a wooden frame with a small plaque of name on it, i dont know no if that is considered an award, let me explain upon returning from iraq every soldier was given a wood framed glass enclosed american flag as they were sent to the uits and distributed thru the supply sgt. my supply sgt. justt never gave me mine i did one box with my name on it which first made me awhere i had one coming, and as time went on i never recieved mine so i asked the supply sgt. and he looke around whether he knew it was there or not i still wonder, but he informed me he coild not licate it and shortly after he PCS, and i never received it. I dont want it for me i want it for my 80 yr old father who from the miment i knew i would be receiving could not wait to present it to him, my friend, my mentor, my idol, my father. I know this is something petty and its not a medal of honor or something like that, but in reality it is to me, any advise on where to turn next will be greatly appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Johnny,

      I’m not aware of any military-wide programs that issued American flags in a case. This sounds like it was a local program that was run through your base. I don’t know if there are any other programs that do this. However, you could purchase your own flag and display case and present it to your father as a remembrance of your service and as a token of appreciation to his guidance and mentorship throughout your life.

      I wish you the best.

  5. John G says

    I am the eldest child (NOK) of a WWII BSM eligible army veteran, what will the cost be? I sent all required docs.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, I don’t know what the cost is – you will need to inquire with the National Archives. I don’t know if they charge a flat rate or if there is a charge based on the amount of information, number of pages, etc. I wish you and your family the best.

  6. David says

    How could I get my fathers dog tags corrected they got his name spelled wrong on them and he just passed away a few months ago

  7. Kelley Briner says

    I never received my certificate for honorable discharge. I requested it from St Louis several years ago and was sent another copy of my DD214! I don’t know who to contact or even ask about what I want.

  8. Marybeth says

    Hi Ryan, I don’t understand why the Army won’t allow any sons or daughters to request a duplicate medal? My dad (who passed away 53 years ago at the age of 50, served in the Army during WWII. I do have his purple heart, but didn’t even know, until doing some research, that he had also received two other medals. I was only 5 when he died, so I have no way of knowing what happened to them, and my mom is no longer living. I only know that is the only medal I have. I have older half-siblings, but my dad’s marriage to my mom was a 2nd marriage, and I do know they don’t have the other medals, but I’m not really in touch with them (and the oldest is almost 80 anyway.) Kind of a strange and unique situation. Do you have any suggestion for me? I considered applying for them as a member of the general public, but it says we need the signature of the oldest sibling, which I can’t get as I’m not in touch with her, since it was a previous marriage. Any suggestions? Many thanks and warm regards.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Marybeth, I can’t speak for the National Archives policies. You can try requesting as a member of the public. All you really need is a copy of his awards and decorations. Even if they won’t issue a new medal, you can always buy one from an authorized reseller. These are the same medals and ribbons that are issued to military members, and that military members purchase for their own uniforms. (The military will usually only issue the first one, if the member needs more, they are required to purchase their own. Most members usually keep at least two copies of each one for their uniforms). All this to say, if you have the records, buying a replacement is the same as having one issued. Best wishes to you and your family!

  9. Andrew says

    Im sure this was answered, but im trying to help out my father as a suprise. He served in the Vietnam War and after leaving the service in 1972, there were medals he never recieved at all. How do i get this process started? Should i send a direct email to anyone in particular or is there a link to a site i can have these medals issued to him?

  10. Meagan Burns says

    Hi, I am just wondering if you can restore military plaques ? My grandfather who has passed away has a few plaques that has a little bit of fire damaged to them like the metal on it has melted a little bit and the wood is messed up on it so My grandmother wants to fix them or gets new ones. So i am asking can yall do that? Thank you!

    Sincerely,
    Meagan

  11. Aaron says

    Hey Ryan I have my dads military records. Well I think I have everything I see a section on there with the metals he received but is there anyway to find all of the army qualification badges and stuff like that that he received.
    Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Aaron,

      I’m not sure. It’s possible some, or all, may be listed on his DD Form 214. But I’m not positive. You may also have to dig through other records. I’m not sure how the Army keeps track of qualification badges. You might try contacting the National Archives for more information.

      I wish you the best!

