Vietnam War Commemoration Commission

FAQ

FAQ Categories

General

How did The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration start?

What is The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration about?

When is the actual 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War?

Is the Commemoration honoring all veterans who served during the Vietnam War period, or just those veterans who served in the country of Vietnam?

Is the Commemoration honoring those who fought in the war and returned to oppose U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia?

Is the Commemoration staff planning any events?

How will you measure if you are successful?

Who leads The Commemoration?

Commemorative Partners

What are Commemorative Partners?

How do I become a Commemorative Partner?

How many Commemorative Partners have joined this effort?

How are you and the Commemorative Partners planning to thank the veterans?

What kind of support is provided to Commemorative Partners by the Commemoration?

What is the Commemorative Partner Portal?

How do I use the Commemorative Partner Seal and Flag?

What materials are available to order for my event?

How do Commemorative Partners acquire lapel pins to present to Vietnam veterans?

How do I get my event photos shown?

How do I submit a request for support for an upcoming event?

How far in advance do I need to submit a DD 2956 Event Request Form?

What types of support are available?

Is there a list of available speakers?

How soon will I hear if my request for support is approved?

I forgot my password. How do I log in?

What is an AAR, and why do I need to submit one?

Veterans

Why did the Commemoration create lapel pins for Vietnam veterans?

Who is eligible for Vietnam veteran lapel pins?

How does a veteran get a lapel pin?

Is there any symbolism attached to the images on this pin?

When were Vietnam veteran lapel pins first released?

Can service members of our Allies receive a Vietnam veteran lapel pin?

Can civilians who were working for other agencies and were injured in Vietnam receive a Vietnam veteran lapel pin?

Do you have any interviews from Vietnam veterans?

Questions And Answers

General

How did The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration start?

This national commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by the President as follows: In 2007, the 110th Congress incorporated language in H.R. 4986 authorizing the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

H.R. 4986 was signed into law as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 by President George W. Bush on January 28, 2008.

This Commemoration began with the Presidential inaugural event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.

Section 598 (Public Law 110-181) of the 2008 NDAA specifically addresses Commemoration activities.

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What is The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration about?

Simply put, to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. Congress outlined a total of five objectives for The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, and the primary objective is to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families on behalf of the nation for their service and sacrifice. The four remaining objectives highlight the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war; pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens; highlight technology, science and medical advances made during the war; and recognize contributions by our Allies.

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When is the actual 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War?

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration began with the Presidential inaugural event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, and concludes on Veterans Day, November 11, 2025, by Presidential Proclamation. As the President stated, we, as a nation, will commemorate the 50th anniversary over a long period of time, as many Americans served and sacrificed over that long period of time.

For the purposes of this Commemoration, November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 is the period being utilized to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. November 1, 1955 was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V), and May 15, 1975 marks the end of the battle precipitated by the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.

As additional background, U.S. involvement in Vietnam started slowly with an initial deployment of advisors in the early 1950s, grew incrementally through the early 1960s and expanded with the deployment of full combat units in July 1965. The last U.S. personnel were evacuated from Vietnam in April 1975.

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Is the Commemoration honoring all veterans who served during the Vietnam War period, or just those veterans who served in the country of Vietnam?

The Commemoration honors all United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time between November 1, 1955 to and May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that today there are 7 million living Vietnam veterans and 9 million families of those who served in this time frame. We make no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably. 

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Is the Commemoration honoring those who fought in the war and returned to oppose U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia?

The Commemoration thanks and honors all our Vietnam veterans and their families, regardless of their political views. 

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Is the Commemoration staff planning any events?

There are a number of events, many in the National Capital Region, and future centralized events are being considered. However, the focus is on assisting our Partners present the nation’s gratitude to these veterans and their families in cities and towns all across America. These “hometown-centric” events have significance where Vietnam veterans and their families are being recognized by their hometowns, and “Thank you” is most meaningful. 

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How will you measure if you are successful?

We are measuring success in two ways: (1) the number of Vietnam veterans and (2) the number of families of Vietnam veterans personally thanked and honored during events hosted by Commemorative Partners are being reported back to the Commemoration. These numbers are compared against the overall totals, as well as the Vietnam veteran lapel pins being distributed. 

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Who leads The Commemoration?

Mr. Michael L. Rhodes, Director of Administration in the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer is the Executive Agent for The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.
Retired Army Major General James (Jim) T. Jackson is the Director for day-to-day Commemoration operations.

