How to Find Out What Military Awards Your Unit Has Received

By Al Stewart

If you have ever served in the U.S. military, your unit may have received awards without your knowledge. The honors might have been in recognition of actions in which you participated, but bestowed after you transferred out of the unit. Or, the recognition could have been the result of retroactive awards conferred years after you left the military, based on criteria that were updated. For example, as recently as 2008, more than 20 World War II units where honored retroactively. The following year, 10 units from the Vietnam era where similarly recognized. Use online resources to find out what military awards your unit received.

Step 1

Gather all the information you can about your military service so you can use it during later searches to help you find the military awards your unit has received. The information is unusually found in discharge papers and separation documents provided when you leave the military. If the information is unavailable to you, there are resources to assist you.

Step 2

Request your Official Military Personnel File from the National Archives using a website it operates, known as eVetRecs, devoted to veterans' service records. The file should provide the formal name of any unit you were part of and identify the country or war zones in which it served. This information is frequently used by people seeking information on awards because it can be used for the basis of an online search. Be prepared to furnish your dates of service along with your service number and Social Security number. Even if your file does not make note of your unit's awards, it will be help you in your search.

Step 3

Research your unit's awards on the websites of all four branches of the U.S. military. These branches offer online resources specifically devoted to identifying unit awards. For example, the U.S. Army site offers links to specific areas such as "Recently Approved Unit Awards." The U.S. Navy site also has a page devoted to awards that offers a help desk where you can call or email requests for information.

Step 4

Research news sites and online forums to help you locate more information about your unit and the awards it might have received. For example, the U.S. Militaria Forum site includes a "List of Unit Awards to the USMC Marines since WWII," though you have to create an account and login to access it.