The Congress has authorized the Secretary of Defense, to award Certificates of Recognition for service in the Armed Forces during the Cold War. If you or someone you know served in the Armed Forces anytime during the period 2 Sep 1945 to 26 Dec 1991, that person is eligible to receive this certificate. There are only two requirements for this certificate: 1) Service in the Armed Forces during the eligible period, and 2) an honorable or general under honorable conditions discharge.

Congress has authorized the certificate be issued to you but but has not authorized the medal.  You can buy the Navy Service Medal and Cold War Medal at Medals of America and other such places on the web.   You can also buy a certificate from a private company but only the Department of Defense will issue one for free to you.  It may take up to one year from the time you apply for the certificate and the time you get it, so if you want to get it for your Dad or someone as a present, then plan ahead.  Otherwise, buy him his medal from one of the private companies, above.  Congress voted to encourage Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to issue a Cold War Medal but the Secretary of Defense stated through channels that veterans have been awarded other medals that recognize their service and a separate Cold War medal is not needed and thus will not be issued.  The Pentagon also warned servicemen that wearing a non authorized medal on their military uniform could cause them to be fined and jailed 'for not less than six months.'

To receive this award, you must submit an application letter and proof of service. Application may be made on-line, by FAX or mail. For more information, please see the Cold War Certificate home page at  or US mail:
Cold War Recognition,  4035 Ridge Top Rd,   Fairfax VA 22030

E-mail questions can be sent to

Image of Pentagon oval, linked to Defense News pageCold War recognition certificate approved

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has approved a Cold War recognition certificate for award to all members of the armed forces and federal government civilian employees who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991. Congress established the Cold War certificate in Section 1084 of the fiscal 1998 National Defense Authorization Act.

The legislation states in part:

"The Congress finds the following:

"During the period of the Cold War, from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a global military rivalry.

"This rivalry, potentially the most dangerous military confrontation in the history of mankind, has come to a close without a direct superpower military conflict.

"Military and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense, personnel in the intelligence community, members of the foreign service, and other officers and employees of the United States faithfully performed their duties during the Cold War.

"Many such personnel performed their duties while isolated from family and friends and served overseas under frequently arduous conditions in order to protect the United States and achieve a lasting peace.
"The discipline and dedication of those personnel were fundamental to the prevention of a superpower military conflict."

The Department of Defense designated the Department of the Army as the executive agent for the Cold War recognition certificate program. The Army has established a home page at that explains the correct procedures to request a Cold War certificate. As previously announced, requests will be accepted by Internet, fax or mail, beginning April 6.

Individuals who request the certificate must certify that they served
both faithfully and honorably, whether as a member of the U.S. armed forces or as a federal civilian employee, during the Cold War era. Each mailed or faxed  request must be accompanied by official documentation verifying government service during the Cold War era. Acceptable documentation includes any government form that includes the applicant's name and social security number or military service number or foreign service number, and the date of service. Applicants should not send original documents to verify federal service because the documents will not be returned to the sender.

The mailing address for requests for the certificate is:

Cold War Recognition
4035 Ridge Top Road Suite 400
Fairfax, VA 22030

The fax number is (703) 275-6749. The electronic mail address is: Requests sent by e-mail will not be acted upon until the Fairfax office receives supporting documentation. Requests made online will be maintained for one year to allow ample time for individuals to forward supporting documents by fax or mail. Individuals normally will receive a response within 30 days; however, the turn-around time will depend upon the volume of requests received.

Applicants needing additional information may call the help desk at (703)275-6279.