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New Zealand Campaign Medals - The Vietnam Medal

Obverse View

The Vietnam Medal obverse view

Reverse View

The Vietnam Medal reverse view

About the Vietnam Medal

The Vietnam Medal was instituted in 1968 to recognise New Zealanders who served in the Vietnam War. It was awarded for qualifying periods of 1 day on land, 1 operational sortie by air, 28 days at sea off the coast or 30 days cumulative visits, between 29 May 1964 and 27 January 1973 (the latter date was the date of the signing of the Paris Accords).

New Zealand and Australia jointly developed and instituted the Vietnam Medal. However, there is a separate Royal Warrant for each country. Australian military personnel and some Australian civilians were awarded the Vietnam Medal by the Australian government.

Eligibility for the Vietnam Medal was extended by New Zealand in 2001 to include aircrew of No.40 or No.41 Squadrons who flew one or more operational sorties over South Vietnam or Vietnamese waters in support of operations between 29 May 1964 and 28 January 1973. Supernumerary crew continue to not be eligible for this medal.

The Vietnam Medal was the first operational service medal for Australian or New Zealand personnel to be designed and produced in Australia. The Vietnam Medal was manufactured by the Royal Australian Mint.

The first issue of the Vietnam Medal was made to the eligible members of the Australian and New Zealand contingent who were going to Paris for the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary on 11 November 1968 of Armistice Day in the First World War.

The medal was designed by Andor Meszaros, a well known Australian medallist. On the obverse is the Effigy of the Sovereign. The reverse features “Viet Nam” inscribed above a symbolic representation of the ideological war in Vietnam, depicting the figure of a man in the centre of the medal standing between spherical shapes.


The Vietnam Medal is issued engraved on the bottom rim. For military personnel, the recipient's service number, rank, initials, surname, and corps / Service are engraved. These details are as at the date of the service which qualified him or her for the medal.

About the ribbon

The ribbon incorporates the colours traditionally symbolic to the three Armed Forces (red, white and blue) and the national colours of Vietnam (red and yellow).

Royal Warrant

The Royal Warrant for the Vietnam Medal can be viewed here.

Medal Regulations

Instructions for the administration of the medal are included in the Royal Warrant.

Clasps and Bars

There are no clasps or bars for this medal.

Order of Wear

The position of this medal in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.

Media Statement concerning the Vietnam Medal

Other Campaign Medals awarded to New Zealanders for service during the Vietnam War

The New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (warlike) with clasp "Vietnam"

The South Vietnamese Campaign Medal

Unit Citations awarded to New Zealand military units for service during the Vietnam War

The United States Army Meritorious Unit Commendation

The Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Presidential Unit Citation