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How to Obtain Service Medals

The following question was asked of Dr. Rostker by a veteran recently. Dr. Rostker asked GulfLINK to post the response.

Title: Where Can I Get Information on Medals for Service in the 1990-1991 Gulf War?

Three medals were awarded for service in the 1990-1991 Gulf War:

Southwest Asia Service Medal: For service in Southwest Asia and contiguous waters or air space thereover from August 2, 1990, until a date to be determined by the Secretary of Defense.

Kuwait Liberation Medal: Awarded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for direct participation in Operation Desert Storm between January 17, 1991, and February 28, 1991.

Kuwait Liberation Medal: In addition to the Kuwait Liberation Medal previously accepted from the government of Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government has also accepted the Kuwait Liberation Medal (K) from the government of Kuwait for participation in Desert Storm / Desert Shield from August 2, 1990, to August 31, 1993.

The Army is still processing unit citations. The Military Awards Branch expects to complete its work in two years. At that time, the DA pamphlet "Unit Citation and Campaign Participation Credit Register" (DA PAM 672-3, dated 29 January 1988) will be reissued.

Veterans of service in the 1990-1991 Gulf War who are still on active duty or in the active reserve should contact their personnel officer for information about these medals; about other citations, ribbons or decorations earned by their unit; and about their eligibility for individual awards.

Veterans who have been discharged, retired or who are no longer affiliated with active service and wish to request issuance or replacement of their medals or awards may write to:

National Personnel Records Center
Attn: Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

State your request and provide a copy (NEVER an original) of the following forms:

  1. your orders to Desert Shield / Desert Storm and
  2. your release from active duty (DD Form 214, "Report of Separation").

If you do not have these forms, provide the following information:

  • Full name under which service was performed,
  • Service number and/or Social Security number,
  • Branch of service,
  • Dates of service,
  • Date and place of birth,
  • Grade or rank at time of separation/retirement, and
  • Signature and date of request

Family members may only request medals and awards of living veterans by obtaining their signed authorizations. For deceased veterans, requests will be accepted from next-of-kin.

There is a delay of up to one year after release from active service before a military service member’s records are received by the National Personnel Records Center. Further, due to a combination of high volume of requests and recent staff reductions, there is a delay in responding. Thus, on average, GulfLINK has been advised that it takes about 18 months now to process a request.

To request information from military service records, the National Personnel Records Center recommends you use the Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records." By law, records can only be released to an individual or his/her next of kin.

Some additional information for the different services is provided below.

U.S. Army

Department of the Army (DA) publishes General Orders on approved awards for units, including those serving in Desert Shield / Desert Storm, on a yearly basis. Determinations on some awards are still pending. The DA General Orders are distributed to every Army installation and maintained in their MOS libraries. Veterans may also contact any installation's personnel officer.

Veterans who have been discharged or retired and need copies of their records can call the Army Reserve Personnel Center at 314-538-4261. A recorded message advises you that all requests must be made in writing. (Note: the recorded message also explains what to do if you are calling about a medical emergency.)

U.S. Marine Corps

For questions concerning policy on awards and decorations, call the SECNAV Awards Board at (202) 685-6530.

A veteran in inactive reserves (meaning that you are still affiliated with the Marine Corps) can request a copy of his or her record by writing to:

Marine Corps Reserve Support Command
15303 Andrews Rd. (Code PMD)
Kansas City, MO 64147

U.S. Navy

For questions concerning policy on awards and decorations, call the SECNAV Awards Board at (202) 685-6530.

The telephone number for the Navy Liaison Office, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO, is 314-538-3071, ext. 882.

A veteran in inactive reserves (meaning that you are still affiliated with the Navy) can request a copy of his or her record by writing to:

Naval Reserve Personnel Center
Service Record Maintenance Center
New Orleans, LA 70149-7800

U.S. Air Force

Air Force veterans can also write to:

Air Force Personnel Center/DPA
550 C Street West, Suite 1
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4703

For additional information contact the USAF Personnel Center.

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

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