  12. Vonni says

    Ryan, I requested my Father’s WWII medals be replaced. After 3 months I received a call from National Archives that my younger sister had already been given a replacement set in 2016. My Father was in the Army. I am the eldest child, so I am considered next of kin. What can I do or who should I contact to see if I can get the medals?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Vonni, It’s very possible your sister was not aware of this when she requested a copy of the medals from the National Archives. You can try explaining this to the folks at the National Archives. But I don’t know exactly how their policies work in situations like this. So I have no idea what the outcome might be.

      If it were me, I would contact the National Archives and ask if they can send you a copy of his military records. They should be able to help you with that. From there, you can order a set of replacement medals from a company like USAMilitaryMedals.com. I know that is not the same as having the National Archives send them. But they would be the same quality medals you could have issued by the government.

      You can also contact your sister and ask if she can send you a copy of any documents she has or a picture of the medals. From this information, you should be able to purchase another copy of them.

      I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best.

  13. DANA KNISLEY says

    I am trying to find a source for awards certificates that my father should have been given at the time he was given the awards back in the ‘ 50’s during the Korean War. He was awarded the Bronze Star w/v- National Defense Medal- U.N. Service (Korea) Medal as well as the Korean Service Medal (three) times. I find it hard to believe, that after hours of searching on this computer, that this information is not easily available to veterans who lay their lives on the line for this country past or present. Can you help at all with this matter? I am working on a shadow box for him. Thanks for any help that you can provide and may God bless all those who serve honorably.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dana, For privacy reasons, this information is not publicly listed. You will need to contact the National Archives for this information. I wish you the best.

  14. Rogers A Moore says

    Joined the Air Force in 1961 and left service in 1969. Went through the process of enlistment put on the dog tags and enjoyed 8 years of service. The other day I was cleaning out a drawer and ran on to the one dog tag that I have (other dog tag is missing and I have no idea as to where it is). I looked at it and realized that my first name was spelled wrong. I have no idea as to how I missed that but after this long I just now noticed the mis-spelling.
    It reads as follows:
    Moore, Rogers A
    AF18621810
    T63 O Pos
    Methodist

    It should read:
    Moore, Rogers A
    AF18621810
    T63 O Pos
    Methodist
    How do I go about getting a dog tag with the right first name spelling?

    Rogers A Moore

  15. Rick says

    I retired from the army in 1993. I recently discovered that some newer medal have been authorized for some of the activities that I was involved in. Is there a way for me to have those medals added to my file so I can wear them. My granddaughter is getting married and I am giving her away and she wants me to wear my uniform for the ceremony.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rick, Try contacting the Army Human Resources Command. They should be able to update your file if you qualified for the ribbon, award, or decoration. You should be able to buy the new ribbons at the Base Exchange, if you live near one. Otherwise, I recommend buying them from an authorized reseller. They sell the same quality ribbons you can buy on base.

  16. Jenny says

    My father passed away this past Sunday, we have his DD=214 but there are no remarks as to any badges, medals, decorations on it. He enlisted in ’76 but its as if they were trying to get him out as fast as possible so almost every section states “NA”. My spouse who recently retired wants to set up a rack for my nephew which my father adopted but I have no way of knowing what he earned. How do I find out that information when I dont have my fathers SSN?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jenny, Thank you for contacting me, and I am sorry for your loss. You should contact the National Archives, which maintains military service records. You can learn more at Archives.gov. I wish you and your family the best during this time.

  17. George S. Fowler says

    I applied for and received my father’s military records. He enlisted in 1940 and retired in 1969 as a MSGT (Medical). It included his full records including subsequent and final DD-214, medical records, etc. He was a Combat Medic in both WW-2 and Korea. He has listed, among others, Combat Medics award (two times, one for each war) and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star (listed as awarded in April 1945. Isn’t there a Certificate issued for the Purple Heart and Bronze Star giving the facts of the case award? They did not include any information about the awards other than entry on his DD-214 and a mention in a subsequent medical record. How can I find out the details connected to the awards? Many thanks for your comments.

    Sincerely,

    George

  18. Melissa Arndt says

    How do I go by getting a copy of husband’s marine grad and dress blues pictures? Veterans Day is coming and kids are asking for pictures to honor their father at school.

