Seeking explanation of acronyms listed on father's DD-214

I am looking for information regarding my father's DD-214. He retired from the Army in January 1977. In Box 26 of his DD-214, it lists Decorations, Medals, Badges etc. that contain the following Acronyms: NDSM(1stOLC), OS SVC BARS (4), VSM w/6CC, RVNCM W/60, KSM, UNSM, ROKPUC, SCM, AM, DvrMechbadN, AeftCramBad, SRAcftCranBad, Pistol .45 Cal ExpQualBad, BSM, ARCOM, MUC, RVNCAHM (1stOLC), GCMDL (5thAwd), VCofGw/p, Rifle M-16ExpQualBad. Can someone explain what they all mean? I get the .45 Cal and the M-16. But the others, I have no idea. I really am focused on the one that says BSM. Is that a Bronze Star Medal? If so how do I get a copy of the Citation? My father has never mentioned it or for that matter talked much about his time in the Military. He now has dementia and his memory has started to slip. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hey Roger,

    Have you tried Google search on the acronyms? I have used that search before and had success! You can also request the medals and info on line, which is what I did for my Dad who was in WWII

    Good Luck!

  • Hi Roger, I found a publication online that lists various abbreviations used in the military. Several of those you listed above were defined (eg, VSM, Vietnam Service Medal; BSM, Bronze Star Medal). The link is:  As far as citations for any awards, if the DD-214 is the same format as those from WWII, the general order for the award may also be listed on the separation papers. Hope this is of some help. joan

  • Roger,

    NDSM: National Defense Service Medal

    OLC (Oak Leaf Cluster).

    VSM: Vietnam Service Medal

    RVNCM: Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

    Over Seas: OS Svc Bars

    ROKPUC: Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

    KSM: Korean Service Medal

    MUC: Metorious Unit Citation

    BSM: Bronze Star Medal

    GCMDL: Good Conduct Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster).

    UNSM: United Nations Service Medal

    AM: Achievement Medal

    JSCM: Joint Service Commendation Medal

    ARCOM: Army Commendation Medal

    Joan, also has given you a link that is helpful

    Hope this helps. Would suggest that you request your fathers Full Military file using the SF-180 and tell the NPRC that you request full OMPF file on your father.



  • Dear Mr. Campbell,


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    The following is the list of abbreviations on your father’s DD-214 and their meaning:

    • NDSM(1stOLC):  National Defense Service Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster)
    • OS SVC BARS (4):  Four Overseas Service Bars 
    • VSM w/6CC:  Vietnam Service Medal with 6 service stars indicating participating in 6 campaigns
    • RVNCM W/60: Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “1960- “ bar attachment [foreign award]
    • KSM:  Korean Service Medal
    • UNSM:  United Nations Service Medal
    • ROKPUC: Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Badge [foreign award]
    • SCM: This probably indicates a Joint Service Commendation Medal that is more often abbreviated as JSCM
    • AM: Air Medal
    • DvrMechbadN: Driver and Mechanic Badge
    • AeftCramBad: Aircraft Crewman Badge
    • SRAcftCranBad: Senior Aircraft Crewman Badge
    • Pistol .45 Cal ExpQualBad: Expert Qualification Badge for .45 caliber pistol
    • BSM: Bronze Star Medal
    • ARCOM: Army Commendation Medal
    • MUC: Meritorious Unit Commendation
    • RVNCAHM (1stOLC): Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal (First Class with Oak Leaf Cluster) [foreign award]
    • GCMDL (5thAwd): Good Conduct Medal (5th Award)
    • VCofGw/p: Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm [foreign award]
    • Rifle M-16ExpQualBad:  Expert Qualification Badge for M-16

    Some of the sources we used include the following:


    The citation for the Bronze Star Medal and possibly some of the other awards should be in your father’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Army after 1958 and prior to October 16, 1992 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.  Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. For more information see Request Military Service Records. You also can request the records online through eVetRecs. See eVetRecs Help for instructions.  Because your father is still living, we suggest that the request comes from him in order to avoid redactions. If necessary, you can assist him in completing the request. 


    Because the National Personnel Records Center routinely responds to requests for OMPFs by providing an extract of the record which does not include every document, we suggest you either specify that you want copies of any citations and orders relating to awards, or request a copy of the entire file. 

    If you or your father are interested in obtaining replacement medals, you also may include this in your request.  For Air Force (including Army Air Corps), Army, and Navy personnel, NARA's National Personnel Records Center will verify the awards to which a veteran is entitled and forward the request with the verification to the appropriate service department for issuance of the medals. 


    We hope that this is helpful.