How To Obtain a Cold War Recognition Certificate

Qualifications for a Cold Ware Recognition Certificate and How to Get One

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If you served honorably on active duty in the Armed Forces, in the Guard, in the Reserve, or as a DOD federal employee from September 2, 1945 through December 26, 1991, you're authorized to receive the Cold War Recognition Certificate as per section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act. The certificate is awarded to all U.S. Armed Forces personnel as well as some civilian personnel who served during the Cold War era defined by these dates.

The certificate is offered by the Secretary of Defense. 

There is only one official site where you can request a Cold War Recognition Certificate, and this actually makes things easier. It is operated by the United States Army, which is the executive agency for the Cold War Recognition Program.

Here's how to obtain your copy for free. It's easy and shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes. 

Proof of Service 

You will need proof of your service, such as a DD Form 214 Record of Military Service, WD AGO Form 53-55 which is the War Department Separation Document, or an Oath of Office provided by Military personnel or a letter of appointment.

Qualifying civilian service can be proved with a Standard Form 50, the Notification of Personnel Action, or with Standard Form 2809, the Health Benefits Registration Form. You can also provide an award certificate bearing your name as an employee, the name of the service or agency, and the dates you worked there, or retirement forms that include your name, service or agency, and dates of employment.

Prepare a Letter 

Prepare, date, and sign a letter requesting the award of the Cold War Recognition Certificate. You can also fill out an official request form at the  website, which is obviously easier and should not affect the process in any way. If you choose to send a physical copy of a letter or request form, send it along with a copy of your service proof to:

Commander, USAHRC
ATTN: AHRC-PDP-A, Dept 480
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122-5408

Some Tips

Your letter must contain the phrase "I certify that my service was honorable and faithful" whether you were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a federal civilian employee during the Cold War era. Otherwise, your request will be rejected. This wording must be exact and verbatim and the letter must include your signature. 

Don't send the original of your proof of service. Send a copy. Original documentation cannot be returned to you and copies are perfectly acceptable. 

There is a large demand for this program. Individuals normally receive a response within 60 days but the turnaround time will depend upon the number of requests received at the time you submit yours. 

A telephone helpline is available if you run into problems or have further questions. Just call 502-613-9126. Unfortunately, there's no toll-free number for help, but you should find plenty of assistance at this source.

The National Guards in some states, including Louisiana and Alaska, also offer special medals to those who served during the Cold War period.