REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM MERITORIOUS UNIT CITATION (CIVIL ACTIONS)

The Republic of Vietnam issued its Civil Actions award to both individuals and to units. Individual recipients could receive either the First Class or Second Class Medal and Ribbon—First Class for officers, Second Class for NCOs and enlisted personnel. The unit-level version of the award was one of just two unit citations issued by the Republic of Vietnam (the other was the Gallantry Cross), and was technically known as the Unit Citation Emblem color of the Civil Actions Medal with Oak Leaf. Issued only as a ribbon, it came in only one class (because it was a unit award) and employed the design of the ribbon used for the First-Class Civil Actions.

Authorization for the acceptance and wear of the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation by members of the Armed Forces of the United States can be found in Volume 3 of The Department of Defense’s Manual of Military Decorations and Awards. Of course, each branch of the U.S. Military has its own regulations regarding the wear of this decoration. these are found in Army Regulation 600-8-22 Military Awards, the Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST 1650.1H), and the Coast Guard Military Medals and Awards Manual (COMDTINST M1650.25E). Air Force Regulations do not mention the award at all.

The Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual has the most specific regulations regarding this unit citation, which it erroneously calls the “Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation” (Vietnam did not issue any unit awards under that name). It correctly describes the ribbon as “Civil Actions First Class” in describing the colors because it has the two thin stripes in the middle that are found on the individual First Class ribbon. But it also says it is issued with “Palm and Frame,” which not only disagrees with the 1967 pamphlet Military Orders, Decorations, and Medals of the Republic of Vietnam (published by the Vietnamese government) but also the description found in AR 600-8-22: “The award of the Civil Actions Unit Citation, First Class, is accompanied with oak leaf clusters.”

While the Coast Guard’s COMDTINST M1650.25E says that the award was to “Naval Forces Vietnam and all subordinate units from 01 January 1965 to 28 March 1973,” this is in variance with the Navy and Marine Corps manual, which says the Secretary of the Navy “specifically authorized certain units of the Naval service to accept and wear these awards.” A list of those units eligible to wear the decoration is maintained by the Chief of Naval Operations and Commandant Marine Corps, but the regulations go on to say that all Marine Corps and Navy personnel who served “in country” (the manual’s quote marks, not ours) during the eligibility period are eligible for this award and the Gallantry Cross Unit Citation. It is not clear if those same personnel might be eligible for the individual medal rather than the unit award. The eligiblity dates for Navy and Marine Corps personnel are the same as found in Coast Guard regulations.
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Ribbon
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