View Full Version : New CMC Decides To Stop Wearing 3 Medals....

01-08-03, 07:28 AM

New CMC Doffed 3 of His Medals
Marine's Records On Awards Missing

By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 8, 2003; Page A10

Lt. Gen. Michael W. Hagee, the incoming commandant of the Marine Corps, disclosed yesterday that he had stopped wearing three medals because of sloppy record keeping in a case reminiscent of that involving Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda, the chief of naval operations who committed suicide in 1996 after improperly wearing combat decorations.

Hagee disclosed his decision to remove the medals at a hastily convened Pentagon news conference in an attempt to lay to rest any controversy regarding his decorations before he assumes command of the Marine Corps on Monday.

"I should have been more aggressive, and I should have had this done much earlier," Hagee said. "There's no excuse -- my fault."

His aides began contacting reporters yesterday morning in response to an article about Hagee's decorations that appeared on the Web site of Stars and Stripes, a military newspaper. One senior aide called the episode "embarrassing" and said it touched on an extremely sensitive issue in the Navy and Marine Corps, given the Boorda tragedy.

Boorda, chief of naval operations, committed suicide outside his home at the Washington Navy Yard shortly before two journalists were to visit him to discuss why he had worn two bronze "V" pins for valor in combat in the Vietnam War when they were not explicitly authorized in official citations, as required. Boorda had stopped wearing the pins a year earlier in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the reporters.

Hagee, 58, former commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif., did not mention the Boorda case but sought to draw distinctions between his case and Boorda's.

Hagee said that he had initiated a review of his decorations in September at the time he was confirmed by the Senate, and decided on his own to stop wearing the three medals when supporting documentation could not be found. After searching for the documentation for three months, Hagee said he made the decision last month when he posed -- absent the three ribbons -- for a new official photograph as Marine commandant.

Hagee insisted that he had earned all three ribbons and said he would continue searching for documentation that would enable him to wear the decorations in the future.

While Boorda acknowledged he had made a mistake in wearing pins for valor based on a mistaken belief that he was entitled to them, Hagee, who received the Bronze Star with a combat "V" pin for valor in Vietnam in 1970, admitted only to sloppy record keeping.

But given the Boorda case and the military's long history of problems with medals inappropriately worn, Hagee was concerned enough about the issue that he briefed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday morning.

Later in the day, Rumsfeld issued a statement backing Hagee.

"General Hagee brought the matter to me this morning and briefed me on the circumstances regarding documentation for his awards and decorations," the statement said. "He has considered the matter carefully and has a sound approach for addressing the matter. I have complete confidence in him and look forward to having him assume his responsibility as commandant of the Marine Corps on Monday."

At his news conference, Hagee described the Marines' archaic system for keeping records on individual and unit citations. But he said that it was every Marine's duty to make sure that the medals on his or her uniform were supported by the required documentation. Asked how those beneath him would respond to his lapse, Hagee said, "Marines are going to be disappointed."

Hagee said the three medals he has stopped wearing are a humanitarian service award for operations in Somalia in 1992; the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, awarded by the South Vietnamese government; and a Navy unit commendation that was awarded sometime before 1988.

Hagee said he removed the humanitarian award only because the U.S. Central Command, in issuing the decoration to the unit Hagee commanded, failed to include the names of the unit's individual members on the citation.

Hagee said he removed the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry because he cannot find his personal copy of the citation and can no longer obtain a copy because the South Vietnamese government no longer exists. Documentation for the Navy unit commendation could not be located, he said, because he can no longer remember the unit that received the award, or the year in which it was issued.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

01-08-03, 08:02 AM
Info on previous brouhaha on unearned medals re Boorda, Hackworth, etc.
See Responses bottom of below listed webpage...


01-08-03, 12:16 PM
Apparently, anyone who ever served in RVN got the Cross of Gallantry.

Re Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=cross+of+gallantry+vietnam)

I recall that when I retired in '72 they included a COG entry on my 214--I never had received a certificate nor had any knowledge of the award prior to that.

The above sites indicate that a certificate was indeed issued for it, and there are provisions if anyone wishes to file for a duplicate certificate, etc.

Dick Gaines

01-08-03, 12:32 PM
All in all seems like Hagee is a classey guy; all Marine. I think we all know that record keeping going back 30-40 years is pretty poor and was very sloppy.

To his credit there were no excuses, and he offered none to the press. That is a big plus in my book.

Joe Gore
01-08-03, 12:55 PM
Hey does anyone know how I can find out if the unit I was deployed with to the LA Riots India Comapny 3/1 ever received a Humanitarian Medal. Rumor had it that we were put in for one, but I got out before the order or citation came down. I don't know how to find out. It was also rumored that the unit I was with in the Gulf war Aco. 1st LAI BN. also was put in for several awards. How can I find any of that out?

