Medal “Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR”, a long service award, was instituted by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the highest legislative body of the Soviet Union, dated May 20, 1976. According to its original Statute as well as to further Supplement and Amendment introduced by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated January 10, 1984, it was awarded to military personnel of the Soviet Army, Soviet Navy, Border Troops and Internal Troops after completing at least twenty-five calendar years of impeccable service with the Soviet Armed Forces. The medal could be also awarded to those already discharged from active military service prior to the issuance of the 1976 Decree but who impeccably served in the Soviet Armed Forces for at least twenty-five calendar years.
Medal “Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR” was awarded on behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by the following authorities: Minister of Defense, Minister of Internal Affairs, Chairman of the Committee for State Security (initially by the Chairman of the Committee for State Security under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the original title was changed by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR No.2523-X dated July 18, 1980) as well as by other authorities granted with the right to dismiss officers and transfer them to the reserve.
Nomination procedure and consideration of applications were decided by Minister of Defense, Minister of Internal Affairs and Chairman of the Committee for State Security.
Design of the medal was elaborated by the artist Roman Pylypiv.
Upper part of an obverse showed five-point star covered with ruby red enamel superimposed on sickle and hammer emblem. Abbreviation “USSR” (“CCCP”) followed by semicircular laurel branch were placed below that composition. Semicircular ribbon inscribed “Veteran of the Armed Forces” (“Ветеран Вооруженных Сил”) in capital letters was situated at the bottom of an obverse.
Reverse of the medal had pebbled surface.
Circular medal measuring 32 mm in diameter was manufactured at the Leningrad Mint (Ленинградский монетный двор) of silvered tombac and had oxidized obverse. Miniature maker’s mark – “LMD” (“ЛМД”) – was found either on one or both sides of an eyelet. However, some pieces bore no maker’s mark.
Medal “Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR” was worn on the left side of the tunic suspended from a traditional Soviet pentagonal mount and was fixed after the medal “Veteran of Labour” (“Ветеран труда”). 24 mm wide ribbon was made of light grey silk and had two thin red stripes (3 mm and 1 mm wide) at the left edge and four orange stripes separated with three black stripes (1 mm wide each) at the right edge.
Totally ca.800,000 medals were awarded.