Vietnam Service Medal

Johnnietwocoats
23rd November 2009, 04:30
I understand that there is such a Medal called a "Vietnam Service Medal" which was given to anyone who served in the Merchant Navy and helped supply the American Forces or the War Effort.
Can anyone help.
Thanks
Twocoats(Smoke) (Smoke)

McMorine
23rd November 2009, 10:52
I was there in Saigon on the Riverbank during the Vietnam war, but wouldn't know if we were supporting the war effort. What proof would you have anyway?

R58484956
23rd November 2009, 11:06
Put Vietnam Service Medal in search box and all details come forth. Or go to Wikipedia and put in VSM, all is revealed.

Johnnietwocoats
23rd November 2009, 17:38
I was there in Saigon on the Riverbank during the Vietnam war, but wouldn't know if we were supporting the war effort. What proof would you have anyway?

If you were in the War Zone and got paid double wages for a minimum of 5 days on each trip you were involved. That's my understanding.
I carried Jet Fuel twice to Saigon from Singapore on the Caltex Kenya in 1965.
Take care
TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

John Campbell
23rd November 2009, 21:46
If you were in the War Zone and got paid double wages for a minimum of 5 days on each trip you were involved. That's my understanding.
I carried Jet Fuel twice to Saigon from Singapore on the Caltex Kenya in 1965.
Take care
TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

I John we did more than a couple of trips to Saigon with the Texaco Saigon where we were damaged by a floating mine - we got a fright but apart from a damaged windless and a lot of fallen bricks in the boiler we suffered no causalities. Must look into this medal though.

I sailed as Mate on the Caltex Kenya on he final voyage to Trinidad under British Flag.
JC
JC

Johnnietwocoats
23rd November 2009, 21:46
Put Vietnam Service Medal in search box and all details come forth. Or go to Wikipedia and put in VSM, all is revealed.

Err excuse moi. I know how to search on Google and all them other Search sites......

I remember reading a post on the Ship's Nostalgia Website where someone was having his medal delivered. If that person has all the info it would help me a lot...

But thanks for your input anyway.

TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

Johnnietwocoats
23rd November 2009, 21:58
I John we did more than a couple of trips to Saigon with the Texaco Saigon where we were damaged by a floating mine - we got a fright but apart from a damaged windless and a lot of fallen bricks in the boiler we suffered no causalities. Must look into this medal though.

I sailed as Mate on the Caltex Kenya on he final voyage to Trinidad under British Flag.
JC
JC

Hi John. Nice to chat again. Hope you were not offended by my post about some Bank Line Masters....Namely CH.

I, like you, went to Caltex and loved that Company.

My first Master on the Caltes Kenya was Tom Kennington who I sailed with later on The Texaco Durham.

My next Master was George Barnes who I also sailed with again. Always enjoyed his craic and his chats with me on the 8 till 12 at night. The old pipe always on hand.
Peter Martin was the C/O.

I ran between Singapore and Saigon from the 15th July until the 7th August 1965. Tom Kennington was the Master.

George Barnes joined in Bahrain in the Middle of August.

Take care
John

John Rogers
23rd November 2009, 21:58
The Vietnam Service medal is a bronze medal hanging on a Yellow,Green and red stripe ribbon,simply stated the colour of the old Vietnam flag. Go for it.

John.

Johnnietwocoats
23rd November 2009, 22:02
The Vietnam Service medal is a bronze medal hanging on a Yellow,Green and red stripe ribbon,simply stated the colour of the old Vietnam flag. Go for it.

John.

Thank you. I was wondering how I would go about going for it.

TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

John Rogers
24th November 2009, 00:28
Thank you. I was wondering how I would go about going for it.

TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

If I were you I would start with the veterans organizations such as the legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). I'm not familiar with the organizations at your home location however a good phone book should have them listed.

John.