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Commemorative Partners

What are Commemorative Partners?

Commemorative Partners are local, state and national organizations, businesses, sports franchises and governmental agencies that have committed to hosting two hometown-centric events and activities for three years, that thank and honor Vietnam veterans, including unreturned veterans, and their families on behalf of the nation. 

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How do I become a Commemorative Partner?

There is no cost to join; the applications and statements of understanding are available on the Commemorative Partner Program page of our website. Completed applications and SOUs can be submitted by mail or electronically and may take up to 60 days to approve once it has been received. Following final approval, new partners receive a starter kit, welcome email from the Commemoration’s director, and a separate email providing a user name and password to access the Partner Portal. This email, along with information regarding the shipping of the Commemorative Partner Starter Kit, is sent to the individual listed as the Committee Chairman. To find out more about becoming a Commemorative Partner and to get started on your application, click here

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How many Commemorative Partners have joined this effort?

As of June 2016, over 10,000 organizations have become Commemorative Partners. 

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How are you and the Commemorative Partners planning to thank the veterans?

There are a variety of ways in which our Commemorative Partners recognize Vietnam veterans and their families. Although each partner may utilize a different approach, there are key aspects in each event:  a dignified, public presentation of thanks on behalf of our nation, and individual recognition of each Vietnam veteran and his or her family.  A guide that includes suggestions on programs and events, as well as information on how to request event materials and report events, is available to Commemorative Partners online through the Commemorative Partner Portal.

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What kind of support is provided to Commemorative Partners by the Commemoration?

Once an organization becomes a Commemorative Partner, the following materials are provided

(a) Commemorative Partner Starter Kit:
- Commemorative Partner Introductory Letter
- Certificate of Commemorative Partner Designation signed by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff with a paper copy of the Commemoration flag
- Commemoration Flag that can be hung at events
- Poster stating Commemoration Objectives
- Poster sized reproduction of the Presidential Proclamation signed May 25, 2012

(b) Event Support: The Commemoration lists Commemorative Partner events on the Commemoration website at www.vietnamwar50th.com, and if asked, we work to provide speakers, presentations and information booths at events. Other materials may be requested through the Commemorative Partner Portal including Vietnam veteran lapel pins, brochures, posters, stickers and tin-pin buttons.

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What is the Commemorative Partner Portal?

The Portal allows our Commemorative Partners to submit requests for support (DD Form 2956), including ordering materials and veteran lapel pins, for their events and view and obtain other helpful resources. The Portal also includes the Commemorative Partner Reference Guide, Style Guide, and access to the Commemorative Partner Seal and Flag. Access is granted with the user id and password that was emailed to the Committee Chairperson upon acceptance in the program.

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How do I use the Commemorative Partner Seal and Flag?

The Commemoration has two seals, both protected by law. Our official seal is authorized for use only by the Commemoration on official material (e.g., website, printed material). The Commemorative Partner (CP) Seal is similar to, the official seal and showcases a banner under the seal that reads "COMMEMORATIVE PARTNER." Commemorative Partners are authorized to use the CP Seal, located on the Partner Portal; they are not authorized to use the Commemoration’s official seal.

To use the electronic version of either the CP Seal or the Flag, log in to the Commemorative Partner Portal and click on the "Communication Resources" tab. The "Commemorative Partner Style Guide” provides the information your organization needs regarding the use of each, including proper display. The CP Seal and Flag are listed separately on the same tab.

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What materials are available to order for my event?

To view a printable PDF of materials available exclusively to our partners, log in to the partner portal. Click the “Event Support” tab, and then click on the link: “Materials available exclusively to Commemorative Partners.”

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How do Commemorative Partners acquire lapel pins to present to Vietnam veterans?

Commemorative Partners can request these pins and other materials by submitting the DD 2956 Form found under the Event Support tab in the Partner Portal. For best results, use the online form. (Portal access requires the User ID and Password emailed to the Commemorative Partner Chairperson upon acceptance in the program).

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How do I get my event photos shown?

There are several ways you can do this. For best results, see Issue 5 of the VWC SITREP. Photos will either be shown under the Photo Gallery, the rotating slide show, or on www.facebook.com/VietnamWar50th.

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How do I submit a request for support for an upcoming event?

