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Military.com Remembers the Cold War
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DoD's Cold War Certificate

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has approved a Cold War Recognition Certificate for award to all members of the armed forces and federal government civilian employees who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991. 

Congress established the Cold War certificate in Section 1084 of the fiscal 1998 National Defense Authorization Act.

The legislation states in part:

"The Congress finds the following:

"During the period of the the Cold War, from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a global military rivalry.

"This rivalry, potentially the most dangerous military confrontation in the history of mankind, has come to a close without a direct superpower military conflict.

"Military and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense, personnel in the intelligence community, members of the foreign service, and other officers and employees of the United States faithfully performed their duties during the Cold War.

"Many such personnel performed their duties while isolated from family and friends and served overseas under frequently arduous conditions in order to protect the United States and achieve a lasting peace.

"The discipline and dedication of those personnel were fundamental to the prevention of a superpower military conflict."

The Department of Defense designated the Department of the Army as the executive agent for the Cold War Recognition Certificate program. The Army has established a home page that explains the correct procedures to request a Cold War Certificate. As previously announced, requests will be accepted by fax or mail, beginning today. To apply, do one of the following:

  • Fill out the new printable application and mail or fax to the Cold War Office with your proof of service. An acceptable supporting document includes any official government or military document that contains the recipient's name, Social Security Number or Military Service Number or Foreign Service Number, and a date showing at least one day of service during the Cold War era (September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991).
  • If you are unable to print the application you may submit a signed and dated letter containing the same information as the application (full name, address, identification including type (SSN, MSN, or FSN), applicant name if different from recipient, and email address (if available)). You must include the phrase "I confirm my faithful and honorable service to the nation during the Cold War Era."

Eligibility is as follows:

  • Anyone who worked for the U.S. Government at any time during the Cold War era, Sept. 2, 1945 through Dec. 26, 1991, is eligible, provided their service to the country was faithful and honorable.
  • National Guard and Reservists are eligible.
  • Contractors and volunteers are not eligible.
  • Those who are currently active duty military or civilian employees of the U.S. government are also eligible if they had at least one day of service during the Cold War era.
Each mailed or faxed request must be accompanied by official documentation verifying government service during the Cold War era. Acceptable documentation includes any government form that includes the applicant's name and social security number or military service number or foreign service number, and the date of service. Applicants should not send original documents to verify federal service because the documents will not be returned to the sender.

The mailing address for requests for the certificate is:

CDR, PERSCOM
Cold War Recognition, Hoffman II
Attn: TAPC-CWRS, 3N45
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, VA 22332-0473

FAX: 1-800-723-9262.

The electronic mail address is coldwar@fairfax-emh1.army.mil. Requests sent by e-mail will not be acted upon until the Fairfax office receives supporting documentation. Requests made on-line will be maintained for one year to allow ample time for individuals to forward supporting documents by fax or mail. Individuals normally will receive a response within 30 days; however, the turnaround time will depend upon the volume of requests received.

Applicants needing additional information may call the help desk at (703) 275-6279.

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