Atomic Veterans

WebCast Atomic Vets Commemorative
Service Medal Ceremony

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The Secretary of Defense established the Atomic Veterans Commemorative Service Medal (AVCSM) and the Atomic Veterans Service Certificate (AVSC) to commemorate the service and sacrifice of veterans instrumental in the development of our Nation's atomic and nuclear weapons programs. Our Nation's long-standing nuclear deterrence capability resulted from the service and sacrifice of these Atomic Veterans who participated in the initial testing and development of the weapons programs – especially the dangerous and important work often done in secret due to national security requirements.

The AVCSM recognizes that the service and sacrifice of Atomic Veterans directly contributed to our freedom and prosperity after World War II, and was pivotal to our Nation's defense during the Cold War. Veterans eligible for the medal are those who, while performing official military duties during the period of July 1, 1945, to October 1, 1992:

  1. Directly participated in the detonation of an atomic weapon or device;
  2. Directly participated in the cleanup of radioactive material resulting from any such atmospheric detonation;
  3. Directly participated in the cleanup of radioactive material resulting from an accident associated with an atomic weapon; or
  4. Were exposed to ionizing radiation resulting from the operational use of atomic weapons during World War II.

Eligible veterans and the next-of-kin (NOK) of deceased eligible veterans may now apply for the medal. Please note that the veteran or NOK can only be issued one medal, multiple NOK cannot each be issued a medal.

Eligible Veterans or NOK who apply for the AVSCM will automatically be issued an AVSC to accompany their medal. Please review the eligibility requirements for the AVSC on the AVSC Factsheet. Veterans who have previously received Atomic Veterans Service Certificates (AVSC) will automatically receive the AVCSM, and need not apply again. However, if the veteran or NOK has changed addresses or has yet to receive the certificate, please print and fill out the application form for the medal (provided in the link below), then send it to DTRA's NTPR program via mail, fax, or e-mail.


The director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency manages the program, and has begun issuing medals on December 6, 2022. Every effort will be made to handle new applications expeditiously; however, records retrieval, review, and analysis can take three to six months to complete.


Submissions by mail:
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
8725 John J. Kingman Rd. STOP 6201
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6201
Submissions by fax:(571) 203-7997
Submissions by

* NOTE 1: The AVSC or AVCSM does not affect, guarantee or preclude any benefits for service members or their surviving dependents. All claims for medical or financial benefits are independent of the AVSC or AVCSM, and need to be made to, and processed by, the departments of Veterans Affairs, Justice or Labor. Additional details and contact information can be found on our web page for the Nuclear Test Personnel Review Program.

* NOTE 2: Veterans who apply for the AVCSM and who also meet eligibility criteria for the AVSC pursuant to Section 581 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, will be provided both the AVCSM and AVSC.

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