Awards and decorations of the United States Army

Awards and decorations of the United States Army are those military awards including decorations which are issued to members of the United States Army under the authority of the Secretary of the Army. Together with military badges such awards provide an outward display of a service member's accomplishments.

The first recognized medals of the U.S. Army appeared during the American Civil War and were generally issued by local commanders on an unofficial basis. The Medal of Honor was the first award to be established in regulations as a permanent Army decoration, complete with benefits. The Medal of Honor is the only Civil War era award which has survived as a decoration into the modern age.

Furthermore, the U.S. Army mandates that all unit awards will be worn separate from individual awards on the opposite side of a military uniform. The Army is the only service to require this separation between unit and individual decorations. All Army unit awards are worn enclosed in a gold frame.

History

The Spanish–American War was the first widespread award of campaign medals, both for service in the actual conflict and for participation in subsequent garrison and occupation duty. After the Spanish–American War, however, medals in the U.S. Army fell into disuse and, apart from a few peacetime Medal of Honor decorations, two medals for service in Mexico, or on the border, during the period 1911–17, plus the Civil War Campaign Medal and the Indian Campaign Medal, both finally authorized in 1907, there were no further Army decorations created until the First World War.

World War I saw the first widespread distribution of medals for combat, as the Medal of Honor returned awarded for bravery in battle against an enemy force. The Distinguished Service Cross was also created for those soldiers who had performed feats of bravery but not to the level required of the Medal of Honor. The only other medals of World War I were the World War I Victory Medal, accompanied by a confusing array of battle clasps to denote combat participation, and the very belated Army of Occupation of Germany Medal.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the U.S. Army issued very few decorations and it was often common for a service member to spend an entire career without receiving a single medal. As World War II loomed, however, an American Defense Service Medal was created for those on duty, and a Good Conduct Medal began to be issued to enlisted personnel. With the outbreak of the war, the Army began the largest expansion of medals since the Spanish–American War as well as the first wide scale issuance of inter-service awards and decorations. In addition, several World War II campaign medals were created for various theaters and a World War II Victory Medal was established at the end of the conflict as well as an occupation medal.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Army expanded both its number of medals and ribbons, as well as having its service members eligible for several new inter-service campaign and service medals (such as the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the National Defense Service Medal).

In the modern age, members of other military branches serving under an Army command are also eligible to receive Army decorations. All Army service members may receive inter-service awards and decorations, international decorations, and authorized foreign medals. The Department of the Army also awards a limited number of civilian awards.

The current active decorations of the United States Army as follows (the Medal of Honor, the highest military award, is not shown as it covers all of the military services):

United States Army decorations

Distinguished Service Cross Distinguished Service Medal Soldier's Medal Army Commendation Medal Army Achievement Medal
Army distinguished service cross medal
Distservmedal
SoldMedal
ArmyCommMed
ArmyAchiveMed
Distinguished Service Cross ribbon
U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon
Soldier's Medal ribbon
Army Commendation Medal ribbon
Army Achievement Medal ribbon

Good Conduct Medals

Army Good Conduct Medal Army Reserve
Components Achievement Medal
Army-Good-Conduct-Medal-Obv
USARGCM
Army Good Conduct Medal ribbon
U.S. Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal ribbon

Unit Awards

Presidential Unit Citation Valorous Unit Award Meritorious Unit Commendation Army Superior Unit Award
U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
Valorous Unit Award ribbon
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon
Army Superior Unit Award ribbon

The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is also a unit award for the US Army

Service Ribbons

Army Sea Duty Ribbon NCO Professional
Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon Army Overseas
Service Ribbon
Army Reserve Components
Overseas Training Ribbon
U.S. Army Sea Duty Ribbon
NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Army Reserve Overseas Training Ribbon

Marksmanship Competition Awards

International Distinguished Shooter Badge Army Distinguished Shooter Badges President's Hundred Tab Army Interservice Competition Badges
THE DISTINGUISHED INTERNATIONAL SHOOTER BADGE
Distinguished Marksmanship Badges
US Army Presidents 100 Metal Tab
Drawing of the US Military Interservice Competition Badge
Army Excellence-In-Competition Badges
US Army EIC Badges

