National Archives at St. Louis

Veterans Preference and "Wartime" Service

Agent Orange

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the agency that administers claims for illness related to Agent Orange exposure, usually as a result of service in or around Vietnam.  There are limitations and the requirement change periodically.  See http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/

Army and USMC service in Vietnam is usually well documented in the Military Personnel Record.

Special Information for USAF veterans serving in Thailand:

U.S. Air Force Veterans who served on Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) bases at U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang, near the air base perimeter anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
(Generally, this would mean serving as Air Police performing guard duty along fences).

Important: To receive benefits for diseases associated with herbicide exposure, these Veterans must show on a factual basis that they were exposed to herbicides during their service as shown by evidence of daily work duties, performance evaluation reports, or other credible evidence.

See http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/locations/thailand.asp

TDY service in Thailand may or may not be in the military personnel record.  TDY was a finance action, not a personnel action.  Morning reports (Pre 1967 for USAF) may be helpful in some limited cases. 

Special Information for Navy and Coast Guard veterans:

See http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/index.asp

VetGuide Appendix A: Wars, Campaigns and Expeditions of the Armed Forces Since WW II Which Qualify for Veterans Preference

War Service Creditable for Veterans Preference

In the absence of statutory definition for "war" and "campaign or expedition," OPM considers to be "wars" only those armed conflicts for which a declaration of war was issued by Congress. The title 38, U.S.C., definition of "period of war," which is used in determining benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, includes the Vietnam Era and other armed conflicts. That title 38 definition is NOT applicable for civil service purposes.

Thus the last "war" for which active duty is qualifying for Veterans preference is World War II. The inclusive dates for World War II service are December 7, 1941, through April 28, 1952.

Non-combat operations that are not qualifying for Veterans preference

Many medals are awarded for non-combat operations. These medals are not a basis for preference and include the following:

  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal for service from September 11, 2001, to date to be determined.
  • The Medal of Merit for meritorious service in World War II.
  • The Medal of Freedom for meritorious achievements or meritorious service to the United States on or after December 7, 1941, in the war against an enemy outside the continental limits of the United States.
  • The Antarctica Service Medal for participating in a scientific, direct support, or exploratory operation on the Antarctic Continent.
  • The National Defense Service Medal for honorable service between June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954 or January 1, 1961 and August 14, 1974; or for the period between August 2, 1990, and November 30, 1995.
  • The Armed Forces Service Medal for participation in a United States military operation deemed to be a significant activity for which there was no threat of encounter of foreign armed opposition or imminent threat of hostile action.
  • The Armed Forces Reserve Medal for 10 years of honorable service in a Reserve component; or active duty service in a Reserve component on or after August 1, 1990; or volunteer service for active duty on or after August 1, 1990.

Military Operations Since 1937 for Which a Campaign or Expeditionary Medal Has Been Awarded, Except for Operations Occurring During a Declared War

Military personnel receive many awards and decorations. To help agencies make decisions concerning entitlement to Veterans preference and other benefits, the following list identifies those awards that are campaign and expeditionary medals. Any Armed Forces expeditionary Medal, whether listed here or not, is qualifying for Veterans preference. The Department of Defense, not OPM, determines who is entitled to receive a medal, and under what circumstances. The list below is derived from DoD 1348.33-M, Manual of Military Decorations and Awards.

DD 214, Certificate of Discharge or Separation from Active Duty, or other official documents issued by the branch of service are required as verification of eligibility for Veterans preference.

Campaigns and Expeditions Which Qualify For Veterans Preference

Campaign or Expedition

Inclusive dates

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) A veteran's DD Form 214 showing the award of any Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is acceptable proof. The DD form 214 does not have to show the name of the theater or country of service for which that medal was awarded.