  19. Stacey says

    Hello,

    I’m not sure if you’ll see this message; however, I recently obtained my father’s entire military file from the National Archives with the assistance of my Congressman’s office. My father received an Other Than Honorable Discharge. He did receive a few medals while he was a Marine in Vietnam. I did speak to a few different people who told me even though he had an OTH discharge, I can still get his medals. Though, I had read some conflicting information online. Can you confirm if I would be able to get his medals even though he had an OTH discharge?

    Thanks so much,
    Stacey

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Stacey, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t know the National Archives policy for issuing medals to next of kin. However, if you are not able to have them issued by the National Archives, you can order a set of replacement medals through one of many online stores. They have the same medals and ribbons issued by the military, though you would have to pay for them. I hope this is helpful.

      • Stacey says

        Thanks so much. I know they can issue medals to next of kin; my concern was whether or not they’d issue them to me due to his discharge (under other than honorable conditions). I have submitted a copy of his DD-214 to my local Congressman’s office and they are going to assist me in trying to obtain the medals. I am hoping for a good outcome.

  20. Patricia says

    My husband died in Viet Nam in 1968 while serving in the Army. I remarried, but when I try to complete the online eVetRecs, the only option available under next of kin is un-remarried spouse. The instructions on the website state the next of kin for an Army service member is a surviving spouse. Does that mean the only way I can obtain replacement medals for his medals that are lost is by mail?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Patricia, I’m sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for your situation. I recommend contacting the National Archives for verification. I wish you the best.

  21. Dolores La Medica says

    Can you help me find a list of the medals awarded to my brother Michael T. La Medica who served in Worl War II and was killed in action on February 4, 1944. I would like to aquire a set of them for the younger people in our family. I thank you for any help you can give me.

    Dolores La Medica

  22. Patti McIlroy says

    I would love to have anything from my fathers time he served. He was Staff Sargent John Everett Coburn Sr. I have nothing and I am unsure how to obtain it.
    I would also like to know if there is anyway to obtain pictures taken while in service? My husband served from 1972 – 1976. Robert Lewis McIlroy. He did not purchase. His children and I would love to see him in uniform. Is there some kind of permanent file that can be accessed? Thank you so much for your time.

  23. Israel says

    Hello Ryan

    I was wondering if the NPRC is able to obtain my Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a combat “V”award, I lost my actual citation award, not my medal. I am just hoping to get the actual award citation when I got awarded it> Do you think they are able to retreived that?

    • Lyle says

      Did you ever get an answer to this? I am in the same boat. I can buy the medal, but I lost my award citation for a NAM.

      • Nicole Davis says

        I have the award order, but not the citation for two Air Force awards. I also have annotated on my record AF Outstanding unit award, and I think there’s a couple AF organizational excellence awards. I also served in Korea for a year as an enlisted airman in 1991-1992. All are needed to complete my record, as I am currently serving in the Army Reserve. I have requested records from the department’s and the national records people, asked the service, and asked the one unit that still exists. I’m getting a run around. No one seems to know how to help me 1. How do I request a replacement citation? The Amvets replacement citation does not include the citation language and looks fake. 2. How do I get source documents where I conclusively prove I was assigned to the unit for AFOUA, AFOEA, and the Korean Defense medal? I have tried FOIA to the services, various levels of command. I have asked for my records. I can make a complicated argument to “prove” some connection to the units in question.

      • Nicole Davis says

        I have the award order, but not the citation for two Air Force awards. I also have annotated on my record AF Outstanding unit award, and I think there’s a couple AF organizational excellence awards. I also served in Korea for a year as an enlisted airman in 1991-1992. All are needed to complete my record, as I am currently serving in the Army Reserve. I have requested records from the department’s and the national records people, asked the service, and asked the one unit that still exists. I’m getting a run around. No one seems to know how to help me 1. How do I request a replacement citation? The Amvets replacement citation does not include the citation language and looks fake. 2. How do I get source documents where I conclusively prove I was assigned to the unit for AFOUA, AFOEA, and the Korean Defense medal? I have tried FOIA to the services, various levels of command. I have asked for my records. I can make a complicated argument to “prove” some connection to the units in question. The reason why it is so important to have the actual citations is simple. The citations go into my board file, the ancillary records supporting my award do not. The personal award citations describe my accomplishments to the board, and the unit award citations describe the different units I had been in, which in turn, tells the board additional information I can’t otherwise convey.

