Gallantry Cross Medal and Unit Citation
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross is a military decoration of South Vietnam which was established in August 1950. Also known as the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Gallantry Cross is awarded to any military personnel who have accomplished deeds of valor or displayed heroic conduct while fighting an enemy force.
The Gallantry Cross is issued in four degrees, with a basic medal followed by higher degrees which are the equivalent of personal citations on an organizational level (also known as having been "mentioned in dispatches"). The degrees of the Gallantry Cross are as follows:
- Gallantry Cross with Palm (Individual Award)
- Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star (Regiment or Brigade citation)
- Gallantry Cross with Silver Star (Division citation)
- Gallantry Cross with Gold Star (Corps citation)
The devices to the Gallantry Cross are not worn simultaneously but instead are upgradeable to the next higher device which would replace the previous device for wear on the decoration.
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross was also issued in three versions, the first of which was the standard Gallantry Cross which was issued to members of all military branches, as well as service members of foreign and allied militaries.
The other versions of the Gallantry Cross were the Air Gallantry Cross and Navy Gallantry Cross. These decorations were awarded under a different authority than the standard Gallantry Cross and were considered separate decorations.
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross also is issued as a unit award which is an entirely separate decoration from the full sized medal. Known as the "Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm," the unit citation award was created in 1968 and was issued as the Gallantry Cross ribbon, with a metal palm device, enclosed within a gold frame. The unit citation was issued in the name of South Vietnam to any military unit which distinguished itself to the same level as would be required for the individual award. Regulations for the issuance of the Vietnam Gallantry Cross permit the wearing of both the individual and unit award simultaneously, since they both are considered separate decorations.
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm was issued to every Allied nation which provided military support to Vietnam between 1 March 1961 and the fall of Saigon in April 1975. The unit decoration thus became the most commonly awarded Vietnamese decoration to foreigners, second only to the Vietnam Campaign Medal.
United States Issuance
The United States military began authorizing the Vietnam Gallantry Cross in March 1968 with retroactive presentation of the decoration to 1961. In 1974, Army General Order Number 8 authorized the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation to every military unit of the United States Army which had served under the Military Assistance Command from 1961 to 1974. This effectively granted the unit version of the award to any member of the U.S. Army who had served for any period of time in the Republic of Vietnam. Members of other services were not affected by the Army General Order and still required individual or unit orders for the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation to be awarded.
The National Personnel Records Center is the agency which responds to retroactive award requests, from U.S. Army veterans, updating military records to show the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation per Army General Order 8. The decoration itself, both full medal and unit citation, are considered foreign military decorations and are not provided to Vietnam veterans by any of the United States military services. The decoration is only available for purchase through private military insignia dealers. The decoration may also be found for sale on the Internet, through such sites as Ebay.