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Those who served during Cold War era recognized

By Vincent Z. Whaley
Johnson City Press Staff Writer

(Published Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2000)

It was an era filled with mistrust, accusations and threats between the United States and the Soviet Union, with both nations keeping their defenses at the ready but never allowing war to answer their disputes.

Beginning at the end of World War II in 1945, the Cold War lasted approximately 45 years until Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President George Bush formally declared in 1992 that their countries were no longer enemies.

Today the Department of Defense is awarding Americans who served in the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who served during the Cold War era from Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991, with special recognition certificates.

Although no medal has been authorized or issued by the government for Cold War recognition, the Cold War Recognition Certificate program is scheduled to run for 10 years and can be applied for without any charge.

Qualified applicants may apply for the certificate by using U.S. or international request forms from the DOD's Cold War Recognition System Web site at coldwar.army.mil. Those who are uncomfortable sending their Social Security number over the Web may send a letter to request the certificate. A sample letter is located at the Web site.

All requests must contain the words, "I certify that my service was honorable and faithful," or the request will be rejected.

Qualified applicants also are required to send supporting documentation that shows the recipient was a U.S. government employee during the Cold War era. The document must contain the recipient's name, Social Security number, military service number or foreign service number and a date that is within the range of Sept. 2, 1945, and Dec. 26, 1991.

Military service numbers were issued to members of the armed forces before Social Security numbers were used to identify personnel. The switch to Social Security numbers occurred in the late 1960s, so many retirees who are eligible for the certificate may have only a military service number on their supporting documentation.

Foreign service numbers are used to maintain records for foreign nationals who work for the U.S. government and who do not have Social Security numbers.

Examples of acceptable documentation include a leave and earnings statement or DD214 Honorable Discharge papers. The DOD asks that qualified applicants send copies of the documents, because original documents cannot be returned.

The Cold War Certificate request form is located on the Web at coldwar.army.mil/us_application.htm. While certificates can be requested at the Web site, qualified applicants must mail their supporting documentation within one year of the request.

Those who wish may mail a request letter and supporting documentation to CDR, PERSCOM; Cold War Recognition, HOFFMAN II; ATTN: TAPC-CWRS, 3N45; 200 Stovall St.; Alexandria, Va. 22332-0473 or FAX to 1-800-723-9262.

Story © 2000-2004 Vincent Z. Whaley and the Johnson City Press, 204 W. Main St., Johnson City, Tennessee 37605, 423.929.3111.
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596th Signal Support Co., 97th Signal Battalion
47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
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