  24. Herbert j. Ruth says

    My great uncle STAFF SCT. ROBERT RUTH was in WWII he joined the Army right after the attack on Pearl Harbor he went to North Africa and then took part in the allied invasion of Sicily and he also took part in the invasion of Italy before being reassigned to England in 1944 where he was under Gen. George Patton. and on June 6th 1944 he took part in the fourth amphibious landing on Normandy on D-Day in France with the seventh army and his tank crewmates headed across country in their fourth invasion. the only difference is that the crew would not return from this battle’ he was a top turret gunner in his tank. he was killed in action on July 29th 1944 in France he was killed instantly by mortar shell fragments he died at his post faced by a German self propelled 88mm gun.their is more to this great battle that my great uncle fought in, i am trying to get copies of his Medals and any papers that i can get so if someone can help me it would be greatly appreciated thank you.

  25. Deborah Flester says

    My father received a medal from the country of Vietnam. How would I go about getting a replacement for that?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Deborah, Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry, but I don’t have that information. The National Archives is the best place to get information for military records and medals from the US. But I’m not sure how to do that from other countries. I recommend contacting a Vietnam Veterans organization to see if they have that specific information.

  26. Reagan says

    Ryan, I transferred from the Navy to the MA Air National Guard. All of my medals transferred except my 2 Navy/Marine Corp achievement medals. I have the original certificate that came with the medal as well as my DD214 which has them both listed. The problem is, my unit states that I need the citation that went with the certificate. I never received these so I am not really sure what to do now. I have been search the internet all day. Thank you in advance!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Reagan, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not sure how that process works. I would have thought your DD214, your personnel files and original certificate would be enough to get that entered into the system. I would contact BUPERS to see if they can send you a copy of your citation. They should keep it in their files for a certain amount of time. If they don’t have it, it may have already been sent to the National Archives. But check BUPERS first.

  27. Sheryl Dear says

    Hello, my dad served in Germany in WW11. He passed away at the end of Nov 2015. His medals were taken during a break in and I was wondering if there’s a chance I could get a replacement set. I know the criteria is different if you served in in the Army. Navy, Marine and Air Force includes many more family members!

    His proud daughter.

      • Sheryl Dear says

        Thank you Ryan!! I actually decided to go to the Dayton, Ohio VA today and meet with a DAV representative. We filled out the necessary paperwork which took all of 20 minutes and I was on my way. He said there should be no issue with me getting a duplicate set of his medals. I took along his VA card, drivers license, death certificate and something similar to his DD214. He was discharged in 1948 prior to using the DD214 in 1950. His original records were damaged or destroyed in the fire but we needed a copy of his discharge to receive his VA plaque for his headstone. The National Personal Records Center responded with a copy which is what I was able to use. Now it’s time to get my grandfathers info so I can obtain his medals. He fought in Italy in WW1 and received a purple heart!

        Sincerely, Sheryl

  28. Eapindola says

    Ryan
    My Father served in World War ll and I so proud to call him my Father. He Passed away Nov. 2013. When he was buried I reiceved his Military Flag for his Service and was my honor to get the Burial Flag which sits atop my table along with his medals and Purple Heart which I have on display to honor him and his service and for his Grandchildren my Girls who he helped me raise because he loved them and they equally loved and cared for him in his final days. The question I’m asking is that a neighbor of mine told me a story my Dad told her about when him and his comrades where under fire by the enemy and when it was all over my Father realized he had to get them to safty and carried I’m not sure how many maybe four or so to safety to be air life’s out of there. Is there some kind of special medal given she my neighbor told me I should inquire about this. I realize my Father was old school and didn’t lie there are not to many men like that. And not hearing the story from him I know my Father wouldn’t make it up. He use to tell me story about the war all the time and seems when a man knows he’s close to death shares story’s with loved ones. When she shared this with me it just made me even more proud of him and the love he had for his fellow man. If you could help me in any way possible that would be so very helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank You for this S. Espindola

    • Ryan Guina says

      S. Espindola, Thank you for contacting me. It is possible for medals to be awarded years after the action, however, there needs to be an official report written that states what happened, the actions of the individual, and other details. If there are no witnesses who are able to testify about what happened that day, then it isn’t possible for the individual to be put in for a medal. If there is someone who can testify about the events, then it would be possible for that person to submit an official report, which could then be put in for a medal.

