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.
|Bronze Star Medal|
The Bronze Star Medal without any devices
|Awarded by the|
Department of the Army
Department of the Navy
Department of the Air Force
Department of Homeland Security
|Type||Military medal (Decoration)|
|Awarded for||"Heroic or meritorious achievement or service"|
|Established||Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded by E.O. 11046, 24 August 1962)|
|First awarded||4 February 1944 (retroactive through 7 December 1941)|
|Last awarded||Currently awarded|
|Next (lower)||Purple Heart|
Service ribbon (above) – Reverse side of star (below)
The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, as amended by Executive Order 13286, 28 February 2003). The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded by the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary of Homeland Security with regard to the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, or by such military commanders, or other appropriate officers as the Secretary concerned may designate, to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after 6 December 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, herself or himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight—
The acts of heroism are of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star. The acts of merit or acts of valor must be less than that required for the Legion of Merit but must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded only to service members in combat zones who are receiving imminent danger pay.
The Bronze Star Medal (without the "V" device) may be awarded to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 6 December 1941, was cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 7 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. For this purpose, the US Army's Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge award is considered as a citation in orders. Documents executed since 4 August 1944 in connection with recommendations for the award of decorations of higher degree than the Bronze Star Medal cannot be used as the basis for an award under this paragraph.
Effective 11 September 2001, the Meritorious Service Medal may also be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal (without Combat "V" device) for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater.
The medal is a bronze star 1 1⁄2 inches (38 mm) in circumscribing diameter. In the center is a 3⁄16 inch (4.8 mm) diameter superimposed bronze star, the center line of all rays of both stars coinciding. The reverse bears the inscription "HEROIC OR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT" with a space for the name of the recipient to be engraved. The star hangs from its ribbon by a rectangular metal loop with rounded corners. The suspension ribbon is 1 3⁄8 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 1⁄32 inch (0.79 mm) white 67101; 9⁄16 inch (14 mm) scarlet 67111; 1⁄32 inch (0.79 mm) white; center stripe 1⁄8 inch (3.2 mm) ultramarine blue 67118; 1⁄32 inch (0.79 mm) white; 9⁄16 inch (14 mm) scarlet; and 1⁄32 inch (0.79 mm) white.
The Bronze Star Medal with the "V" device to denote heroism is the fourth highest military decoration for valor. Although a service member may be cited for heroism in combat and be awarded more than one Bronze Star authorizing the "V" device, only one "V" may be worn on each suspension and service ribbon of the medal. The following ribbon devices must be specifically authorized in the award citation in order to be worn on the Bronze Star Medal, the criteria for and wear of the devices vary between the services:
Colonel Russell P. "Red" Reeder conceived the idea of the Bronze Star Medal in 1943; he believed it would aid morale if captains of companies or of batteries could award a medal to deserving people serving under them. Reeder felt another medal was needed as a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, and suggested calling the proposed new award the "Ground Medal". The idea eventually rose through the military bureaucracy and gained supporters. General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated 3 February 1944, wrote
The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal has had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.
The Air Medal had been adopted two years earlier to raise airmen's morale. President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419 dated 4 February 1944, retroactive to 7 December 1941. This authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 3, dated 10 February 1944.
President John F. Kennedy amended Executive Order 9419 per Executive Order 11046 dated 24 August 1962 to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces. This allowed for awards where US service members become involved in an armed conflict where the United States was not a belligerent. At the time of the Executive Order, for example, the US was not a belligerent in Vietnam, so US advisers serving with the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces would not have been eligible for the award.
Since the award criteria state that the Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to "any person ... while serving in any capacity in or with" the US Armed Forces, awards to members of foreign armed services serving with the United States are permitted. Thus, a number of Allied soldiers received the Bronze Star Medal in World War II, as well as U.N. soldiers in the Korean War, Vietnamese and allied forces in the Vietnam War, and coalition forces in recent military operations such as the Persian Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. A number of Bronze Star Medals with the "V" device were awarded to veterans of the Battle of Mogadishu.
As a result of a study conducted in 1947, the policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal (without the "V" device) to all soldiers who had received the Combat Infantryman Badge or the Combat Medical Badge during World War II. The basis for doing this was that the badges were awarded only to soldiers who had borne the hardships which resulted in General Marshall's support of the Bronze Star Medal. Both badges required a recommendation by the commander and a citation in orders.