 

Afghanistan (Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF))

OEF September 11, 2001, to present; OIF March 19, 2003, to present

Berlin

August 14, 1961, to June 1, 1963

Bosnia (Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, and Joint Forge) )

November 20, 1995 to December 20, 1996; December 20, 1996 to June 20, 1998; June 21, 1998 to present

Cambodia

March 29, 1973, to August 15, 1973

Cambodia Evacuation (Operation Eagle Pull)

April 11 - 13, 1975

Congo

July 14, 1960, to September 1, 1962, and November 23, to 27, 1964

Cuba

October 24, 1962, to June 1, 1963

Dominican Republic

April 28, 1965, to September 21, 1966

El Salvador

January 1, 1981, to February 1, 1992

Global War on Terrorism

September 11, 2001 to present

Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury)

October 23, 1983, to November 21, 1983

Haiti Operation Uphold Democracy)

September 16, 1994, to March 31, 1995

Iraq (Operations Northern Watch, Desert Spring, Enduring Freedom (OEF), and Iraqi Freedom (OIF))

January 1, 1997 to present;
December 31, 1998 to December 31, 2002 (projected);
OEF September 11, 2001, to present; OIF March 19, 2003, to present

Korea

October 1, 1966, to June 30, 1974

Kosovo

March 24, 1999 to present

Laos

April 19, 1961, to October 7, 1962

Lebanon

July 1, 1958, to November 1, 1958, and June 1, 1983, to December 1, 1987

Mayaguez Operation

May 15, 1975 to May 15, 1975

Operations in the Libyan Area (Operation Eldorado Canyon)

April 12, 1986 to April 17, 1986

Panama (Operation Just Cause)

December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990

Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Earnest Will)

July 24, 1987, to August 1, 1990

Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Southern Watch)

December 1, 1995, to present

Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Vigilant Sentinel)

December 1, 1995 to February 1, 1997

Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Desert Thunder)

November 11, 1998 to December 22, 1998

Persian Gulf Operation (Operation Desert Fox)

December 16, 1998 to December 22, 1998

Persian Gulf Intercept Operation

December 1, 1995, to present

Quemoy and Matsu Islands

August 23, 1958, to June 1, 1963

Somalia (Operations Restore Hope and United Shield)

December 5, 1992, to March 31, 1995

Taiwan Straits

August 23, 1958, to January 1, 1959

Thailand

May 16, 1962, to August 10, 1962

Vietnam Evacuation (Operation Frequent Wind)

April 29, 1975, to April 30, 1975

Vietnam (including Thailand)

July 1, 1958, to July 3, 1965

Note:

Section 572 of Subtitle G of the Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 1998 (Public Law 105-85), signed into law on November 18, 1997, allows the Secretary of the military department concerned to determine whether individual members who participated in Operation Joint Endeavor or Operation Joint Guard in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in such other areas in the region as the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate, meet the individual service requirements for award of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM). Generally, service members will be considered eligible if they:

  • deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina (or other area that the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate) in direct support of one or both of the operations;
  • served on board a ship in the Adriatic in direct support of one or both of the operations; or
  • operated in airspace above Bosnia, Herzegovina (or other area that the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate) while the operations were in effect.

Navy Expeditionary Medal and Marine Corps Medal for These Operations

Campaign or Expedition

Inclusive dates

Cuba

January 3, 1961 to October 23, 1962

Indian Ocean/Iran

November 21, 1979, to October 20, 1981

Iranian/Yemen/Indian Ocean

December 8, 1978 to June 6, 1979

Lebanon

August 20, 1982 to May 31, 1983

Liberia (Operation Sharp Edge)

August 5, 1990 to February 21, 1991

Libyan Area

January 20, 1986 to June 27, 1986

Panama

April 1, 1980 to December 19, 1986 and
February 1, 1990 to June 13, 1990

Persian Gulf

February 1, 1987 to July 23, 1987

Rwanda (Operation Distant runner)

April 7 - 18, 1994

Thailand

May 16 - August 10, 1962

 

Vet Guide

Campaign or Expedition

Inclusive dates

Army Occupation of Austria

May 9, 1945 to July 27, 1955

Army Occupation of Berlin

May 9, 1945 to October 2, 1990

Army Occupation of Germany
(exclusive of Berlin)

May 9, 1945 to May 5, 1955

Army Occupation of Japan

September 3, 1945 to April 27, 1952

Chinese Service Medal (Extended)

September 2, 1945 to April 1, 1957

Korea Defense Service Medal

July 28, 1954 to (date to be determined)

Korean Service

June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1954

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Operation Allied Force

March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Operation Joint Guardian

June 11, 1999 to (date to be determined)

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Operation Allied Harbor

April 4, 1999 to September 1, 1999

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Operation Sustain Hope/Shining Hope

