Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran’s

A notice to my fellow Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran’s:  Upon discharge, your Standard Form DD-214 only reflected the Awards & Decorations you were authorized to wear on your uniform at that particular time.  Many Awards & Decorations (especially unit awards) were subsequently approved (and backdated) after your discharge, and you may now wish to have your records updated to reflect the most current and updated information.  You can receive a government acknowledgement (Standard Form DD-215) listing all of your earned Awards & Decorations of record (including those awarded and backdated after your discharge).  You will need to send your request (Standard Form SF-180), including your full name, Service Number and dates of service, to:

National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)

1 Archives Drive

Saint Louis, Missouri 63138

Many of us are now authorized to wear the Combat Action Ribbon (CAR).  To qualify you had to have ” … engaged in ground combat, and conducted yourself in a satisfactory manner.”  For me that eligibility came about as a result of the rocket, mortar and ground attack(s) on Chu Lai airbase during the Têt Offensive of 1968 (I simply stated my whereabouts and the date of the attack(s) on my request form).  Additionally, all personnel are now authorized to wear the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (with palm device and frame), and the Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation (with palm device and frame). Almost all Marine units that served in Vietnam (the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Marine Air Wing) are eligible to wear the Navy Presidential Unit Citation (I received authorization prior to my release from active duty in 1969).  Three additional awards completely surprised me:  the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross (Marine Echo Papa One Niner) – Individual Award (with bronze star device) , the Vietnam Civil Actions 2nd Class – Individual Award and the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.  I knew that they had been submitted for approval prior to my release from active duty, but I had no idea that they had received final approval. It might be worth your time and effort to pursue a request if you’re at all interested in those kinds things, but be prepared to wait months for an answer—the wheels of bureaucracy move very slowly indeed.

Awards & Decorations

Awards, Decorations and Badges

From top to bottom and left to right: Marine Combat Aircrew Wings; *Air Medal (with Combat V, bronze star, numeral 3); *Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with Combat V); Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal (with 3 bronze battle stars); Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with bronze star device) individual award; Vietnam Civil Actions 2nd Class individual award; Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (with palm device and frame); Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation (with palm device and frame); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (with banner device); Rifle Sharpshooter Badge and Pistol Marksman Badge.

Full Size Medals Display

Full size medals


* Combat V device is awarded for valor in a combat zone (as opposed to non-combat service).  All foreign Awards & Decorations are worn junior to American military awards (i.e., a foreign award for valor would be worn junior to an American award for just good conduct).


Sergeant Stephen F. Dennstedt USMC

1965 – 1971

Vietnam 1967 – 1968

Steve with Cafe

Stephen F. Dennstedt – Civilian


Merida, Yucatan, MX

Indochine Photography International

Expat Journal

My NatGeo Portfolio

Semper fidelis amigos

2 responses to “Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran’s

  1. Stephen,

    Thanks for the update. I knew we should have received a boatload more decorations for the continued stream of actions and attacks we suffered through. It is not much consolation since t
    many of us returning home were spit on and called every dirty name Americans could think of.

    Semper Fi, brother. Enjoy the world before the bad guys take control.

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