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WASHINGTON — Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will help the Postal Service dedicate the Limited Edition Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever Stamps during a 1 p.m. ET ceremony today at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
The event is hosted by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the National Park Service and is free and open to the public.
“The postal families of more than 600,000 employees salute the 2.7 million Americans who served in Vietnam,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams. “We stand in awe of the 258 Medal of Honor recipients who distinguished themselves through unfathomable circumstances — especially the six out of 10 who received our nation’s highest recognition of valor posthumously.
Since 1863, our country has awarded the Medal of Honor to 3,493 Americans who heroically responded to such threats. Today, we honor servicemen who in Vietnam reached this highest level of loyalty and valor.”
Scheduled to join Williams in the dedication ceremony are U.S. Army (USA) (Ret.), Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch, citation, videoof Rochester, NY; USA (Ret.), Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs, citation, video; Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Founder & President Jan C. Scruggs; Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation Founder and President Diane Carlson Evans; Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund CEO Jim Knotts; and Acting Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks Sean Kennealy
Other Medal of Honor Recipients scheduled to attend include: Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins, USA (Ret.) citation, videoof Opelika, AL; Major General Patrick Brady, USA (Ret.), citation, video of New Braunfels, TX; Captain Thomas Kelley, USN (Ret.), citation, video of Somerville, MA; Lt. Colonel James Sprayberry, USA (Ret.), citation of Madison, AL; Sergeant Major Kenneth Stumpf, USA (Ret.), citation, videoof Tomah, WI; Ft. Lieutenant USA Brian
Thacker, USA (Ret.), citation, videoof Wheaton, MD; Colonel Leo Thorsness, USAF (Ret.), citation, videoof
Madison, AL; and Spec. 4th Class Gary Wetzel, USA (Ret.), citation, videoof Oak Creek, WI.
“When you talk with any recipient, he’ll tell you that he wears the Medal for those who can't,” said Jacobs. “In every combat action, there's a great deal of valor. We hold the Medal in trust for those who came before us and for succeeding warriors. The Postal Service's Medal of Honor stamps not only recognize the 79 still with us today, but more importantly — the millions who served and sacrificed for our nation.”
The Protracted Conflict
Several million service men and women fought in the conflict, which claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. Two hundred fifty-eight people who served during the war received the Medal of Honor. More than six out of 10 recipients were honored posthumously.
The Vietnam War was a protracted conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, beginning in the mid-1950s and ending with the fall of Saigon in the south in 1975. The first U.S. combat troops were committed to the defense of South Vietnam in March 1965, although American military advisers had been involved in South Vietnam since the 1950s. Several million Americans served on active duty in Vietnam until March 1973, when U.S. troops were withdrawn from the country.
Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Prestige Folio
The prestige folio stamp sheet depicts 48 of the more than 50 living Vietnam War recipients (some chose not to have their name and/or photograph included). The folio, which lists the names of the recipients, is modeled after the World War II and Korean War Medal of Honor prestige folio stamp sheets issued in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The Nation’s Most Prestigious Military Decoration
The Medal of Honor is our nation’s most prestigious military decoration. It is awarded by the president of the United States on behalf of Congress to members of the armed services who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.
The Medal of Honor traces its origins to the first year of the Civil War, when Congress saw the need for a formal means of recognizing or rewarding acts of heroism. In 1861, James W. Grimes, a senator from Iowa, introduced a bill to “promote the efficiency of the Navy” by distributing “medals of honor.” President Lincoln signed the bill into law on Dec. 21, 1861. Lincoln signed a similar measure on behalf of the U.S. Army on July 12, 1862, and the country had two Medals of Honor: one for sailors and one for soldiers.
Three Versions of the Medal of Honor
There are now three similar, yet distinct, versions of the Medal of Honor, one for each Military Department (Army, Navy and Air Force). The medals are similar in that each consists of a variation of a five-pointed star worn around the neck on a light blue ribbon. The Navy version is awarded to those serving in the Navy and Marine Corps, and during times of war, to members of the Coast Guard. The Air Force, which was established as an independent department in 1947, adopted its distinctive Medal of Honor in 1965. The first presentation of the U.S. Air Force’s medal took place in 1967 during the Vietnam War.
Following is a listing of the living recipients depicted on the stamp sheet in state order. Click the links to the videos of the recipients recounting their experiences. (Note: Media use is of video is only permitted if broadcast in its entirety.)
|LAST NAME||FIRST||CITY||ST||MEDAL OF HONOR|
|LITTRELL||GARY||ST. PETE BEACH||FL||Citation||Video|
|RAY||RONALD||PONTE VEDRA BEACH||FL||Citation||Video|
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at the Postal Store website at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Stamps
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by July 24, 2015.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
There are nine philatelic products for this stamp issue:
589724, Framed Art, $39.95.
589706, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $35.28 (print quantity 1,000).589708, Press Sheet without Die-cut, $35.28 (print quantity 1,500).
589710, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake with sheet of 24 stamps (set of 3), $16.95.
589716, First-Day Cover (set of 3), $2.79.
589721, Digital Color Postmark (set of 3), $4.92.
589730, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
589731, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.
589732, Stamp Deck Card with Digital Color Post mark (random stamp), $1.99.The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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