Keltic Star
24th November 2009, 02:25
Try the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association, Goggled at http://www.cvva.ca/

Johnnietwocoats
24th November 2009, 05:38
Try the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association, Goggled at http://www.cvva.ca/

Thank you very much. I have just sent them an Email
Cheers
Twocoats

RayL
28th December 2009, 11:19
Would it count for something as minor as relaying a Morse message for a Liberty ship that had been taken out of mothballs and used for taking goods to Thailand? This happened to me when I was Sparks on the Speybank and we were waiting outside Bangkok for about four days in Feb 1967 because the port was currently busy. The Morse coming from the ship was too faint for the radio station to pick up, but no one else was offering to help so I did. The Radio Officer on the Liberty ship (I think it was called the Greenway Victory) was extremely inexperienced and sent at a speed of about 6 w.p.m.

charles henry
28th December 2009, 14:43
I guess i am an oddball but I find it rather odd that people from another country (not at war) would get a medal for visiting Viet Nam.

I spent a full year there working for Page Engineering, was mostly in Vung Tau with odd visits to Danang and Saigon.

I was a civilian being paid and as a Canadian had no Rah Rah about the war effort.

If someone offered me a medal I would take it as an afront to all those U.S and Australian soldiers who faced VERY hard times.

In anycase I already have a little cardboard box full of assorted metal stampings and the colourfull ribbons to go with them; which have no intrinsic value and never helped me in the journey through life.

Just my opinion de Chas

dab
28th December 2009, 16:28
In the mid 60s I was serving on board RFA Tidespring and we were in the Gulf of Tonkin for about 10 days and refuelled the American Aircraft Carrier USS Coral Sea twice. We were requested to assist as the American Fleet Oilers were out of action. The crew on Tidespring were given the option as to go into a "war zone" or not. They voted in favour. We steamed into the gulf and the Coral Sea steamed away from the mainland. Later we were refuelled by one of the American Oilers which had arrived back on station. I have applied for the medal via the RFA and am awaiting the outcome. I would hope that the powers that be, try to inform those that participated of their entitlement.
Dave Burns.

Klaatu83
28th December 2009, 17:05
You'll find some useful information on the Viet Nam Service Medal here, along with an illustration of what it looks like:

http://www.usamilitarymedals.com/merchant-marine-vietnam-service-medal-p-1036.html?ummID=173c689fb5aa512580856b66a4155a3c

Johnnietwocoats
29th December 2009, 01:34
I guess i am an oddball but I find it rather odd that people from another country (not at war) would get a medal for visiting Viet Nam.

I spent a full year there working for Page Engineering, was mostly in Vung Tau with odd visits to Danang and Saigon.

I was a civilian being paid and as a Canadian had no Rah Rah about the war effort.

If someone offered me a medal I would take it as an afront to all those U.S and Australian soldiers who faced VERY hard times.

In anycase I already have a little cardboard box full of assorted metal stampings and the colourfull ribbons to go with them; which have no intrinsic value and never helped me in the journey through life.

Just my opinion de Chas

Well my friend I guess you are maybe an oddball. You as a Canadian were probably getting big bucks to work in Vietnam during the troubles. Much like the Contractors in Iraq at the present time.

I was getting 52 Pound a month as a Third Mate and certainly did not want to be sailing into the Mekong Delta and further up to Saigon with a full cargo of Aviation Spirit for American Jets. I did the trip twice.

I am not making a hoohaa about the medal. I was merely inquiring about it.

So you take care now.

TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

Johnnietwocoats
29th December 2009, 01:35
You'll find some useful information on the Viet Nam Service Medal here, along with an illustration of what it looks like:

http://www.usamilitarymedals.com/merchant-marine-vietnam-service-medal-p-1036.html?ummID=173c689fb5aa512580856b66a4155a3c


Thanks very much for the information. I will follow it up

Take care

TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

slick
29th December 2009, 06:54
All,
To paraphrase someone" Men will die for coloured ribbon", and it does set the DJ off at a posh dinner!!

