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Military awards, records available to veterans

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 5, 2014 9:01 p.m

When Byers-Tosh American Legion Post 267 commander D.J. Jackson witnessed the reaction of an area veteran as he first gazed on the military medals he earned while serving his country, he knew what he had to do.

Jackson called his sister and told her he found the perfect Christmas present for their father, William Welby Jackson Jr. of Big Springs, Texas.

He was taking his lead from a presentation to veteran Frank Greshock.

“Frank’s daughter gave the medals to him for a birthday present and presented it at one of our legion meetings,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s father, a Navy Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class, served on the USS Cabot, an aircraft carrier, in World War II. Through the years, William Jackson lost track of his military achievement medals.

Jackson performed a medal search and ordered a set of medals to be arranged on a framed mat.

“We called Dad on Christmas and all he could say was he was so grateful we did this for him,” Jackson said.

William Jackson has since passed away, but his son was glad he got the chance to give this special gift to his father.

Jackson said many servicemen never received their military medals. Some only received the ribbons to place on their uniform. He said all a veteran needs to find out what medals they have been awarded is a copy of their discharge papers or form DD214.

How to get medals

There are several ways to obtain duplicate medals.

Clothing and Heraldry Product Support Integration Directorate is responsible for the issuance of medals, decorations and awards to veterans and their next of kin.

For veterans of all branches who were discharged or retired prior to Oct. 1 2002, medals may be requested by sending a written request along with a copy of the DD 214 or other discharge papers and death certificate if applicable, to: National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 1 Archive Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138.

Submit a request electronically to archives.gov/veterans.

Army veterans separated, discharged or retired after that date should send a written request along with a copy of the DD 214 or other discharge papers to U.S. Army Human Resources Command — Fort Knox, Attn: AHRC-PDP-A, 1600 Spearhead, Division Avenue, Fort Knox, KY 40122.

Call 888-276-9472 or go to hrc.army.mil, for more information.

If you are a veteran or next of kin of a deceased veteran, you may now use vetrecs.archives.gov to order a copy of military records.

Or, request a copy of standard form 180 from the National Personnel Records Center at the address listed above. It includes complete instructions for preparing and submitting requests.

To purchase medals and ribbons directly, visit one of several online medal service companies including usamilitarymedals.com (877-653-9577) or medalsofamerica.com (800-308-0849).

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

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