Military Awards and Decorations

Military Awards and Decorations can be replaced for free by veterans

Whether you have been out of the service for 50 years and lost your little box of awards and decorations along the journey of navigating through civilian life, or you had an ex-spouse who made your military memorabilia disappear (like me), your military awards and decorations replaced at no cost to you.

How can I replace my military awards and decorations?

Easy. If you’re a veteran,  a quick visit to the National Archives website will put you on the right track.

If you were discharged from the military after 1955, you can submit an online request for the replacement of military awards and decorations here.

If you’re just too cool and old school to submit the request online, you can send a raven to:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

For Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force.

Coast Guard veterans, you can send your shit to:

Coast Guard Personnel Service Center
4200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 900
Stop 7200
Arlington, VA 20598-7200

Be advised that by going this route, versus submitting the request online, you’ll need to print and complete the Standard Form 180 (SF-180).

Or if you’re low on printer ink and would prefer to hand write a letter, be sure to that your handwritten request contains enough information to allow the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) staff to identify you among the 70 million or so people currently on file.

Information you’ll want to include in your archaic handwritten letter are:

  • Complete name used while serving
  • Service number or Social Security Number (feel free to just use your last 4 digits)
  • Branch and dates of service
  • Date and place of birth (if service number is unknown)

Next of kin may follow the same procedure to obtain military award replacements, though proof of death in the form of a death certificate or a published obituary is required.

For a completely unrelated article, our list of companies that hire veterans offers some great job opportunities.

Why would I want to replace my military awards and decorations?

Unless you’re the most humble of warrior monks who has no need or desire to display your accomplishments, this article doesn’t pertain to you.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, or you’d like something to pass on to your grandchildren one day, perhaps a replacement set of your awards is in order. If you’ve earned a couple ribbon stacks during your time in, you have every right to be proud and they deserve to not be lost in a box somewhere.

Military awards and decorations
This Marine-SEAL hybrid is clearly an overachiever.

If you’re anything like this guy though, the whole request process doesn’t apply to you and you’ll just order every ribbon online.

Updated 02/26/2018

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