Bernard and Linda Ebner lost their Union Beach home of 47 years and most of their possessions to twelve feet of water during Superstorm Sandy six years ago this week. Among those possession were the medals that Bernard, a Vietnam War veteran, earned during his four years of service.
Congressman Chris Smith presented the Ebners with replacement medals on Tuesday, October 30, during an emotional ceremony in the congressman’s Ocean County office in Plumsted which is nearby the couple’s new home in Whiting.
“It feels good. It makes me very happy.” Gesturing at the medals pinned to a plaque and hoarse with emotion, he continued, “This was my life for four years. To lose them was devastating.”
Ebner reached out to Congressman Smith, who made the case to the National Personal Record Center and the Navy that the medals should be replaced. Medals lost due to natural disaster or fire may be eligible to be replaced free of charge.
“Six years ago today Sandy took away these medals,” said Smith, who was the chairman of the Veterans Committee in the House of Representatives for four years. “What an honor it is and a privilege to be here with you today to help restore something Sandy took away.”
Ebner received the following replacement medals:
Medal description and eligibility:
National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) is a decoration presented to recognize military members who have served in active duty during a declared “national emergency”.
To be eligible, members must have served honorably during one of the following time periods:
The Korean War from June 27, 1950 – July 27, 1954;
The Vietnam War from January 1, 1961 – August 14, 1974;
The Gulf War from August 2, 1990 – November 30, 1995;
The War on Terrorism from September 11, 2001 – a yet to be determined date.
There is no requirement on the amount of time served within the time frames.
Vietnam Service Medal was awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and its contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. Members of the United States Armed Forces in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, or airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for the award
Vietnam Campaign Medal was a decoration presented by South Vietnam to recognize members of allied forces who served in the Vietnam War for a period of at least six months or who were wounded, captured or killed in action were automatically awarded the medal regardless of time served.
Meritorious Unit Commendation is a unit award of the United States Navy presented to U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units. The award is presented to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps that has distinguished itself, under combat or non-combat conditions, by either valorous or meritorious achievement, which renders the unit outstanding compared to other units performing similar service.
Navy E Ribbon (NAVE) or the Battle “E” ribbon is presented to crew members of any United States Navy vessel that has won a battle efficiency competition. This ribbon is awarded annually to the small number of United States Navy ships, submarines, aviation, and other units that win their battle effectiveness competition. The criterion for the Battle Effectiveness Award is the overall readiness of the command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks, and is based on a year-long evaluation. The competition for the award is, and has always been, extremely keen. To win, a ship or unit must demonstrate the highest state of battle readiness.