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Awards

Combat and Commendation Medals

  1. Silver Star, SS

    History
    The Citation Star was established as a result of an Act of Congress on July 9, 1918 (65th Congress, Sess II, Chapter 143, page 873) and was promulgated in War Department Bulletin No. 43 dated 1918. It was retroactive to include those cited for gallantry in action in previous campaigns back to the Spanish-American War. Per letter from General Jervey, Office of the Chief of Staff, dated February 26, 1926, is quoted in part: The Secretary of War directs as follows - The following is the amended version of paragraph 187 of Army Regulation: "No more than one Medal of Honor or one Distinguished Service Cross or one Distinguished Service Medal shall be issued to any one person, but for each succeeding or act sufficient to justify the award of a Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross or Distinguished Service Medal, respectively, a bronze oak leaf cluster, shall be issued in lieu thereof; and for each citation of an officer or enlisted man for gallantry in action, published in orders from headquarters of a force commanded by a general officer, not warranting the issue of a Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross or Distinguished Service Medal, he shall wear a silver star, 3/16 inch in diameter, as prescribed in Uniform Regulations." Army Regulation 600-40, paragraph 48, September 27, 1921, specified that the Citation Star would be worn above the clasp, on the ribbon of the service medal for the campaign for service in which the citations were given. On July 19, 1932, the Secretary of War approved the Silver Star medal to replace the Citation Star. This design placed the Citation Star on a bronze pendant suspended from the ribbon design. The star was no longer attached to a service or campaign ribbon. Authorization for the Silver Star was placed into law by an Act of Congress for the Navy on August 7, 1942 and an Act of Congress for the Army on December 15, 1942. The primary reason for congressional authorization was the desire to award the medal to civilians as well as the Army. The current statutory authorization for the Silver Star Medal is Title 10, United States Code, Section 3746.
    Prerequisites

    The Silver Star is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces. It is awarded for gallantry in action:

    While engaged 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. Actions that merit the Silver Star must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations but do not merit award of the meet Medal of Honor or a Service Cross (Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Air Force Cross).

  2. Bronze Star, BS

    History
    General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Roosevelt dated February 3, 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 have 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. The Executive Order was amended by President Kennedy, per Executive Order 11046 dated 24 August 1962, to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces. As a result of a study conducted in 1947, the policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal to 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.
    Prerequisites

    Bronze Star Medal

    (ref AR600-8-22)

    DA Form 638 Instructions
    Enclosure 1. Narrative
    Citation Template
    BSM Citation Examples
    Non-Combat BSM Narrative Examples
    Bronze Star Medal w/ V Device Citation Example
    The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. 

    The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded for meritorious achievement or meritorious service according to the following:

    Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The lesser degree than that required for the award of the Legion of Merit must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

    Award may be made to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who has been cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy. For this purpose, an award of the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge is considered as a citation in orders.
  3. Good Conduct Medal, GCM

    History
    The Good Conduct Medal was established by Executive Order 8809, dated 28 June 1941, and authorized the award for soldiers completing three years active service after that date. The criteria was amended by Executive Order 9323, dated 31 March 1943, to authorize award for three years service after 7 December 1941 or one year service while the United States is at war. Executive Order 10444, dated 10 April 1953, revised the criteria to authorize award for three years service after 27 August 1940; one year service after 7 December 1941 while the United States is at war; and award for the first award for service after 27 June 1950 upon termination of service, for periods less than three years, but more than one year. The medal was designed by Mr. Joseph Kiselewski and approved by the Secretary of War on 30 October 1942. The eagle, with wings spread, denotes vigilance and superiority. The horizontal sword denotes loyalty, and the book represents knowledge acquired and ability gained. On the reverse, the lone star denotes merit. The wreath of laurel and oak leaves denotes reward and strength. The second and subsequent awards are indicated by the wear of the clasp with loop on the ribbon. Bronze clasps indicate the second (two loops) through fifth award (five loops); silver clasps indicate sixth (one loop) through tenth award (five loops); and gold clasps indicate eleventh (one loop) through the fifteenth award (5 loops).
    Prerequisites
    The Good Conduct Medal shall be awarded to enlisted soldiers for meeting a high standard of efficiency, loyalty and duty (3 months of consecutive service) in the performance of their squad or DMOS functions to a level below that required for the Army Achievement Medal or Joint Service Achievement Medal.
  4. Air Medal, AM

    History
    The Air Medal is awarded to anyone who distinguishes himself or herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.
    Prerequisites
    Awarded for performing outstanding flight-related duties while in a combat zone. Must be assigned an MOS such as Detachment Commander, Pilot, or Crew (W1-W5). May be awarded with a Combat "V" for Valor for an act of meritorious action or bravery against an armed enemy less than the criteria for the Distinguished Flying Cross. 
  5. Armed Commendation Medal, ACM

