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News & Press: Benefits

Did You Know- Replacement Medals

Sunday, August 3, 2014  
Posted by: Suzanne Gerstner
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This is the next installment in the DID YOU KNOW series, meant to highlight information regarding little known or little used benefits.


The 2014 NDAA (HR 3304) outlined time parameters for Medals Replacements:
  Many surviving spouses may have receive such medal replacements at
graveside services, through the unit command, through casualty officers.
Many did not.  Many surviving spouses may not have received these medals
at all or are unaware of the program. Perhaps through time their spouses medals
were lost.  This is not the same program as the Gold Star Pins.

When a service member receives a medal initially,  they are given one medal

at the time of presentation (if/when possible), and expected to replace any
lost or damaged medals through the clothing store, or place special orders
for them.   After they die however, you can request a medals replacement
as the next of kin.  Each branch of service is responsible for their own
medals replacement program.  More information can be found here:
Veterans Service Records at the US Archive

In the past, many of these requests sat non responsive on someone's desk,
and did not get fulfilled. So enacted in legislation and included in the 2014
National Defense Authorization act,  time parameters for these replacements.
  Basically they have 1 year to verify the records, then if a positive
verification 90 days to get you the replacements.   Usually this process
does not take as long for the recent deaths.  However it is nice to know that
they do have a legal time line in which you must receive a reply and the
replacement medals.

Many surviving spouses take comfort and pride in their deceased spouse’s

achievements, and to have the tangible recognition from the nation on hand
is priceless.   We hope that providing this information to you, we enable you
to reach out if you choose, and receive the replacement medals for your
deceased spouse and this gives you a step toward some sense of closure
and a tangible recognition from a grateful nation.

Any failure to properly receive a reply to a request for replacement should
be taken to the Gold Star Advocate for the respective branch of service. 
Please also understand that replacement medals are not usually given the
pomp and circumstance that the original medal entailed.

Section 1135 of title 10, United States Code, is amended--
(1) by redesignating subsection (b) as subsection (c); and
(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following new subsection
(b): ``(b) Prompt Replacement Required.
--When a request for the replacement of a military decoration
is received under this section or section 3747, 3751, 6253,
8747, or 8751 of this title, the Secretary
concerned shall ensure that--
``(1) all actions to be taken with respect to the request,
including verification of the service record of the recipient
of the military decoration, are completed within one year; and
``(2) the replacement military decoration is mailed to the
person requesting the replacement military decoration within
90 days after verification of the service record.''.

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