My answer to Did the U.S. government in the last 20 years tell veterans they could buy their own replacement medals…
Answer by Ken Larson:
Any citizen can buy commercially and wear a military medal, weather or not he or she was even in the military or, if in the military whether or not he or she earned the awards.
“A federal appeals court on Monday tossed out a veteran’s conviction for wearing military medals he didn’t earn, saying it was a form of free speech protected by the Constitution.
A specially convened 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the First Amendment allows people to wear unearned military honors.
Joe Swisher of Idaho was convicted in 2007 of violating the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a misdemeanor to falsely claim military accomplishments. President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2006, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in 2012 as a violation of free speech protections.”
To specifically answer your question, a veteran can apply for his or her medals at the “Department of Heraldry” for the service in which he or she served. There is no shortage of supply.
A DD214 “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty” is required and a fee is charged. The individual then receives a paper authentication of eligibility for the awards and the medals themselves, shipped to the address provided in the application.