Missouri Guard offers WWI medals to veterans’ descendants

The Missouri National Guard Veterans Recognition Program is offering more than 1,500 medals to the Families of Missouri National Guardsmen and United States military veterans who served in World War I.

Descendants of the WWI veterans are encouraged to contact the program to apply for the medals on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We want to make these available to the general public that had a loved one that would qualify for one of the two awards,” said Jim Ortmeyer, director of the Missouri Veterans Recognition Program. “These are the original medals that were struck in the 1920s. We’re really excited to be able to provide a medal with such historical significance to the families of those veterans who served.”

The Missouri Veterans Recognition Program will verify eligibility, searching Missouri National Guard and Secretary of State historical WWI records. If eligibility cannot be verified by these means, the office will work with the families to provide other documentation, Ortmeyer said.

Missouri National Guard provided about 15,000 men in organization of the 35th National Guard Division during the war, while approximately 135,000 residents enlisted, were appointed or drafted to serve through the U.S. armed forces.

National Guard Veterans who served between Aug. 5, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918, and U.S. forces veterans who served between April 6, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918, are eligible to receive the honor.

The Missouri Veterans Recognition Program traces its roots to Apr. 23, 1919, when the Missouri General Assembly authorized the Missouri adjutant general to procure and present tokens of appreciation from the state. The act awarded medals to veterans who served in the National Guard and regular armed forces in the Spanish American War, Mexican Border Service and World War I.

Families wishing to apply should contact the Office of the Adjutant General, ATTN: Veterans Recognition Program, PO Box 1808, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Call the office at 638-9561 or toll-free at 1-866-834-3431.


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