GETTING YOUR GOLD STAR PIN
The Gold Star pins, so intimately associated with Gold Star Mothers are, in fact, not awarded by us nor are they limited to mothers. They are awarded by the Defense Dept, usually through your casualty officer.
There are 2 different pins. Which one you are awarded depends on
the circumstances of your loved one's death.
However, membership in American Gold Star Mothers is available to mothers
with either pin. We make no distinction. Each child is precious and we don't
believe that the circumstance of your child's death, is important. All
served and all undertook the associated risks.
The following relatives of the deceased are entitled to one or the other
of the pins below:
Widow, Widower, Mother, Father, Stepmother/father, Mother/father through adoption,
Foster mother/father in loco parentis, Son, Daughter, Stepson/daughter, Son/daughter by
adoption, Brother, Sister, Half brother/sister.
Gold Star Lapel Pin
This pin (see
pg 457 (k)) is awarded only to the relatives of those killed in specific
conflicts listed in the "Information" section on the back of
DD Form 3. If
your loved one was killed during the time
period of one of these conflicts, but not in the
official area of the conflict you will receive the
Next of Kin Lapel Pin. For example,
if, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, a service member was assigned to a unit
in Germany and was killed in a training accident, you would not be entitled
to the Gold Star Lapel Pin.
The Gold Star Lapel Pin was established by Act of Congress (Pub. L.
80-306) on August 1, 1947 to identify widows,
parents and next of kin of service members killed in certain operations
defined by the law. While enacted after WW II, the award authority is retroactive to WW I,
and includes most subsequent conflicts.
As far as we can tell DD Form 3 has not been updated since Feb 2000 but
Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) are
included. War on Terror operations in Africa and the Philippines are not. A
review of DD Form 3 is to be undertaken soon according to the DoD.
If you have not received your pin you can apply yourself using Defense
Dept Form 3. The form is in pdf format which means you must have Adobe Reader installed on your
computer. You can fill out the form on your screen and then click the "Print
For" button to print it out on your printer.
If others in your family have not received their pins, make copies of the
them also. You can print the blank form to make multiple copies before filling it out for
Click here for form DD Form 3 in pdf format
Please note the following:
If your loved one is recently deceased and you know
your casualty officer, he should be able to help you get the pin.
If you are mailing in DD Form 3, include a copy of
DD-1300, Report of Casualty. This is the military equivalent of a death
certificate. Even though this is not mentioned on the DD-3 instructions, you
will likely be rejected for "insufficient proof" if you don't include it.
Next of Kin Lapel Pin
The Lapel Button, Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel (see
pg 458 (1)), is authorized for
issue retroactive to March 29, 1973. If you are a relative listed above and
your loved one died while on active duty or while assigned to an Army
Reserve or Army National Guard unit in a drill status, but under circumstances that do
not qualify you for the Gold Star Lapel Pin, you should be entitled to the
Next of Kin Lapel Pin.
You may request issue of the pin by writing to the National Personnel
Records Center at:
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Furnish the name, grade, SSN, and date of death of the deceased soldier.
The names and relationships of the next of kin must also be provided.
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