A request is made by submitting a DD 2956 Form through the Commemorative Partner Portal as follows:

1.      Log on to the Portal.

2.      Click on the "Event Support" tab.

3.      Under "Commemorative Events Request Form", click the link for the DD2956 (Online version).

4.      Complete the form and be sure none of the fields are in RED before you submit it. If they are, make the necessary corrections noted at the top of the page and resubmit.

5.      A "Thank You" page will appear when the form has been properly submitted.

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How far in advance do I need to submit a DD 2956 Event Request Form?

Submit your request for support (DD Form 2956) at least 90 days out before your event when requesting a speaker, booth or both (Full Support), or 60 days prior for Materials and Event Website Posting. Requests with less than the recommended time frame will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

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What types of support are available?

There are three levels. The most basic is an Event Website Posting only. This posts your event to the website on the Commemorative Events map. The next level is Materials. This includes an Event Website Posting and allows you to request materials. The last level is Full Support. This includes an Event Website Posting, Materials availability, as well as personnel support (such as a speaker, staffed booth, or both). Everything is free.

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Is there a list of available speakers?

The Commemoration does not provide a list of speakers; however, speakers typically consist of one or two star retired Generals, as well as Vietnam veterans. You may let us know the type of speaker you are requesting, but their availability is limited.

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How soon will I hear if my request for support is approved?

Event Website Postings are typically approved and posted within 2 business days. For Materials and Full Support requests, partners are typically notified within 10 business days. Feel free to contact us at: (877) 387-9951, or whs.pentagon.wso.mbx.vnwar50th-events@mail.mil to verify that your request was received.

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I forgot my password. How do I log in?

On the Portal login page, click on the “Forgot Password?” link. Then you will be prompted to enter the email address of the Committee Chairperson (this is also the User ID). A new password will then be emailed to the Committee Chairperson.

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What is an AAR, and why do I need to submit one?

An AAR, or DD Form 2957, is an After-Action-Report. Once Commemorative Partners hold an event, we ask that they submit an AAR through the Partner Portal. This allows the Commemoration staff to review, record, and see if any further action is necessary.

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Veterans

Why did the Commemoration create lapel pins for Vietnam veterans?

To recognize, thank and honor United States military veterans who served during the Vietnam War period. The presentation of a lapel pin provides each Vietnam veteran a lasting memento of the nation’s thanks.

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Who is eligible for Vietnam veteran lapel pins?

Living United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time between November 1, 1955 to and May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive one lapel pin.

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How does a veteran get a lapel pin?

The Commemoration is providing Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins exclusively to Commemorative Partners for dignified public presentations to U.S. military veterans who served during the Vietnam War period as a lasting memento of the nation's thanks. Living United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive one lapel pin.

Vietnam veterans can locate upcoming commemorative events by visiting www.vietnamwar50th.com/events/. Zoom in to locate your state and city or town. Blue pins represent future events. When a pin is clicked, details about the event are revealed, including contact information. If there are no blue pins in your area, check back frequently, as new events are added every week. Veterans who need help finding a commemorative event can email whs.pentagon.wso.mbx.vnwar50th-cpp-events-application@mail.mil

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Is there any symbolism attached to the images on this pin?

Yes; in fact, the symbolism is significant. The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin Fact Sheet explains each element incorporated into this pin.

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When were Vietnam veteran lapel pins first released?

The Vietnam veteran lapel pin was initially introduced in small numbers in late 2014 with the first pin presented to then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The National Rollout for the Vietnam veteran lapel pins was during the Congressional Ceremony in July 2015.  These pins are now in full production and available to our Commemorative Partners for presentation to eligible Vietnam veterans.  

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Can service members of our Allies receive a Vietnam veteran lapel pin?

While we recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by our Allies in Vietnam, Vietnam veteran lapel pins are specifically for U.S. veterans.

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Can civilians who were working for other agencies and were injured in Vietnam receive a Vietnam veteran lapel pin?

While we highlight the contributions of Federal agencies and non-governmental organizations that served with or supported our Armed Forces, Vietnam veteran lapel pins are specifically for U.S. veterans.

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Do you have any interviews from Vietnam veterans?

The Commemoration is collecting oral history interviews on video of Vietnam veterans and their families. As we interview these Vietnam veterans, we are able to leverage their vast network of fellow veterans to interview and capture a wide breadth of experiences – all ranks, Services, specialties and viewpoints – that reflect personal thoughts and opinions about all aspects of the war. Eventually, this collection of interviews will be shared, unedited, with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. In addition, we anticipate these interviews being available on the Commemoration website in 2017.

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