Yours aye,

Slick

R396040
29th December 2009, 09:49
I recall a trip to Saigon in Vietnam on the Pavia a Cunard Meddie boat on charter to Zim Line during the war. I was in a bar by myself having a beer or two and got talking to an American soldier who asked what I did etc and i said I was MN and not really involved in the war. He said buddy the Viet Cong wont care who you are when they toss a grenade through the window which apparently was not uncommon. A couple of days later they floated a mine down the river and it hit a ship cant remember name but think it was a foreign flag eg European ? I finished my session as normal. Wouldnt have thought medals were alloted however to MN seafares however,. I recall I was in the Korean war zone on a tanker during that war and it never was brought up. All of those servicemen in any war zones ,anytime,deserve to have their service acknowledged by a decoration. God bless and thank you to them.
Stuart
ex RMB/RNXS/MN 1947/77

John Campbell
29th December 2009, 10:22
[QUOTE=Johnnietwocoats;380092]Hi John. Nice to chat again. Hope you were not offended by my post about some Bank Line Masters....Namely CH.

I, like you, went to Caltex and loved that Company.

My first Master on the Caltex Kenya was Tom Kennington who I sailed with later on The Texaco Durham.

My next Master was George Barnes who I also sailed with again. Always enjoyed his craic and his chats with me on the 8 till 12 at night. The old pipe always on hand.
Peter Martin was the C/O.
George Barnes joined in Bahrain in the Middle of August.

Take care
John[/QUOTE

John
Sorry for not replying to your post earlier but old age etc sometimes interferes, and I lost the thread

I knew all the men you referred to in your post.

I met Tom Kennington when he was sent to act as "Mate" for me on the Texaco Westminster as she was being salvaged from sinking in the floating dock in Palermo. Sadly Tom is on rehab at the time and he left the Company after that.

George Barnes I sailed as Mate with him on the Saigon and then the Westminster. I got on well with him and was a good Master.I think he has now passed on - I met him again at one reunion - still smoking his beloved pipe.

Peter Martin was Mate when I was Jun 1st Mate on the Delhi - I think he went to Ludwig's after that.

Another Caltex chap that followed a similar path as ourselves was Jim Blundell
he was a Bank line man who married an Indian girl he met in Calcutta and then joined Caltex.

Have a good New Year and get that Medal
JC

Johnnietwocoats
30th December 2009, 04:19
[QUOTE=Johnnietwocoats;380092]Hi John. Nice to chat again. Hope you were not offended by my post about some Bank Line Masters....Namely CH.

I, like you, went to Caltex and loved that Company.

My first Master on the Caltex Kenya was Tom Kennington who I sailed with later on The Texaco Durham.

My next Master was George Barnes who I also sailed with again. Always enjoyed his craic and his chats with me on the 8 till 12 at night. The old pipe always on hand.
Peter Martin was the C/O.
George Barnes joined in Bahrain in the Middle of August.

Take care
John[/QUOTE

John
Sorry for not replying to your post earlier but old age etc sometimes interferes, and I lost the thread

I knew all the men you referred to in your post.

I met Tom Kennington when he was sent to act as "Mate" for me on the Texaco Westminster as she was being salvaged from sinking in the floating dock in Palermo. Sadly Tom is on rehab at the time and he left the Company after that.

George Barnes I sailed as Mate with him on the Saigon and then the Westminster. I got on well with him and was a good Master.I think he has now passed on - I met him again at one reunion - still smoking his beloved pipe.

Peter Martin was Mate when I was Jun 1st Mate on the Delhi - I think he went to Ludwig's after that.

Another Caltex chap that followed a similar path as ourselves was Jim Blundell
he was a Bank line man who married an Indian girl he met in Calcutta and then joined Caltex.

Have a good New Year and get that Medal
JC

John...Many thanks for eventually getting back to me....

I have read some of your stories on the Caltex website OTUK.

I did enjoy Tom Kennington. Could you please send me what you knew about him by Email at twocoats@shaw.ca

Other people I enjoyed sailing with on Caltex/Texaco..Paddy Oliver, Tom Curliss, Fred Adams, Wallace McCullough. I sailed quite a while with a Captain Cook...Can you send me info...
Take care and God Bless
John
Have a great and Happy new Year

JimC
30th December 2009, 20:54
To Charles Henry:

I would think that three years in the MN during WW2 would place you in a much higher league than any of us who were not in that particular 'bun fight'.
If anyone on this site can describe real fear on board a ship - I guess its you and all the other lads still with us who also served during what might be described as the MN's 'finest hour' for want of a better description.
As you know as do many others - campaign medals are handed out without discrimination as to what part the recipient paid in a particular theatre of operations. I seem to remember the time when it was considered a bit of show-off snobbery to wear medal ribbons on the MN uniform. Very many were entitled to wear them but never did. Can anyone else confirm this?

