OPNAV NOTE 1650 is primarily relevant to this web site as a source of identifying combat dates for USS Newport News CA-148 but it is also a primary reference for veterans who
are missing medals and awards. Based on my own experience and on what I read about other Vietnam veterans, many may be missing awards to which they're entitled.
In October of 2002, shipmate Al Siegel posted a message to the main Newport News mailing list with information about requesting missing medals.
This page presents similar info in this semi-permanent location.
Basically, it's a three-step process: identify what you think you're missing, write to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and wait patiently.
Al reported waiting about a year and a half; I waited about a year.
Be sure to get the address that is specific to Navy records. That address, currently at least, is:
Bureau of Naval Personnel
Liaison Office Room 5409
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
If you ask, they'll issue a DD215, which is a revised DD214, and will send missing and replacement medals. They don't issue foreign medals - like RVN medals
- so you'll have to buy those from a private company like Medals of America
Here's a sample letter. This is the actual letter I wrote, modified to remove my personal identifying info.