REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM GALLANTRY CROSS
When the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross was originally established in August, 1950, the nation was officially known as the State of Vietnam and its military forces were designated the Vietnamese National Army. Following the defeat of the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the nation was partitioned at the 17th parallel in keeping with the Geneva Accords of July, 1954. In October, 1955, the southern partition was established as the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), commonly referred to as South Vietnam.
Originally intended for military personnel in the VNA or those fighting alongside it, the Gallantry Cross was an individual award intended to recognize valorous deeds or heroic conduct displayed while fighting the enemy; like the French Croix de Guerre, its award required the recipient to be cited individually at the Army, corps, division, or brigade level.
But the RVN issued the Gallantry Cross to all units that were under the United States’ Military Assistance Command between February, 1962 and March, 1973; it also gave the award to all units under U.S. Army Vietnam command between July, 1965 and March, 1973. In effect, all personnel who served in Vietnam were authorized by the RVN to receive the medal as a unit citation. But official authorization for the acceptance and wear of the award did not come from the U.S. Army until March, 1974.
The RVN Gallantry Cross was issued in four degrees based upon the organizational level of the citing source. Units cited for heroic achievement in regimental or brigade reports are awarded a bronze star; silver indicates a division-level citation, gold stands for corps, and a Palm represents a citation at the Armed Forces level.