Silver Star

The Silver Star Medal, unofficially the Silver Star, is the United States Armed Forces's third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. The Silver Star Medal is awarded primarily to members of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

Silver Star Medal
Silver Star medal
Awarded by the
Department of the Army[1]
Department of the Navy[2]
Department of the Air Force[3]
Department of Homeland Security[4]
TypePersonal Valor Decoration
Awarded for"Gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States"
StatusCurrently awarded
Established9 July 1918: Army Citation Star (SS)
(Retroactive to 15 April 1861)
19 July 1932: Silver Star Medal
7 August 1942: Navy, SSM
(Retroactive to 6 December 1941)
16 December 1942: Army, SS
(Retroactive to 6 December 1941)
First awardedAugust 1932
(WWI Army Silver Star conversion)
Next (higher)Army: Army Distinguished Service Medal[5]
Navy and Marine Corps: Navy Distinguished Service Medal[5]
Air Force: Air Force Distinguished Service Medal[5]
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, Uniformed Public Health Service: Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal
Next (lower)Army, Navy and Marine Corps, Air Force: Defense Superior Service Medal[5]
Coast Guard: Secretary of Transportation Outstanding Achievement Medal[6]
Silver Star Medal ribbon

Service ribbon
Mullen Awards Silver Star to Capt. Ambrosia
Army Captain Gregory Ambrosia receiving the Silver Star from Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


The Silver Star Medal (SSM)[5] is the successor award to the "Citation Star" (​316 silver star) which was established by an Act of Congress on July 9, 1918, during World War I. On July 19, 1932, the Secretary of War approved the conversion of the "Citation Star" to the SSM with the original "Citation Star" incorporated into the center of the medal.

Authorization for the Silver Star Medal was placed into law by an Act of Congress for the U.S. Navy on August 7, 1942, and an Act of Congress for the U.S. Army on December 15, 1942. The current statutory authorization for the medal is Title 10 of the United States Code, 10 U.S.C. § 3746 for the U.S. Army, 10 U.S.C. § 8746 for the U.S. Air Force, and 10 U.S.C. § 6244 for the U.S. Navy.

The U.S. Army and Air Force award the medal as the "Silver Star". The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard continue to award the medal as the "Silver Star Medal". Since 21 December 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) refers to the decoration as the Silver Star Medal.[5]

Award criteria

The Silver Star Medal is awarded for gallantry, so long as the action does not justify the award of one of the next higher valor awards: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Air Force Cross.[7] The gallantry displayed must have taken place while in action against an enemy of the United States, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.[5]

The Silver Star Medal is awarded for singular acts of valor or heroism over a brief period, such as one or two days of a battle.[5]

Air Force pilots and combat systems officers and Navy/Marine Corps naval aviators and flight officers flying fighter aircraft, are often considered eligible to receive the Silver Star upon becoming an ace (i.e., having five or more confirmed aerial kills), which entails the pilot and, in multi-seat fighters, the weapons system officer or radar intercept officer, intentionally and successfully risking his life multiple times under combat conditions and emerging victorious.[8] However, during the Vietnam War, the last conflict to produce U.S. fighter aces: an Air Force pilot and two navigators/weapon systems officers (who were later retrained as Air Force pilots), a naval aviator and a naval flight officer/radar intercept officer who had achieved this distinction, were eventually awarded the Air Force Cross and Navy Cross, respectively, in addition to SSMs previously awarded for earlier aerial kills.

Unit award equivalent


The Silver Star Medal is a gold five-pointed star, 1 12 inches (38 mm) in circumscribing diameter with a laurel wreath encircling rays from the center and a 316 inch (4.8 mm) diameter silver star superimposed in the center. The pendant is suspended from a rectangular shaped metal loop with rounded corners. The reverse has the inscription FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION. The ribbon is 1 38 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 732 inch (5.6 mm) Old Glory red (center stripe); proceeding outward in pairs 732 inch (5.6 mm) white; 732 inch (5.6 mm) ultramarine blue; 364 inch (1.2 mm) white; and 332 inch (2.4 mm) ultramarine blue.[9]

Ribbon devices

Second and subsequent awards of the Silver Star Medal are denoted by bronze or silver oak leaf clusters in the Army and Air Force and by gold or silver 516 inch stars in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.[5][10][11][5]


Cheney Presents Silver Star to Spc. Monica Brown
Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown receives the Silver Star from then-Vice President Dick Cheney, 2008.

