Eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

The Inquiry into Eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal began on 23 March 2013 with advertisements being placed in major newspapers nationally giving notice of the Inquiry and calling for submissions.

The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry can be read at the following link: Terms of Reference – RVCM Inquiry

The Tribunal received 76 submissions from individuals, the Department of Defence and several ex-service organisations.

The Tribunal handed its Report of the Inquiry, including three recommendations, to Government on 27 March 2014.   The Report can be read at the following link:  Report of the Inquiry into Eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

In a media release dated 10 November, the Government responded to the Tribunal’s Inquiry recommendations advising it had accepted two of the three recommendations. Those recommendations, as accepted, are as follows:

Recommendation TwoFor purposes of assessing eligibility of the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal only, the Department of Defence amend its interpretation of ‘wounded-in-action’ to include psychological injury under the following conditions:

i.   the injury would need to be incurred as a result of enemy action;

ii.  the injury would need to be on the member’s records at the time; and

iii. the casualty would need to be evacuated from the operational theatre as a result of this particular injury.

Recommendation Three: The Department of Defence continue to assess applications for the RVCM using the present criteria with the recommended change to the interpretation of ‘wounded-in-action’, see Recommendation Two.

The media release goes on to state that: ‘The Government has not accepted the Tribunal’s recommendation that ‘no action is to be taken by the government to change the criteria for the award of the RVCM’. 

The Tribunal has been tasked with investigating the Australian Government’s legal ability to amend the eligibility criteria for the RVCM, even though the former government of theRepublicofVietnamno longer exists.

Details of the Tribunal’s further Inquiry, including the Terms of Reference, can be found here.

by Ken McFadyen
Oil on canvas on hardboard, 1968

RAAF's first operation over North Korea
Robert Taylor
Oil on canvas, 1986