Gold Star Program

  • Published
  • By Weldon Wright
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The Gold Star program started during World War I; families displayed small banners with a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces. If their service member died in service, the family replaced the blue star with a gold star. The gold star let the community know that their service member died or was killed while serving their country.

The Gold Star and Air Force Families Forever programs ensure that all surviving family members and authorized next of kin are provided with long-term support granting them access to the nearest base. Services offered through the Military and Family Readiness Centers strive to provide both short and long-term support to our survivors with the goal of ensuring survivor family members are supported with casualty assistance representation and a survivor care team from the local Military and Family Readiness Center providing an integrated approach to survivors care including relocation assistance and financial counseling. for all surviving Department of Defense identification card holders. Furthermore, for non-DOD I.D. card survivors, the MFRC will provide information and referral support for outside local, state, national, and non-governmental agencies.

In 1947, the Gold Star Lapel Button, also called the Gold Star Pin, was designed and created for certain family members of those who died in combat during World War II.

According to 10 U.S.C 1126(a), “the military departments shall provide a Gold Star Lapel Button to each of the immediate family members of servicemembers who lost their lives while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force while serving with friendly forces

 engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party against an opposing armed force, as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States or as the result of military operations while serving outside the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.”

In 1973, the Next of Kin Lapel Button, also referred to as the Next of Kin Pin, was provided to the families of service members who lost their lives while serving on active duty or while serving in drill status as a member of the National Guard or Reserves, but not killed in action and is authorized for each family member mentioned above.

The Air Force established the AFFF program in 2010, with services being delivered centrally out of Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. In February 2014, the Air Force decided to decentralize AFFF support and placed the program's function to the trust and care of the MFRC.

There are many benefits now eligible to Surviving Gold Star Families, next of kin, and AFFF surviving family members, most of which have come out since 2010. With this being said, we know that the San Angelo area has had several of its families give this sacrifice for their country and may be eligible to receive certain benefits they are unaware of. The Goodfellow Military Family Readiness Center wishes to hear from the surviving Gold Star and AFFF families, as well as survivors from our fellow service survivors or Gold Star programs.

Contact the MFRC at (325) 654-3893.