In 2012, two U.S. airmen were allegedly subjected to cyber-bullying after receiving Bronze Star Medals for meritorious non-combat service. The two airmen, who had received the medals in March 2012, had been finance NCOICs in medical units deployed to the War in Afghanistan. The awards sparked a debate as to whether or not the Air Force was awarding too many medals to its members, and whether the Bronze Star should be awarded for non-combat service. This prompted the Air Force to take down stories of the two posted to the internet, and to clarify its criteria for awarding medals. The Air Force contended that meritorious service awards of the Bronze Star outnumber valor awards, and that it views awards on a case-by-case basis to maintain the integrity of the award.
This is not the first time that the USAF has been criticized for offering this award. The Department of Defense investigated the award of the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) by the USAF to some 246 individuals after operations in Kosovo in 1999. All but 60 were awarded to officers, and only 16 of those awarded were actually in the combat zone. At least five were awarded to officers who never left Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. During this campaign, the Navy had awarded 69 BSMs, and the Army with 5,000 troops in neighboring Albania (considered part of the combat zone) awarded none. In the end, there was a Pentagon review and decision by Congress in 2001 to stop the awarding of Bronze Stars to personnel outside the combat zone.
A "V" device is a metal 1⁄4-inch (6.4 mm) capital letter "V" with serifs which, when worn on certain decorations awarded by the United States Armed Forces, distinguishes an award for heroism or valor in combat instead of for meritorious service or achievement.The decorations with which a "V" may be authorized differ among the military services, as well as the manner in which the "V" is worn and the name by which it is referred to. Until 2 February 2017, the services also used different criteria in determining whether a "V" could be authorized.5/16 inch star
A 5⁄16 inch star is a miniature gold or silver 5⁄16-inch (7.9 mm) star that is authorized by the United States Armed Forces as a ribbon device to denote subsequent awards for specific decorations of the Department of the Navy, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A gold star indicates one additional award, while a silver star is worn in lieu of five gold stars.
A 5⁄16 inch "silver star" is not to be confused with representing a "Silver Star" medal.507th Maintenance Company
The 507th Maintenance Company was a United States Army unit which was ambushed during the Battle of Nasiriyah in the rapid advance towards Baghdad during 2003 invasion of Iraq on 23 March 2003. The most well known member of the unit was Private First Class Jessica Lynch whose rescue from an Iraqi hospital received world wide media coverage. Sergeant Donald Walters and Private First Class Patrick Miller were both awarded the Silver Star for valor. Sergeant Matthew Rose was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device. Many other members of the unit were decorated as well, receiving the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and/or Prisoner of War Medal.
On 16 July 2005, the 507th Maintenance Company was redesignated as Battery E, 5th Battalion, 52d Air Defense Artillery Regiment. In 2006, A monument to the 507th Maintenance Company was placed within the battalion's area on Fort Bliss, Texas. In January 2007, the unit's designation was changed to Battery F.Cordelia E. Cook
Cordelia Elizabeth "Betty" Cook (March 17, 1919 – June 19, 1996) was an American combat nurse in the United States Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She was the first woman in the U.S. Army to receive both the Bronze Star Medal award and the Purple Heart.Desmond Doss
Desmond Thomas Doss (February 7, 1919 – March 23, 2006) was a United States Army corporal who served as a combat medic with an infantry company in World War II. He was twice awarded the Bronze Star Medal for actions in Guam and the Philippines. Doss further distinguished himself in the Battle of Okinawa by saving 75 men, becoming the only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second World War. His life has been the subject of books, the documentary The Conscientious Objector, and the 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge.Emil Kapaun
Emil Joseph Kapaun (April 20, 1916 – May 23, 1951) was a Roman Catholic priest and United States Army captain who served as a United States Army chaplain during World War II and the Korean War. Kapaun was a chaplain in the Burma Theater of World War II, then served again as a chaplain with the U.S. Army in Korea, where he was captured. He died in a prisoner of war camp.
In 1993, Pope John Paul II declared him a Servant of God, the first stage on the path to canonization.
