.United States Army Decorations.

 


The Medal of Honor
[MOH]

Authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, 12 Jul 1862.

This is the highest honor the United States can bestow on members of its Armed Forces.
It is only presented by the President and is awarded in the name of Congress.

Awarded "For Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity at the Risk of Life, Above and Beyond the Call of Duty,
in Action involving Actual Conflict with an Opposing Armed Force."

Persons on the Medal of Honor Roll, and otherwise eligible, may, upon application,
qualify for a special lifetime pension of $400 per month.

Congress legislated the creation of a Medal of Honor Flag for presentation to each person to whom a Medal of Honor is awarded after
the date of the enactment, 23 Oct 2002. On 15 DEC 2004, the design submitted by Sarah Le Clerc, The Institute of Heraldry, was approved.

Medal of Honor Flag
Medal of Honor Flag
Medal of Honor Flag

On 17 Oct 2006, Congress established authority to award the Medal of Honor Flag, upon written request, to the primary next-of-kin
of deceased Medal of Honor Recipients, as determined under regulations or procedures prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.


(Awarded to U.S. Air Force personnel until 1965)

{The Medal of Honor is protected from all sale, trade, or exchange by United States Code; Title 18, Part I, Chapter 33, Section 704.}


Designed by Bailey & Co.




The Distinguished Service Cross
[DSC]

DSC

Established by order of President Woodrow Wilson, 02 JAN 1918, confirmed by Congress, 09 Jul 1918.

Awarded to members of the U.S. Army serving after 06 APR 1917, who distinguish themselves by;

"Extraordinary Heroism in Connection with Military Operations Against an Opposing Armed Force."

Title 10, US Code 3991, provides for a 10% increase in retired pay for enlisted personnel,
who have retired with more than 20 years of service, if they have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

(Awarded to U.S. Air Force personnel until 1960)

Original design of the first 100 DSCs minted.
These were numbered and quickly sent to France for award to U.S. personnel fighting there.

The design was "cleaned up" and the original DSCs were later to be returned and replaced.



Designed by LTC Aymar Embury, USACE;
Sculpted by CPL Gaetano Cecere.

 



The Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Established by order of President Richard Nixon on 09 JUL 1970.

Awarded by the Secretary of Defense to military officers for;

"Exceptionally Meritorious Service in a Duty of Great Responsibility."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army.

 



The Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal

Established by order of President George H.W. Bush, as the
U.S. Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal, 07 DEC 1992.

On 28 FEB 2003, by order of President George W. Bush, the DOT version was replaced by
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security version, retroactive to 01 MAR 2002.

On 05 APR 2011, by order of President Barack Obama, the order further amended
the award eligibility from "a member of the U.S. Coast Guard" to
"any member of the Armed Forces of the United States".

"Exceptionally Meritorious Service in a Duty of Great Responsibility while assigned to the
Department of Homeland Security, or in other activities under the responsibility of
the Secretary of Homeland Security, either national or international..."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by a 5/16-inch gold star;
a 5/16-inch silver star is worn in lieu of five gold.

Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army.

 



The Distinguished Service Medal 
[DSM]

DSM

Established by order of President Woodrow Wilson, on 02 JAN 1918, confirmed by Congress on 09 JUL 1918.

Awarded to personnel of the U.S. Army serving after 06 APR 1917, who distinguished themselves by;

"Exceptionally Meritorious Service to the Government in a Duty of Great Responsibility."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

(Awarded to U.S. Air Force personnel until 1960)


Designed by LTC Aymar Embury, USACE;
Sculpted by CPL Gaetano Cecere.

 



The Silver Star

Silver Star

Authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, 09 JUL 1918.

"For each Citation received by U.S. Army personnel for gallantry in action,
not sufficient to warrant the Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Service Cross"


A 'Silver Star', 3/16-inch in diameter was authorized for wear on the suspension and service ribbons
of appropriate service medals (World War I Victory Medal). This award was called the 'Citation Star'.

On 08 Aug 1932, this decoration was revised by Congress and redesigned to its present form;

"For Gallantry in Action Against an Opposing Armed Force."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

The Silver Star medal was awarded only by the Army until 7 Aug 1942, when it was also authorized for the Navy Department
and retroactive to 7 Dec 1941. Subsequent awards by the Navy are denoted by 5/16-inch gold and silver star devices.


Designed by Rudolf Freund of Bailey, Banks, and Biddle.

 



The Defense Superior Service Medal

Established by order of President Gerald Ford, 06 Feb 1976.

Awarded by the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces for;

"Superior Meritorious Service in a Duty of Great Responsibility while Assigned to a Joint Activity."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army.

 



The Legion of Merit

Legion of Merit

Authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt, 10 JUL 1942,
in four degrees:
Chief Commander, Commander, Officer, and Legionnaire;

Awarded to personnel of Armed Forces of friendly, foreign nations
and personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States and The Philippines.
Awarded for actions since President Franklin Roosevelt's Proclamation of Emergency, 08 Sep 1939;

"For Exceptionally Meritorious Conduct in the Performance of Outstanding Service."

