A family member or a relative of a deceased war veteran can claim unclaimed war medals by obtaining a DD-214 Military Release form and the veteran's Social Security number. It also helps to know the rank, military position and military number. Claimers living in the United States write directly to the Navy Personnel Command Liaison Office in St. Louis, Mo.
Military awards and medals are a recognition of service and accomplishment by members of the armed forces. However, in some cases, they remain unclaimed. Understandably, World War I veterans are no longer around, but many veterans of World War II are still living. Relatives of those who served in World War II can ask the veteran about the potential for unclaimed medals for service to his country, then obtain the forms on his behalf. In the United Kingdom, relatives of deceased veterans need to secure a medal application form and contact the Imjin Barracks at Gloucester.
The oldest military award in the world is the Purple Heart, given to those who were wounded or killed in battle. The highest honor given to military personnel in the United States is the Medal of Honor, awarded for action above and beyond the call of duty. It was created in 1861 and awarded by the president in the name of the Congress.