    History
    In a summary sheet, 5 November 1945, WDGAP, Personnel Division recommended that an Army Commendation Ribbon of distinctive design be established to recognize meritorious service in an area at a time for which the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded. The recommendation was approved by the Secretary of War and the ribbon was established by War Department Circular 377, dated 18 December 1945. This circular authorized award to "members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in any capacity with the Army for meritorious service rendered since 7 December 1941, not in sustained operational activities against an enemy nor in direct support of such operation, i.e., in areas and at times when the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded because of its operational character". Authority to award the Commendation Ribbon was delegated to Major Generals or commanders of any command, force or installation normally commanded by Major Generals.
    Prerequisites
    The Army Commendation Medal shall be awarded to soldiers for outstanding performance or achievement in a combat leadership role below that required for the Meritorious Service Medal. Can be awarded for achievement in action in a competitive match below that required for a Bronze Star. In case of a combat award, the V device shall be attached.

Skill Badges

  1. Combat Infantryman Badge, CIB

    History
    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 personally 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 simultaneously created during World War II to enhance the morale and prestige of service in the infantry. Specifically, it recognizes the inherent sacrifices of all infantrymen, and that, in comparison to all other military occupational specialties, infantrymen face the greatest risk of being wounded or killed in action.
    Prerequisites
    The Combat Infantryman Badge shall be awarded to any soldier who has participated in active ground combat, no less than one time, and came out victorious during an official operational mission.
  2. Marksmanship Badge (Expert)

    History
    A Marksmanship Badge is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces or a U.S. Civilian badge which is presented to personnel upon successful completion of a weapons qualification course (known as Marksmanship Qualification Badges) or high placement in an official marksmanship competition (known as Marksmanship Competition Badges).
    Prerequisites

    Score 36 - 40 hits with the service rifle during rifle qualification.

  3. Marksmanship Badge (Sharpshooter)

    History
    A Marksmanship Badge is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces or a U.S. Civilian badge which is presented to personnel upon successful completion of a weapons qualification course (known as Marksmanship Qualification Badges) or high placement in an official marksmanship competition (known as Marksmanship Competition Badges).
    Prerequisites

    Score 30 - 35 hits with the service rifle during rifle qualification.

  4. Marksmanship Badge (Marksman)

    History
    A Marksmanship Badge is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces or a U.S. Civilian badge which is presented to personnel upon successful completion of a weapons qualification course (known as Marksmanship Qualification Badges) or high placement in an official marksmanship competition (known as Marksmanship Competition Badges).
    Prerequisites

    Score 23 - 29 hits with the service rifle during rifle qualification.

  5. Master Aviator Badge

    History
    Army Aviators who successfully perform 15 years on flight status qualify for the Master Aviator Badge.
    Prerequisites

    Aviators with no less than 3 months time in grade at Second Lieutenant qualify for the Master Aviator Badge.

  6. Senior Aviator Badge

    History
    Army Aviators who successfully perform 7 years on flight status qualify for the Senior Aviator Badge.
    Prerequisites

    Aviators with no less than 3 months time in grade at Chief Warrant Officer qualify for the Senior Aviator Badge.

  7. U.S Army Aviator Wings

    History
    The first United States Aviator Badges were issued to members of the Air Service during World War I. The badges were issued in three degrees: Observer (a "US" shield and one left-side wing), Junior Aviator or Reserve Aviation Officer (a "US" shield between two wings), and Senior Aviator (a star over "US" shield between two wings). The Army Air Corps also issued a badge for balloon pilots, known as the Aeronaut Badge. Enlisted Aviators wore their regular rank insignia and the Observer's badge. There were 29 enlisted pilots before the American entry into World War I. The second enlisted aviator, William A. Lamkey, got a discharge and flew for Pancho Villa. The remaining enlisted pilots received commissions in 1917. There were 60 enlisted mechanics who were trained as pilots in France during the war, but they were used for ferrying duties and did not fly in combat. The recruiting and training of enlisted Aviators ended in 1933.
    Prerequisites

    The U.S. Army Aviator Badge shall be awarded to soldiers who successfully complete Aviation School

