Based on the ship's record, those who served on the U.S.S. Sabalo, SS-302 are eligible to receive the medals below depending upon the particular period of duty.

This page has many graphic images and may take some time to fully download.

American Campaign
World War Two Victory Medal American Campaign Medal

Korean Medals
Korean War Medal
National Defense Service

UN Service

Korean Service Medal United Nations Korean Medal  Korean War Medal
new  --  complete details click here
National Defense Service Medal
The Korean Service Medal created by President Harry S Truman with Executive Order No. 10179, of 8 November 1950 to commemorate the service of members of the Armed Forces of the United States during operations in the Korean area for duty between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954.

United Nations Korean Medal. All members of the naval service of the United States who are eligible for the Korean Service Medal under existing regulations are automatically eligible for the United Nations Korean Medal.  
The medal was initiated by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 483 (V) of 12 Dec. 1950. Presidential acceptance of this award for the U.S. Armed Forces was announced by the Department of Defense with its directive No. 110 23-3 of 27 Nov. 1951.  
Originally entitled the "United Nations Service Medal" in the mid-1950s, a 1961 UN administrative change redesignated it the "United Nations Korean Medal."
The National Defense Service Medal was awarded to all persons in the Naval service who served on active duty at any time between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954.

The next period of eligibility coincided with that of the Vietnam War, with duty between 01 Jan. 1961 and 14 Aug. 1974 being the criteria for the award, both dates inclusive. This amended period of eligibility was established by Executive Order 11265 of 11 January 1966.

The most recent period of award encompasses Southwest Asia service, with eligibility beginning 02 Aug. 1990, based on Executive Order 12776 from President George Bush on 18 October 1991. The terminal eligibility date for this period later was set as 30 Nov. 1995.

further details:


kdsm obs

medal kdsm
On 9 Feb 2004 DoD announced the passage of Public Law 107-314 which creates the Korean Defense Service Medal designed to recognize military service in the Republic of Korea and the surrounding waters after the armistice there which ended active conflict.

The KDSM period of eligibility is July 28, 1954, to a future date to be determined by the secretary of defense.
Pictures and physical descrption:

[This medal seems to be mainly aimed toward ground personnel in Korea, although it specifically mentions waters within 12 nautical miles.  The time in theater requirements (30 days) make it seem unlikely that many diesel boat sailors will qualify for this medal, but those who made multiple trips on various ships, or possibly nuc boat ops might be eligible.]
Korean Defense Service Medal    

WESPAC's 1954-55 & 1956-57
China Service
Sabalo's activities during the two deployments of Nov 54- May 55 and Nov 56-May 57 resulted in eligibility for this medal.

[Info from ship's history dated 6 Jan 1958, and report of Larry Douglas.]

China Service Medal    

ribbon rvn
Natrional Defense Service Medal Viet Nam Service Medal Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Medal Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

All military personnel on active duty between 01 Jan. 1961 and 14 Aug. 1974 being the criteria for the award, both dates inclusive. This amended period of eligibility was established by Executive Order 11265 of 11 January 1966.

The Vietnam Service Medal was established by Executive Order 11231, dated 8 JUL 65, and the policy for award was promulgated by DOD Directive 1348.15, dated 1 OCT 65. It was awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 JUL 65 through 28 MAR 73. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, or the airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for this award. To be eligible for award of the medal, individual must- -

(1)   Be attached to or regularly serve for one or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations; or

(2)   Be attached to or regularly serve for one or more days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations; or

(3)   Actually participate as a crewmember in one or more aerial flights into airspace above Vietnam and contiguous waters directly supporting military operations; or

(4)   Serve on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days in Vietnam or contiguous areas, except that the time limit may be waived for personnel participating in actual combat operations.


