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How to Obtain Your Cold War Recognition Certificate

The Secretary of Defense approved awarding of the Cold War Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served the United States anytime during the Cold War era, which is defined as 2 September 1945 to 26 December 1991. The authority to issue these certificates is in accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act.

To be eligible for the certificate, applicants must certify that the nature of their service was honorable, and provide supporting documentation of proof of service. Documentation that is acceptable is any official government or military document that has the recipient’s name, date of service and Social Security Number, or Military Service Number or Foreign Service number. Members of the National Guard and Reserves are eligible for this certificate, although Contractors and volunteers are not eligible.

The following are examples of acceptable supporting documentation

  • Leave and earnings statement
  • DD214 or other discharge paper
  • SF50 (Civilian Personnel Action Form)

NOTE: Please do not send originals, they cannot be returned. Please send Copies only.

NOTE: The number supplied in your initial request, be it SSN, MSN, or FSN, must match the number supplied on your supporting document

  • Military Service Numbers (MSN) were issued to members of the armed forces before Social Security Numbers (SSN) were used to identify personnel. The changeover to Social Security Numbers occurred in the late 1960’s, so many retirees who are eligible for the certificate may have only a Military Service number on their supporting document.
  • The Foreign Service Number (FSN) is used to maintain records for foreign nationals employed by the US government and who do not have Social Security Numbers.

How to Request your Certificate

1) Fill out either the U.S. Resident, Primary Next of Kin or International Resident application depending upon your current mailing address. Required fields are marked with an asterisk.

2) Print the application. You must certify your honorable service by signing and dating the application, or your application will be rejected. If you are unable to print the application you may submit a signed and dated letter containing the same information as the application. You must include the phrase "I confirm my faithful and honorable service to the nation during the Cold War Era."

3) Mail,fax or email the application to the Cold War Office along with your supporting document to: 

Cold War Recognition Program
ATTN: AHRC-PDP-A, Dept 480
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122-5408

Fax: 1-800-723-9262 or 502-613-9510

Email: Awards and Decorations Branch

Due to the remarkable success of this program, turn-around time for mailing certificates will be a minimum of 6 months. The CWRS Operations Team is working as fast as possible to clear the backlog. Please do not request feedback prior to 6 months from the request date. Thank you for your patience and interest in the Cold War Recognition program.


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