Batcat
The United States Air Force
553rd Reconnaissance Wing
at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
and their EC-121R and other aircraft

Unit Awards and Decorations for veterans
assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing
Individual Awards & Decoration Information

As a veteran assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, or assigned to one of the squadrons which were part of the 553rd Reconnaissance wing, you helped the wing achieve its military objectives in support of the United States. On this page you will find information about the awards won by the wing, for which veterans who were assigned to the wing are authorized by the Department of the Air Force to wear or display. This page was originally part of Batcat Veterans Benefit Information page created 02/23/12, moved to its own page 08/17/17, Last updated 08/17/17.

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IMPORTANT - this page shows awards and decorations veterans who were assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing during specific dates are authorized to wear or display because the wing was awarded a honor through the efforts of veterans who assigned to the wing. These awards should appear on each individual's DD214. Included here are copies of the Department of the Air Force orders which approved the wing award. If your DD214 does not show these awards there is a form on this page to request an update to your DD214, include with your request a copy of the Department of the Air Force orders for each award, which are available on this page, which approved each wing award.

IMPORTANT - each veteran will have earned personal individual awards which should also appear on your DD214. There is no way here to determine what individual awards you have been awarded. Each veteran will need their own orders to substantiate their personal awards. Listed below is some information on individual awards and decorations which a veteran may have earned from their service with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing.


553rd Reconnaissance Wing members were Awarded the
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V
and the
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross medal with Palm

This is an extract from the Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977 book by Charles A. Ravenstein, United States Air Force Historical Research Center, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington D.C., 1984. This document explains what decorations each member of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing is entitled depending on what dates the veteran was assigned to the wing. The information for the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing is shown on page 13 and 14 (book pages 287 and 288) of this extract. The original document is 366 pages long, which is why I extracted the pages pertinent to the 553rd. I also included the information for the 551st and 552nd wings as many of those who served with Batcat also served with those wings. Document is in PDF format, about 167K in size. Added 08/04/17.

Decorations were awarded to the unit, the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, or to an individual. When an award or decoration is awarded to the unit all those assigned to the unit during the time period defined are entitled to the award or decoration. Here is a list of 553rd Recon Wing Unit Decorations Awarded, plus information on individual decoration awards, along with information on how to obtain replacement medals, and correct missing information. My thanks to Stu Whipple for providing this PDF file, about 13K. Added 02/23/12.

553rd Reconnaissance Wing Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V


All of those assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing between April 1, 1967 through May 31, 1968, and/or between July 1, 1968 through April 15, 1969 earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V. Department of the Air Force Special order GB-623, dated 9 September 1969 lists the 553rd Units awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit award with V depending on what dates you served with the 553rd. The units include the 553rd EMS/AMS, 553rd FMS, 553rd OMS, 553rd RS and 554th RS. PDF format, about 67K. Air Force document AFP 900-2 details 553rd Units awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit award with V dated 15 June 1971 lists 553rd Reconnaissance Wing as being award the Air Force Outstanding Unit with V. PDF format, about 82K. My thanks to the Air Force Historical Research Agency for providing the DAF Special Orders GB-623 and AFP 900-2 information. Here is an image of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V device, color about 38K. Added 08/11/17.


553rd Reconnaissance Wing Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross medal with Palm


Those assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing are also awarded the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross medal with Palm. Department of the Air Force orders GB-337 dated 14 May 1975 are for the 553rd Electronic Maintenance Squadron and the 553rd Avionics Maintenance Squadron. PDF format, about 46K. Department of the Air Force orders GB-338 dated 14 May 1975 are for the 553rd Field Maintenance Squadron, 553rd Organizational Maintenance Squadron, 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron, Headquarters 553rd Reconnaissane Wing, and 554th Reconnaissance Squadron. PDF format, about 77K. My thanks to the Air Force Historical Research Agency for providing the DAF Special Orders GB-623. Here is an image of the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry medal with Palm, color about 77K. Here is an image of the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry with Palm Ribbon, color about 29K. Added 08/11/17.


Veterans who served with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing may
be entitled to the following Individual Awards and Decorations
requirements for award included for each award

The three individual awards and decorations shown here below are those which are likely to be earned by a veteran who served during the Vietnam era, who served overseas in Thailand with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, making no difference if the veteran's work assignment was on the ground, or as an aircrew member. Many other individual awards could be earned from service in the U.S. or in other countries which are not shown here.

National Defense Service Medal
an individual Award


Check here to view the Requirements for award of the National Defense Service medal. Here is an image of the National Defense Service medal, color about 57K. Here is an image of the National Defense Service medal Ribbon, color about 38K. Added 12/27/14.

Vietnam Service Medal with stars
an individual Award


The Vietnam Service Medal is an individual award. Those assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing at Korat RTAFB are entitled to the Vietnam Service Medal, and depending on the specific dates of service the veteran is entitled to campaign stars on the VSM. The veteran must have been present during the at least one campaign to receive the VSM. After the first campaign to receive the VSM, presence during each campaign entitles the veteran to a bronze star to the VSM. View this extract from Air Force Manual 900-2 Defining both the AFOUA with V and the specific campaigns eligible for the Vietnam Service Medal. An example of how to determine the eligibility to wear the VSM and stars. My service at Korat RTAFB was from Nov. 1968 through Sept. 1969. Viewing these AF Manual 900-2 extracts shows that I was present during 3 campaigns identified as 63, 64 and 65. Campaign 63 earned me the VSM, while my presence for campaigns 63, 64 and 65 earned me three bronze stars to the VSM. My thanks to the Air Force Historical Research Agency for providing the AF Manual 900-2 extract. Check here to view the Requirements for award of the Vietnam Service medal. Here is an image of the Vietnam Service medal, color about 81K. Here is an image of the Vietnam Service medal Ribbon, color about 29K. Added 12/27/14.


Vietnam Campaign Medal
an individual Award


Check here to view the Requirements for award of the Vietnam Campaign medal. Here is an image of the Vietnam Campaign medal, color about 16K. Here is an image of the Vietnam Campaign medal, color about 13K. Added 08/17/17.


Corrections to Military Records


Corrections to Military Records, For those assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing your DD214 should show the above awards, plus awards you earned individually. If your DD214 doesn't show the above awards and your individual awards, you need to send in a Corrections of Military Records to the Air Force. You need to open, then download this PDF file to your PC, which can then be filled in using Adobe Acrobat Reader. PDF format, about 111K. Provide the needed supporting documents, then mail to the Board for Correction of Air Force Record. My thanks to the Air Force Historical Research Agency for providing this document to correct military records. Added 08/11/17.


Lost Supporting Documentation


If you have lost supporting documentation about which click on medals and awards you have earned. My thanks to David Fredrickson for this information. Added 04/21/14.

If you never received, or have misplaced, a medal or decoration you earned while in U.S. Military service, check Military Awards and Decorations. Instructions how shown on how to make your request determined by which branch of the service you served in. NOTE medals awarded by the United States will be replaced, however they do not replace medals issued by other countries. My thanks to David Pipher for providing this link. Added 07/21/10, updated 10/09/11.

If you would like to purchase medals and ribbons you earned, contact Medals of America for availability and cost. A row of the ribbons you earned is something nice to give to your grand children. My thanks to David Fredrickson for this information. Added 04/21/14.




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