     Individuals qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam between 1 JUL 58 and 3 JUL 65shall remain qualified for the medal. Upon request, the individual may be awarded the Vietnam Service Medal in lieu of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In such instances, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal will be deleted from the list of authorized medals in the individual’s personnel records. No person shall be entitled to both awards for Vietnam Service. Soldiers receiving the Vietnam Service Medal are authorized to wear a bronze star to indicate each campaign. There are 17 designated campaigns during the period of 15 MAR 62 through 28 JAN 73. Units which receive campaign credit for any of the campaigns would display a streamer with inscription as shown on the unit's lineage and honors. The designated campaigns are:

·        Vietnam Advisory 1962-1965

·        Vietnam Defense 1965

·        Vietnam Counteroffensive 1965-1966

·        Vietnam Phase II 1966 - 1967

·        Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase III 1967-1968

·        Tet Counteroffensive 1968

·        Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase IV 1968

·        Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase V 1968

·        Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VI 1968-1969

·        Tet 69 Counteroffensive 1969

·        Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969

·        Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970

·        Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1970

·        Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VII 1970-1971

·        Consolidation I 1971

·        Consolidation II 1971-1972

·        Vietnam Cease-Fire 1972-1973

[Source: Dec 09 ++]

These are the periods for which Sabalo is recorded for Viet Nam Combat Zone participation.

2 Sep 64
3 Oct 64

15 Jan 65
4 Feb 65

9 Feb 65
27 Feb 65
16 Sep 65
11 Oct 65

18 Sep 67
1 Oct 67

22 Oct 67
1 Nov 67

7 Dec 67
20 Dec 67

1 Feb 69
20 Feb 69

14 Mar 69

25 Mar 69
26 Mar 69

9 Apr 69
17 Apr 69

21 Jul 70
8 Aug 70
This listing of Viet Nam service periods is part of OpNav Notice 1650,  entitiled, "MASTER LIST OF UNIT AWARDS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS" (This document exceeds 1,000 pages, but can be viewed by internet searching.)

Bronze stars for the V.N.S.M. are awarded according to participation in the campaign periods found at:
Only one bronze star is authorized for each period regardless of the number of days or trips to the combat zone.

[There was a period of time in 65-66 where the wearing of one or the other medals might have been optional, or specific directives might have been confusing, but the wearing and/or entitlement is now revised according to the specific periods of service and directive above. If you are eligible due to an overlapping period of service at some other duty station, then the V.N.S.M. takes precedence. Otherwise, entitlement for the A.E.F.M. is only applicable if you meet one of the other duty periods/locations that are shown at: - J.Owens]


unoff medals

  Cold War Medal
Honorable Service Medal
Congress limited its official recognition to the Cold War Recognition Certificate. This medal perfectly compliments the Cold War Certificate.  Note, it does not say “commemorative” anywhere on the medal.  It has been adopted as an official medal of the Military Order of Foreign Wars. It offers a unique form of recognition specifically for citizen-soldiers and Federal civilian employees who served during the cold war between the inclusive dates of  September 2, 1945   and  December 26, 1991  .  The Cold War Medal was designed by Nadine Russell, the Chief of Creative Heraldry at the Army's   Institute   of  Heraldry    and the designer of many campaign and service medals, including the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, and the Outstanding Military Volunteer Service Medal.

On the medal’s obverse side, the allegorical figure of Freedom sits upon a vantage point over-looking a landscape suggestive of the Fulda Gap, the anticipated point of attack by Communist forces in Europe during the Cold War. The Fulda Gap thus represents all territory subject to the threat of invasion or war. The sitting figure also alludes to a long-term and watchful military presence. She holds a sheathed Roman sword in her hand, point down. The sword represents military strength, and its being sheathed is symbolic of defensive military action. Her foot rests on a book, representing both history and law. To her right is an American bald eagle grasping a bundle of arrows and an olive branch. The eagle, symbolic of the United States , represents the principles of freedom. The arrows stand for the willingness to use force in support of freedom, and the olive branch alludes to the goal of peace. Behind the figure of Freedom, and on the horizon of the landscape in front of her, a sun rising in the east symbolizes the birth of a new era of peace and stability arising from the end of the Cold War. Superimposed over the geographic scene, and below the rising sun, is the inscription, “Promoting Peace and Stability”, which is taken from the wording on the Congressional certificate and which identifies the efforts recognized by the medal.

