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Cold War Victory Medal
Cold War Victory Medal
Awarded by
(1) United States National Guard
(States of Alaska, Louisiana & Texas)
(2) Commemorative medal for veterans
and retirees by purchase from private vendors
Type Medal
Eligibility 2 Sep 1945 - 26 Dec 1991
Status National Guard and commemorative medal for honorable service during Cold War
First awarded 1 Feb 2000
Last awarded currently to those who served from 2 Sep 1945 - 26 Dec 1991
Next (higher) U.S. marksmanship, training and development awards (Note: Veterans may wear commemorative medal on public holidays. However, it is not authorized for wear on active duty uniform. The medal may be worn only on civilian attire and only after other authorized awards.)
U.S. National Guard
Alaska Air Medal
Louisiana War Cross
Next (lower) Alaska Commendation Medal
Louisiana Emergency Service Medal
LA Cold War Victory

The Cold War Victory Medal is both an official medal of the National Guard and an unofficial military medal of the United States. It is awarded by the States of Louisiana and Texas, and in ribbon form only by the State of Alaska.[citation needed] In the medal's unofficial capacity it can be purchased, but not worn in uniform, by any member of the United States military, or civilian employees of the federal government, who served in their positions honorably during the years of the Cold War, specifically September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.

Background and historyEdit

In accordance with section 1084 of the National Defense Authorization Act[1] for fiscal year 1998, Congress commended the members of the Armed Forces and civilian personnel who contributed to the historic victory in the Cold War, and authorized and instructed the then-Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, to prepare a certificate recognizing the Cold War service of qualifying members of the Armed Forces and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense and other government agencies. The certificate became known as the Cold War Recognition Certificate available by request of the individual by all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who honorably served the United States anytime during the Cold War, which is defined as September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.

In October 2001, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act ("NDAA")[2] for fiscal year 2002, which is signed into law on December 28, 2001 by President George W. Bush. In the NDAA approved by both houses and signed into law by the president, was a Sense of the Congress resolution that the Secretary of Defense should consider authorizing the issuance of a Campaign medal, to be known as the Cold War Service Medal, to each person who while a member of the Armed Forces served satisfactorily on active duty during the Cold War. The then-Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, did not create such a medal.

The official US Navy web page states: "The Department of Defense will not be creating a Cold War Service medal" and that any commemorative medals made by private vendors are unauthorized on the military uniform.[3] At present the Cold War Victory Medal remains strictly commemorative and is unofficial other than for members of the Louisiana National Guard.

The Cold War Victory Medal is also referred to as the Cold War Commemorative Medal, Cold War Service Medal, or simply as the Cold War Medal. There are no devices or attachments authorized for the Cold War Victory Medal.


The Cold War Victory Medal was designed by Nadine Russell, the Chief of Creative Heraldry at the Army's Institute of Heraldry and the designer of many campaign and service medals, including the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.[4]

National Guard awards medalEdit

The National Guard Bureau does not issue nor recognize the Cold War Victory Medal.[citation needed] The medal is worn as a National Guard award and issued by the Louisiana National Guard. The Adjutant General of the State of Louisiana currently authorizes the decoration as the "Louisiana Cold War Victory Medal". Eligible members, including active duty members, of the Louisiana National Guard are authorized to wear the medal in uniform while in the state of Louisiana and not on federal property in that state (e.g., Fort Polk).[5][citation needed]

Various commemorative versions of the medalEdit

The Cold War Victory Medal is also a civilian medal which may be privately purchased but is not distributed by the United States government. As such, the decoration is not presently authorized for wear on active duty military uniforms. However, the medal has been officially adopted by the Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States and is thus frequently worn by U.S. military retirees, veterans and civilians on public holidays, parades and veterans functions. In this regard, the order of precedence of the Cold War Victory Medal is immediately after the lowest authorized U.S. award.

There are various versions of the medal privately struck by many different vendors. However, the only version which has been officially adopted by the Military Order of Foreign Wars has been the Cold War Victory Medal designed by Nadine Russell of the Institute of Heraldry. It has also been officially adopted by the American Cold War Veterans organization. The Germany Defense Veterans of America has also adopted and authorized this medal to all the members of the Germany Defense Veterans of America as this organization's wear of medals on the GDVA uniform.

Bills introduced in Congress to enact authorization to wear medalEdit

Over the years bills have been introduced in five separate Congresses for the authorization of a Cold War Victory Medal or Cold War Service Medal. To date bills have successfully passed both houses but get stripped out in committee. All medal bills have been vehemently opposed by the U.S. Department of Defense. On February 17, 2011, Senator Olympia Snowe (ME) and on May 24, 2011, Representative Steve Israel (NY-2) reintroduced legislation in the Senate and House, respectively, that the Secretary of Defense concerned may issue a service medal, to be known as the `Cold War Service Medal', to Cold War veterans who meet the criteria.