  29. Denise Radabaugh says

    How would I find out my dad’s army information? He died 3 yes ago and I want to have some dog tags made to put on his urn and a second set made for me to wear in remembrance. Also I have no idea if he received any medals or awards as I came along a long time after his service to this country but I would love to honor him in this way. I have been trying since he died to find out and no luck. Any help would be appreciated thanks.

  30. Laurie Mills says

    My husband has his original dd214 when he got out of the Army in 1970. It has his medal awards listed. When we requested a copy of his dd214 it did not list these medals, including the Purple Heart he earned. He lost his medals and we want them replaced. How do we get the dd214 updated to include all his awards?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Laurie, I recommend making copies of his original DD214 and keeping copies in a safe place. Then you should contact the National Archives to request a military records update. Having a copy of the original DD 214 will be important as proof of the original awards.

  31. George OBrien says

    How does a person go about replacing (government ) DOG TAGS , anything I have checked into are substandard and I am almost positive not up to government specs .
    Any help in pointing me in the right direction would be nice , either getting government issue or someone that is up to government standards .
    Mine have disappeared over the years I entered the Army in 1971.

    Thank You
    George OBrien

    • Ryan Guina says

      George, Thank you for contacting me. The government doesn’t issue dog tags to veterans or retirees – only current servicemembers. The only way I know to get dog tags is to buy them from a third party. Many websites offer them for sale, but I don’t have any specific recommendations.

  32. Ann Marie says

    Hi Ryan,

    I am trying to obtain my mothers navy pictures, she was enlisted February 22, 1974- September 16, 1976. She passed away October 31, 2003 to breast cancer that spread. I’ve wanted to replace the big group picture that she was in that was ruined. I have all of her military paperwork. If you can please direct me in the right direction.

    Thank you,

    Ann Marie

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ann Marie, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can offer anything more specific than the information in this article. The National Archives houses all official veteran files, including service history, personnel files, awards and decorations, and similar papers. I do not know if they maintain military photos of specific units. You could try contacting the National Archives if you have the information of the unit. You may also try to contact the unit to see if they have an archival copy that can be reproduced. Outside of that, I don’t have any further information. I’m sorry I can’t offer further assistance. I wish you the best in finding a copy of the photo.

  33. Dave Keough says

    I requested replacement medals from nam and others. I sent my DD214 to speed up the process. That was 3 months ago. Still haven’t heard a word from them. Any way to contact them or is this normal. Thanks for doing what you do here.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dave, Thank you for contacting me. From what I understand, obtaining replacement medals can be a time-intensive process. Acquiring copies of written records usually takes much less time, because all they need to do is copy the forms, then drop them in the mail. But medals require more time. I don’t have a time frame of when to expect them. The best I can say is to contact them and ask if there is a rough timeline.

  34. juanita says

    My grandfather died 10years ago he was in the army guard my mother lost all his medals . my mother only has 1 month left to live and I want to fulfill her last wish and get them for her. I just want to know where can I get a list of medals he had. Please I don’t have much time. Any help is appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Juanita, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your Grandfather and your mother’s illness. I hope you will find peace during this time. The best way to get the medals is to contact the National Archives in St. Louis, where you can get a copy of his military records. It can take a long time to get replacement medals issued, but if you have a list of medals and awards, you can buy them from websites and stores that sell military medals and awards. I hope this is helpful.

  35. Bill Biel says

    Three of my great uncles fought in WWI, Frederick and Theodore Biel and Frank Kaib. I know my Uncle Frank suffered from shell shock and did spend some time institutionalized, but I remember him as a really great guy. Uncle Frank brought his wife, my Aunt Ida back with him at some point. I have some really great photo’s of them in uniform. Is there any way that I could get their military records. I’d love to see exactly where they served and what medals they earned during their service. Is this a possibility?

  36. ken detrick says

    My dads WWII records were lost in the fire, but a friend of mine says I can still obtain his medals and ribbons. He was a top turret gunner in a B-17 stationed in England.