April 4, 1999 to July 10, 1999

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Operation Noble Anvil

March 24, 1999 to July 20, 1999

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Task Force Hawk

April 5, 1999 to June 24, 1999

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Task Force Saber

March 31, 1999 to July 8, 1999

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Task Force Falcon

June 11, 1999 to (date to be determined)

Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) & Task Force Hunter

April 1, 1999 to November 1, 1999

Navy Occupation of Austria

May 8, 1945 to October 25, 1954

Navy Occupation of Trieste

May 8, 1945 to October 25, 1954

Southwest Asia Service Medal (SWASM) (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm)

August 2, 1990 to November 30, 1995

Units of the Sixth Fleet (Navy)

May 9, 1945 to October 25, 1955

Vietnam Service Medal (VSM)

July 4, 1965 to March 28, 1973

Rwanda (Operation Distant runner)

April 7 - 18, 1994

Thailand

May 16 - August 10, 1962

VetGuide Appendix B: Uniformed Service Qualifying for Veterans Preference Purposes

Appendix B

Capacity or Organization in Which Service is Performed

Qualify for Preference?

Air Force Service:

 

Air Force Nurse Corps

YES

Air Force Reserve, service on active duty

YES

Air Force Reserve Officer's Training Corps

NO

Air Force Service
Air National Guard of the United Sates (including all Federally Recognized Units, Organizations, and members of the Air National Guard of the several States, Territories and the District of Columbia), when mustered or called into service

YES

Cadets of the Air Force

YES

Regular Air Force

YES

Women in the Air Force

YES

Air lines under contract

NO

Air Transport Field Service

NO

American Field Service

NO

American Volunteer Guard

NO

Army Service:

 

Army field clerks

YES

Army Nurse Corps

YES

Army Reserve (formerly Organized Reserve Corps) service on active duty

YES

Army Specialist Corps

NO

Army Transport Service:
(Commissioned officers of the Army assigned as transport quartermasters in the Army Transport Service)

YES

Army Transport Service:
(Other personnel)

NO

Cadets of the United States Military Academy

YES

Contract Surgeons, service since June 3, 1916

YES

Female Dietetic and physical therapy personnel service since April 1, 1943 (exclusive of students and apprentices)

YES

Licensed female physicians and surgeons, service since April 16, 1943

YES

National Guard of the United States (including all Federally recognized units, organizations and members of the National Guard of the several States, Territories and the District of Columbia) when called or mustered into active Federal Service

YES

Philippine Army (organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, including recognized guerrilla units) {see note 4 below}

NO

Philippine Scouts

YES

Regular Army

YES

Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)

NO

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) {see note 5 below}

NO

Women's Army Corps (WACS)

YES

Women's Medical Specialist Corps

YES

Auxiliary Military Police

NO

Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation

NO

Cadet Nurse Corps

NO

Chaplains:

 

Army

YES

Knights of Columbus

NO

Navy

YES

Y.M.C.A.

NO

Chemical Warfare Service:

 

Civilian and Contract employees

NO

Military personnel on active duty

YES

Citizens Military Training Camps

NO

Civil Aeronautics Administration Pilot Training:

 

Prior to September 1, 1943

NO

After September 1, 1943

YES

Civil Air Patrol

NO

Civilian Conservation Corps (reserve Officers of the Army called to active duty with the Civilian Conservation Corps):

 

Service for at least 30 days before July 25, 1939

YES

Other personnel

NO

Coast and Geodetic Survey Personnel {see note 3 below}:

 

Service under transfer by the President in time of natural emergency to the service and jurisdiction of the Armed Forces with proper military status (section 16 of the Act of May 22, 1917; 40 Stat. 87, as amended; 33 U.S.C. 855)

YES

Service of commissioned officers of the Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey assigned to duty on projects of immediate military hazard under the provisions of Section 2, of the Act of December 2, 1942, 56 Sta. 1038, as amended (68 Stat. 730)

NO

Coast Guard Service in or in connection with:

 

Cadets of the United States Coast Guard Academy

YES

Coast Guard Auxiliary

YES

Coast Guard Reserve Service (temporary):
Members enrolled for full-time duty with military pay and allowances other than for uniforms

YES

Coast Guard Reserve Service (temporary):
Members enrolled for part-time or intermittent duty without pay and allowances for uniforms

