Thousands of veterans and current service members are eligible for the Cold War Recognition Certificate (also known as the Cold War Medal, Cold War Victory Medal, Cold War Service Medal, Cold War Ribbon or Cold War Certificate) but have never applied for it — even though it’s easy. Many surviving family members could get an award from the US military in memory of their deceased veteran. Here are simple instructions on how to get yours. Don’t wait, the number of Cold War Certificates is limited.
[Some good news on government efficiency:
One of our readers mailed the Cold War Recognition Certificate paperwork and got the Certificate back in only a few weeks.]
Cold War Recognition Certificate
In the 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 any time during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945, through Dec. 26, 1991.
Three Easy Steps to Get the Certificate
Step 1: Confirm You’re Eligible
Cold War Recognition Certificate: Anyone who worked for the U.S. Government at any time during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945 through Dec. 26, 1991, is eligible, provided their service to the country was faithful and honorable. National Guard and Reservists are eligible for the Cold War Recognition Certificate, sometimes called the Cold War Medal, Cold War Victory Medal or Cold War Certificate. Contractors and volunteers are not eligible.
Are Survivors — Next of Kin — Eligible? Yes!
Who are considered the primary next of kin? If the veteran is deceased, his/her primary next-of-kin (PNOK) may apply for the certificate. If the veteran or federal employee was married, the primary next-of-kin is the spouse, children, or siblings, in that order of precedence. If the spouse is living, he/she must apply before the veteran’s eldest son or daughter. If the veteran’s eldest son or daughter applies, the request must explain that the spouse is deceased. If the veteran was not married, the PNOK is the veteran’s father/mother, or brothers/sisters, in that order of precedence. If the veteran’s parents are living, they must apply before the veteran’s eldest brother or sister applies. If the veteran’s eldest brother or sister applies, the request must explain that the parents are deceased.
Step 2: Get the Documents You Need
For the Certificate:
Find the right document + fill out the application.
Document: Any document which shows that the intended recipient was a U.S. government employee during the Cold War era will be accepted as proof. The document must contain the name of the recipient, the Social Security Number or Military Service Number or Foreign Service Number which was included in the request for the certificate, and a date showing at least one day of service within the range of 2 September 1945 and 26 December 1991. Examples of acceptable documents include a Leave and Earnings statement, DD214 or other Discharge Paper, or SF50 (Civilian Personnel Action Form.) Please send a copy of your supporting document, DO NOT SEND the original document. Original documents cannot be returned.
Application: Get the application from the Army site by clicking here (US residents, next of kin and international residents click here), or download the form for US residents at the bottom of this page
Step 3: Order It
Mail your document (remember, send a copy, not the original) and application to:
Cold War Recognition Program
ATTN: AHRC-PDP-A, Dept 480
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122-5408
Got More Questions or Want to Follow Up?
Visit the Military Web pages
Notice: When www.coldwar.me visits the sites below, we sometimes get a security warning on our browser. But these are the official Army and Air Force sites. It appears the military does not have some sort of certificate your browser may want.