Vietnam (RVN) Gallantry Cross Military Medal
Gallantry Cross (Republic of Vietnam)
Country: Republic of Vietnam
Criteria: Deeds of valor and acts of courage/heroism while fighting the enemy.
Devices: Bronze Palm similar to (55), Bronze, Silver, Gold Stars similar to (105) through (107) denote level of award and additional awards.
Reflecting her French Colonial heritage, Vietnam’s Gallantry Cross was the direct equivalent of the French Croix de Guerre and rewarded acts of valor or heroic conduct during a conflict with an armed enemy. Although awarded sparingly during the early years of the Vietnam War, the Gallantry Cross was widely bestowed upon RVN troops as a reward for much heroism and peril. Many American service men received the award as a personal decoration or as a unit award. As with the French Croix de Guerre, the emblems worn on the ribbon denoted the level at which the medal was achieved. For an Army or Armed Forces Despatch: a bronze palm; for an Army Corps Despatch: a gilt star; for a Divisional Despatch: a silver star; for a Brigade, Regimental or Unit Despatch: a bronze star. There were no restrictions on the number of devices which could be worn on the ribbon.
The medal is a bronze, cross patte with the four arms interconnected by engravings representing two dragons with two crossed sabres between the arms, handles down. In the center is a disk showing the map of Vietnam with a laurel branch on either side and the ribbon across the map inscribed, “Reward of the State” (in Vietnamese characters). The reverse contains the same design except the disk in the center is plain. The suspension is rectangular in shape and depicts two stylized dragons facing one other.
The Gallantry Cross also appeared in a second configuration, that of a unit citation. In this format, the ribbon was worn encased in a typical U.S. gold unit award frame. When conferred upon a unit, no medal was awarded but personnel of the U.S. Air Force and Naval Services wore a bronze palm on the unit award ribbon. Army recipients were also awarded the unit citation but all four devices described above were utilized to indicate the size of the cited unit. For more detailed information on Republic of Vietnam awards refer to the book The Decorations and Medals of the Republic of Vietnam and Her Allies, 1950-1975 by Foster/ Sylvester.