  37. Amanda says

    How do you find out what medals and things he received ? I was young when he past anyone who had a clue has passed as well other than his sister and she doesn’t know

  38. joseph says

    i am getting a tattoo for my grand parents and its a cross with my grandpas dog tags rapped around it. I’m not sure if he still has them and i don’t want to ask him because i want to surprise them with my tattoo. so i was wondering if there is a way of finding out my grandpas dog tags so i can get the tattoo.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joseph, Thank you for contacting me. Dog tags often have personal information on them which may include the servicemember’s name, serial number, blood type, allergies, and faith. They are used to quickly give medical attention on the battle field, or to identify bodies when there is no other nethod.

      If you want to honor your grandfather with a dog tag, I don’t think you need to see his exact copy, because it has information on it that wouldn’t be necessary for a tattoo. I would Google dog tag images to get an idea of what information is normally included, then only use the relevant information. One idea is using his name, branch of service, and maybe the years he served. Hope this helps.

  39. charles says

    so if i need to get all my medals replaced due to them being lost or stolen, i just write the NPRC? also what do i need to do in order to get a complete copy of my medical records from the military

  40. Cheryl says

    I found some dog tags and am trying to find the owner, Phill George. I’ve searched Facebook and messaged a few but it will go to their other folder and may never been seen.

    • Buck says

      Contact your local VA, ask for a case manager, and let them know that you have a service members tags. If you give them the information off of the tags, they should be able to locate the service member. You can provide them your contact information, and if they can contact the service member, they can pass that information along.

  41. Erika Martinez says

    My dad recently died and the only copy of his official Army photograph, the one in front of the flag and in his uniform, is in my grandfather’s house. We have no access to it. How do I obtain a copy of this photography?

  42. Joseph Caputo says

    I’m confused as to why it is not possible to have lost dog tags replaced.
    I recently found that my dog tags from army in 1964-1966 are lost.
    I would like to have them replaced. Are the commercially produced dog tags acceptable/recognized by the Army/Gonernment?

    Input would be much appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joseph, The military does not issue dog tags to veterans after they have left military service. The Army and Government also do not use dog tags as an acceptable form of ID for veterans – they require a photo ID, passport, Social Security Card, birth certificate, or other official documents. If you need replacement dog tags, they would be for your own personal use. Commercially available dog tags would be fine for this purpose. Please be sure not to include your Social Security Number, as it is not needed for replacement dog tags. I hope this helps.

  43. reggie rivera says

    Would like to know the info. That was on my wife’s dads army tags
    So I can use that info. To out on a pair of dog tags and give it to her
    For a Christmas present. It would be very touching, cause her dad meant
    Everything to her. Please email me the info. Or a phone number to reach
    You. Thank you for your help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Reggie, You will need to contact the National Archives to get this information. It will be part of the national military records. The contact information for the National Archives is in this article. Best of luck!

    • Buck says

      Do you know what branch of the service he was in? Also what time period was he in service? If you can tell me this information, I can generally tell you what would have been on his tags, as far as his military ID number it would depend on the branch of service he was in, and the time period.

  44. Joe P Sepulveda says

    I am 83 years old and cannot find my dogtags. My wish is for a replacement and I do not know the procedure. Please let me know how I can get them replaced. Thank you for your assistance. Joe P Sepulveda

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joe, To be honest, I don’t believe the military replaces dog tags for veterans. There are several commercial companies that sell replacement dog tags. Just be sure not to send them your social security number, because that is not needed for dog tags and can be a security risk.

  45. Tony says

    I lost my dogtags in a car crash how can i get some replacements from the VA why is it so difficult in order to get them replaced… i would gladly pay extra just to get them made by the us gov

  46. Amy says

    My father is a veteran, and I want to obtain replacements of the medals and rewards my father received while in the military.

    • Tom Lemley says

      I’ve been trying to obtain a complete set of replacement medals my dad earned while in Vietnam. He passed away on May 4 2012 from complications due to Agent Orange. I picked up a form from a local American Legion and filled out the paper work and requested his OMPF (all Military Personnel Records), to update his DD-214 to a DD-215 (didn’t know that there was another form for me to fill out) and a complete set of replacement medals, ribbons and devices.

      I sent the form in around June 2012 and received his Personnel files around October 2012 (pretty fast), but the medals came about a year later. I opened the envelope only to find the NDM and VSM that was it. I had called the National Archives and the Commandant of the Marine Corps office (which got me no where). I spoke with the Commandant’s secretary and explained my issues and she told me to send all the information I had and she would try to help me out.