Having said that, medals, for whatever cause, tell people a lot about the recipient. No point in having them if they are not worn. The same thing goes for the MN War Veteran's lapel badge. If you've got one; wear it with pride. I wonder how many vetrans on this site attend Remembrence Day public gatherings and wear their medals with pride. Indeed, I wonder how many actually bother to attend at all to honour the fallen!

Johnnietwocoats
31st December 2009, 01:06
To Charles Henry:

I would think that three years in the MN during WW2 would place you in a much higher league than any of us who were not in that particular 'bun fight'.
If anyone on this site can describe real fear on board a ship - I guess its you and all the other lads still with us who also served during what might be described as the MN's 'finest hour' for want of a better description.
As you know as do many others - campaign medals are handed out without discrimination as to what part the recipient paid in a particular theatre of operations. I seem to remember the time when it was considered a bit of show-off snobbery to wear medal ribbons on the MN uniform. Very many were entitled to wear them but never did. Can anyone else confirm this?

Having said that, medals, for whatever cause, tell people a lot about the recipient. No point in having them if they are not worn. The same thing goes for the MN War Veteran's lapel badge. If you've got one; wear it with pride. I wonder how many vetrans on this site attend Remembrence Day public gatherings and wear their medals with pride. Indeed, I wonder how many actually bother to attend at all to honour the fallen!

Very Good Post Jim C....

I agree with everything you have said. I regularly attend Remembrance Day Services here in Vancouver BC.

I am still a Member of the Vancouver Fire Department Honour Guard. I am attaching a photo of me from last year carrying the Canadian Flag on Parade..For those who don't know the Canadian Flag..It is the one on the far left.......

The Canadian Merchant Navy and the Canadian Navy played a great part in the Second World war and we are all very proud of our veterans....

Take care and to all have a great New Year for 2010...

Alan Rawlinson
31st December 2009, 07:54
Very Good Post Jim C....

I agree with everything you have said. I regularly attend Remembrance Day Services here in Vancouver BC.

I am still a Member of the Vancouver Fire Department Honour Guard. I am attaching a photo of me from last year carrying the Canadian Flag on Parade..For those who don't know the Canadian Flag..It is the one on the far left.......

The Canadian Merchant Navy and the Canadian Navy played a great part in the Second World war and we are all very proud of our veterans....

Take care and to all have a great New Year for 2010...

On the subject of the Canadian war effort - I am currently reading a gripping factual book about the Canadian flyers who were captured and survived. It is called '' We flew, We fell, We lived'' and is by Philip Lagrandeur. I can recommend it, and it brings home the huge support given by the Canadian people to the struggle nearly 70 years ago.

Cisco
31st December 2009, 08:15
To Charles Henry:
As you know as do many others - campaign medals are handed out without discrimination as to what part the recipient paid in a particular theatre of operations. I seem to remember the time when it was considered a bit of show-off snobbery to wear medal ribbons on the MN uniform. Very many were entitled to wear them but never did. Can anyone else confirm this?


By the time I went to sea, early '60s, the majority of WW2 officers were sailing master or chief. All that I knew and sailed with wore their ribbons when in uniform and I don't recall it being considered 'show off snobbery'. Anyone who spent WW2 in the MN spent 5 years in the front line no matter where they sailed. Even southern Australian and NZ waters were not safe.
OK so you could get a Burma Star for just a few days 'in theatre' but I would suggest there was an element of risk in getting there.....

rcraig
31st December 2009, 09:19
I suspect that those who tried to sleep off watch in the middle of an Atlantic convoy in winter weather at night on a vessel loaded with munitions or manganese ore may have rather wished they were doing an administrative job behind the front line somewhere in Germany. The latter would have got his GSM (general service medal).