In the center of the medal on the reverse side, the inscription, “IN RECOGNITION OF YOUR SERVICE”, is enclosed within a stylized wreath of laurel, which represents honor. The wreath is tied at its base by a ribbon, the ends of which rise above a shield taken from the coat of arms of the United States . The dates “ 2 September 1945 - 26 December 1991 ”, which are taken from the Congressional certificate, appear beneath the inscription.
 The Cold War medal celebrates this epoch, which will ultimately be regarded as one of the great events of the Twentieth Century. 

Images, further details including purchase opportunity at:
Since World War II the Armed Forces have been involved in numerous military operations, beginning with the Korean War and extending up the war against   Iraq   . Although a variety of campaign and service medals have been authorized for these wars and operations, the Defense Department has not established an honorable service emblem for discharged veterans. The Honorable Service Medal was created to fill this void.

This medal is not issued or authorized by the Federal Government, nor can it be worn on the active duty uniform. However, it has been adopted by the Military Order of Foreign Wars and is offered as a purely civilian device to commemorate honorable military service. Its central motif is the famous "ruptured duck," adapted from the Honorable Service lapel pin used during the interim period between the First World War and following the Second World War. The cross represents the military services: the Army, Navy (including the Coast Guard), the Marine Corps and the Air Force. The laurel wreath represents honor and achievement. The colors of the ribbon are suggested by the American Defense Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. The blue, white and red are the national colors, and the gold represents the golden opportunity of American youth to serve the National Colors.

Images, further details, including purchase opportunity at:


Republic of Korea Service Medal
[not to be confused with other medals with similar names]

In August of 1974 the Director of the Personnel Bureau, South Korean Ministry of Defense, offered a medal to the United States . It was to be known as the REPUBLIC OF KOREA SERVICE MEDAL and, interestingly, the offer came just as the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Korea was terminated (the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was authorized for service in Korea from October 1, 1966 to June 30, 1974). The Commander, U.S. Forces Korea, recommended acceptance of the medal.  

This recommendation was forwarded to the Joint Chiefs and they non-concurred.  As a result, in June of 1976, the Secretary of Defense disapproved the recommendation to accept the Republic of Korea Service Medal "because normal military duty in Korea under present circumstances does not warrant reception of such a medal." Acceptance of the medal by either individuals or groups was therefore prohibited.  The Korea Defense Veterans of America were told by the SECDEF’S office that regulations in place prohibit the U.S. from accepting this award on two grounds:  1. the award is not also given to R.O.K. military personnel, and 2. foreign awards are only accepted under combat conditions.

A small number of these medals had already been awarded to
United States military personnel. It is not known how many of these medals were awarded, but when the recipients attempted to have them posted to their military records the medals were impounded and no record of the award was entered into the service records.

This medal is neither issued nor authorized at this time by the U.S. Defense Department or the R.O.K., nor can it be worn on the active duty uniform.

Images, further details including purchase opportunity at:


Click these thumbnail images for a larger view
SabaloPatch50sTNEARLY 50's

 Image submitted by Richard Lamy

Discussions among crew members of the period '51-'52 at the Reno 2003 reunion explain that the patch was created during a visit to Japan during that cruise.

Another image was discovered online on 22 Feb 2002 in conjunction with an offering for sale of an
original, antique Sabalo jacket patch of this variety at the web site: Flying Tiger Antiques, and the item is no longer available.  The price was pretty high at $195.00.]
Mystery Patch TN
Patch on a plaque - [Identified Jun 2005] - Bernard Ouellet relates that this plaque is a one of a kind which was created by him using a custom patch he had made in Yokosuka during the Korean War Cruise (1953).  When visiting the Sub Museum in Pearl Harbor some time ago, he noticed that there was no plaque with the ship's emblem in their collection.  Upon return to his home, he mounted the patch and sent it to the museum.  The image was found on the USSVWWII web site.

[Note: The wolf's head shows amazing likeness to that used on a patch for the USS Seawolf SS-197 that was lost in WWII.]
Mid 1950's
                50's Patch
Howard Venezia submitted the original artwork for this rare patch (only one copy reported which is in the possession of Don McCauley).

