Retroactive Combat Action Ribbon
March 21, 2000
04/01/02 - Shipmates: Hopefully this will clear up the issue of whether there is or
is not a cold war Medal.
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Defense will not be creating a Cold
War Service medal, and commemorative medals being sold by private vendors
are not authorized for wear on military uniforms, defense officials said.
"After careful consideration, it was decided not to create a medal," said
Brad Loo, deputy director of Officer and Enlisted Management Personnel for
the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
"Throughout the Cold War years, commanders used a full spectrum of individual, unit and service awards to recognize the achievements and
>sacrifices of service members," he said. Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen approved a Cold War Recognition Certificate in 1999, and the
>Army, as executive agent, has been responsible for issuing them to any eligible applicant.
The certificate recognizes all service members and federal employees who
faithfully served in the U.S. military during the Cold War era, Loo added. For certificate purposes, that era is the end of World War II, Sept. 2,
1945, to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Dec. 26, 1991.
Last year, someone began sending e-mail to people informing them of the
approval of a Cold War medal, as shown in an attached picture, said Arlette
King, chief of policy for the Army Award Branch.
"We've tried to correct the issue by putting out messages on our Web site
stating that there is not an authorized medal," King said. Several different designs of medals are offered on the Internet -- and even at
military clothing sales stores. "This is America. Anyone can purchase the
commemorative medal from private vendors, just not wear it on his or her
It's illegal to wear unauthorized medals on a military uniform, said Army
Master Sgt. Kittie Messman, uniform policy noncommissioned officer for the
Office of the Army deputy chief of staff for personnel.
Messman cited Title 18, Section 704, "Military Medal or Decorations":
"Whoever knowingly wears a medal not authorized by Congress...shall be fined
or imprisoned not more than six months or both."
The only official site to apply for a Cold War Recognition Certificate is
the Army's Web site at http://coldwar.army.mil. Any other sites offering
certificates, replicas or other commemoratives for sale are neither official
nor endorsed by Department of Defense or any of the individual services.
[ Cold War update from Bob 01-04-02 ]
I have received a number of emails about the CWM and have found one thing, there sure is a lot of
misinformation out there on the Cold War Medal. Hopefully the below will help clear up some of the
misinformation and give you a status on where they are in the approval process.
COLD WAR Service
In accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War
Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served
the United States anytime during the Cold War era, which is defined as Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991.
I've received some e-mails recently concerning a COLD WAR Service Medal. I've done a little research and see that anyone should be eligible to
receive a COLD WAR Service Certificate from the Department of Defense for military
service during the defined period. It appears that Congress has not authorized awarding any medal for service during the Cold War as of this
writing, although a Cold War Medal exists for purchase from some civilian companies. I have listed a couple of websites that you might find useful
regarding this subject.
http://coldwar.army.mil/ This site is the
official website and contains information on how to apply. I have attached the sample letter contained in this site in WORD format for your use if you
http://www.foxfall.com/cwm.htm This site
contains additional information about the COLD WAR medal and the status of approval.
[ Information received 04/04/00 from Robert Hoag, II ]