Vietnam Medal

The Vietnam Medal recognises members of the Australian Defence Forces and members of accredited philanthropic organisations serving in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. 

How it is awarded

Personnel who qualify for the Vietnam Medal can apply through the Directorate of Honours and Awards at the Department of Defence.

Service for the Vietnam Medal is recognised between 29 May 1964 and 27 January 1973.

Qualifying service for the Vietnam Medal includes:

  • 28 days in ships or craft on inland waters or off the coast of Vietnam.
  • One or more days on the posted strength of a unit or formation on land.
  • One operational sortie over Vietnam or Vietnamese water by aircrew on the posted strength of a unit.
  • Official visits either continuous or aggregate of 30 days.
  • One day or more by members of accredited philanthropic organisations attached to Australian forces in an official capacity for full-time duty.

The application form is available from the Department of Defence website. To access the Alternate Application Process, please call 1800 333 362.

There is no post-nominal entitlement for this medal.

Personnel who have received the Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal cannot hold the Vietnam Medal.


The Vietnam Medal was established by Royal Warrant on 8 June 1968 and counter signed by the Prime Minister.

It is one of two medals primarily for Australian service personnel created within the British system of honours.

The Australian system of honours and awards was officially established in February 1975. The Vietnam Medal is now considered the second medal of the Australian system.

The first medal was the Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 established in 1949. This medal recognises service by the Australian Defence Force and Volunteer Defence Corps during World War II.

The Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal was created in 1993 to recognise the service of Australian personnel in vital support roles during the Vietnam conflict.

Medal design

The Vietnam Medal is a circular medal made of nickel-silver. The obverse bears the crowned effigy of The Queen with the inscription 'Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina F.D.'.

The reverse of the medal has the word 'Vietnam' at the top centre above a depiction of a man standing between two symbolic spheres.

Medal ribbon

The medal ribbon contains the yellow stripes of South Vietnam in the centre. The ribbon also has a blue stripe to represent the Navy, two red stripes for the Army and a light blue stripe for the Air Force.

Award category

Defence Operational Service/Campaign Medals