The Gold Star Lapel Buttons
The Gold Star has been used since World War I as a symbol for family members whose loved ones have given their life in war. It was not until 1947 that Congress designated the version we know today -- the Gold Star lapel pin -- as the official symbol of a family member's sacrifice.
The Gold Star Lapel Pin
There are two different gold star lapel pins. The first, a gold star on a purple circular background bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves, is only presented to family members of troops who have been killed in combat. On the reverse of that pin is the inscription "United States of America, Act of Congress, August 1966," with a space for the engraved initials of the recipient.
The second pin, the next of kin pin, a gold star on a gold background surrounded by four oak sprigs, is given to the primary next of kin of troops who lost their lives on active duty, but not while deployed to a qualifying overseas conflict. For example, if a loved one was killed in a training accident, his or her survivors would receive the next of kin pin, not the Gold Star pin.
Who Qualifies For A 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." To qualify for either pin, you must be one of the following relatives of the deceased:
- Adoptive Mother/father
- Foster mother/father in loco parentis
- Son/daughter by adoption
- Half brother/sister
How To Get A Gold Star Pin
You can request a pin by completing a DD Form 3 and returning it to the address listed on the form. If your loved one is recently deceased and you know your casualty officer, he should be able to help you get the pin.
Note: 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.