This is as close as the United States has come to creating an order of the European type. It is the first, specific decoration
awarded to foreigners and the first decoration of the United States to be awarded in different degrees:

Chief Commander; Chief of State or Head of Government
Commander; Equivalent of a U.S. Military Chief of Staff or higher position, but not to Chief of State.
Officer; General or Flag Officer below the equivalent of a U.S. Military Chief of Staff;
Colonel or equivalent rank for service in assignments equivalent to those normally
held by a General or Flag Officer in U.S. Military service; or Military Attachés.
Legionnaire; All recipients not included above.

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.



Designed by BG Ralph Townsend Heard and sculpted by Katharine W. Lane Weems.

 



The Distinguished Flying Cross 
[DFC]

DFC

Authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge, 02 JUL 1926.

Awarded to any person who, serving any branch of the service, including the National Guard and the Organized Reserves, after 06 APR 1917;

"For Heroism or Extraordinary Achievement while Participating in Aerial Flight."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


Designed by Elizabeth Will and Arthur E. DuBois.

 



The Soldier's Medal

Soldiers Medal

Authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge, 02 JUL 1926.

"For Heroism by those serving with the U.S. Army in any capacity
that Involves the Voluntary Risk of Life under conditions
Other Than Those of Conflict with an Opposing Armed Force."

The same degree of Heroism is required as for the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

(Awarded to U.S. Air Force personnel until 1960)


Designed by CPL Gaetano Cecere.

 



The Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Established by order of President Franklin Roosevelt, on 04 FEB 1944.

Awarded to personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces,
who on or after 07 DEC 1941, distinguished themselves;

"For Heroic or Meritorious Achievement of Service, not involving aerial flight,
in connection with Operations Against an Opposing Armed Force."

Special Circumstances for WW II Combat Veterans (U.S. & Canadian):


Army Regulation AR 600-8-22, Chapter 3, Section 13. Bronze Star Medal
d. (2) "Award may be made by letter application to 

COMMANDER ARPERCEN
ATTN: DARP-VSE-A
9700 PAGE BLVD
ST LOUIS, MO 63132-5200

(enclosing documentary evidence, if possible), to each member of the U.S. Armed Forces who, after 6 December 1941, has been cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 07 December 1941 and 02 September 1945, inclusive, or whose meritorious achievement has been otherwise confirmed by documents executed prior to 01 July 1947.  For this purpose, an award of the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge is considered as a citation in orders...

(3) Upon letter application, award of the Bronze Star Medal may be made to eligible soldiers who participated in the Philippine Islands Campaign between 07 December 1941 to 10 May 1942. Performance of duty must have been on the island of Luzon or the Harbor Defenses in Corregidor and Bataan. Only soldiers who were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (Presidential Unit Citation) may be awarded this decoration. Letter application should be sent to the same address above."



ATTENTION CANADIAN VETERANS OF 1ST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE

WASHINGTON,D.C. - 18 Aug 2006
– The Army has authorized award of the Bronze Star Medal for Service to the living Canadian veterans of the 1st Special Service Force for their service to the U.S. Army during World War II.
Although approved for the unit as a whole, the almost 120 eligible veterans must submit verification documents showing their complete name, rank, service number, and dates of service when they apply for the medal.

Eligible veterans may send their request and copies of their verification documents to:

U.S. ARMY HUMAN RESOURCES COMMAND
ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA
200 STOVALL STREET
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22332-4000

A Bronze "V" device is worn to denote Valor/Heroism.
Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.
 

Designed by Bailey, Banks, and Biddle.

 



The Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Originally established by General and Commander-in-Chief George Washington, on 07 AUG 1782,
at Newburgh on the Hudson, New York, as an award for outstanding military merit and called the 'Badge of Merit'.

     Awarding the First Purple Hearts

The award was in the form of an embroidered, heart-shaped, badge of purple cloth and bestowed on only three noncommissioned officers. Though never officially abolished it was not again awarded for almost one hundred and fifty years. Upon its revival in 1932 as the Purple Heart medal, the new decoration was to be awarded in two categories:

  "For being wounded in action, in any war or campaign, under conditions which entitle the wearing of a wound chevron."
  "For those persons who perform any singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service."

In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order which provided that the Purple Heart would be made available to members of all the U.S. Armed Forces who were wounded in action. Since then, the Purple Heart has become one of the most highly respected decorations of the U.S. Armed Forces. The decoration holds a very unique position in that it can be earned in only one way, by being wounded as a direct result of enemy actions.
For additional reading, see The Army Wound Ribbon.