Other awards

Honorary awards

Federal honorary awards (in order of precedence)
No order of precedence
Public service awards
Awards of unique achievement
  • Brigadier General Jeremiah P. Holland Award - awarded to the most outstanding military police unit, company size or smaller, each fiscal year.
  • Secretary of the Army Awards for Program/Project Management
  • Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award
  • Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service

See also

References

Army-Navy "E" Award

The Army-Navy "E" Award was an honor presented to companies during World War II whose production facilities achieved "Excellence in Production" ("E") of war equipment. The award was also known as the Army-Navy Production Award. The award was created to encourage industrial mobilization and production of war time materials. By war's end, the award had been earned by only 5% of the more than 85,000 companies involved in producing materials for the U.S. military's war effort.

Army Service Ribbon

The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) is a military award of the United States Army that was established by the Secretary of the Army on 10 April 1981 as announced in Department of the Army General Order 15, dated 10 October 1990.

Badges of the United States Army

Badges of the United States Army are military decorations issued by the United States Department of the Army to soldiers who achieve a variety of qualifications and accomplishments while serving on active and reserve duty in the United States Army.

As described in Army Regulations 670-1 Uniforms and Insignia, badges are categorized into marksmanship, combat and special skill, identification, and foreign. Combat and Special Skill badges are further divided into five groups.A total of six combat and special skill badges are authorized for wear at one time on service and dress uniforms; this total does not include special skill tabs or special skill tab metal replicas.

Personnel may wear up to three badges above the ribbons or pocket flap, or in a similar location for uniforms without pockets. Personnel may only wear one combat or special skill badges from either group 1 or group 2 above the ribbons. Soldiers may wear up to three badges from groups 3 and 4 above the ribbons. One badge from either group 1 or group 2 may be worn with badges from groups 3 and 4 above the ribbons so long as the total number of badges above the ribbons does not exceed three.

Only three badges (from groups 3, 4, or 5), to include marksmanship badges, can be worn on the pocket flap at one time. This total does not include special skill tab metal replicas. Personnel will wear the driver and mechanic badges only on the wearer’s left pocket flap of service and dress uniforms, or in a similar location on uniforms without pockets. Personnel may not attach more than three clasps to the driver and mechanic badges. The driver and mechanic badges are not authorized for wear on utility uniforms.

The order of precedence for combat and special skill badges are established only by group. There is no precedence for combat or special skill badges within the same group. For example, personnel who are authorized to wear the Parachutist and Air Assault badges may determine the order of wear between those two badges.The 21st century United States Army issues the following military badges (listed below in order of group precedence) which are worn in conjunction with badges of rank and branch insignia.

Bronze Star Medal

The Bronze Star Medal, unofficially the Bronze Star, is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

When the medal is awarded by the Army and Air Force for acts of valor in combat, the "V" Device is authorized for wear on the medal. When the medal is awarded by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard for acts of valor or meritorious service in combat, the Combat "V" is authorized for wear on the medal.

Officers from the other Uniformed Services of the United States are eligible to receive this award, as are foreign soldiers who have served with or alongside a service branch of the United States Armed Forces.Civilians serving with U.S. military forces in combat are also eligible for the award. For example, UPI reporter Joe Galloway was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" Device during the Vietnam War for rescuing a badly wounded soldier under fire in the Battle of la Drang, in 1965. Another civilian recipient was writer Ernest Hemingway.

Combat Infantryman Badge

The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is a United States Army military award. The badge is awarded to infantrymen and Special Forces soldiers in the rank of colonel and below, who fought in active ground combat while assigned as members of either an Infantry, Ranger or Special Forces unit, of brigade size or smaller, any time after 6 December 1941.

