Alzheimer's-Stricken Vet Can't Remember What His Medals Mean, Internet Responds in Full Force

Social media can be used for some pretty ugly things. And then there are moments where it can be used for something truly beautiful.

This is definitely one of the latter moments.

During this past weekend, a user on Reddit submitted a picture of a number of military medals. There was no accompanying text, simply a title to the post: “The wife of one of my patients says her husband was a major in the Air Force. He has Alzheimer’s and cannot remember what they are for. Can you help me out Reddit?”

Here’s a picture of the medals:

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One Reddit user, NotAnotherFNG, definitely had an answer to the heartbreaking riddle. According to him, the first row was a first lieutenant (the silver bar) and second lieutenant (the gold bar) ranks, a Meritorious Service Medal, and a major (gold oak leaf) and captain (the two silver bars) ranks.

The second row consists of a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and a series of ribbons that would have been worn on dress uniforms, along with an Air Force Commendation Medal.

The third row consisted of a National Defense Service Medal (for those who served honorably during times of emergency), a Bronze Star (I don’t think that needs any explanation), and a Vietnam Service Medal.

NotAnotherFNG noted that “(t)he ribbons in the center include some other info.

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“The left most ribbon in the second row is an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. The metal device on it is a bronze oak leaf cluster and means he was in two units when they received it, or the same unit when they received it at two different times,” they wrote.

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“The Vietnam Service Medal has three bronze stars on it to denote that he served during three different campaigns in Vietnam (there were 18 total).

“The leftmost ribbon in the bottom row is an Air Force Longevity Service Award. It is awarded for a four year period of service. It looks like there are three bronze oak leaf clusters on it which would indicate at least 16 years of service, the ribbon itself counts as one.

“The middle ribbon in the bottom row is a Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Award.”

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That’s a pretty impressive career of service, and other users came up with their own recommendations.

“With his consent you can request his service records from the military,” one user wrote. “Me and my grandpa did it for his father posthumously. It should tell you the story behind the medals which certainly would be interesting.”

Another user noted that the medals weren’t in the correct order and noted that “the Bronze Star should be the top-most ribbon and medal, and so on,” with a link to proper hierarchy.

Overall, it was an experience that one can bet made the day of this very decorated airman and his family. It certainly made ours.

Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if it made yours, too.

What are your thoughts on what the internet did for this veteran? Scroll down to comment below!


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