BY: Michael R. Verville
If you served on Hannah during the final WestPac cruise you may be missing many awards, citations, and medals that you may not even know you were entitled to receive. It took the Navy, the Department of Defense and Congress more than 28 years to finally settle on what awards the crew was eligible to receive, but they closed the books with The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 1 07-31 4 -December 2, 2002), Section 542.
Congress finally gave appropriate recognition to the sailors and marines who took part in the last Vietnam operation. Up until the law was enacted, service members who served on board were entitled to an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for each of the operations listed in the title above.
The new law changed that and authorized the service member to convert one of the AFEMs for the Vietnam Service medal (VSM). The process to obtain the new medal and a new DD Form 215 is relatively simple.
All that is required is for the service member to contact the Naval Personnel Records
Center in writing. The mailing address is:
Navy Personnel Command,
Retired Records Section PERS-313E,
9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.
The Fax number is: (314) 592-1151 (attn: D. M. Martin or Ms. Freeman).
OPNAV NOTE 1650 identifies the below listed awards, citations, and medals that the Hannah crew is eligible for based on the final cruise as:
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary (AFEM) (Operation Eagle Pull)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Operation Frequent Wind) (This is the one you should request be converted to VSM)
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Humanitarian Service Medal (2) (One for each separate operation)
Navy Unit Commendation
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Requests for sample letters and other information can be sent to me at the following addresses:
Michael R. Verville,
939 Four Points Rd West
Keysville, GA 30816
or email me at: mverville2005(at)yahoo(Dot)com. My Telephone # is (706) 554-3633.
Printable Request Letter for Conversion of AFEM to VSM
Request 2nd Humanitarian Service Medal for this Period - Request for DD Form 215 Correction
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(Page was update 6-12-10)