Welcome to the Army Survivor Outreach Services website. If you came to this page because you are a surviving Family member, please know we are here for you. Survivor Outreach Services is the official Army program designed to provide long term support to surviving Families of Fallen Soldiers. This is your program! Conceived of and developed by Survivors, this program is continually refined based on Survivor feedback and involvement by senior Army leaders.
Survivor Outreach Services is a “one” Army program. Regardless of your loved one’s Army component, duty status, location, or manner of death, Survivor Outreach Services Support Coordinators and Financial Counselors are here to provide dedicated outreach and support when, and for as long as you desire.
We are here for you. Army National Guard, US Army Reserve and Active Component Families are served by the closest Survivor Outreach Services support office (see our services locator link).
We know that there are no words or actions that can ever fully solace you in your loss, for there is no greater calling than to serve ones’ nation with honor and dignity. For us, there is no greater duty than to support the Families of those who have died in service to our nation.
ABOUT THE GOLD STAR AND NEXT OF KIN LAPEL BUTTONS
In 1947, Congress* approved the use of the Gold Star Lapel Button as a way to recognize the families of service members who lose their lives while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States. In 1977, the Army approved issue of the Lapel Button for the Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel to honor those who lose their lives while serving on active duty or while assigned in a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status. Issue of the button is retroactive to 29 March 1973."
These small lapel buttons, or pins, as they are commonly called, are normally presented to eligible family members prior to the military funeral service. Although they are less than an inch in size, they are packed with great meaning and emotion. They are not awards. They are symbols of honor. Here is how you can tell them apart.
GOLD STAR LAPEL BUTTON
This symbol consists of a gold star on a purple background, bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves. It is designated for eligible survivors of service members who lose their lives during any armed hostilities in which the United States is engaged, dating back to World War I. This includes service members who lose their lives while deployed in support of military operations against the enemy or during an international terrorist attack.
NEXT OF KIN OF DECEASED PERSONNEL LAPEL BUTTON
This symbol consists of a gold star within a circle that commemorates his or her honorable service. The gold star is also surrounded by sprigs of oak that represent the branches of the Armed Forces. It is designated for eligible survivors of service members who lose their lives while serving honorably under circumstances not defined above. This includes service members who lose their lives while assigned to a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status. It is authorized for issue retroactive to March 29, 1973.
Who can wear the pin?
The family members entitled to receive and wear these symbols are the widow or widower; each child, stepchild, and child through adoption; each brother, half brother, sister, and half sister; and each of the parents (this includes mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, mother through adoption, father through adoption, and foster parents in loco parentis).
I did not receive a pin, where do I get one?
If you are an eligible family member, but did not receive the lapel button to which you are entitled, you can request one through the National Archives. You can also apply for a replacement should yours ever be lost or damaged. If you would like help applying for a new or replacement Lapel Button, contact Army Survivor Outreach Services.
*The descriptions on this page are intended to provide an overview of the public law governing the distribution of Gold Star lapel buttons. To view the law in its entirety, click here.
For more information on the Gold Star and Next of Kin Lapel Buttons please visit Gold Star and Next of Kin Lapel Buttons information
The Blue Star Service Flag
Represents Hope and Pride. Patented by Army CPT Robert Queissner in 1917 to recognize his two sons serving in the military.
The Gold Star Service Flag
Represents sacrifice for the cause of liberty and freedom. Created in 1918 after President Woodrow Wilson approved a suggestion allowing mothers who lost a child serving in the war to wear a gold gilt star on the traditional black mourning arm band.
Apr 5, 2013
H.R.1851: Family Act of 2013
Apr 26, 2013
H.R. 32: Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act
(Aug 2 2013 New Cosponsors added)
Apr 24, 2013
S. 735: Survivor Benefits Improvement Act of 2013
S.Con.Res. 15: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index should not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security or veterans benefits, or to increase the tax burden on low- and middle income taxpayers.
S. Con. Res. 15
Apr 22, 2013
H.R. 1067: To make revisions in title 36, United States Code, as necessary to keep the title current and make technical corrections and improvements.
S. 734: A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to repeal the requirement for reduction of survivor annuities under the Survivor Benefit Plan by veterans’ dependency and indemnity compensation.
(5 Aug 2013 New Cosponsors added)
SOS Gold Star Pins Awareness Campaign
Please check our webpage www.GoldStarPins.Org for information on the Gold Star Pin Awareness program. Thanks so much!