John Tremelling
31st December 2009, 09:37
I would think that anyone who did not recognise the Maple Leaf would not have the ability to read this forum Johnnie.

Best wishes over there,

John T

Johnnietwocoats
31st December 2009, 17:22
I would think that anyone who did not recognise the Maple Leaf would not have the ability to read this forum Johnnie.

Best wishes over there,

John T

Best wishes to you as well. I think I was trying a bit of the old tongue in cheek.....

All the best for the New Year.

Johnnie

JimC
1st January 2010, 13:54
By the time I went to sea, early '60s, the majority of WW2 officers were sailing master or chief. All that I knew and sailed with wore their ribbons when in uniform and I don't recall it being considered 'show off snobbery'. Anyone who spent WW2 in the MN spent 5 years in the front line no matter where they sailed. Even southern Australian and NZ waters were not safe.
OK so you could get a Burma Star for just a few days 'in theatre' but I would suggest there was an element of risk in getting there.....

You're right about the 60's. but your remark is confined to senior officers and makes no mention of all other ranks. I'm talking about junior officers and men in the years between 1945 and 1965.
Between those years there were two conflicts in which the MN played a part: the Korean War, and the Invasion of Suez in 1956. I daresay those who worked with the army between Cyprus and Lybia during the EOKA problems were entitled to the 'gong' for that. However, Qualifying MN personnel were awarded campaign medals for the first two Those who got one or both of those medals rarely ever wore them on their uniform; that is, if they had one in the first place. It was considered a bit 'big-headed ' to do so - in fact;trying to keep up with those who had been in the 'real war'.
After1965, uniforms became less important as ship's crews became 'compact'.

What sould be borne in mind in this thread is the fact that most of those entitled to wear WW2 or any other medals don't have a uniform to wear it on. That's why I made the comment about Rememberance Day.

I sailed in all types of ships. The ones where medals were worn most of all were the passenger ships.
Most officers above me and those other ranks a few years older than me had been in the MN from 1939 to 1945. Many stayed on for years after that. A lot of them had spent time in Japanese and German POW camps.
It follows that the one thing I do very much agree with you on is your remark concerning 'front line'.

The war for very many soldiers and airmen consisted of long periods of boredom and inactivity punctuated by intense periods of adrenalin release.
For those on convoys, the respite was brief. Their adrenalin release was low-level but continuous with very many 'spikes'. I consider it one of my great privileges in life to have been able to call such men 'mates'.

Johnnietwocoats:

Keep up the good work. My nephew is in Afghanistan at present on loan from the Toronto police SWAT team. He is there as a volunteer with 20 of his mates, trying to train the Afghan Police to do the job for themselves. He has also a secondary role to protect vulnerable Afghan families.

Now these guys deserve a medal!

charles henry
2nd January 2010, 16:01
[QUOTE=JimC;389663]To Charles Henry:
I would think that three years in the MN during WW2 would place you in a much higher league than any of us who were not in that particular 'bun fight'.
If anyone on this site can describe real fear on board a ship - I guess its you

Very flattering and I can agree about the real fear. (See my poem "Fireflies on the sea").
However I have never actually worn my medals and they are still in the little cardboard box that was sent to me. Furthermore I have never attended any of the remembrance ceremonies or belonged to any veterns organisation.
When the war ended I started trying to make something of my life.
Sometimes on remembrence day I think back and cry quietly but apart from that WW2 was a miserable happening and I intensely dislike the false attitude that everyone in it was a hero, there were heroic deeds on occasion but for the most part it was just fear.
de chas

Johnnietwocoats
3rd January 2010, 03:08
[QUOTE=JimC;389663]To Charles Henry:
I would think that three years in the MN during WW2 would place you in a much higher league than any of us who were not in that particular 'bun fight'.
If anyone on this site can describe real fear on board a ship - I guess its you

Very flattering and I can agree about the real fear. (See my poem "Fireflies on the sea").
However I have never actually worn my medals and they are still in the little cardboard box that was sent to me. Furthermore I have never attended any of the remembrance ceremonies or belonged to any veterns organisation.
When the war ended I started trying to make something of my life.
Sometimes on remembrence day I think back and cry quietly but apart from that WW2 was a miserable happening and I intensely dislike the false attitude that everyone in it was a hero, there were heroic deeds on occasion but for the most part it was just fear.
de chas