      So I made copies of his DD-214, copies of combat history (awards/decorations) in which he was wounded on 8-9-67 and received his PH on 9-25-1990 which also showed what operations he was involved in. Along with this information I wrote a letter to the Commandant himself (no vulgar language, just hoping that he would understand where I was coming from), but I received nothing not even a reply to the letter. So I then called Congressman Tim Murphy’s office in Greensburg, Pa and gave her all the information I had sent to the Marine Corps Commandant and about 6 months later I received a package in the mail.

      As I opened the package (bubble envelope) I noticed only a few items were inside.

      Here is what my dad had earned while in Vietnam:
      Purple Heart
      PUC (Presidential Unit Citation) 2/5/1 Battle of Hue – Tet Offensive
      NDM
      VSM
      VCM

      Now what I received so far was:
      CAR
      NDM
      VSM
      2 loose bronze star devices for the PUC
      3 loose bronze star devices for the VSM

      Now, I should also note that we buried our father with his medals on May 10 2012. I still am trying to get a replacement PH & PUC, they will not send me the Vietnam Campaign Medal (since the South Vietnamese Govt. gave that award)
      and as for the bronze star devices for the medals and ribbons they shorted me 3 bronze star devices for the VSM (3 for the ribbon and 3 for the medal = 6).

      Some people may read this and think this is petty B.S. and maybe you’re right, but if they can find a way to bring my dad back I’d take that over any of his medals any day. B.T.W. EVERYONE told our Service MEN & WOMEN that AGENT ORANGE was SAFE that IT WOULD NOT HARM THEM!!!! My dad was 65 when he passed from a 4 inch wide x 1/2 dollar size mass pushing on his left lung, his esophagus (was afraid to eat because he thought he was going to choke to death) and the Aorta Artery (which was being cut off like crimping a garden hose/cutting off the water) backing up the blood in his feet, hands/arms (3 x’s there normal size) and face. So, yeah I want ALL his medals/ribbons and devices he earned!

      Sorry for that rant, but it ticks me off to no end. I hope that you don’t encounter the same lame B.S. that I have encountered while trying to do the same thing.

      I also should note that after I got the OMPF it revealed that he earned more than what I knew of. It’s really hard to decipher all the documents and understand the abbreviations.

      Semper Fi

      • Ryan Guina says

        Tom, Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing, especially the circumstances under which it happened.

        I don’t know if there is a way to speed up the process with medals and decorations through the government. I don’t have any personal experience here, so I’m afraid I don’t have specific advice. Perhaps you may find some luck contacting a local veteran’s service organization to see if they have any members who have experience with this. There are many Vietnam Veterans who volunteer many hours to helping their fellow Vietnam Vets obtain their due course. I’m positive many of them would extend the same courtesies to you.

        I hope you are able to obtain his full records and awards so you have that memento of his service. I wish you the best, and I though I never met your father, I thank him for his service and sacrifices.

      • Tom Lemley says

        First, Thank You for your kind words. As far as I know I have all of his personnel files, but it seems as if they didn’t complete the paperwork back then. As far as for a Veteran Organization(s) goes, I had asked The American Legion in Mt. Pleasant (15666) and the Westmoreland County Vietnam Veterans (they hold the TET Party every year for those that were involved with the TET Offensive – Battle of Hue) if either one could help me out with a project I’m trying to do. I planned on raising money selling t-shirts (short, long and hoodies) and had asked if they would be willing to open a joint bank account for the money to be deposited into (I thought this way people wouldn’t think I was pocketing the money like some people do). Someone from the organization along with myself would go and withdraw the money or present a check to the business that would be handling the memorial I wanted to have made. Plus a plus on that note they are both non-profit organizations and wouldn’t have to pay a tax on the monies received. The memorial I wanted to have made was The Order of the Silver Rose Memorial for the Vietnam Veterans and their family members who have lost someone to Agent Orange. I mentioned to friends who went into the military after high school and my friends family members and their friends want to purchase these shirts/hoodies. The memorial will cost $1500.00 so any money left over will be put towards another memorial for another local town ect.,ect.,ect. So this wouldn’t just be for the town I grew up in, it could possibly spread to 2-3 other counties.

        I mean I feel that I shouldn’t have to pay a tax on this money since I am not using it for my own personal use and plus the money I use to pay for the memorial will be taxed. I feel that the Veteran Organization(s) and or Govt. (local-state and federal) should have done this, but hasn’t so I felt that since they didn’t and probably will never do this I will try to do it by myself.