  8. Combat Action Badge

    History
    Since the Combat Infantryman Badge was introduced in 1943 followed by the Combat Medical Badge in 1945, other branches argued in favor of their own badges, but a War Department review board just after the war ruled these out. Unofficial combat badges for non-infantry soldiers were in some instances worn in violation of uniform regulations or included in personal award displays wherein the rifle and blue field of the CIB were replaced with the appropriate branch insignia and color. These unofficial combat badges began to appear shortly after the creation of the Combat Infantryman Badge and while the practice continued until the creation of an official non-infantry combat badge it never became widespread.
    Prerequisites
    The Combat Action Badge may be awarded to any soldier not eligible for the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) or Combat Medical Badge (CMB) after the date of September 18, 2001 performing duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.
  9. Combat Medical Badge

    History
    Originally established as the Medical Badge, the Combat Medical Badge (CMB) was created by the War Department on 1 March 1945. It could be awarded to officers, warrant officers, and enlisted Soldier of the Medical Department assigned or attached to the medical detachment of infantry regiments, infantry battalions, and elements thereof designated as infantry in tables of organization or tables of organization and equipment. Its evolution stemmed from a requirement to recognize medical aid-men who shared the same hazards and hardships of ground combat on a daily basis with the infantry Soldier. Though established almost a year and a half after the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB), it could be awarded retroactively to 7 December 1941 to fully qualified personnel.
    Prerequisites
    The Combat Medical Badge may be awarded to any soldier who having completed advanced medical training, participates in active combat during an operational mission, while assigned to or filling a dedicated medical role (CLS/Medic).
  10. Master Parachutist Badge

    History
    The original Army Parachutist Badge was designed in 1941 by Captain (later Lieutenant General) William P. Yarborough and approved by the Department of the Army in March of that year. The Parachutist Badge replaced the "Parachutist Patch" which had previously worn as a large patch on the side of a paratrooper's garrison cap. LTG Yarborough also designed the Senior and Master Parachutist Badges and the addition of stars to portray the number of combat jumps.
    Prerequisites

    Have met requirements and been awarded Senior Parachutist Badge.

    Complete 10 additional (20 total) successful jumps between official Operations and Airborne School(s).

  11. Senior Parachutist Badge

    History
    The original Army Parachutist Badge was designed in 1941 by Captain (later Lieutenant General) William P. Yarborough and approved by the Department of the Army in March of that year. The Parachutist Badge replaced the "Parachutist Patch" which had previously worn as a large patch on the side of a paratrooper's garrison cap. LTG Yarborough also designed the Senior and Master Parachutist Badges and the addition of stars to portray the number of combat jumps.
    Prerequisites

    Complete Jump Master School. Must have 5 training jump schools completed to attend.

    Complete 10 successful jumps between official Operations and Airborne School(s).

  12. Basic Parachutist Badge

    History
    The Parachutist Badge, also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings" is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces awarded to members of the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
    Prerequisites
    The Basic Parachute Badge shall be awarded to soldiers who have successfully complete Airborne School. Once earned, additional awards of the Basic Parachute Badge shall be awarded to soldiers who successfully complete a combat jump during an official operation. These subsequent awards are denoted by stars attached to the badge, 1 bronze star per jump up to 4 total, at which point the 5th combat award is denoted by a single gold star.

Unit Citations

  1. Valorous Unit Award, VUA

    History
    As a result of a request from the Commander, USMACV, to expand the scope of the Meritorious Unit Commendation to include acts of valor, a review of the unit awards program was conducted in 1965. The study concluded that a gap existed in the awards program. The Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded for gallantry in action for heroism that would warrant the Distinguished Service Cross to an individual. There was no lesser unit award for heroism. Based on the study, a recommendation was submitted to expand the scope of the Meritorious Unit Commendation to include acts of heroism. The recommendation was disapproved by the DCSPER and in a memorandum to the CSA, dated 7 January 1966, the DCSPER recommended a Valorous Unit Award be adopted to signify unit gallantry in combat to a degree equivalent to that required for award of a Silver Star to an individual. The recommendation with proposed design was approved by the Chief of Staff, Army, on 12 January 1966. The Valorous Unit Award is the second highest unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit.
    Prerequisites

    The Valorous Unit Award shall be awarded to any unit of the 82nd Airborne Division which displays extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States of America by order of the commander.

  2. Presidential Unit Citation, PUC

    History
    The Distinguished Unit Citation was established as a result of Executive Order No. 9075, dated 26 February 1942. The Executive Order directed the Secretary of War to issue citations in the name of the President of the United States to Army units for outstanding performance of duty after 7 December 1941. The design submitted by the Office of the Quartermaster General was approved by the G1 on 30 May 1942. The Distinguished Unit Citation was redesignated the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) per DF, DCSPER, date 3 November 1966. The Presidential Unit Citation is the highest unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit.
    Prerequisites
    The Presidential Unit Citation shall be awarded to any unit of the 82nd Airborne Division for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy by order of the commander.
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