The Armed Forces Honor Medal was established by decree on January 6, 1953 to recognize the contributions of military and non-military personnel in the formation and organization of the State of Vietnam’s military forces, at that time the Vietnamese National Army. Decrees in 1965 and 1966 altered the wording of the medal’s description to reflect the change of the government ten years earlier from the State of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam.

Although regulations did not limit recipients of the medal to any particular professions or governmental branch, they did make specific mention of military personnel, technicians, and government employees or civilians. In addition to rewarding contributions in laying the groundwork for the RVNAF (Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces), the medal was also given to those who trained troops or technicians across all three branches of the military: The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF), and the Republic of Vietnam Navy (VNN).

Awarding authorization rested with the RVNAF’s Chief of the Joint General Staff. The Armed Forces Honor Medal was issued in two classes; the 1st Class version was gold and awarded to officers, while the 2nd Class silver version given to enlisted personnel (including warrant officers) and non-military recipients.

Although the United States had provided military advisors to provide training of troops in Vietnam as far back as 1950, it was not until the creation of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) in 1962 that the number of trainers and advisors began to skyrocket. Perhaps the most famous example of training that might have been rewarded with the Armed Forces Honor Medal was the work done by the Army Special Forces to enable the Montagnards (French for “mountain men”) to form Civilian Irregular Defense Groups to protect villages in Republic of Vietnam President Diem’s Strategic Hamlet Program.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.