Of the 78 Vietnamese medals authorizable to US, Australian and other Allied troops in Vietnam only five are still manufactured today. However, within a short time these five (listed below) will no longer be manufactured because the number of men and women who served in Vietnam is shrinking fast.
AMERICANS: Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are etimated to be alive today, with the youngest American Vietnam vet’s age is approximated to be 54 years old. AUSTRALIANS:Of the 46,756 Australians who served in Vietnam, an estimated 19,500 are alive today. The youngest Australian Vietnam vet is approximately 56 years old.
The five Vietnamese medals still being manufactured today are the 1) Cross of Gallantry, 2) Campaign, 3) Civil Action, 4) Technical Service, and 5) Wound. These five are still being manufactured today only because: a) three of the five are authorized to wear on the uniform and appear on the DD-214/215, but as Vietnam vets pass away at the same rate as their WW2 fathers there will be no need to manufacture Vietnamese war medals for wear on Honor Guard duty or holiday parade attendance. And b) for the past thirty-five years these medals were sold in US military Base and Post Exchanges to Active and Reserve Vietnam vets still serving in uniform. But as the last of these Vietnam vets permanently retire from service over the next two years there will be no need to manufacture Vietnamese medals for sale on military bases.
If you are in possession of a Vietnamese medal, treasure and preserve it. Do not loan it. Do not display it in an unprotected environment. As time passes these rare and soon to be absent medals that represent one of the most challenging eras in world history... the hottest region of The Cold War... will rise in historical and monetary value. And as many Vietnam veterans are choosing to restore the time-honored ritual of having a set of their medals buried with them, even fewer Vietnamese medals will exist.
The Vietnam War remains America’s longest war. The Vietnam War’s emblems of service and sacrifice, its medals, will one day fall in the disappearing well of ancient war history...