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RVN Gallantry Cross

Date: 1950s-70s.

Description: Three variations, with an original issue box, Vietnamese made. The Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross is the most iconic and longest issued decoration of the South Vietnamese Military. The Gallantry Cross was modeled after the French Croix de Guerre. The award had been establised during the State of Vietnam period, and was continued on by the Republic of Vietnam until 1975. The decoration was initially seldom issued, but as engagements increased in the 1960s, the award was more fluidly distributed to men and women of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces who performed exceptionally in the line of duty. Several devices could be added to the ribbon, these consisted of a bronze palm for citation at the armed forces level, a silver palm was used for equivalent of five bronze palms, a gold star for citation at the corps level, a silver star for citation at the divisional level, and a bronze star for citation at the brigade and regimental level. Soldiers could be awarded multiple times for exceptional service, resulting in many long time servicemen bearing Gallantry Crosses with multiple stars and palms. The Gallantry Cross was the standard award for bravery, and regimental commanders and provincial chiefs had authorization to issue the award in the field without preliminary paperwork (unlike other decorations). Due to the award's long history variations of the medal in terms of material and color are found (See photo of medals above).

Madame Ho Thi Que "Tiger Lady" of the 44th Ranger Battalion after being decorated with the Gallantry Cross, 1960s.

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