The Department of Defense does not keep extensive records for the Silver Star Medal. Independent groups estimate that between 100,000 and 150,000 SSMs have been awarded since the decoration was established.[12] Colonel David Hackworth who was awarded ten SSMs while serving in the Army during the Korean War and Vietnam War, is likely to be the person awarded the most SSMs.[13] Donald H. Russell, a civilian Vought F4U Corsair technical support engineer attached to a Marine Corps fighter wing, received the SSM for his actions aboard USS Franklin after the carrier was attacked by a Japanese dive bomber in March 1945.[14]

Female recipients

Three Army nurses that served in World War I were cited in 1919 and 1920 with Citation Stars for gallantry in attending to the wounded while under artillery fire in July 1918. In 2007, it was discovered that they had never been awarded their Citation Stars. The three nurses (Army nurses served without rank until 1920) were awarded the Silver Star Medal posthumously:[15][16] [15]

  • Jane Rignel – Mobile Hospital No. 2, 42nd Division, for gallantry in "giving aid to the wounded under heavy fire" in France on July 15, 1918
  • Linnie Leckrone – Shock Team No. 134, Field Hospital No. 127, 32nd Division, for gallantry while "attending to the wounded during an artilley bombardment" in France on July 29, 1918
  • Irene Robar – Shock Team No. 134, Field Hospital No. 127, 32nd Division, for gallantry while "attending to the wounded during an artillery bombardment" in France on July 29, 1918

An unknown number of servicewomen received the award in World War II. Four Army nurses serving in Italy during the war—First Lieutenant Mary Roberts, Second Lieutenant Elaine Roe, Second Lieutenant Rita Virginia Rourke, and Second Lieutenant Ellen Ainsworth (posthumous)—became the first women recipients of the Silver Star, all cited for their bravery in evacuating the 33rd Field Hospital at Anzio on February 10, 1944.[17] Later that same year, Corporal Magdalena Leones, a Filipino American, received the medal for clandestine activities on Luzon;[18] as of 2016, she is the only female Asian American to receive a Silver Star.[19]

The next known servicewomen to receive the Silver Star is Army National Guard Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester in 2005, for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq[17] and Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown in March 2008, for extraordinary heroism as a combat medic in the War in Afghanistan.[17]

Notable recipients

Notable recipients include:

See also


  1. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 11 January 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 18 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Air Force Guidance Memorandum for Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2803, The Air Force Military Awards and Decorations Program" (PDF). Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Coast Guard Military Medals and Awards Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Department of Defense Manual 1348.33 Volume 3" (PDF). Department of Defense Technical Information Center. 21 December 2016. pp. 14–16. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Ribbon Order of Precedence" (PDF). Medals and Awards Program. Personnel Management, CG-12. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Section 578.12 – Silver Star". Code of Federal Regulations. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  8. ^ Korean War pilot receives Silver Star 56 years later Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  9. ^ "Silver Star". The Institute of Heraldry. Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  10. ^ Coast Guards Medals and Awards, COMDTINSTM1650D, May 2008, P. 1-13 a, 2-3 5., 1-16 "a"
  11. ^ Navy-Marine Awards manual, Aug. 22, 2006, SECNAVINST 1650.1H, P. 1-8, 123. 1., 1-22
  12. ^ Home of Heroes: Silver Star Medal., Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  13. ^ Hackworth, Col David H. (December 2002). "Look Truth Right in the Eye". (Interview). Interviewed by Fred L. Schultz and Gordon Keiser. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  14. ^ "First Civilian Wins Navy Silver Star" (PDF). The New York Times. 7 November 1945. p. 12. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  15. ^ a b Prior, Richard M.; Marble, William Sanders (1 May 2008). "The Overlooked Heroines: Three Silver Star Nurses of World War I". Military Medicine. 173 (5): 493–498. doi:10.7205/milmed.173.5.493.
  16. ^ "Daughter Accepts Silver Star Her World War I Nurse Mother Earned". United States Army. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Abrashi, Fisnik (March 9, 2008). "Medic Stationed in Afghanistan Becomes 2nd Woman to Be Awarded Silver Star". Fox News. Associated Press.
  18. ^ Drummond, Tammerlin (17 June 2016). "Filipina Silver Star winner, Richmond resident Magdalena Leones dies at 95". East Bay Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
    "Magdalena Leones". Retrieved 18 June 2016.
    Leonardo Q. Nuval (1996). Remember Them Kindly: Some Filipinos During World War II. Claretian Publications. p. 31. ISBN 978-971-501-678-0.
    Guillermo, Emil (5 July 2016). "Magdalena Leones, Filipina WWII Silver Star Recipient Who Aided MacArthur, Dies in California". NBC News. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Only Filipina WWII US Silver Star recipient dies at 95". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Makati City. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Filipino WWII veterans and her family members mourn the passing of Cpl. Magdalena Estoista Leones, 95, who entered the history books as the only Asian female to have been awarded the Silver Star in World War II for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
  20. ^ "Battle joined: Army panel backs WWII vet's posthumous bid for Medal of Honor". Fox News. 4 November 2015.
  21. ^ O'Donnell, Maureen. "Military Times Hall of Valor: William J. Cullerton". Military Times. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  22. ^ "Barry McCaffrey - Recipient - Military Times Hall Of Valor". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Barry McCaffrey - Recipient - Military Times Hall Of Valor". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  24. ^ "List of Silver Star Recipients".

External links

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.

Billy Meier

Eduard Albert Meier (born February 3, 1937) is a Swiss citizen who is the source of many photographs of alleged unidentified flying objects (UFOs), which he presents in support of his claim that he is in contact with extraterrestrial beings. He also presented other material during the 1970s such as metal samples, sound recordings and film footage. Meier reports regular contacts with extraterrestrials he calls the Plejaren. Meier claims to be the seventh reincarnation after six prophets common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Enoch, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jmmanuel (Jesus), and Mohammed.Meier has been widely characterized as a fraud by skeptics and ufologists, who suggest that he used models to hoax photos claimed to show alien spacecraft.

Canadair CT-133 Silver Star

The Canadair CT-133 Silver Star (company model number CL-30) is the Canadian license-built version of the Lockheed T-33 jet trainer aircraft, in service from the 1950s to 2005. The Canadian version was powered by the Rolls-Royce Nene 10 turbojet, whereas the Lockheed production used the Allison J33.

Chris Kyle

Christopher Scott Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL and sniper. He served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. He was awarded one Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with "V" devices, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and numerous other unit and personal awards.Kyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and published his bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, in 2012. An eponymous film adaptation of Kyle's book, directed by Clint Eastwood, was released two years later. In 2013, Kyle was murdered by Eddie Ray Routh at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas. A former Marine with posttraumatic stress disorder, Routh was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Frederick W. Smith

Frederick Wallace Smith (born August 11, 1944) is the founder, chairman, and CEO of courier company FedEx, originally known as Federal Express. The company is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gerald Ketchum

Rear Admiral Gerald L. Ketchum (5 December 1908 – 22 August 1992) was a career officer in the United States Navy. He served during World War II and the Korean War. He was a recipient of the Silver Star and also participated in four expeditions to Antarctica.

John T. Koehler

John T. Koehler (March 14, 1904 – September 23, 1989) was United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1949 to 1951.

Joseph J. Nazzaro

General Joseph James Nazzaro (March 21, 1913 – February 5, 1990) was commander in chief of Pacific Air Forces with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command.