I would recomend to anyone take all of your important Citations to your local County Hall of Records and transpose them all on to micro finsch. That way there will always be a record. If you need a copy just have them burn one of for you and certify it with a Notery of Public. I have done that with all my stuff.

My wife wants to make her father a Shadow Box with all of his ribbons and medals from VietNam. Unfortunetly all he has is a shabby DD214 and he thinks his mitlitary records were destroyed in a fire that they had in Kansas City way back when. Anyone know how I can check on that also.

Thanks in Advance for any Help!!

Semper FI!!!!!!!!!!

01-08-03, 02:11 PM
I don't know anything about the humanitarian medal, but I made a shadow box for my fathers medals from VietNam also. I wrote my congressman and gave him my dads name, rank, serial#, and branch of service. Two months later, I got his medals sent to me.
Hope this helps.

Semper Fi

01-08-03, 06:38 PM
Joe Gore,

Just write the Marine Corps requesting the Citations, Ribbons and Metals that you are entitled too They will search your records and send them to you.

The fire that you referred to was in St. Louis, Missouri. Army records I believe.

Semper Fi

01-09-03, 08:53 AM
I was told I was going to receive a Navy Commendation Medal. Never happened. Not important enough for me to start a huge search, but I did look at the place below, and received a medal/awardas audit. No N/MC Commendation Medal...:(

BTW, I have the standard two awards everyone had in the mide 80's. Good Conduct and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Hooyah 2/7...

NPRC is where all service records for AirForce, Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard are maintained forever.

Any request for verification of all or issuance of awards, correction to DD-214, or a copy of your records, you should write to the center.

NPRC = National Personnel Records Center

Here is a link to their web page, where you can print a copy of a Standard Form 180, their address is on page 2:


Send them the completed form along with a copy of your DD-214, and spell out exactly what actions you want them to do, and upon review of your records and verification of awards entitlement, they will respond to you. Since they receive many many requests, it may take them some time to reply. Be patient..

Every veterans is entitled to ONE replacement set of award if requested.

Joe Gore
01-09-03, 09:38 AM
Hey every one thanks for all the help and info. It is great that you can count on Marines to help Marines out.
I all post a note if I receive anything or any new information. Maybee it will help some one else later.

Semper FI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

01-09-03, 10:05 AM

Sen Warner Wants More Info On Medals

01-09-03, 01:01 PM
Hackworth's error Compared To Boorda Case
by Dick G Dick G (Login Dick Gaines)
Forum Owner

Hackworth: Error Doesn't Compare To Boorda Suicide Case
by Dick G
Dick G (Login Dick Gaines)
Forum Owner



Hackworth says error doesn't compare to Boorda suicide case

May 16, 1997 Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EDT

In this story:
Ranger? Not
'I zapped it'
Questions raised
Related stories and sites

From Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- David Hackworth, the retired army colonel turned journalist who questioned medals worn by the Navy's top admiral -- who later killed himself -- acknowledges he wrongly claimed credit for two of his own military honors.

The awards, which had been listed on Hackworth's personal Internet page, have now been removed.

Hackworth, once a columnist for Newsweek magazine, has described himself as America's most decorated living veteran. He was scheduled to interview Adm. Jeremy Boorda, chief of naval operations, on the day Boorda committed suicide one year ago.

Boorda, 56, committed suicide less than two hours after he learned that reporters would be questioning him about two pins on ribbon decorations that he had worn.

He left notes lamenting the coming disclosure that he had improperly worn the two bronze "V" pins, which normally are awarded for valor in combat.

Ranger? Not

From his home in Montana, Hackworth told CNN by telephone Thursday that he recently found out that he was not entitled to a Ranger tab, an insignia worn on the shoulder of a uniform.

Normally, it indicates that the wearer has completed one of the Army's toughest training courses, a rigorous entry to one of the service's most elite groups. Hackworth said he thought he earned the Ranger insignia during his service in the Korean War.

He also told CNN he found that the Army had given him two Distinguished Flying Cross medals, when he had only earned one.

In both cases, Hackworth says the mistakes were made by the Army, not him. Before he died, Boorda said he thought he had earned the medals in question during service in the Vietnam War.

'(Adm. Boorda) was wearing valor awards he wasn't entitled to wear. ... I was wearing tabs I was entitled to wear according to the Army's regulations at the time.'
-- -- Retired Army Col. David Hackworth

'I zapped it'

"The minute I found that the qualification didn't pertain to me, I zapped it," Hackworth said, referring to the entry on his Internet page. He contends that there was no comparison of his situation with Boorda's.

In a column written shortly after Boorda's death, Hackworth said: "It is simply unthinkable an experienced officer would wear decorations he is not entitled to, awards that others bled for. There is no greater disgrace," he wrote.

Questions raised

Vietnam veteran Terry Roderick, who raised the questions that led to Hackworth removing the two items from his Internet page, said the unit Hackworth served with in Korea was not a Ranger outfit.

Hackworth said he also served with the 8th Army Ranger company, but Charles Pitts, who was the first sergeant of that unit, told CBS he "never knew him."