Charles I am sorry that my Thread seems to have upset you.
You do what you need to do and I will carry on doing what I do.....
Take care now and God Bless....TC

charles henry
3rd January 2010, 14:42
[QUOTE=charles henry;390400]

Charles I am sorry that my Thread seems to have upset you.
You do what you need to do and I will carry on doing what I do.....
Take care now and God Bless....TC


Gracious no, you said nothing that either upset me or that I felt was out of line. I was simply trying to explain what my own feelings and attitude was. I cannot imagine anything in this type of thread would make me angry or upset
and certainly not from anything a person like yourself would say.
Regards and hopefully this year will be a good one for you all,
regards chas

JimC
3rd January 2010, 15:19
Chas,

Was reading your profile and noticed you were at James Watt in 1953. So was I. I travelled on the train every morning with a guy in the Sparks class. he came from Pailsey. Think his name was Ivan Morrison. Don't suppose that names rings a bell?

Jim.

Johnnietwocoats
3rd January 2010, 17:16
[QUOTE=Johnnietwocoats;390533]


Gracious no, you said nothing that either upset me or that I felt was out of line. I was simply trying to explain what my own feelings and attitude was. I cannot imagine anything in this type of thread would make me angry or upset
and certainly not from anything a person like yourself would say.
Regards and hopefully this year will be a good one for you all,
regards chas

Thank you Charles. My Grandfather was killed during the 2nd World War when his John Kelly ship the "Castlehill" was bombed by two german bombers 10 miles off Minehead near Dungarvan Ireland.

He came through the first World War and was a seventeen year old at the Somme.

I have searched and searched for the last 7 years an eventually found the wreck of the Castlehill which was discovered in 1995....

I have also had conversations with the Divers who found her.....

Long story but well worth the effort. My Grandfather is at peace now....

TC

barney b
3rd January 2010, 17:22
I too have thought about applying for the Vietnam Medal,I also did experience real fear on my ship the Amastra when she was sunk by the Vietcong in 67.My cabin was in the after accommodation and my lifeboat station was on the port side midships. My knees were shaking as I went along the cat walk above the tanks of JP4, full cargo.My boat station was to tie the painter on the foredeck,its an experience I will never forget as no one knew if there were more mines planted underwater. Bad weather, Hurricanes, and everyyhing else the sea can throw at you cannot compare to abandoning ship under these circumstances. A year later I was back up in Saigon got another fright when the river patrol boats threw grenades around the ship.I was never asked if I wanted to go to Vietnam,no choice the ships going and so are all of the crew.As far as I am concerned I am a very lucky man to be alive today.Thankfully some one in the Viet Cong only wanted to disable the ship,just another few feet forward and we were all gone.So if there is any medal going ,yes please I will have one.

Billieboy
3rd January 2010, 18:24
Amastra, the last Doxford in the Shell UK fleet, I last worked on her in 1981.

Johnnietwocoats
3rd January 2010, 18:35
I too have thought about applying for the Vietnam Medal,I also did experience real fear on my ship the Amastra when she was sunk by the Vietcong in 67.My cabin was in the after accommodation and my lifeboat station was on the port side midships. My knees were shaking as I went along the cat walk above the tanks of JP4, full cargo.My boat station was to tie the painter on the foredeck,its an experience I will never forget as no one knew if there were more mines planted underwater. Bad weather, Hurricanes, and everyyhing else the sea can throw at you cannot compare to abandoning ship under these circumstances. A year later I was back up in Saigon got another fright when the river patrol boats threw grenades around the ship.I was never asked if I wanted to go to Vietnam,no choice the ships going and so are all of the crew.As far as I am concerned I am a very lucky man to be alive today.Thankfully some one in the Viet Cong only wanted to disable the ship,just another few feet forward and we were all gone.So if there is any medal going ,yes please I will have one.

Hi Barney.
I have found quite a few photos of the Amastra. Here is a painting of her.
I can dig the other ones up for you
TC