Prisoner Of War Medal
Display Recognition

Site Index

      • Example Display Recognition
      • Applicable Military Branches
      • Display Types
      • Issue Requirements
      • Issue Regulations
      • Who May Apply
      • Administration Processing and Delivery
      • How To Apply For This Display Recognition and/or Medal
      • Mailing Address
      • Questions?
      • Other Display Recognitions
      • Example Display Recognition:
        Actual Size: 8 1/2 x 11
        Displayed below: United States Marine Corps
        All Branches,
        Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Air Corps,
        Coast Guard and Marines are available
        to eligible applicants

        Military Branches

        All Military Service branches are applicable:
        Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy

        Who May Apply

        • Veteran recipients
        • Active Duty recipients
        • Family Members of recipients
        • Estate Inheritors

        Display Types

        You have four display types to choose from:
        Black & White (No Color)
        Heavy Bond Enclosure

        Heavy Bond Enclosure
        Colors: Regal, Black, Navy
        Trimmed in Appearance Gold

        Ready for Mantle or Shelf Display

        Issue Requirements
        You must submit:

      • A photocopy of your DD-214 (post WW2), OR A photocopy of your WD AGO 53-55 (WW2), OR other military issued document clearly displaying your former status as a prisoner of war.
      • NOTICE

        This Display Recognition is available ONLY to authorized recipients who possess orders, or authorization form, or release documentation that confirms award eligibility. (See "Issue Requirements"). To obtain either a Display Medal or a Display Recognition for your authorized award you will be required to provide military-issued documentation authorizing your award. There are no exceptions.

        You must NOT submit a military issued document or photocopy that:

        • has been altered in any way by you after
          the original's official issue
        • contains information or corrections or
          additions that you entered
        • lists awards or training you knowingly did not receive
        • contains highlighting, colorizing or other markings you entered

        Be advised that on request any knowingly fraudulent document sent by you will be released to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that may result in prosecution and/or fine/imprisonment.

        Email Questions, or Phone: 1-562-422-4100 (Pacific Time Zone)

        Your photocopy must be mailed or emailed to the address below.
        You may NOT email a digitized copy.

        Personnel Branch
        Processing and Delivery

        Style Admin Shipping Total
        Full Color .PDF (Printable) $7.50 Emailed $7.50
        Published Document only (Full Color) $14.00 $12.60 USPS $26.60
        Heavy Bond Enclosure (Full Color) $19.00 $12.60 USPS $31.60

      • Total/Shipping fees, above, apply to 50 U.S. states
      • Contact The War Library for international shipping cost
      • How to Apply

        You may apply for your Display Recognition using a...

      • Check Debit card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Charge card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Personal, Business, Bank or Cashiers Check ( Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • Money Order (* Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • (* Upon reception of required documentation)

        Complete and MAIL this APPLICATION FORM.
        Don't forget to include a copy of your DD-214 or other required document(s).


        Mailing Address

        Records Chief (REC-AMW)
        The American War Library
        817 East Via Carmelitos Ste 319
        Long Beach CA 90805-7549


        Click here for answers to common questions

        Email: Prisoner of War Medal Recognition Inquiry

        Telephone: 1-562-422-4100 (Pacific Time Zone)

        Copyright ©  The American War Library
        Military and Veteran Websites
        The G.I. Photograph Museum of Honor
        Locator Registry Applications
        Accessing The Worldwide Military Personnel Database

        Issue Regulations

        Prisoner Of War (POW) Medal

        Click for larger image

        1. Eligibility Requirements

        A. Authorized by Section 1128, title 10, U.S.C. reference (o)). b. Authorized for any person who, WHILE SERVING IN ANY CAPACITY WITH THE U.S. ARMED FORCES, was taken prisoner and held captive after April 5, 1917.

        (1) Civilians and Foreign Nationals. The POW Medal shall be issued only to U.S. and foreign civilians who have received credit for U.S. military service, as determined by the DoD Civilian and/or Military Service Review Board and Advisory Board under DoD Directive 1000.20 (reference (p)). The period of creditable military service must include the period of captivity from date of capture through date of release. While no minimum time period of captivity exists as eligibility criteria for the POW Medal, the Services should determine each case on its merits using the language in 10 U.S.C. and the Secretary of Defense Memorandum (references (e), (f) and (q)). The Secretary of Defense authorized on January 27, 1990, the POW Medal for the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Recognized Guerrilla Unit Veterans who were held captive between December 7, 1941, and September 26, 1945.

        (2) Missing in Action. The POW Medal only shall be issued to the legal next-of-kin (NOK) of military personnel or civilians who have received credit for U.S. military service and whose POW status officially has been confirmed and recognized as such by the Military Departments. The NOK of persons listed as "missing, but for whom there is no evidence of having been a POW" shall not be issued the POW Medal. Return of remains, in and of itself, does not constitute evidence of POW status. The NOK of the POWs who die in captivity maybe issued the POW Medal irrespective of the length of the captivity period.

