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Dear Ms. Secord,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
A sample DD 214 is available at http://www.dd214.us/images/dd214-sample-form-lg.jpg
On the DD 214, check the following sections for verification:
- 13 -- Last Duty Assignment or Command includes the last unit or ship:
For Army, this may not help verify service in Vietnam since it may be a replacement unit or one stationed in another area such as USAREUR (US Army, Europe)
For Navy ships listed, if the ship is listed on this list prepared by the VA -- https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/docs/shiplist.docx, the veteran can claim Vietnam service.
For Marine Corps units, check the Marine Corps Command Chronologies at https://www.archives.gov/research/military/marine-corps/command-chronology for units that were stationed in Vietnam.
For Air Force units, please check the listing at http://www.afhistory.af.mil/FAQs/Fact-Sheets/Article/639594/usaf-units-serving-in-south-vietnam-1965-1973/
- 24 -- Medals or decorations may include Vietnam in the title such as Vietnam Service Medal or Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
- 25 -- Education & Training may include the acronyms RVN (Republic of Vietnam) or USARPAC (US Army, Pacific)
- 30 -- Remarks may include dates served in USARPAC Vietnam
Also, NARA has various databases for Vietnam that can be used to verify service at https://aad.archives.gov/aad/series-list.jsp?cat=WR28. They are mostly casualty lists but there are ones such as the Navy Awards database that can be narrowed down by geographical area where award was earned.
There is more information available via NARA’s Vietnam Portal at https://www.archives.gov/research/vietnam-war/in-country
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
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Also, look at the medals section about 3/4 down on the form. If the person was entitled to the Vietnam Medal they were in Viet Nam, in the nearby waters, or in the air over Viet Nam.
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In most cases it will be listed on he DD214 in Box 26, "Decorations, Medals, Badges, Commendations, Citations and Campaign Ribbons Awarded or Authorized."
It can also be found in the OMPF (Official Military Personnel File) - aka Service Jacket - on the page "History of Assignments" or something similar.
UNLESS . . .
The person of interest was involved in SPECOPS or other classified operations. I know of Navy personnel who were stationed in Vietnam (TAD from Okinawa to Phu Bhi) who have no mention of this in their OMPF or DD214. But there is another file - that is classified - which might contain records of detatched duty assignments and other sensitive operations.
The reason I know of the existence of this other file is that my classified records along with my OMPF are languishing at McDill AFB with the VA representative who is reviewing my case.
USAF Air Cargo Spec 71-73, 63 MAC. I am not an expert on military records but my full records were pulled and much is missing. If you were assigned to a base anywhere in the world, its in your records. For example I was assigned to Norton AFB California and thats in my records. My job involved Cargo Planes. The military may temporarily send you anywhere in the world. You get TDY orders = Temporary Duty assignment. If I was sent TDY to Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam there is no proving that. A TDY Vietnam trip would not show up unless you were crew (pilot, navigator, flight engineer, loadmaster).. If your TDY, not based in Vietnam, and not aircrew you do not get a Vietnam campaign medal as far as I can tell. The problem I ran into was the USAF did not keep TDY records so there is nothing in my file except assigned bases. I cannot prove my TDY flights unless I can find someone that happened to be on the same flight 50 years ago and remembered me enough to validate me. Not gonna happen. I suspect someone just threw out the TDY papers as a bookkeeping issue deemed not important. Remember its the 60 and 70s all manual papers then no computerized files like we have today.