In 2013, Kapaun posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Korea. He is the ninth American military chaplain Medal of Honor recipient.Frederick G. Reincke
Frederick G. Reincke (born in Winsted, Connecticut, on November 1, 1899) was the thirty-fifth Adjutant General of the State of Connecticut. He went to public schools in Winsted. Reincke was appointed Wethersfield prison warder in 1963. That same year he supervised all the transferred inmates from the Wethersfield prison to the new prison in Somers. His decorations were Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, commendation ribbon, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Campaign and Combat Infantryman badge.Joe Steffy
Joseph Benton "Joe" Steffy, Jr. (April 3, 1926 – May 22, 2011) was an American football player. He went to fight in the Korean War and received the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. Steffy was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.Joseph L. Galloway
Joseph Lee Galloway (born November 13, 1941) is an American newspaper correspondent and columnist. Since 2013, he has worked as a special consultant for the Vietnam War 50th anniversary Commemoration project run out of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and has also served as consultant to Ken Burns' production of a documentary history of the Vietnam War broadcast in the fall of 2017 by PBS. He is also the former Military Affairs consultant for the Knight-Ridder chain of newspapers and was a columnist with McClatchy Newspapers.During the Vietnam War, he often worked alongside the American troops he covered and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal in 1998, for carrying a badly wounded man to safety while he was under very heavy enemy fire in 1965.List of 1st Marine Division Commanders
The 1st Marine Division is a Marine infantry division of the United States Marine Corps headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. It is the ground combat element of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF).
It is the oldest and largest active duty division in the United States Marine Corps, representing a combat-ready force of more than 19,000 men and women. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps today and is a multi-role, expeditionary ground combat force. It is nicknamed "The Old Breed".
The 1st Division saw combat service during almost all major conflicts during 20th Century. It participated in World War I (only 5th and 11th Marine Regiments of the future Division served in France), World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Somali Civil War, Iraq War or War in Afghanistan.List of 2nd Marine Division Commanders
The 2nd Marine Division is a Marine infantry division of the United States Marine Corps headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It is the ground combat element of the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF).
Together with 1st Marine Division, it is the oldest and largest active duty division in the United States Marine Corps, representing a combat-ready force of more than 19,000 men and women. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps today and is a multi-role, expeditionary ground combat force. It is nicknamed "The Silent Second".
The 2nd Division participated in World War II, Operation in Panama, Gulf War, Iraq War or War in Afghanistan.
During its history, three commanding generals became the Commandant of the Marine Corps (Randolph M. Pate, Alfred M. Gray Jr. and James L. Jones) and another three commanding generals became Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (Samuel Jaskilka, Kenneth McLennan and Richard I. Neal).List of 3rd Marine Division Commanders
The 3rd Marine Division is an infantry division of the United States Marine Corps based at Camp Courtney, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler and Okinawa, Japan. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps and together with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1stMAW) and the 3rd Marine Logistics Group (3rd MLG) forms the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF). The division was first formed during World War II and saw four years of continuous combat in the Vietnam War.
During its history, four commanding generals became the Commandant of the Marine Corps (David M. Shoup, Robert E. Cushman Jr., Louis H. Wilson Jr. and Robert Neller) and another four commanding generals became Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (Charles D. Barrett, Allen H. Turnage, Lewis W. Walt and Raymond G. Davis).
Three commanding generals were recipients of Medal of Honor, the United States of America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor. They were: David M. Shoup, Louis H. Wilson Jr. and Raymond G. Davis.Lt. Raymond Enners Award
The Lt. Raymond Enners Award is an award given annually to the NCAA's most outstanding player in men's college lacrosse. The award is presented by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) and is named after 1st Lt. Raymond J. Enners, who attended the United States Military Academy, class of 1967, and served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. While leading a platoon, he was killed in combat on September 18, 1968. Enners received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart for extraordinary heroism in combat in South Vietnam. He was a member of the 1963 All-Long Island lacrosse team, a 1967 USILA Honorable Mention All-American, and was inducted into the Suffolk County Hall of Fame in 2004. The award was first given in the season immediately after his death. The Lt. Ray Enners Award, another award named after Lt. Enners, is presented annually by the Suffolk County Boys Lacrosse Coaches Association to the outstanding high school player in Suffolk County, New York. Frank Urso is the only athlete who has won both awards, in 1972 and 1975.