The CIB and its non-combat contemporary, the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) were created in November 1943 during World War II to boost morale and increase the prestige of service in the Infantry. Specifically, it recognizes the inherent sacrifices of all infantrymen, and that they face a greater risk of being wounded or killed in action than any other military occupational specialties.

Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army)

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is a military award of the United States Army that is presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service that is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.Separate Distinguished Service Medals exist for the different branches of the military as well as a fifth version of the medal which is a senior award of the United States Department of Defense. The Army version of the Distinguished Service Medal is typically referred to simply as the "Distinguished Service Medal" while the other branches of service use the service name as a prefix.

For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war, and requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance.

Awards may be made to persons other than members of the United States Armed Forces for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances, with the express approval of the President in each case.

Expert Infantryman Badge

The Expert Infantryman Badge, or EIB, is a special skills badge of the United States Army. Although similar in name and appearance to the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), it is a completely different award. The CIB is awarded to infantrymen for participation in ground combat while the EIB is presented for completion of a course of testing designed to demonstrate proficiency in infantry skills.The EIB was created with the CIB by executive order in November 1943 during World War II. Currently, it is awarded to U.S. Army personnel who hold infantry or special forces military occupational specialties. To be awarded the EIB, the soldier must complete a number of prerequisites and pass a battery of graded tests on basic infantry skills.

Personnel who have been awarded both the EIB and the CIB are not authorized to wear both badges simultaneously. In such cases, the CIB has precedence according to Army Regulation 670-1. A similar badge exists for medical personnel, known as the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB).The EIB is a silver and enamel badge, consisting of a 3-inch-wide (76 mm) rectangular bar with an infantry-blue field upon which is superimposed a Springfield Arsenal Musket, Model 1795.

Meritorious Unit Commendation

The Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC; pronounced muck) is a mid-level unit award of the United States Armed Forces. The U.S. Army awards units the Army MUC for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding achievement or service in combat or non-combat, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps award units the Navy MUC for valorous or meritorious achievement or service in combat or non-combat, and the U.S. Coast Guard awards units the Coast Guard MUC for valorous or meritorious achievement or service not involving combat.

Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon

A Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon is an award presented by the United States Army and Air Force to recognize those noncommissioned officers who have completed a prescribed leadership course at an NCO training school. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have no equivalent to the Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon.

Order of Military Medical Merit

The Order of Military Medical Merit (02M3) is a private organization that was founded by the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Health Services Command in 1982 with the goal of recognizing excellence and promoting fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department (AMEDD) personnel. Medical personnel from all branches of the United States military are eligible for the award. Membership in the Order denotes distinguished service which is recognized by the senior leadership of the AMEDD, and is signified with the presentation of a white brass or sterling silver medallion on a maroon ribbon.

Overseas Service Bar

An Overseas Service Bar is an accoutrement on a United States Army, Army Service Uniform and previously on the Army Green (Class A) and the Army Blue (Dress Blue) uniforms that indicates a soldier has served six months of service in a combat zone.

Overseas Service Bars are displayed as an embroidered gold bar worn horizontally on the right sleeve of the Class A uniform and the Army Service Uniform. Overseas Service Bars are cumulative, in that each bar worn indicates another six-month period. Time spent overseas is also cumulative, meaning one bar could be earned for two separate deployments totaling six months.

The Overseas Service Bars shown here as ‘Korea’ were used as Overseas Service Bars in World War II.

Overseas Service Ribbon

An Overseas Service Ribbon is a service military award of the United States military which recognizes those service members who have performed military tours of outside the borders of the United States of America. There are different versions of the Overseas Service Ribbons for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marines receive the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.

ROTC Medal for Heroism

The ROTC Medal for Heroism is the highest United States Department of the Army medal awarded exclusively to Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets. This award is presented to cadets who perform acts of heroism. As with other Department of the Army decorations, the award consists of a medal and ribbon, accompanied by DA Form 638. In the Army, this award is also known as the Medal of Heroism.

