The Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal (also known as the Vietnam Campaign medal) was established in 1964 by the South Vietnamese government to honor members of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces for direct participation in major conflicts and to foreign military personnel for service in South Vietnam.
At that time, the medal was awarded for service between March 8, 1949 and July 20, 1954 (the French Colonial period, when few -- if any -- U.S. Armed Forces would have served and be eligible) and from January 1, 1960 until the end of the Vietnam War, which was still in progress. That end date was eventually set as April 30, 1975 (the Fall of Saigon).
Criteria for that second period states a member of the Armed Forces had served in South Vietnam for six months between March 1, 1961 and March 28, 1973; had served outside South Vietnam, but contributed direct combat support to its Armed Forces for an aggregate of six months; was wounded by the enemy during a military action; was captured during action or in the line of duty, but later rescued or released; was killed in action or in the line of duty; or served sixty calendar days in Vietnam between Jan. 29, 1973 and March 28, 1973.
In precedence, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal follows the Army's Multinational Force and Observers medal, the Navy and Marine Corps's Inter-American Defense Board medal, and the Air Force's Multilateral Organization awards. It comes before Saudi Arabia's Liberation of Kuwait medal.
The medal is a six-pointed star of white enamel superimposed on a rounded gilt hexagon etched with rays that extend to the edge. In the center of the star is a green disc with an outline of Vietnam partially covered with a three-tongued red flame. On the back is a circle around the word "Vietnam." At the top of the circle is inscribed "Chien Dich" (Campaign) and at the bottom is "Boi Tinh" (Medal).
The medal hangs from a green-and-white striped ribbon, and one of two silver ribbon-shaped devices is affixed to it indicating the period of service.