18 MAR 2011
Army Directive 2011-07 (Awarding of the Purple Heart). These changes are effective immediately.
The following nonexclusive list provides examples of signs, symptoms, or medical conditions documented by a medical officer or medical professional that meet the standard for award of the Purple Heart:
(1)
Diagnosis of concussion or mild traumatic brain injury;
(2)
Any period of loss or a decreased level of consciousness;
(3)
Any loss of memory of events immediately before or after the injury;
(4)
Neurological deficits (weakness, loss of balance, change in vision, praxis (that is, difficulty with coordinating movements), headaches, nausea, difficulty with understanding or expressing words, sensitivity to light, etc.) that may or may not be transient; and,
(5)
Intracranial lesion (positive computerized axial tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan).

    Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
    a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


    Designed by Elizabeth Will and sculpted by John Sinnoc.

 



The Defense Meritorious Service Medal



Established by order of President Jimmy Carter on 03 Nov 1977.

Awarded to military officers for;

"Exceptionally Meritorious Service in a Duty of Great Responsibility while Assigned to a Joint Activity."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army.

 



The Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal

Established by order of President Lyndon Johnson, on 16 JAN 1969, as an award primarily for;

"Outstanding Non-combat Meritorious Achievement or Service to the United States"

by any member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Some portion of the completed service or achievement must have been made on or after 16 JAN 1969. In actuality, this decoration could be described as a 'Fifth Class' or grade of the Legion of Merit and finally one that could be awarded to enlisted personnel. This is exemplified by the reversal of the color (red-purple instead of purple-red) of the ribbon of the Legion of Merit.

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


Designed by Jay C. Morris, The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army.




The Air Medal

Air Medal

Established by order of President Franklin Roosevelt on 11 MAY 1942.

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces must have distinguished themselves after 08 SEP 1939;

"For Meritorious Achievement while Participating in Aerial Flight."

A Bronze "V" device is worn to denote Valor/Heroism.
Subsequent awards denoted by bronze Arabic Numerals.

Oak Leaf Clusters were initially used to denote subsequent awards of the Air Medal, but
the numbers of additional awards became so great, during the Vietnam War, that the OLC's did not fit on the ribbon.
As a result, the policy was changed, in Sep 1968, to require the use of Numerals.

U.S. Air Force: Valor device authorized only after Oct 2004. Continues use of OLC devices, extra ribbons used to accommodate more than four devices.
  U.S. Air Force Auxiliary: Awarded to Civil Air Patrol WWII veterans for service in the anti-submarine patrol program, with Valor device & OLC's.
U.S. Coast Guard: Awarded with 5/16-inch Gold Star for second & subsequant awards, one 5/16-inch Silver Star in lieu of five gold. No Valor device authorized.
U.S. Navy & Marine Corps: Gold Arabic Numerals denote award for Individual acts of merit, above or to wearer's right of other devices. Valor device authorized in center location. Bronze Arabic Numerals denote Strike/Flight awards, below or to wearer's left of other devices.

BERLIN AIRLIFT AWARDS
The Air Medal was awarded for the completion of 50 flights into Berlin.
An Oak Leaf Cluster was awarded for each additional 50 flights.



Designed by award-winning sculptor CPT Walker K. Hancock
(of The Monuments Men).

 



The Joint Service Commendation Medal

Established by order of President Lyndon Johnson, 17 MAY 1967,

as an award to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces, in pay grades O-6 and below, who is distinguished by

"Meritorious Achievement or Service while Assigned to a Joint Activity."

The degree of merit need not be unique but must be distinctive.
A Bronze "V" device is worn to denote Valor/Heroism in Combat.

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.



Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army

 



The Army Commendation Medal

[ARCOM]

Commendation Medal

Established by order of President Franklin Roosevelt in 1945.
The medal pendant was added in 1949.


Awarded to members of the U.S. Army, in pay grades O-6 and below, on or after 07 DEC 1941;

"For Heroism, Meritorious Achievement, or Meritorious Service"

Award may be made to members of the Armed Forces of a friendly foreign nation who, after 01 JUN 1962,
distinguishes himself by an act of heroism, extraordinary achievement, or meritorious service which has been of mutual benefit
to a friendly nation and the United States.

A Bronze "V" device is worn to denote Valor/Heroism in Combat.
Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

(Awarded to U.S. Air Force personnel until 1958)



Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army

 



The Joint Service Achievement Medal

Established by order of President Ronald Reagan, 29 MAR 1984.

This medal is generally awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Officer pay grades O-4 and below and Enlisted pay grades E-7 and below.

"For Meritorious Achievement or Service while Assigned to a Joint Activity after 03 AUG 1983."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army

 



The Army Achievement Medal

[AAM]

Achievement Medal

Established by order of President Ronald Reagan, 10 APR 1981.

This medal is generally awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Officer pay grades O-4 and below and Enlisted pay grades E-7 and below.

"Meritorious Achievement in a Non-combat Area on or after 01 AUG 1981."

Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters;
a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.


Designed by The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army




Copyright (c) RWD Ploessl

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