In 2016, Richard Enners authored the book "Heart of Gray", the story about his brother LT. Raymond J. Enners, Alpha Company, 1-20th Infantry, 11th Brigade and his courage and sacrifice in Vietnam.Margaret Harper
Margaret Harper (July 23, 1911 – December 13, 2000) was a chief of the United States Army Nurse Corps. She was born on July 23, 1911. Harper attended and graduated from Evanston General Hospital School of Nursing. She subsequently served as superintendent of nurses at Chicago Memorial Hospital and Murry Hospital. Colonel Harper received her commission in April 1941. Her overseas assignments included service in Australia and New Guinea, and Europe. Under her tenure the ANC began an intensive recruiting program in 1963 in light of the anticipated build up in Southeast Asia and other military operations, Operation Nightingale, to meet a serious nursing shortage. She received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal among her awards and honors.Meritorious Service Medal (United States)
The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a military award presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969.
The MSM was previously awarded as a decoration for achievement during peacetime, but effective 11 September 2001, this decoration may also be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater. Normally, the acts or services rendered must be comparable to that required for the Legion of Merit but in a duty of lesser, though considerable, responsibility. Within the U.S. Army, according to AR 600-8-22, Paragraph 3-16, the MSM may not be upgraded to or downgraded from a recommended Bronze Star Medal. In the Army, an MSM recommendation that is downgraded will be approved as an Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM).
A higher award and decoration known as the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM) is intended for similar services performed under joint duty within the United States Department of Defense, to include the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, and joint task forces under their cognizance.Rex Barney
Rex Edward Barney (December 19, 1924 – August 12, 1997) was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943 and from 1946 through 1950.
As a teenage phenom, Barney was signed by the Dodgers at the age of 18, in 1943. He pitched 45 innings that year.
Enlisting in the Army in 1943, Barney eventually served in the Europe receiving 2 Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star Medal.Barney returned to the majors in 1946. He was one of the hardest throwers in the league but struggled with wildness early in his career. In 1948, however, he gained control of his fastball and had his greatest season; he won 15 games and finished second in the National League with 138 strikeouts. The highlight was hurling a no-hitter against the New York Giants on September 9. He had to sit through a one-hour rain delay and showers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to finish the game. The next season, Barney pitched semi-effectively while suffering lingering effects from a leg injury suffered while sliding into second base.
Barney appeared in 3 games in the 1947 World Series – starting and losing the fifth game – against the New York Yankees. He got knocked out early in his 1949 World Series start, also against the Yankees, after just 22⁄3 innings. In 1950, he walked 48 batters in just 33 innings and never played in the majors again. He ended his career with a 35–31 record and a 4.31 earned run average.
After his retirement as a player, Barney briefly worked as a broadcaster, calling games for Mutual radio in 1958. That same year he also teamed with Al Helfer to call several Philadelphia Phillies games on New York station WOR-TV, helping to fill that city's void of National League baseball following the departure of the Dodgers and Giants to the West Coast.Barney also teamed with Ted Patterson in 1982 and 1983 to cablecast 16 Baltimore Orioles games per year on the SuperTV channel.Robert E. Cushman Jr.
Robert Everton Cushman Jr. (December 24, 1914 – January 2, 1985) was a United States Marine Corps general who served as the 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps from January 1, 1972 to June 30, 1975. He was honored for heroism during World War II at the battles of Guam (Navy Cross), Bougainville (Bronze Star Medal) and Iwo Jima (Legion of Merit). He also commanded all Marine forces in the Vietnam War from June to December 1967, and served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1969 to 1971.Service star
A service star is a miniature bronze or silver five-pointed star 3⁄16 inch (4.8 mm) in diameter that is authorized to be worn by members of the seven uniformed services of the United States on medals and ribbons to denote an additional award or service period. The service star may also be referred to as a campaign star or battle star depending on which award is authorized the star and the manner in which the device is used for the award.Service stars, campaign stars, and battle stars are worn with one point of the star pointing up on the suspension ribbon of a medal or service ribbon. A silver star is worn instead of five bronze stars. A service star is sometimes mistaken for a Bronze Star (Bronze Star Medal) or Silver Star (Silver Star Medal). The service star is also similar to the gold and silver 5⁄16 Inch Stars which may be authorized to be worn on specific individual decorations of certain services to denote additional decorations.Stephen Hillier
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, is a senior Royal Air Force officer, who serves as Chief of the Air Staff. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in the Gulf in 1999 and was awarded the US Bronze Star Medal for service in the Iraq War. He went on to be Air Officer Commanding, No. 2 Group, Director Information Superiority at the Ministry of Defence and then Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability). Hillier succeeded Air Chief Marshal Andrew Pulford as Chief of the Air Staff on 12 July 2016.
|Federal military decorations|
|Department level military decorations|
|Federal service medals|