NO

Coast Guard Reserve Service (temporary):
Pilots without pay and allowances other than for uniforms

NO

Coast Guard Reserve Service (temporary):
Officers of Great Lakes vessels without pay and allowances other than for uniforms

NO

Coast Guard Reserve Service (temporary):
Coast Guard police without pay and allowances

NO

Coast Guard Reserve Service (temporary):
Civil Service employees of the Coast Guard without pay other than compensation of their civilian positions

NO

Regular Coast Guard

YES

Women's Reserve (SPARS), service on active duty

YES

Marine Corps:

 

Aviation Cadets
Enlisted aviation cadet under 10 U.S.C. 6911, service after August 4, 1942

YES

Aviation Cadets
Aviation cadet (appointive grade), service while undergoing flight training

NO

Marine Corps Reserve including:
Fleet marine reserve; Organized Marine Corps Reserve; Women's Reserve; provided service is on active duty

YES

Regular Marine Corps

YES

Merchant Marine

NO

Merchant Marine Cadet Corps

NO

Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS)

NO

Navy, service in connection with:

 

Aviation Cadets:
Enlisted aviation cadet under 10 U.S.C. 6911, service after August 4, 1942

YES

Aviation Cadets:
Aviation cadet (appointive grade), service while undergoing flight training

NO

Licensed female physicians and surgeons, service since April 16, 1943

YES

Midshipmen:
Midshipmen (Regular) of the United States naval Academy

YES

Midshipmen:
Midshipmen (Reserve), service between September 8, 1939 and 1946 while attending Midshipmen schools

YES

Naval Reserve Including:
Fleet Reserve; Merchant marine Reserve {see note 7 below}; Volunteer Reserve; Women's Reserve (WAVES); provided service is on active duty

YES

Naval Reserve Officer's Training Corps Students
Service before July 1, 1943

NO

Naval Reserve Officer's Training Corps Students
Service between July 1, 1943 and June 30, 1946&nbsp

YES

Naval Reserve Officer's Training Corps Students
Service after June 30, 1946&nbsp

NO

Navy College Program personnel, service between July 1, 1943 and June 30,1946

YES

Navy Nurse Corps

YES

Regular Navy

YES

Office of Strategic Services

YES

Public Health Service:

 

Officers and employees detailed to duty with the Army or Navy by Executive Order 2571, during World War I

YES

Commissioned officers performing active service:
Under individual detail for duty with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard;

YES

Commissioned officers performing active service:
In the Public Health Service while the service is part of the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to Executive Order {see Note 8 below};

YES

Commissioned officers performing active service:
In the Public Health Service in time of war:
whether or not the individual detail to the Army, Navy, or Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard and
whether or not the Public Health Service was at that time a part of the Armed Forces

YES

Red Cross

NO

State Guards

NO

State Maritime Academy

NO

State or Territorial police or Constabularies

NO

Volunteer Defense Force Units, Territory of Hawaii (1942 to 1945)

NO

War correspondents

NO

Women's Air Service Pilots (WASPS)

NO

Notes:

Military service under the Veterans preference laws is:

  1. Active duty in the Armed forces of the United States
  2. Active service in the Public Health Service which is a basis for entitlement to "full military benefits" under the Public Health Service Act of July 1, 1944
  3. Active service in the Coast and Geodetic Survey and successor organizations (NASA, NOAA) under transfer to the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces under 33 U.S.C. 855
  4. Service in the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (including recognized guerrilla units) between July 26, 1941 and June 30, 1946 when the forces were in the service if the Armed Forces of the United States, is not service in the military or naval forces if the United States for preference.
  5. Members of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps served with but not in the Army. This organization was abolished on September 30, 1943.
  6. Coverage applies also to successor organizations, i.e. Environment Science Service Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  7. Service of Merchant Marine Reservists (U.S. Naval Reserve) called to active duty in the Navy, even though assigned to duty on merchant vessels or at shore establishments of the U.S. Maritime Service, is considered active duty for preference purposes.
  8. The Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service was declared to be a military service branch of the land and naval forces of the United States beginning July 29, 1945, and continuing through July 3, 1952. (Executive Orders 9575, 10349, 10356, 10362, and 10367.)

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