Reserve Good Conduct Medal

A Reserve Good Conduct Medal refers to any one of the five military conduct awards, four of which are currently issued and one of which was previously issued, by the United States Armed Forces to enlisted members of the Reserve and National Guard. The primary difference between the regular Good Conduct Medal and the Reserve Good Conduct Medal is that the regular Good Conduct Medal is only issued for active duty service while the reserve equivalent is bestowed for reserve duties such as drills, annual training, and additional active duty for either training or operational support to the active duty force or, in the case of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, in support of Title 32 U.S.C. state active duty (SAD) such as disaster response and relief.

To receive a Reserve Good Conduct Medal, a service member (excluding Army Reservists), must, generally, be an active member of the Reserve or National Guard and must have performed three to four years of satisfactory duty (to include drills and annual training) with such service being free of disciplinary action. Periods of active duty in the Active Component prior to joining the Reserve Component, full time active duty in an Active Guard and Reserve, Training and Administration of the Reserve (TAR), Full Time Support (FTS), or active duty recall or mobilization in excess of three years are not typically creditable towards a Reserve Good Conduct Medal, although such periods are typically creditable for the active duty equivalent Good Conduct Medal. Each service has specific varying requirements.

Soldier's Medal

The Soldier's Medal is an individual decoration of the United States Army. It was introduced as Section 11 of the Air Corps Act, passed by the Congress of the United States on July 2, 1926. The criteria for the medal are: "The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, including Reserve Component soldiers not serving in a duty status at the time of the heroic act, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving conflict with an enemy."

Superior Cadet Decoration Award

The Superior Cadet Decoration Award is the second highest Department of the Army medal awarded exclusively to Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets. This award is presented annually to the outstanding cadet in each year of Military Science at each of the respective ROTC units. As with other Department of the Army decorations, the award consists of a medal, ribbon, and lapel button with case, accompanied by DA Form 1773 ("Citation for the Superior Cadet Decoration Award") signed by the regimental commander on behalf of the Secretary of the Army. In the Army, this award is also known as the Superior Cadet Decoration and the Superior Cadet Medal.

Superior Unit Award

The Superior Unit Award is a decoration of the United States Army which is awarded in peacetime to any unit of the Army which displays outstanding meritorious performance of a difficult and challenging mission carried out under extraordinary circumstances.

The Army Superior Unit Award was created in 1985. The award is composed of a green and red ribbon, enclosed within a gold frame.

Valorous Unit Award

The Valorous Unit Award (VUA) is the second highest United States military unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a military unit after the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC). The VUA is awarded by the United States Army to units of the United States Armed Forces or cobelligerent nations which display extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States on or after 3 August 1963. The unit degree of heroism required is considered the equivalent of the individual degree of heroism required for the Silver Star which is awarded for gallantry in action.

Women's Army Corps Service Medal

The Women’s Army Corps Service Medal was a military award of the United States Army which was created on July 29, 1943 by Executive Order 9365 issued by President Franklin Roosevelt. The medal was intended to recognize the service of women to the Army during the Second World War. The profile featured on the medal is that of the goddess Pallas Athena; the same profile was used for the Women's Army Corps branch insignia.

The Women’s Army Corps Service Medal was awarded to any service member of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps between July 10, 1942 and August 31, 1943 or the Women's Army Corps between September 1, 1943 and September 2, 1945. The medal was issued as a once-awarded medal, and there are no devices authorized for additional presentations. The medal ranked in order of precedence below the American Defense Service Medal and above the American Campaign Medal.The Women’s Army Corps Service Medal is considered obsolete as the United States Army is a combined service and no longer maintains any separate service corps for women, although it may still be worn by those who served.

Awards and decorations of the United States Army
Decorations
Good conduct
Unit awards
Service ribbons
Defunct
Special Skill Group 1
Special Skill Group 2
Special Skill Group 3
Special Skill Group 4
Special Skill Group 5
Marksmanship
Identification
National Guard and Other
Leadership
Organization
Structure
Operations and history
Personnel
Equipment
Uniforms
Insignia
Headgear
Footwear
Armor
Equipment
carrier
Retired
uniforms

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