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
The Gold Star Lapel Button was designed and created in 1947 for family members of those who died in combat. It is a gold star on a field of purple surrounded by laurel leaves. 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.
Gold Star Lapel Buttons are awarded to surviving family members of service members who have been killed in specific conflicts.
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.
Next Of Kin Deceased Personnel Lapel Button
The Next of Kin Deceased Personnel Lapel Button was approved in 1973 for the primary next of kin of armed services members who lose their lives while serving on active duty or while assigned in an Army Reserve or Army National Guard unit in a drill status.
If you are a relative listed below and your loved one died while on active duty, but under circumstances that do not qualify you for the Gold Star Lapel Pin, you are entitled to the Next of Kin Deceased Personnel Lapel Button. The next of kin may request issue of the button by writing to the NPRC, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138. Furnish the name, grade, SSN, and date of death of the deceased member. The names and relationships of the next of kin must also be provided.
Who Qualifies For A Pin Or Button?
To qualify for either the pin or button, 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