From Howard's original artwork, the design was modified and was used as the cover art for the program of the 2007 Sabalo Reunion.

click the links to see the images.
1955-65 Sabalo Patch
Howard Venezia reports  he did the original drawings of this patch in 1955.  "These really caught hell in translation by the patch makers in Yokosuka & Hong Kong...where they became almost unrecognizable when sewn." [rpt recd  Feb 2005]
Later crew members have recollection of copies being still available on board as late as perhaps 1965.

It measures 6.25 inches round. In it stands a fish or dolphin. In his clenched teeth is a cigar. On his chest in red it reads S.S.302. On his head is a sailor cap. In his right hand he holds a club with a knife through it, bloody. In his left he grasps a red and black torpedo. On his right "fin" foot he has a blue mine with red spikes all over it. Across the top reads U.S.S. Sabalo.
55 Cruise Patch CRUISE PATCH 1955

  "Akadama Musketeers"

Image submitted by Orval Johnston

ca 1965-71
Sabalo Patch
                  cheap TN
Three versions of this patch have been encountered.
1. The one to the left is of poor quality and seemingly made by hand although done on some type of machine. Note the variation in width of the red and white stripes for instance. [click on thumbnail for larger view]
2. A similar version sewn on a jacket was sold on Ebay in May05.
3. The nicest variation is shown on the home page.  These had a nice, even design and appearance, but are no longer available.
4. Another variation is the one being currently offered by B.C. Patch. Note that these do not have the ship's hull number included.
 Links to patch vendors can be found on the links page.

  2012 Redesign
Sabalo Patch 2012
Due to non-availability of version (3.) above from vendor, a redesigned patch has been produced and is available from the Sabalo Ship's Store. 

The patches available from various vendors seem to be having more and more distortion of the fish image as it was originally designed, and failed to resemble what a "Sabalo" (Atlantic Tarpon) actually looks like.  Howard Venezia, the preeminent Sabalo patch designer, was called out of retirement to produce some artwork usable by the current computerized embroidery machines.  See Ship's Store page for details on how to order.

click for larger image
Sq 1 Patch  Dec 1961or earlier- _____ Sabalo was assigned to SubRon One, Division 12 in Dec 1961 [info from ship's pamphlet mid 60's] 
currently available from BC Patch. (see links page)
patchsq7 ____   -1966 - At the time Sabalo left Pearl Harbor she was assigned to SubRon Seven.  The specific date when she was initially assigned has not been determined.  This patch is currently available from Patchmart. (see links page)
Sq5 1966-1971 - After relocating to its home port of San Diego in 1966 Sabalo was assigned to Squadron Five.  This patch is about 5 inches in diameter.  It is currently available from BC Patch. (see links page)

Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club-1
Olongapo Mission
click here for place to purchase

Sabalo Shoulder Strip
Shoulder Strip

Fleet Efficiency "E"


Sabalo was awarded this distinction in 1967 or 68, and also reportedly for an earlier period in about '65 or '66.    It was also reported in the Patrol newspaper that Sabalo carried the 'E' in 1970.

[Can someone elaborate on the qualifications and achievements necessary, and the length of time for which the award is/was granted ?]

Efficiency 'E' 302 


In accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of  Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served the United States anytime during the Cold War era. Which is defined as Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991 . 

If you wish to obtain one for yourself, details at:

History and origin of the "DBF" dolphins - click here      submitted by Will Kaefer

more on the origin of the pin here:

where you can purchase one.

Here's another little story about the pin
DBF dolphins
These are novelty dolphins which reportedly originate from Yokosuka or Hong Kong. 
They are known as "bush dolphins".
The 'bush' has been covered to protect weak eyes.

These can be found for sale on the internet/EBay.


Ribbon graphics:

Korean Medals
Read about the "Korean War Medal" newly authorized in 1996 for service 1950-53.

Index to Medals of the Navy
Criteria for award is shown on this site

Please report any errors, comments or suggestions to Jeff Owens: owensjAt
© Copyrights reserved by Jeffrey S. Owens, Nicholson, PA