Lockheed T-33

The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (or T-Bird) is a subsonic American jet trainer. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948. The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 starting as TP-80C/TF-80C in development, then designated T-33A. It was used by the U.S. Navy initially as TO-2 then TV-2, and after 1962, T-33B. The last operator of the T-33, the Bolivian Air Force, retired the type in July 2017, after 44 years of service.

Nestor Chylak

Nestor George Chylak Jr. (; May 11, 1922 – February 17, 1982) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1954 to 1978. He umpired in three ALCS (1969, 1972, 1973), serving as crew chief in 1969 and 1973. He also called five World Series (1957, 1960, 1966, 1971, 1977), serving as the crew chief in 1971 (in which he called balls and strikes in the decisive Game 7) and 1977. He also worked in six All-Star Games: 1957, 1960 (both games), 1964, 1973 and 1978, calling balls and strikes in the second 1960 game and in 1973.

Pat Tillman

Patrick Daniel Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) was an American football player in the National Football League (NFL) who left his sports career and enlisted in the United States Army in June 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. His service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and subsequent death, were the subject of national attention when he was killed by friendly-fire.Tillman joined the Army Rangers and served several tours in combat before he was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan. At first, the Army reported that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire. Controversy ensued when a month later, on May 28, 2004, the Pentagon notified the Tillman family that he had been killed by a friendly fire incident; the family and other critics allege that the Department of Defense delayed the disclosure for weeks after Tillman's memorial service out of a desire to protect the image of the U.S. military.

Tillman was the first professional football player to be killed in combat since Bob Kalsu, who died in the Vietnam War in 1970. Tillman was posthumously promoted from specialist to corporal. He also received posthumous Silver Star and Purple Heart medals.

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.

Silver Service

Silver Service is a brand applied by Amtrak to its long-distance trains running along the United States East Coast between New York City and Miami, Florida. It comprises two trains:

Silver Meteor

Silver StarThe two services follow the same general path between New York City and Miami, but diverge between Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. The Silver Meteor takes a coastal route through Fayetteville, North Carolina, Florence and Charleston, South Carolina, while the Silver Star takes an inland route through Raleigh and Cary, North Carolina, and Camden and Columbia, South Carolina. The Silver Star also makes a detour to service Tampa, Florida.

The two trains were inherited from Seaboard Coast Line Railroad when Amtrak took over most intercity rail service in 1971.

Between 1982 and 1985 Amtrak operated a service called Silver Palm between Miami and Tampa.Between 1996 and 2002 Amtrak operated a third New York–Miami train under this brand named the Silver Palm.In the 1970s Amtrak used the brand Florida Fleet to include the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, and the now-discontinued Champion.

Silver Star (Amtrak train)

The Silver Star is a 1,522-mile (2,449 km) passenger train route in the Silver Service brand operated by Amtrak, running from New York City south to Miami, Florida via the Northeast Corridor to Washington, D.C., then via Richmond, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; and Tampa, Florida.The Silver Star shares much of its route with the Silver Meteor, however the two trains diverge between Selma, North Carolina and Savannah, Georgia and between Kissimmee and Winter Haven, Florida. Between Selma and Savannah, the Silver Star takes an inland route to serve the Carolinas' state capitals of Raleigh and Columbia, while the Silver Meteor stays closer to the coast and services Florence and Charleston, South Carolina. Between Kissimmee and Winter Haven, the Meteor takes a direct route with no intermediate stops, while the Star takes a detour through Lakeland and Tampa.During fiscal year 2018, the Silver Star carried nearly 368,518 passengers, a decrease of 1.3 percent over FY2017. In FY16, it earned a total revenue of $29,261,496, an 11.6% decrease from FY2010.

Silver Star (comics)

Silver Star is an American comic book superhero series created, written, and drawn by Jack Kirby, first published by Pacific Comics in 1983. Featuring a title character who becomics super-powered due to genetic mutation, the series continued Kirby's run of creator-owned work. Reprints of the original series and new stories based on it have subsequrently been published by other comic book companies.

Silver Star Provincial Park

Silver Star Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located northeast of the city of Vernon in the Monashee Mountains.

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.

Federal military decorations
Department level military decorations
Federal service medals

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