Bills in the United States SenateEdit

Congress Cold War Medal Bill number Sponsor Co-Sponsor Notes
112th Congress (2011–2012)S.402Olympia Snowe (ME)Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Tim Johnson (SD), John Kerry (MA), Robert Menendez (NJ), Jim Webb (VA)6 Co-Sponsors
111th Congress (2009–2010)S.2743Olympia Snowe (ME)Russ Feingold (WI), John Kerry (MA), Paul G. Kirk (MA), Mary Landrieu (LA), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Robert Menendez (NJ), Mike Johanns (NE), Jim Webb (VA)8 Co-Sponsors
110th Congress (2007–2008)S.AMDT. 2163 to H.R.1585Hillary Clinton (NY)Susan Collins (ME), Blanche Lincoln (AR)2 Co-Sponsors
S.1097Hillary Clinton (NY)Susan Collins (ME), Chuck Schumer (NY), Mary Landrieu (LA), Olympia Snowe (ME)4 Co-Sponsors
S.1763Hillary Clinton (NY)Blanche Lincoln (AR), Olympia Snowe (ME)2 Co-Sponsors
109th Congress (2005–2006)S.AMDT.4212 to S.2766Hillary Clinton (NY)None0 Co-Sponsors
S.1351Hillary Clinton (NY)Blanche Lincoln (AR), Dick Durbin (IL) Tim Johnson (SD)3 Co-Sponsors
108th Congress (2003–2004)S.1841Hillary Clinton (NY)Blanche Lincoln (AR), Dick Durbin (IL) Mark Pryor (AR)3 Co-Sponsors
H.R.3388See H.R. 3388 belowDavid Vitter (LA)David Vitter Co-Sponsored H.R. 3388 as Congressman from Louisiana's 1st district and is currently a US Senator from Louisiana.[6]
107th Congress (2001–2002)H.R.2165See H.R. 2165 belowLindsey Graham (SC)Lindsey Graham Co-Sponsored H.R.2165 as Congressman from South Carolina's 3rd district and is currently a US Senator from South Carolina.[7]
106th Congress (1999–2000)S.AMDT.474 to S.1059Phil Gramm (TX)Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), John Ashcroft (MO), Paul Coverdell (GA), Trent Lott (MS)4 Co-Sponsors
105th Congress (1997–1998)S.AMDT.743 to S.936Larry Craig (ID)None0 Co-Sponsors

List of 12 Currently-Serving Senators who have supported the enactment of the medalEdit

StateSenator107th Congress (2001–2002)108th Congress (2003–2004)109th Congress (2005–2006)110th Congress (2007–2008)111th Congress (2009–2010)112th Congress (2011–2012)
ARMark PryorS.1841
ILDick DurbinS.1841S.1351
KSJerry Moran H.R.2568
LAMary Landrieu S.1097 S.2743
LADavid Vitter[6]H.R.3388[6]
MAJohn Kerry S.2743S.402
MESusan Collins S.1097S.AMDT. 2163 to H.R.1585 S.402
NEMike Johanns S.2743
NJRobert Menendez S.2743S.402
NYChuck Schumer S.1097
SCLindsey Graham[7] H.R.2165[7]
SDTim Johnson S.1351 S.402