        So, I doubt that I will ask any local Veteran’s Organization for any other kind of help. Anyways 8 different towns would be $12,000.00 + .06 tax = somewhere near $12,720.00. That may seem like a lot of money, but when the schools don’t teach about what had happened over in Vietnam to our Parent’s/Uncle’s/Grandparent’s. The memorial is a way to raise awareness of Agent Orange, how it is passed down from generation to generation. Perfect example: look at the people that live in Vietnam and how much money our government sends over there for the clean up and families affected to this day.

        I’m sorry I’ve gotten off track since this is about replacement medals. Like I said I doubt that they would even help me out. So I must find a different way to get them.

        Thanks again,
        Tom Lemley

      • Ryan Guina says

        Tom, Supporting a memorial is a beautiful way to remember those who gave more than was asked of them. I think it is worth pursuing even if taxes must be paid. If you want to get around that, it may be possible to start your own non-profit organization. It may cost a little money up front, but at least you would know and control where that money goes.

        In regard to the medals – most medals can be purchased through online retailers. There are many sites to choose from (just type “but military ribbons and medals” into your favorite search engine). Many of those companies are owned by veterans and they will often help you determine which medals and decorations you need. They may even help you design a shadow box, which is a box that displays all a veteran’s medals, ribbons, rank, and other memorabilia from their career. They are very popular in the military community, and one would make a beautiful remembrance for your father’s service.

      • Jaie says

        I want you to know I totally understand how you feel. I have been trying to get my Dad’s medals for years. My Dad passed away and left everything to me and all of mine where stolen. I wish you the very best.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Joseph, I have never requested the medals, so I don’t have a firm answer. My guess is that each situation is unique and that it depends on the request, the backlog, and other factors.

      • Buck says

        It took me 14 months to get replacements for my purple hearts, bronze and silver stars. My dd214 took 4 months.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dreka, I don’t know exactly which photos you are referring to. If they are part of his military record, then he should contact the National Archives to replace his military records.

      If these were personal photos, then this would not be the military’s responsibility and they would not have copies of his photos.

      Best of luck.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Rex, So far as I know, the government does not reissue dog tags, but you can often order a set of dog tags from many companies which sell replacement medals and decorations. I would also caution you not to include your social security number on a set of dog tags if you buy them from a replacement vendor, because your SSN is private information and could be used for identity theft (this isn’t a warning against any specific company, but rather a statement for safeguarding your personal information).

      • Theresa Murphy says

        My grandfather was a PFC in the Army and was active in the Korean War. He passed away suddenly 3 days ago no one knows if he held onto them throughout the years. It means a lot to me to have another pair made for my personal gratification since I’m very proud of him and his services. I don’t want a fake pair that basically is useless. I want a legit pair from the VA. His SSN and bloodtype wouldn’t be necessary just his branch rank and year…. this is something that i have my heart set on obtaining.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Theresa, I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like you are referring to Dog Tags. The military only issues dog tags to current service members – no government agencies provide them for veterans. You would need to buy them through a 3rd party vendor, and you can add whatever information to the dog tags that you wish (so leaving off the serial number and blood type is probably a good idea). Most people would include information such as Name, Branch of Service, Years Served, and possibly the rank or other information they wish to display. Here is more information about buying replacement dog tags. I hope this is helpful.

      • Denise Dwyer says

        Dear Theresa,

        My Father ( Navy) died just a few days after yours did. April 15 th TAX DAY ugh a day I already hated!!!) suddenly without warning. I was very proud of my Father as well…it is such a hard loss. I am so sorry for your loss, I can truly understandf some of what you might be feeling. I am also getting his medals from the Navy. Army surplus stores can make the dog tags for you. That is what I am having done… prayers sent your way…

    • Jeff hamnet says

      Could anyone tell me how my father can get his uniform and patches and decorations Etc replaced all of his burned up in a house years ago he was in the United States Army

      • Ryan Guina says

        Jeff, he should be able to get them from an Army surplus store or most military uniform supply stores. The government may replace some medals, decorations, or official items, but items such as uniforms, patches, and similar items are not supplied by the government. He would need to purchase those. Best wishes.

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