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Replace lost military awards and medals

Replace lost military awards and medals
© Kevin Giszewski | Dreamstime

First off, everyone here at Komando.com would like to thank and honor the courageous men and women of the United States military who have sacrificed a tremendous lot to protect our country, safeguard our liberties and defend our way of life.

If you or one of your family members is a decorated U.S. military veteran, here's some important information you will want to read.

Recognitions from the U.S. military such as medals, decorations, and awards are often considered as historical mementos and priceless family heirlooms. As such, they are typically handed over to other family members, passing through generations as a part of an ancestral legacy.

Although the honor that these military medals represent should endure forever, the physical medals themselves may not. Like with anything material, they can be misplaced, lost, stolen or simply begin to show their age over time.

The U.S. military understands the importance of this legacy to families and, just in case you didn't know, it offers replacement medals, decorations, and awards available to decorated veterans and their families.

How to replace lost military medals, awards and decorations

If you want to request replacements for lost military service medals, decorations, and awards, you can visit this National Archives Veterans' Service Records page for all the information you'll need.

It's not as simple as filling out a general online form, though. According to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), requests for replacements "should be directed to the specific branch of the military in which the veteran served."

Whether the decorated veteran served the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy, the National Archives page compiles all the necessary links and mail-in addresses you'll need to request for replacement medals, awards and decorations.

In order to locate the veterans' service records, be ready to provide a wealth of details to the NPRC including the veteran's complete name used while in service, service number, Social Security number, branch of service and dates of service.

How much will it cost?

According to the National Archives, military services will process replacement medal requests from veterans free of charge. This will also include family members who have a signed authorization from the veteran.

If the veteran is no longer living or able to make the request, their next of kin can also make the request on his or her own behalf but the process and cost will differ among the military branches, meaning it's not free. The cost is also dependent on who is requesting the replacement.

How to check for a veteran's awards

If the veteran left military service before 1955, the public can purchase a copy of a veteran's Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) to check which awards are due.

Information for veterans who separated after 1954 can be freely accessed from the OMPF by the general public via the Freedom of Information Act.

All the links for requesting these records are also available at the National Archives Veterans' Service Records page.

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