A few years ago more opportunities for veterans, not only retired or disabled, presented themselves. Some are veteran parking spaces, discounts at major retailers, internet shopping at the exchange, and complementary meals. I am using the parking spaces and discounts, but I don't go for the meals. The issue for me was the proof of veteran status. Anyone can say they are a veteran and if challenged an easy validation method would be nice to have. The fellow who had his free meal taken away last year is a good example. He was outed for wearing his hat, I believe, proof positive he could not be a veteran. Now I am not into hats, lots of hair so no cover needed.
While visiting a friend two years ago we were trading VN experiences, he was in the 4th infantry at Camp Enari (just a little southeast of Pussy Mountain) in '67-'68. In his pile of vet stuff was a hard plastic VA id card. I decided that I should get one. I had a paper card with a VA number on it from when I got out and had a little dental work done (not much dental care at CCK).
I took that down to the VA hospital last year to get a plastic one. They said that number was from the seventies and no good. I had my 214 with me and then things started to happen. First the were amused to have someone there with a birthdate in the forties. Then they rattled off my awards and pronounced me a boots on the grounder veteran. I was reregistered, made a picture VA id card, sent down the hall for an AO consult, and asked if I had any disabilities. I complained of ringing in the ears, so they typed up my application and sent it in for me. Six months later and after a hearing exam I was an official disabled vet.
So for me the 214 by itself was adequate. Graywolf may have his "VEM" confused with the VCM. I also have an AFEM on there for something I don't remember. Many ass puckering flights into Osan and Kimpo during my Starlifter time out of TCM. My redacted 214 attached
Myth--- If the VCOG is not on your DD-214 you cannot own/wear/display the medal. And you should request a DD-215 listing the VCOG if it is not on your DD-214.
Not true. Like the National Defense Medal, the Appreciation of Service Certificate and the Cold War Medal, the VCOG is an 'automatic' award that is fully authorized to ALL veterans who served in Vietnam. If the VCOG is not listed on your DD-214 (because you discharged prior to 1974 or the clerk who typed your DD-214 after 1974 was an airhead) it is not necessary to request a DD-215 as long as your DD-214 displays Vietnam Service. You are 'automatically' fully authorized.