The newly revised edition of the Army regulation for military awards, AR 600-8-22, lays out the procedures that service members, veterans and surviving family members need to follow for requesting replacement medals of previously awarded decorations.
Replacement medals will be issued on a one-time, no-cost basis to the recipient of the award, or the primary next of kin to a deceased recipient. Subsequent replacement medals or service ribbons for individuals not on active duty may be made at cost price, according to the 25 JUN update of the regulation.
Government replacement of service medals and ribbons that predate World War I is not possible, as these items no longer are carried in the military supply system. However, many of these decorations may be purchased from private dealers in military insignia.
Medals and appurtenances issued by the Army include decorations, service medals and ribbons, palms, rosettes, clasps, arrowheads, service stars (campaign/battle), the French Fourragere, Netherlands Orange Lanyard, and Army Good Conduct Medal.
In addition to these are oak leaf clusters, numerals, “V” devices, certificates for decorations, lapel buttons for decorations, ten-year devices, Berlin Airlift Devices, containers for decorations, miniature decorations to foreign military personnel, letter “M” devices and the Medal of Honor flag.
Badges and appurtenances issued by the Army include combat and special skill badges; Basic Marksmanship Badges; Distinguished Marksmanship Badges; excellence in competition badges; Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badges and bars; Army Staff Identification Badge; The Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge; Army Recruiter Badge; Career Counselor Badge; and the new Basic, Senior and Master Instructor Badges.
Items not issued or sold by the Army include miniature medals, service ribbons, devices and appurtenances; lapel buttons for service medals, and lapel buttons for service prior to Sept. 8, 1939; Active Reserve lapel buttons; lapel buttons for badges; certificates for badges; foreign badges, and miniature Combat Infantryman, Expert Infantryman, Combat Medical, Expert Field Medical and Aviation badges, and dress miniature badges.
When requesting replacement medals for awards issued by the U. S. military services, individuals should access the website of the National Personnel Records Center (http://www.archives.gov/veterans/replace-medals.html). Medals and appurtenances awarded while in federal service with the Army or a sister U.S. service will be issued on request to the appropriate military service as follows:
• Requests for personnel in active federal military service, or the Army National Guard or Army Reserve should be submitted to the individual’s unit commander.
• Requests for personnel who do not hold current Army status, or who died before Oct. 1, 2002, should be submitted to the National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63138-1002.
• Requests for individuals who retired, were discharged (or have a Reserve obligation), or who died (except for general officers) after Oct. 1, 2002, should be submitted to the Commander, Army Human Resources Command (AHRC-PDP-A), 1600 Spearhead Division Ave., Fort Knox, Ky. 40122-5408.
• Requests for general officers should be submitted to the Commander, Army Human Resources Command (AHRC-PDP-A), 1600 Spearhead Division Ave., Fort Knox, Ky. 40122-5408.
Addresses for requesting medals from the non-Army U.S. military services are:
• Navy awards: Chief of Naval Operations (DNS-35), Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20350-2000.
• Air Force awards: Air Force Personnel Center, Attn: AFPC/DSPSIDR, 550 C St., Randolph Air Force Base, Texas 78150-4712.
• Marine Corps awards: Commandant, Marine Corps, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Code MMMA, 3280 Russell Road, Quantico, Va. 22134-5103.
• Coast Guard awards: Commandant (G-PS-5/TP41, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, D.C. 20593-7238.
”Here in a jumbled row for mile on mile are soldiers’ packs….Here are socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries, Bibles and hand grenades…Here are toothbrushes and razors, and snapshots of families back home staring up at you from the sand.” The words appeared in American newspapers on June 17, 1944, contained in the last of three reports war correspondent Ernie Pyle filed depicting the aftermath of D-day. In his signature style, detailed and deceptively simple, Pyle described the “human litter” that extended in “a thin little line, like a high-water mark” along the beaches of Normandy after the June 6 landing.
Writing paper and air mail envelopes constituted the most common debris, after cigarettes. “The boys had intended to do a lot of writing in France. Letters that would have filled those blank, abandoned pages.” You see these words, and many others by Pyle, as you read, watch and sometimes weep while touring the “Road to Berlin” galleries at the National WWII Museum here in New Orleans.
The museum displays all manner of artifacts — maps and telegrams, rifles and dog tags — and the hardware of war, including a B-29 bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter. There are photos, films and documentaries; with a click you can play videos of veterans recounting the war. There are Pyle artifacts too, copies of two of his books, “Brave Men” and “Here Is Your War,” and a Zippo lighter Pyle gave to a friend who helped him answer fan mail. “For Reed Switzer in gratefulness for everything you’ve done for me,” he wrote. “Ernie Pyle. Sept. 7, 1944. London.”
He’s not the focus of the exhibits, but his presence, heartfelt and melancholy, seems everywhere here. His description of litter following D-day, that “long thin line of anguish,” inspired one of the museum’s most moving displays. Next to excerpts from that dispatch stands a rectangular glass box lined with a few inches of gray sand. There are no high-tech graphics, just the sand studded with objects of the kind Pyle recorded — among them two helmets, packs of Old Gold and Lucky Strike cigarettes, a safety razor, Vaseline, a bar of soap. “We added that relatively late,” said Owen Glendening, the museum’s associate vice president of education and access.
Rick Atkinson, in his masterful history, “The Guns at Last Light,” tallies Pyle’s gear: “His kit bag carried 11 liquor bottles, assorted good luck trinkets, a Remington portable and notice of the Pulitzer Prize he had won a month earlier for brilliant reporting in the Mediterranean.” Atkinson also shows how the war shattered Pyle, quoting a letter he wrote to a friend: “Instead of growing stronger and hard as good veterans do, I’ve become weaker and more frightened…. I don’t sleep well, and have half-awake hideous dreams about the war.” He was 45 but his thin face, narrow shoulders and balding pate made him look old enough to be the grandfather of the GIs he wrote about. Telling a friend that “the hurt has finally become too great,” he left Europe for home in September 1944. But he still had stories to write and after a brief rest, headed to the Pacific.
That spring, the front page of the Los Angeles Times carried a story filed by Associated Press writer Grant MacDonald from Okinawa, dated April 18, 1945. It began: “Ernie Pyle, war correspondent beloved by his co-workers, GIs and generals alike, was killed by a Japanese machine-gun bullet through his left temple this morning.” Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge, who was with Pyle when he was hit, said that enlisted men had “lost their best friend.” Pyle had told their story unflinchingly and with compassion.
Thomas Crisp is a retired military officer from Whitmire.