        (3) Hostages, Detainees, and Internees. The POW Medal shall be issued only to those taken prisoner BY FOREIGN ARMED FORCES that are hostile to the United States, under circumstances which the Secretary concerned finds to have been comparable to those under which persons have generally been held captive by enemy armed forces during periods of armed conflict. For that medal, armed conflicts are defined as "World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam Era and Southwest Asia Conflict." c. Character of Service. Any person convicted by a U.S. military tribunal of misconduct or a criminal charge or whose discharge is less than honorable based on actions while a POW is ineligible for the medal. The POWs whose conduct was not in accord with the Code of Conduct and whose actions are documented by U.S. military records, are ineligible for the medal. Resolution of questionable cases shall be the responsibility of the Secretaries concerned.

        2. Subsequent Awards. No more than one POW Medal shall be awarded. For subsequent acts justifying award of the medal, service stars shall be awarded and worn on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal. A period of captivity terminates on return to U.S. military control. Escapees who do not return to U.S. military control and are recaptured by an enemy do not begin a new period of captivity for subsequent award of the POW Medal.

        3. Presentation. While service medals (unlike decorations for valor, meritorious achievement, and service) are not normally presented in formal military ceremonies, military representatives of the Active and Reserve components may participate in POW Medal presentation ceremonies, if requested, under guidance and procedures issued by the Secretaries of the Military Departments. Additionally, veterans organizations, former POW associations, public officials, etc., may receive and present the medal to former POWs or their NOK. Engraving of the POW Medal, if desired, shall be at the expense of the recipient.

        4. Manner of Wearing. Section 1128 of title 10, U. S.C., "Prisoner-of-war medal: issue," (reference (o)) establishing the POW Medal specifies that it shall be displayed immediately following decorations awarded for individual heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service, and before any other service medal, campaign medal, or service ribbon authorized to be displayed. To ensure consistency among the Services, the POW Medal shall be placed ahead of the Good Conduct Medal in the order of precedence.

        5. Posthumous Awards. The POW Medal maybe awarded posthumously and, when so directed, may be presented to such representatives of the deceased as the Secretary concerned considers appropriate.

        6. Procedures for Issuing the POW Medal. The Military Departments shall receive requests for, and issue, the POW Medal to eligible individuals or their NOK, as follows:

      • A. All requests for the POW Medal will be initiated by eligible former POWs, or their NOK, using a personal letter addressed to the appropriate Service Records Center located at 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5199.
      • B. Veterans organizations, former POW associations, public officials, etc., may receive requests for the medal from former POWs, or their NOK, and forward them to the appropriate Service Records Center. Such organizations and/or individuals would agree to receive the medals and subsequently present, or forward, them to the requester.
      • C. Ailter verification of POW status and character of service of the former POW, the medal shall be forwmded through mail in accordance with the desires of the requester (directly to the requester or to a third party for presentation). A cover letter explaining the background and symbolism of the medal shall accompany the medal.
      • D. The Services shall issue the medal to eligible active duty former POWs and reflect the award in appropriate records.
      • Prisoner of War Medal Instituted: 1985 Dates: All Criteria: Awarded to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces taken prisoner during any armed conflict dating from World War I. Devices: (Silver Star, Bronze Star) Notes: Gold and Silver Star attachments apply only to USN, USMC and USCG. Bronze and Silver Oak Leaf attachments apply only to Army and USAF.

        Authorized by Congress, and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who was a prisoner of war after April 5, 1917 (the date of America's entry into World War I), and to any person who was taken prisoner or held captive while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States, or while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict. The recipient's conduct, while in captivity, must have been honorable. The medal can be received posthumously by the next of kin of the recipient.

        Go To Top of Page
        Go To Issue Regulations for Other Medals and Badges

        DoD Revises Purple Heart Eligibility Criteria to Allow Award to POWs Who Die in Captivity

        Bulletin No. 845-08
        October 06, 2008

        The Department of Defense announced today it has expanded the Purple Heart eligibility criteria allowing prisoners-of-war who died in captivity to receive the award.

        The revised department policy presumes, for service members who die in captivity as a qualifying prisoner-of-war, that their death was the "result of enemy action," or the result of wounds incurred in action with the enemy during capture, or as a result of wounds incurred as a result of enemy action during capture, unless compelling evidence is presented to the contrary.

        The revised policy allows retroactive award of the Purple Heart to qualifying prisoners-of-war since Dec. 7, 1941. Posthumous award will be made to the deceased service members representative, as designated by the secretary of the military department concerned, upon application to that military department.

        Each military department will publish application procedures and ensure they are accessible by the general public. Family members with questions may contact the services: Army: Military Awards Branch, (703) 325-8700; Navy: Navy Personnel Command, Retired Records Section, (314) 592-1150; Air Force Awards & Decorations Office (210) 565-2516, Marine Corps: Military Awards Branch, (703) 784-9340.