Bills in the U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Congress Cold War Medal Bill number Sponsor Co-Sponsor Notes
112th Congress (2011–2012)H.R.1968Steve Israel (NY-2)Jason Altmire (PA-4), Timothy Bishop (NY-1), Judy Chu, (CA-32), Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Joseph (Joe) Courtney (CT-2), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Richard L. Hanna (NY-24), Nan Hayworth (NY-19), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Jim McGovern (MA-3), David McKinley (WV-1), Michael Michaud (ME-2), Timothy F. Murphy (PA-18), William Lewis Owens (NY-23), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Todd Russell Platts (PA-19), Nick Rahall (WV-3)19 Co-Sponsors
111th Congress (2009–2010)H.R.4051Steve Israel (NY-2)Jason Altmire (PA-4), Michael Arcuri (NY-24), Dan Boren (OK-2), Rick Boucher (VA-9), Bob Brady (PA-1), Christopher Carney (PA-10), Joseph (Joe) Courtney (CT-2), Mark Critz (PA-12), Kathleen Dahlkemper (PA-3), Geoff Davis (KY-4), Bill Delahunt (MA-10), Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08), Chaka Fattah (PA-2), Bob Filner (CA-51), Virginia Foxx (NC-5), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Brian Higgins (NY-27), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Paul Hodes (NH-2), Mark Kirk (IL-10), Tom Latham (IA-4), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11), Jim McGovern (MA-03), Mike McIntyre (NC-7), Michael McMahon (NY-13), Michael H. Michaud (ME-2), Timothy F. Murphy (PA-18), John Murtha (PA-12), Bill Pascrell (NJ-8), Collin Peterson (MN-7), Pedro Pierluisi (PR), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23), Todd Russell Platts (PA-19), Ted Poe (TX-2), Mike Ross (AR-4), Joe Sestak (PA-7), Betty Sutton (OH-13), Glenn "G.T." Thompson (PA-5), Mac Thornberry (TX-13), Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-5), Joe Wilson (SC-2), Robert Wittman (VA-1), Frank Wolf (VA-10), Fred Upton (MI-6)46 Co-Sponsors
110th Congress (2007–2008)NoneNoneNone
109th Congress (2005–2006)H.R.2568Rob Andrews (NJ-1)Rick Boucher (VA-9), Jo Ann Davis (VA-1), Phil English (PA-3), Bob Filner (CA-51), Virgil Goode (VA-5), Bart Gordon (TN-6), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18), Randy Kuhl (NY-29), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11), Dennis Moore (KS-3), Jerry Moran (KS-1), Todd Platts (PA-19), Nick Rahall (WV-3), Silvestre Reyes (TX-16), Rob Simmons (CT-2), Bart Stupak (MI-1)17 Co-Sponsors
108th Congress (2003–2004)H.R.3388Thomas Tancredo (CO-6)Phil English (PA-3), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Bart Gordon (TN-6), Mark Green (WI-8), Jim Leach (IA-2), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11), Mike Michaud (ME-2), Dennis Moore (KS-3), Jim Moran (VA-8), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Jim Ryun (KS-2), John Shimkus (IL-19), David Vitter (LA-1), Joe Wilson (SC-2)14 Co-Sponsors
H.R.3201Rob Andrews (NJ-1)Rick Boucher (VA-9), Ben Chandler (KY-6), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Mike Honda (CA-15), Jim McDermott (WA-7), Jim McGovern (MA-3), Todd Platts (PA-19)7 Co-Sponsors
107th Congress (2001–2002)H.R.3417Ron Paul (TX-14)Virgil Goode (VA-5)1 Co-Sponsor
H.R.2165Floyd Spence (SC-2)Cass Ballenger (NC-10), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6), Gus Bilirakis (FL-9), Kevin Brady (TX-8), Steve Buyer (IN-4), Ed Bryant (TN-7), Howard Coble (NC-6), Randy Cunningham (CA-51), Jim Gibbons (NV-2), Lindsey Graham (SC-3), Van Hilleary (TN-4), David L. Hobson (OH-7), Nancy Johnson (CT-6), Sam Johnson (TX-3), Ken Lucas (KY-4), Ray LaHood (IL-18), Jim McGovern (MA-3), Cynthia McKinney (GA-4), Michael Oxley (OH-4), Joseph R. Pitts (PA-16), Jim Ryun (KS-2), Jim Saxton (NJ-3), Edward Schrock (VA-2), Rob Simmons (CT-2), John Spratt (SC-5)25 Co-Sponsors
106th Congress (1999–2000)H.R.2440Rick Lazio (NY-2)None0 Co-Sponsors

List of 42 Currently-Serving Representatives plus 1 Delegate to Congress who have supported the enactment of the medalEdit

StateRepresentative107th Congress (2001–2002)108th Congress (2003–2004)109th Congress (2005–2006) 110th Congress (2007–2008) 111th Congress (2009–2010)112th Congress (2011–2012)
CA-15Mike Honda H.R.3201
CA-32Judy Chu H.R.1968
CT-02Joseph (Joe) Courtney H.R.4051H.R.1968
FL-09Gus BilirakisH.R.2165
IA-04Tom Latham H.R.4051
IL-19John Shimkus H.R.3388
MA-03Jim McGovernH.R.2165 H.R.3201 H.R.4051H.R.1968
ME-01Chellie Pingree H.R.4051H.R.1968
ME-02Mike Michaud H.R.3388 H.R.4051H.R.1968
MI-06Fred Upton H.R.4051
MN-07Collin Peterson H.R.4051
NC-05Virginia Foxx H.R.4051
NC-06Howard CobleH.R.2165
NC-07Mike McIntyre H.R.4051
NE-01Jeff Fortenberry H.R.1968
NJ-01Rob Andrews H.R.3201 H.R.2568
NJ-08Bill Pascrell H.R.4051
NY-01Timothy Bishop H.R.1968
NY-02Steve Israel H.R.5112 H.R.4051H.R.1968
NY-23William Lewis Owens H.R.1968
NY-24Richard L. Hanna H.R.1968
NY-27Brian Higgins H.R.4051
OH-09Marcy Kaptur H.R.1968
PA-01Bob Brady H.R.4051
PA-02Chaka Fattah H.R.4051
PA-05Glenn "G.T." Thompson H.R.4051
PA-06Jim Gerlach H.R.3201H.R.3388 H.R.4051H.R.1968
PA-16Joseph R. PittsH.R.2165
PA-18Timothy F. Murphy H.R.4051H.R.1968
SC-02Joe Wilson H.R.3388 H.R.4051
TX-02Ted Poe H.R.4051
TX-03Sam JohnsonH.R.2165
TX-08Kevin BradyH.R.2165
TX-13Mac Thornberry H.R.4051
TX-18Sheila Jackson-Lee H.R.2568 H.R.4051
VA-01Robert Wittman H.R.4051
VA-08Jim Moran H.R.3388
VA-10Frank Wolf H.R.4051
VA-11Gerald Connolly H.R.1968
WA-07Jim McDermott H.R.3201
WV-01David McKinley H.R.1968
WV-03Nick Rahall H.R.2568 H.R.1968
Delegate to Congress
Puerto RicoPedro Pierluisi H.R.4051


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