An Army official, asked whether the service had done a search of Hackworth's medals, said it had not.

"He's retired. There was no reason to," said the official.

Related story:
Navy colleagues believe Boorda could have survived scrutiny - May 17, 1996
Related sites:
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
David Hackworth
List of his military honors

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Posted on Oct 30, 2002, 8:41 PM
from IP address

Edit Message

01-09-03, 01:04 PM
Hackworth Attacked... <br />
by Dick G <br />
Dick G (Login Dick Gaines) <br />
Forum Owner <br />
<br />
http://www.airborne-ranger.com/rang...es/Bahnsen.html <br />
<br />
<br />
To: Linda Harris, Editor <br />
Weirton Daily Times

01-09-03, 01:59 PM
Apparently, anyone who ever served in RVN got the Cross of Gallantry.

The RVN Cross of Gallantry is probably the most confused award ever bestowed on the american military.

The first thing you have to distinguish is the difference between the MEDAL and the MERITORIOUS UNIT CITATION (gallantry cross color).
The medal was awarded to individuals as a personal decoration for specific acts of heroism.
Everyone else who served in country received the unit citation which consists of the ribbon with palm and gold frame. You DO NOT get the medal with this ribbon ONLY award.
If you did not serve in country as in my case serving aboard USS Enterprise off the coast, your unit, command, SHIP, airgroup, wing, whatever had to be specifically cited inorder to receive the unit citation.
In the case of the new CMC, we are talking about the medal and I give him credit for not wearing it if he cannot substantiate the award.

Also, NO VIETNAM ERA records were destroyed in the St. Louis fire, ONLY certain World War II era records.

01-09-03, 08:55 PM
Bump on Mardet65

01-09-03, 10:07 PM
Another confusion is the Viet Nam Service Medal and the Viet Nam Campaign Medal.

Didn't the Service Medal begin in August of 1964 when the Campaign Medal ended?

Curious? Anyone have an answer?

01-09-03, 10:10 PM
Will have that answer tomorrow from work

01-10-03, 03:14 AM
This is the best I can do for yer.

Vietnam Cross of Gallantry: Veterans who served in Vietnam between 1 MAR 61 and 29 MAR 73 are eligible to receive the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Award. Vietnam veterans whose DD-214ís do not reflect the award may receive government acknowledgement of this medal by requesting a DD-215 from the National Records and Personnel Center using a standard SF-180 form. The SF-180 form is available at http://members.aol.com/forvetrs/htomr.htm or www.nara.gov/regional/mprsf180.html [Source: The Old Breed News OCT 02]

01-10-03, 03:55 AM
The Vietnam Service Medal instituted in 1965, was awarded for service from 65-73. The Vietnam Campaign Medal was instituted in 1966 for 6months service from 1961 to 1973. If one was wounded, K.I.A. or captured, the 6 months didn't apply. It is a Vietnam award, not U.S.

01-10-03, 04:15 AM
I believe the medal in question is the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and not the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation. If you look at the ribbons of Gen. Hagee, Gen. Jones and Gen. Krulak, They all wear both. The Medal is a personal award and can be awarded with palm, gold star, silver star or bronze star. When wearing the ribbons, the Unit Citation is in a gold colored frame with a plam ( that looks more like a twig ) The personal award is senior to the unit citation but is not in a frame. Also the palm looks like a palm on the personal one. The unit citation is a ribbon only award.

01-10-03, 06:44 AM
Originally posted by greensideout
Another confusion is the Viet Nam Service Medal and the Viet Nam Campaign Medal.

I'm no expert on awards, but I never saw any confusion about the VSM and RVN Campaign Medal.

The VSM is a U.S. Medal awarded for serving one day in Vietnam, its Air Space or Waters and a few other specific conditions concerning Thiland, dates etc. These conditions are well documented elsewhere and readialy available via the web.

The RVN Campaign Medal is a Vietnamese Medal awarded to anyone who served six months in support of South Vietnam whether in country or not. Anyone wounded or killed prior to the six month time limit, is eligible for the medal. Again, there are other specific conditions which apply, but this is the general difference between the two medals.

Hope it helps clear up any confusion you might have.

01-11-03, 05:58 PM
Yes, the confusion was only mine.

It was the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal that was awarded prior to the Viet Nam Service Medal for duty in Nam. Not the Viet Nam Campaign Medal.

Note: Both the AFEM and the Cross of Gallantry were designed while my unit was there in 1962. Storys in the Pacific Stars and Stripes at that time.

Mardet65, how did you get your NG ribbons in the group? Asking because I have a few Army and NG's too.

Semper Fi

01-17-03, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by greensideout

Mardet65, how did you get your NG ribbons in the group? Asking because I have a few Army and NG's too.

I sent you an e-mail and a personal message re: your question but have received no reply. If you're interested, please e-mail me and I'll help you out.