Miniature Medal, Non-Anodized, Vietnam Service MedalThe Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) was awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and its contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. Members of the United States Armed Forces in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, or airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for the award. RequirementsIndividuals must meet one of the following requirements: Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations. Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days aboard a U.S. naval vessel directly supporting military operations. Actually participating as a crew member in one or more aerial flights into the airspace above Vietnam and contiguous waters directly supporting military operations. Serve on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days in Vietnam or contiguous waters, except that time limit may be waived for personnel participating in actual combat operations.No person will be entitled to more than one award of the VSM. Individuals qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for the reason of service in Vietnam between 1 July 1958 and 3 July 1965 (inclusive) will remain qualified for that medal. Upon request (unit personnel officer) any such individual may be awarded the VSM instead of the AFEM. In such instances, the AFEM will be deleted from the list of authorized medals in personnel records. No person will be entitled to both awards for Vietnam service. Service members who earned the AFEM for Operation Frequent Wind between 29 and 30 April 1975, may elect to receive the VSM instead of the AFEM. No service member may be issued both medals for service in Vietnam. Vietnam and contiguous waters, as used herein, is defined as an area which includes Vietnam and the water adjacent thereto with the following specified limits: from a point on the East Coast of Vietnam at the juncture of Vietnam with China southeastward to 21 degrees north latitude, 108 degrees, 15 minutes longitude; then southward to 18 degrees, north latitude, 108 degrees, 15 minutes east longitude; then southward to 17 degrees, 30 minutes north longitude, 111 degrees east longitude; then southward to 11 degrees north latitude, 111 degrees east latitude; then southward to 7 degrees north latitude, 105 degrees east latitude; then westward to 7 degrees north latitude, 103 degrees east latitude; then northward to 9 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude, 103 degrees east latitude; then northeastward to 10 degrees, 15 minutes north latitude, 104 degrees, 27 minutes east latitude; then northward to a point on the West Coast of Vietnam at the juncture of Vietnam and Cambodia. The VSM may be awarded posthumously. The Vietnam Service Medal is retroactive to 1 July 1958 and supersedes and replaces the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) which was issued for initial operations in South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from that date through 3 July 1965. Defense Department regulations do not permit the simultaneous presentation of both the Vietnam Service Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, for the same period of service in Vietnam, however, the AFEM may be exchanged for the VSM upon request from a service member. Veterans of the Vietnam War may exchange the AFEM for the VSM and have military records updated to reflect the difference by contacting the National Personnel Records Center, which is the current agency that provides record corrections reflecting an AFEM conversion to the Vietnam Service Medal. Though the Mayaguez incident is often referred to as the last battle of the Vietnam War, U.S. military personnel who participated in it are not eligible for the Vietnam Service Medal by virtue of participating in that battle alone, as the eligibility period for the medal ended in April 1975, a few weeks before the battle took place. Instead of the VSM, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is authorized for military members who participated in that battle. A congressional bill was introduced in 2016 to award veterans of the Mayaguez battle the VSM, but the bill was referred to a committee, effectively ending it. South Vietnam also issued its own service medal for the Vietnam War, known as the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. This is a separate military award that was accepted by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. military in accordance with DoD 1348 C7. Six months of service in support of South Vietnamese military operations was the general U.S. requirement for the award.
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