Instructions

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(For 71st, 17th & 18th SOS members only)

General Instructions

If you need assistance applying for a decoration you feel you should have received in Southeast Asia, and didn't, please read this entire page

The following are current procedures that may be followed to submit a recommendation for a military decoration. The timeline for submitting decorations is two years from the date of the act or achievement. In the case of World War II decorations, 3 May 51 was the cut-off for submission. However, under the Fiscal Year 1996 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Section 526, which was enacted into law on 10 February 1996, this timeline has now been waived.

Under this Act, which lifted the time limitations on submitting award recommendations, veterans who may make a case for award consideration (or upgrade of a previously awarded decoration) not previously eligible because of these time limits, may now submit for award consideration. However, the written recommendation must meet two criteria:

  1. be made by someone, other than the member himself, in the member's chain of command at the time of the incident, and, who has firsthand knowledge of the acts or achievements; and,
  2. be submitted through a congressional member who can ask a military service review a proposal for a decoration based on the merits of the proposal and the Message award criteria in existence when the event occurred.

ELEMENTS REQUESTED TO PROCESS AN AWARD RECOMMENDATION PACKAGE

  • Original or Reconstructed Narrative of the action(s) performed by the Airman being recommended.
    Narrative must be signed by the recommending official.
  • X Eyewitness statement(s) attesting to the act(s) of valor performed by the Airman being recommended.
  • Sworn affidavit(s) from individual(s) making statement(s) on behalf of Airman being recommended.
  • Medical documentation substantiating wound(s), if applicable.
  • X Chain of Command endorsements.
  • Written concurrence (signature) of member or next-of-kin.
  • X Proposed citation.
  • Other related documentation pertaining to the unit and the act(s) to be recognized (i.e., extracts of unit records, sketches, maps, diagrams, photographs, flight records, report of Separation - WD AGO 53-55, DD Form 214, etc.).
  • X Referral by Member of Congress.

REPOSITORIES OF POTENTIAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION

National Personnel Records Center
Air Force Reference Branch
Attn: NPRC/NRPMF

9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Air Force Historical Research Center
Attn: Dick Gamma
600 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6424;
Phone: (334) 953-5834
Website: http://www.au.af.mil/au/afhra
E-mail: afhranews@maxwell.af.mil

Washington National Records Center
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

National Archives & Records Administration
Library and Printed Archives Branch
8th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408

Air Force History Support Office - AFHSO/HOS Reference & Analysis Division
200 McChort Street, Box 94
Boiling Air Force Base, DC 20332-1111;
Phone: (202) 404-2261;
Web Site: http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/

RETIREE AND VETERAN INFORMATION OF AWARDS AND DECORATIONS

The section applies only to retirees and veterans and covers the following topics:

  1. How To Request a Replacement of Awards and Decorations Listed on Report of Separation (DD Form 214, WD AGO Form 53-98, etc..).
  2. How To Request Verification of Entitlement to an Award or Decoration that is not Listed on the Report of Separation (DD Form 214, WD AGO Form 53-98, etc..).
  3. How to Process a Decoration Recommendation.
  4. How to Process a Decoration
    Recommendation that was Lost or Overlooked
    .

How To Request a Replacement of Awards and Decorations Listed on the Retiree or Veteran's Report of Separation (DD Form 214/ WD AGO Form 53-98, etc..).

All requests for a one-time free replacement of Awards and Decorations must be sent to:

National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St Louis MO 63132-5100

Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, or Air Force retirees and veterans, or their primary next-of-kin if retiree or veteran is deceased, may request a replacement of awards and decorations. (A primary next-of-kin is a surviving spouse, or if no surviving spouse, it is the oldest child of retiree or veteran, if no surviving child, it is a brother/sister of retiree or veteran). A request for replacement of awards and decorations must be made in a letter signed by the retiree, veteran, or primary next-of-kin and specify that it is a request for replacement of awards and decorations. After receipt of a request for replacement of awards and decorations, the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) reviews the retiree or veteran's military personnel record and verifies all awards and decorations to which the retiree or veteran is entitled to and annotates the awards and decorations on NA Form 13059, Transmittal of and/or Entitlement to Awards. The NPRC will then send a copy of the NA Form 13059 to the Air Force Personnel Center and a copy to the requester. Upon receipt of the NA Form 13059 at the Air Force Personnel Center, the awards and decorations annotated on the form will be mailed to the requester within 5-10 duty days.

The process described above is very effective and may take 3 - 6 months from the date the request is received at the NPRC. Any requests for the status of a request for replacement of awards and decorations must be sent to NPRC and not the Air Force Personnel Center.

How To Request Verification of Entitlement to an Award or Decoration that is not Listed on Report of Separation (DD Form 214, WD AGO Form 53-98, etc..).

