- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2004

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

A tip of the old fedora to you for the many problems you solve for veterans and their families. I greatly appreciate your efforts to ease the lives of so many.

I have a question that pales to insignificance when compared with other problems you face, but I have become curious. I retired from the Air Force in 1967. My son retired from the Air Force in 1996. He insists that I am entitled to some ribbons that he was awarded: short overseas tour, long overseas tour, interservice assignment and international unit assignment. He also insists that I am entitled a Cold War Certificate for 40 years of government service. I don’t agree but am willing to let you be the arbitrator. If he should be right, how do I go about getting the medals on my record?

Again, thank you for your efforts on the behalf of veterans.

John B.

Stafford, Va.

Dear John:

Regarding your ribbons and awards, the starting point has got to be your military record and those documented on your DD Form 214. Your DD Form 214 may have been updated. You should request a copy of the document by using the following Web page to submit a Standard Form 180 per the instructions provided. That site will allow you to download the form for mailing. To write a letter is also allowed; however, I suggest you use the Standard Form 180 here: www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records/standard_form_180.html.

Yes, you are eligible for the Cold War Certificate. Please use the following Web site to proceed: www.perscomonline.army.mil/tagd/coldwar/default.htm.

And lastly, I’m identifying a Web page that will provide information on all U.S. military awards and decorations for the period you were in service. Included in the information is the criteria for award of each medal/ribbon. You should identify every award for which you might be qualified. Check the new DD Form 214 that you receive to see if any of these awards are listed. If you are in fact eligible, then you will need a correction of military record to have the decoration(s) posted. The Web site for foreign awards is: www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134833m_0996/p134833m.pdf.

I hope this information helps you receive the appropriate medals. Thanks for your service.

Shaft notes

• Congratulations to my good friend Leon Sanchez, who has been appointed by Gov. Mark Warner to a four-year term on the Board of Veterans Services for the commonwealth of Virginia. The board has 19 members: three members of the House of Delegates, two members of the Senate, 11 nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the governor, the commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services (ex-officio), and the chairmen of the Board of Trustees of the Veterans Services Foundation and the Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations.

Leon served in the infantry and was wounded in Germany during World War II. He is a member of all the major veterans organizations, and a volunteer for the Blinded American Veterans Foundation.

Buddy Leon, who lost a leg in combat during World War II, has dedicated his life to not only veterans but all of his fellow Americans.

• A special thanks to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) for an education initiative that will enable more than 1,100 students to receive up to $4,000 each in interest-free loans for the 2005-06 school year. Of those, about 400 students will be first-time recipients.

Students can apply online at MOAA’s Web site for the loans, which are awarded annually for up to five years of undergraduate study. Applicants must be children of MOAA members or of enlisted service members and be younger than 24.

If such a child served in a uniformed service before completing college, however, his or her maximum age for eligibility will be increased by the number of years he or she served, up to five years.

Applicants may be graduating high school seniors or full-time college students working toward their first baccalaureate degree.

Selections are made based on scholastic ability, potential, character, community involvement and financial need.

MOAA also will award 25 grants current loan recipients in the program who will be college seniors, 10 grants to children of deceased retired officers, and 16 grants to children whose military parent died in active service. Five of the 25 Senior Grants will be for $5,000 and the others will be $4,000 each. Also, 505 of the students who are Designated Scholars will receive a $3,500 interest-free loan and a $500 grant.

For MOAA Scholarship Fund applications for the 2005-06 school year, or for more information on making a contribution to the fund, please visit MOAA’s Web site at www.MOAA.org/education or e-mail [email protected]

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C., 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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