In the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served the United States any time during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945, through Dec. 26, 1991. Applicants must certify that their service was "faithful and honorable", and they must supply a copy of a supporting document which proves that they served during the Cold War era. The certificate may be awarded posthumously to those whose relatives apply on their behalf. There is no charge for a Cold War Recognition Certificate.
Note that no medal has been authorized or issued for Cold War Recognition. The program is scheduled to run until the supply of certificates is exhausted. This award is only issued one time. No replacement certificate will be issued.
Who is eligible for a certificate?
Anyone who worked for the U.S. Government at any time during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945 through Dec. 26, 1991, is eligible, provided their service to the country was faithful and honorable. National Guard and Reserve Soldiers are eligible. Contractors and volunteers are not eligible. Those who are currently active duty military or civilian employees of the U.S. government are also eligible if they had at least one day of honorable service during the Cold War era.
How do I request a certificate?
Fill out the new printable application and mail to the Cold War Office with your proof of service. An acceptable supporting document includes any official government or military document that contains the recipient's name, Social Security Number or Military Service Number or Foreign Service Number, and a date showing at least one day of service during the Cold War era (2 September 1945 to 26 December 1991). If you are unable to print the application you may submit a signed and dated letter containing the same information as the application (full name, address, identification including type (SSN, MSN, or FSN), applicant name if different from recipient, and email address (if available)). You must include the phrase "I confirm my faithful and honorable service to the nation during the Cold War Era."
How do I print the application?
The new application form permits on-screen entry of your request information but must be printed. Online submission of the application is no longer possible. To print the application you must use the print command in your web browser which is usually found under the File menu. If you click on the File menu you should see the option "Print" appear. Select "Print", then click "OK". Due to differences in the different type of web browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, etc.), you may need to use different menu options to print. Consult your browser's help section for details.
What kind of supporting document is acceptable? Any document which shows that the intended recipient was a U.S. government employee during the Cold War era will be accepted as proof. The document must contain the name of the recipient, the Social Security Number or Military Service Number or Foreign Service Number which was included in the request for the certificate, and a date showing at least one day of service within the range of 2 September 1945 and 26 December 1991. Examples of acceptable documents include a Leave and Earnings statement, DD214 or other Discharge Paper, or SF50 (Civilian Personnel Action Form.) Please send a copy of your supporting document, DO NOT SEND the original document. Original documents cannot be returned.
Where do I send the application? Please submit the completed and signed application along with copies of supporting documents to:
USAHRC Cold War Recognition Program ATTN: AHRC-PDP-A, Dept 480 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue Fort Knox, KY 40122-5408
What is a Military Service Number or a Foreign Service Number?
Military Service Numbers (MSN) were issued to members of the armed forces before Social Security Numbers (SSN) were used to identify personnel. The changeover to Social Security Numbers occurred in the late 1960’s, so many retirees who are eligible for the certificate may have only a Military Service number on their supporting document. The Foreign Service Number (FSN) is used to maintain records for foreign nationals employed by the US government and who do not have Social Security Numbers.
NOTE: The number supplied in your initial request, be it SSN, MSN, or FSN, must match the number supplied on your supporting document.
May I request certificates for my entire unit at once?
Yes. You must supply a POC with email address and DSN phone number, the name and identification number (SSN) for each of the applicants and the request must be signed by an O-4 /GS-13 or higher. The request must also include certification that all applicants served honorably during the Cold War era. Upon receipt of large group requests the Cold War Office may contact your POC to provide detailed instructions for an electronic submission. The certificates will be mailed to the address provided.
Who are considered the primary next of kin?
If the veteran is deceased, his/her primary next-of-kin (PNOK) may apply for the certificate. If the veteran or federal employee was married, the primary next-of-kin is the spouse, children, or siblings, in that order of precedence. If the spouse is living, he/she must apply before the veteran's eldest son or daughter. If the veteran's eldest son or daughter applies, the request must explain that the spouse is deceased. If the veteran was not married, the PNOK is the veteran's father/mother, or brothers/sisters, in that order of precedence. If the veteran's parents are living, they must apply before the veteran's eldest brother or sister applies. If the veteran's eldest brother or sister applies, the request must explain that the parents are deceased.
Click here to open a downloadable application