All requests for verification of entitlement to an award or decoration that is not listed on the Report of Separation, (DD Form 214, WD A60 Form 53-98, etc..) must be sent to:

National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St Louis MO 63132-5100

These types of requests usually involve an award or decoration to which a retiree or veteran believes (or next-of-kin believe) that he/she qualifies to receive or should have received. Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, or Air Force retirees and veterans, or their primary next-of-kin if retiree or veteran is deceased, may request verification of entitlement to an award or decoration that is not listed on a Report of Separation. (A primary next-of-kin is a surviving spouse, or if no surviving spouse, it is the oldest child of retiree or veteran, if no surviving child, it is a brother/sister of retiree or veteran). A request of this nature must be made in a letter signed by the retiree or veteran, (or primary next-of-kin if retiree or veteran is deceased) and specify the type of award or decoration claimed. After receipt of a request for verification of entitlement to an award or decoration, the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) attempts to verify entitlement. If NPRC is unable to verify entitlement, they will forward the request and the retiree or veteran's military personnel record to the Air Force Personnel Center for verification of entitlement. After a thorough review of the retiree or veteran's military personnel record, the Air Force Personnel Center will correspond directly with the requester, and if appropriate, update the retiree or veteran's Report of Separation and provide the award or decoration if entitlement is verified.

The process described above to verify entitlement to an award or decoration not listed on the Report of Separation is very effective and may take 3 - 6 months from the date the request is received at the NPRC. Any requests for the status of a request for verification of entitlement to an award or decoration must be sent to NPRC and not to the Air Force Personnel Center.

How to Process
a Decoration Recommendation

These types of requests are those in which a retiree or veteran believes (or their next‑of‑kin believe) that he/she should have been awarded a decoration for a specific act, period of service, or achievement performed while in military service. Decorations must be submitted within two years of the act, service, or achievement; however, the 1996 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Section 526, lifted the time limitations for submitting decorations to Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, and United States Air Force retiree and veterans. Previously, 3 May 1951 was the deadline for submitting WWII era decoration recommendations; however, the 1996 NDAA lifted the deadline. Only a supervisor or commander, or someone with firsthand knowledge, at the time of the act, service, or achievement may recommend an individual for a decoration. If someone with firsthand knowledge submits a decoration recommendation, it must have endorsements from the intended recipient's chain of command. Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, or Air Force retirees or veterans may not recommend themselves for decorations, and next‑of‑kin of deceased retirees or veterans may not act as recommending officials. The following are requirements and procedures for submitting a decoration recommendation:

  1. A written justification must be prepared and signed by the recommending official. The justification must be clear and concise, It must state the type of decoration recommended, full name of individual recommended, and describe the act, service, or achievement in great detail.
  2. Endorsements in writing from the intended recipient's chain of command (supervisor and/or commander at the time of the act, service, or achievement) must be provided. Additionally, supporting statements such as eyewitness statements may be submitted.
  3. A proposed citation. The citation must be brief, in good taste, and capture the highlights of the act, service, or achievement.
  4. The decoration recommendation must be submitted by the recommending official to a congressional member who will ask the Air Force to review the decoration recommendation based on its merits.

How to Process a Decoration Recommendation that was Lost or Overlooked


Requests to process a decoration recommendation which was lost, overlooked, or never processed must be sent to:

National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St Louis MO 63132-5100

These types of requests are those in which a retiree or veteran has (or their next-of-kin have) proof (in the form of actual signed documents) that he/she was submitted for a decoration but it was lost or overlooked: Sometimes, retirees and veterans, or their next-of-kin, come across an old signed decoration recommendation that was previously lost, overlooked, or never processed, and it is only these types of decoration recommendations that may be processed under the "Lost/Overlooked Decoration" rule.

How To Request a Replacement of Awards and Decorations Listed on the Retiree or Veteran's Report of Separation (DD Form 214/ WD AGO Form 53-98, etc.

Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, or Air Force retirees and veterans, or their primary next-of-kin if retiree or veteran is deceased, may write to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and request consideration of a lost or overlooked decoration recommendation. The request must specify that it is a request to consider a lost or overlooked decoration recommendation and must include the original decoration recommendation, and any other supporting documents, found by the retiree, veteran, or next-of-kin. These types of requests may be processed to the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council under the "The Lost/Overlooked Decoration" rule. If the decoration recommendation is not signed, it is not considered as a lost or overlooked decoration recommendation.

The process described above to request consideration of a lost or overlooked decoration recommendation is effective and may take 6 - 8 months from the date the request is received at the NPRC. Any requests for the status of a request to NPRC for consideration of a lost or overlooked decoration must be sent to NPRC and not the Air Force Personnel Center.

Information courtesy of Jeffery L. Simmons, TSgt, USAF, Supt, Awards and Decorations Branch Recognition Programs Branch

If you have any questions about these pages, or the process, please contact the Awards and Decorations Recovery Board project officer.

Awards & Decs Intro | General Instructions | Checklist/worksheet | Cases


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