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Vietnam Gallantry Cross

Vietnam Gallantry Cross

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The Vietnam Gallantry Cross was a military decoration
Military decoration
A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniform....

 of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 which was
established in August 1950. Also known as the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Gallantry Cross was awarded to any military personnel who have accomplished deeds of valor or displayed heroic conduct while fighting an enemy force. It was modelled after the French Croix de guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...


Medal degrees

The Gallantry Cross was issued in four degrees, with a basic medal followed by higher degrees which were the equivalent of personal citations on an organizational level (also known as having been "mentioned in dispatches
Mentioned in Dispatches
A soldier Mentioned in Despatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which is described the soldier's gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy.In a number of countries, a soldier's name must be mentioned in...

"). The degrees of the Gallantry Cross were as follows:
  • Gallantry Cross with Palm (Individual Award) ["cited before the Army"]
  • Gallantry Cross with Gold Star (Corps
    A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

     citation) ["cited before the Corps"]
  • Gallantry Cross with Silver Star (Division
    Division (military)
    A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

     citation) ["cited before the Division"]
  • Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star (Regiment
    A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

     or Brigade
    A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

     citation) ["cited before the Regiment"]

The Gallantry Cross with palm was awarded in three degrees: golden palm, silver palm and bronze palm (see for example photos of Hal Moore
Hal Moore
Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore, Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army and author. Moore is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second highest military decoration of the United States Army, and was the first of his West Point class to be promoted to...

 (two golden and one silver palm), Robert H. Barrow
Robert H. Barrow
Robert Hilliard Barrow was an American general, who was the 27th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps from 1979 to 1983. Barrow served for 41 years, including overseas command duty in three wars...

 (two silver palms), Patrick Henry Brady
Patrick Henry Brady
Major General Patrick Henry Brady, USA is a retired American Army officer. While serving as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, he received the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.-Biography:...

 (one golden palm and one bronze star), H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.
General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf KCB , also known as "Stormin' Norman" and "The Bear", is a retired United States Army General who, while he served as Commander of U.S. Central Command, was commander of the Coalition Forces in the Gulf War of 1991.-Early life:Schwarzkopf was born in Trenton, New...

 (two bronze palms and one bronze star) or William J. Crowe
William J. Crowe
Admiral William James Crowe, Jr. was a United States Navy Admiral who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and as the ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Bill Clinton.-Biography:Crowe was born in La Grange, Kentucky...


The devices to the Gallantry Cross are not worn simultaneously but instead are upgradeable to the next higher device which would replace the previous device for wear on the decoration.

For U.S. Navy personnel, uniform regulations state the recipient should wear only one Gallantry Cross award (medal or ribbon bar) regardless of the number received. For multiple awards, wear as many authorized devices as will fit on one medal or ribbon bar. Wear the devices for subsequent awards in order of seniority from the wearer's right.

Service Versions

The Vietnam Gallantry Cross was also issued in three versions, the first of which was the standard Gallantry Cross which was issued to members of all military branches, as well as service members of foreign and allied militaries.

Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.

The other versions of the Gallantry Cross were the Air Gallantry Cross and Navy Gallantry Cross. These decorations were awarded under a different authority than the standard Gallantry Cross and were considered separate decorations.

Unit Award

The Vietnam Gallantry Cross also was issued as a unit award which is an entirely separate
decoration from the full sized medal. Known as the "Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm," the unit citation award was created in 1968 and was issued as the Gallantry Cross ribbon, with a metal palm device, enclosed within a gold frame
Gold frame
A gold frame is an attachment to a military decoration which is issued by most of the world’s militaries. The gold frame is designed to enclose an award ribbon and is usually a means of distinguishing the ribbon’s special quality or denoting some additional achievement to the award's basic...

. The unit citation was issued in the name of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 to any military unit which distinguished itself to the same level as would be required for the individual award. Regulations for the issuance of the Vietnam Gallantry Cross permit the wearing of both the individual and unit award simultaneously, since they both are considered separate decorations. The fourragere
The fourragère is a military award, distinguishing military units as a whole, that is shaped as a braided cord. The award has been firstly adopted by France, followed by other nations such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.- History :...

 of the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry was awarded to units who had been awarded the Cross twice. It was a brilliant golden-yellow, with red intermixed. Department of the Army message 111030Z from April 1974, established the policy that only one emblem for a unit award was authorized to be worn at a time. This change resulted in the fourragere being no longer authorized for wear, as it was representative of multiple awards.

The Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm was issued to every Allied nation which provided military support to Vietnam between 1 March 1961 and the fall of Saigon in April 1975. The unit decoration thus became the most commonly awarded Vietnamese decoration to foreigners, second only to the Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
The Vietnam Campaign Medal is a military recognition awarded by the Republic of Vietnam, , to any member of the United States, Australian, New Zealand and allied military forces serving six months or more in support of Republic of Vietnam military operations.Established in 1966, the decoration is...


United States issuance

The United States military began authorizing the Vietnam Gallantry Cross in March 1968 with retroactive presentation of the decoration to 1961. In 1974, Army General Order Number 8 confirmed eligibility for the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation to every military unit of the United States Army which had served under the Military Assistance Command from 1961 to 1974, however, orders, specific as to dates and units, do exist for specific Army commands as well as for members of other services not affected by the Army General Order. There is no documentaion to be found supporting the claim that this award is awarded to service members who participated in the evacuation of Saigon during April 1975. This is an unsupported claim.
The National Personnel Records Center
National Personnel Records Center
The National Personnel Records Center is an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration, created in 1956. It is divided into two large Federal Records Centers located in St...

 is the agency which responds to retroactive award requests, from U.S. Army veterans, updating military records to show the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, either per Army General Order 8 or per unit specific awards. The decoration itself, both full medal and unit citation, are considered foreign military decorations and are not provided to Vietnam veterans by any of the United States military services. The decoration is available for purchase at most Military Installations military clothing sales. But if they are unable to access a military installation, private military insignia dealers have them on hand. The decoration may also be found for sale on the Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...


Notable recipients

  • U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel
    Chuck Hagel
    Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel is a former United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002...

    , an infantry sergeant at the time, was awarded the Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
  • USMC Lieutenant General George R. Christmas
    George R. Christmas
    George Ronald Christmas is a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general. Christmas was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his valor in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He served on active duty in the Marine Corps for 34 years, retiring in 1996...

     was awarded the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
  • FBI Director Robert Mueller
    Robert Mueller
    Robert Swan Mueller III is the 6th and current Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation .-Early life:...

     was awarded the Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
  • Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey
    R. Lee Ermey
    Ronald Lee Ermey is a retired United States Marine Corps drill instructor and actor.Ermey has often played the roles of authority figures, such as his breakout performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in...

     was awarded the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
  • Former Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     Governor and Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge
    Tom Ridge
    Thomas Joseph "Tom" Ridge is an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives , the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania , Assistant to the President for Homeland Security , and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security...

  • Houston area news anchor Bob Boudreaux
    Bob Boudreaux
    Bob Boudreaux is a Vietnam veteran and former weekend news anchor for KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas.Beaudreault arrived in the United States Army through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. During his four years on active duty, Beaudreault flew...

     awarded a Vietnam Gallantry Cross
  • IBEW Local Union Business Manager (Pensacola, FL) Reagan McDaniel awarded a Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star by President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
    Nguyen Van Thieu
    Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam , became head of a military junta, and then president after winning a fraudulent election...

See also

  • National Order of Vietnam
    National Order of Vietnam
    The National Order of Vietnam was a combined military-civilian decoration of South Vietnam and was considered the highest honor that could be bestowed upon an individual by the Republic of Vietnam government....

  • Vietnam Military Merit Medal
    Vietnam Military Merit Medal
    The Vietnam Military Merit Medal was the highest military decoration of South Vietnam during the years of the Vietnam War. Created August 15, 1950, the Military Merit Medal was modelled after the French Médaille militaire, and was the Vietnamese equivalent to the United States Medal of Honor and...

  • Vietnam Civil Actions Medal
    Vietnam Civil Actions Medal
    The Vietnam Civil Actions Medal was a decoration of South Vietnam which was first established in 1964. The decoration is a mid-level service award which was awarded to any member of the Vietnamese military who performed outstanding civic service to the state or who participated in civil service...

  • Vietnam Campaign Medal
    Vietnam Campaign Medal
    The Vietnam Campaign Medal is a military recognition awarded by the Republic of Vietnam, , to any member of the United States, Australian, New Zealand and allied military forces serving six months or more in support of Republic of Vietnam military operations.Established in 1966, the decoration is...

  • Vietnam Service Medal
    Vietnam Service Medal
    The Vietnam Service Medal is a military award which was created in 1965 by order of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The distinctive design was the creation of sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, a former employee of the Army Institute of Heraldry. The medal is issued to recognize military service during...

External links