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Dear Mr. Smith,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
The U.S. Armed Forces during the World War I period did not have the large number of military awards and decorations that are used by the Armed Forces today. However, Congress and the War Department did authorize a series of campaign ribbons for various military actions from 1890 to 1919, including the establishment of the Purple Heart Medal. These obsolete campaign ribbons and medals include the following:
- Spanish Campaign Medal
- West Indies Campaign Medal
- Spanish War Service Medal
- Army of Cuban Occupation Medal
- Cuban Pacification Medal
- Philippine Campaign Medal
- Mexican Service Medal
- Mexican Border Service Medal
- World War I Victory Medal
- Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
Because the resolution of the photographs are very poor and award ribbons are distinguishable by color scheme, it is difficult to determine precisely which medals your ancestors received. However, from the information provided we can make educated guesses on what they are eligible for based on their time and unit they served with.
If they served on active duty between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918 or participated in either of the Russian expeditions with the American Expeditionary Forces, they are eligible for the World War I Victory Medal. For each battle they participated in, an accompanying battle clasp was issued with the medal. Service members received the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal for occupation duty between November 12, 1918 and July 11, 1923.
The 146th Infantry Regiment was an Ohio Army National Guard unit that served in the Spanish-American War, participated in the Mexican Border service patrol, and served in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) at the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. This makes them eligible for the Spanish War Service Medal, and the Mexican Service and Border Service Medals. The 119th Infantry Regiment also served in the AEF, making them eligible for the World War I Victory Medal.
You may learn more about their service and what awards they are eligible for by requesting a copy of their Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and prior to 1958 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 for each and mail them to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. You also may fax the forms to 314-801-9195. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPRC was closed from March 23 through June 23, 2020. As of June 24th, the NPRC entered into Phase One of a gradual reopening process. The center is currently only servicing emergency requests and will soon expand its service to include time-sensitive requests from veterans for records needed to secure VA home loan guarantees and employment opportunities.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
Thank you very much