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Gold Star Lapel Button

Gold Star Lapel Pin

If you have a family member who lost their life while in combat you may be entitled to the "Gold Star Lapel Pin ".

Public Law 534 - 89th Congress, directs the design and distribution of a lapel button, to the known as the "Gold Star Lapel Pin," to identify widows, parents and next of kin of members of the Armed Forces of the United States who lost their lives:

  1. During World War I, April 6, 1917 to March 3, 1921;
  2. During World War II, September 8, 1939 to July 25, 1947;
  3. During any subsequent period of armed hostilities in which the United States was engaged before July 1, 1958 (United Nations action in Korea, June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1954);
  4. After June 30, 1958
    • while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
    • while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force;
    • while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party against an opposing armed force.*

There are 2 different pins. Which one you are awarded depends on the circumstances of your loved one's death.

The following relatives of the deceased are entitled to one or the other of the pins below:

  • Widow/Widower
  • Mother/Father
  • Stepmother/father
  • Adoptive Mother/father
  • Foster mother/father in loco parentis
  • Son/Daughter
  • Stepson/daughter
  • Son/daughter by adoption
  • Brother/Sister
  • Half brother/sister.

Gold Star Lapel Pin

This pin is awarded only to the relatives of those killed in specific conflicts listed in the "Information" section on the back of DD Form 3. If your loved one was killed during the time period of one of these conflicts, but not in the official area of the conflict you will receive the Next of Kin Lapel Pin. For example, if, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, a service member was assigned to a unit in Germany and was killed in a training accident, you would not be entitled to the Gold Star Lapel Pin.

Next of Kin Lapel Pin

The Lapel Button, Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel, is authorized for issue retroactive to March 29, 1973. If you are a relative listed above and your loved one died while on active duty or while assigned to an Army Reserve or Army National Guard unit in a drill status, but under circumstances that do not qualify you for the Gold Star Lapel Pin, you should be entitled to the Next of Kin Lapel Pin.

You may request issue of the pin by writing to the National Personnel Records Center at:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

Telephone: 314-801-0800
Fax: 314-801-9195

Furnish the name, grade, SSN, and date of death of the deceased soldier. The names and relationships of the next of kin must also be provided.

Please note the following:

If your loved one is recently deceased and you know your casualty officer, he should be able to help you get the pin.

If you are mailing in DD Form 3, include a copy of DD-1300, Report of Casualty. This is the military equivalent of a death certificate. Even though this is not mentioned on the DD-3 instructions, you will likely be rejected for "insufficient proof" if you don't include it.

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