In 1787, Col. David Humphreys wrote: “Few inventions could be more happily calculated to diffuse the knowledge and preserve the memory of illustrious characters and splendid events, than medals.”
The Revolutionary War colonel and aide de camp to Gen. George Washington made that assertion greater than a decade after the Continental Congress first instituted the custom of issuing medals to acknowledge and present appreciation for distinguished navy service in 1776. Nearly two-and-a-half centuries later, his phrases nonetheless ring true. Today, Stacker is looking at navy medals and what they imply.
The awarding of medals stays probably the most time-honored, cherished, and sacred traditions within the tradition and historical past of the United States Armed Forces. All 5 branches—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard—award medals to standout troops and the models wherein they serve. In many instances, the dignity is prolonged to members of the Reserves and National Guard. Military medals can acknowledge bravery or gallantry, heroism or meritorious service. They could also be awarded for actions throughout peacetime or battle, in protection of civilians or fellow servicemembers, and they are often earned for actions taken through the course of fight or exterior of direct navy battle.
Some medals denote extraordinary service in aerial flight, some are particular to floor operations, and others are reserved just for these within the Sea Services. There are medals particular to the issuing department, whereas others will be bestowed on any member of any department of service. Medals can point out service in a particular battle, like Afghanistan or the Global War on Terror or honor particular person service. Plus, there are medals are issued to whole models.
Here’s a take a look at an important and storied medals issued by the United States Armed Forces. Keep studying to study what they imply, what it takes to earn one, who points them, and the place they rank when it comes to prominence.
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- Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Navy Cross
- Coast Guard Cross
- Air Force Cross
- Silver Star
- Defense Distinguished Service Medal
- Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Navy and Marine Distinguished Service Medal
- Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
- Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Legion of Merit
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Soldier’s Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Medal
- Airman’s Medal
- Coast Guard Medal
- Purple Heart
- Bronze Star Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal
- Air Medal
- Aerial Achievement Medal
- Navy Combat Action Ribbon
- Coast Guard Combat Action Ribbon
- Air Force Combat Action Medal
- Prisoner of War Medal
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Army Commendation Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
- Air Force Commendation Medal
- Coast Guard Commendation Medal
- Joint Service Achievement Medal
- Army Achievement Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
- Air Force Achievement Medal
- Coast Guard Achievement Medal
- Navy Expeditionary Medal
- Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Armed Forces Service Medal
- Good Conduct Medal
- Humanitarian Service Medal
- Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Antarctica Service Medal
- Air and Space Campaign Medal
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the very best and most coveted navy ornament the U.S. authorities can bestow on a member of the Armed Forces. Presented by the president within the title of Congress, there are three distinct variations: one for the Air Force, one for the Army, and one for the Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. According to the Defense Department, the Medal of Honor “is conferred only upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”
Distinguished Service Cross
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second-highest honor that may be awarded to a member of the Army. It acknowledges heroism in fight that’s extraordinary sufficient to rise above the necessities for all different medals save the Medal of Honor.
Like the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross acknowledges heroism of such a excessive diploma that it supersedes all medals besides the Medal of Honor. It is awarded to members of the Navy or members of the Coast Guard when working underneath Navy command.
Coast Guard Cross
The Coast Guard Cross is awarded for extraordinary heroism in fight. The second-highest honor a member of the Coast Guard can obtain past solely the Medal of Honor, it’s awarded to members who serve in any capability with the Coast Guard when the Coast Guard isn’t working underneath Navy command.
Air Force Cross
The Air Force Cross is awarded to members of the Air Force who show gallantry in fight that do not fairly advantage the Medal of Honor, however that supersede the necessities of all lesser medals. It is the second-highest honor a member of the Air Force can obtain.
The Silver Star is the third-highest ornament that may be awarded to a member of the Armed Forces. It acknowledges gallantry in motion that rises above the necessities for all medals aside from the Medal of Honor and a branch-specific Service Cross.
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Established in 1970 by President Richard Nixon, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal is awarded by the Secretary of Defense. It acknowledges exceptionally meritorious service ready of nice accountability whereas assigned to a joint companies exercise. It is the navy’s highest joint-service ornament and the very best non-combat award.
Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
Like all Distinguished Service medals, the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal is without doubt one of the highest honors within the U.S. military. Established by an government order of President George W. Bush in 2003, retroactive to 2002, it may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces.
Distinguished Service Medal
First established in 1918, the Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to members of the Army for each fight and non-combat valor. The fourth-highest honor within the Army, it acknowledges exceptionally meritorious service ready of nice accountability.
As with the opposite branches, the Navy and Marine Distinguished Service Medal is the fourth-highest honor for the Navy and Marine Corps. Established in 1919, it acknowledges exceptionally meritorious service in each fight and non-combat service whereas ready of nice accountability.
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
The Air Force, too, bestows its personal Distinguished Service Medal because the department’s fourth-highest honor. Like the opposite Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force’s recognition of exceptionally meritorious service ready of nice accountability options its personal distinctive design.
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
The last Distinguished Service Medal is that issued by the Coast Guard, which first approved the medal in 1949. It, too, acknowledges exceptionally meritorious service ready of nice accountability and is the department’s fourth-highest honor.
Defense Superior Service Medal
Established by means of an government order by Gerald Ford in 1976, the Defense Superior Service Medal is awarded by the Secretary of Defense. It acknowledges superior meritorious service of officers holding positions of serious accountability.
Legion of Merit
One of probably the most prestigious awards within the U.S. navy, the Legion of Merit ranks slightly below the Silver Star and forward of the Distinguished Flying Cross. It stands alone with the Medal of Honor as one among simply two decorations that may be worn across the neck.
Distinguished Flying Cross
First issued to Capt. Charles Lindbergh in 1927, the Distinguished Flying Cross is the oldest aviation award within the U.S. navy. It acknowledges extraordinary achievement or heroism throughout aerial flight.
First approved in 1926, the Soldier’s Medal is an Army honor awarded for non-combat heroism. One of Army’s most distinguished honors, it acknowledges heroism by means of the voluntary danger of life and will be earned for actions taken on behalf of both civilians or fellow troopers.
First approved in 1942 throughout World War II, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal is, because the Soldier’s Medal is to the Army, the very best non-combat honor for each branches. It acknowledges acts of extraordinary heroism, together with for reserves, in conditions not involving direct armed battle.
The highest non-combat honor bestowed by the Air Force is named the Airman’s Medal. Established in 1960, it awards heroic actions in a roundabout way associated to fight.
Coast Guard Medal
First approved in 1951, the Coast Guard Medal was not issued till 1958. It acknowledges heroism in non-combat conditions and requires a voluntary act of extraordinary braveness within the face of grave hazard. If issued for a life-saving act, the act will need to have been carried out when the lack of the rescuer’s life was probably.
The Purple Heart is awarded to any servicemember in any department who’s injured or killed by an enemy assault, as the results of navy operations whereas serving in a peacekeeping drive, or as the results of a terrorist assault. It changed the Badge of Merit, which was issued by George Washington in 1782, and is the oldest navy award nonetheless issued right now.
Bronze Star Medal
Known generally because the Bronze Star, the Bronze Star Medal could also be issued to all members of the Armed Forces. It acknowledges heroic or meritorious service or achievement in fight not involving aerial flight.
Meritorious Service Medal
The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded for excellent acts of service or achievement just like these, however to a lesser diploma, acknowledged by the Legion of Merit. Before its introduction in 1969, the medal’s necessities had been lined by the Bronze Star.
First established in 1942, the Air Medal will be awarded to members of all branches of service. It acknowledges meritorious service throughout aerial flight or for an act of heroism towards an armed enemy.
Aerial Achievement Medal
First established in 1988, the Aerial Achievement Medal is issued by the Air Force. It acknowledges sustained meritorious achievement in aerial flight.
Known colloquially because the CAR, the Combat Action Ribbon stirred controversy in 2015 when a servicemember was named the 2014 Military Times’ Marine of the Year with out having earned a CAR. It is awarded to members of the Sea Services—Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard—who’ve actively participated in floor or floor fight.
Coast Guard Combat Action Ribbon
Members of the Coast Guard are eligible for the Navy Combat Action Ribbon (CAR), however just for service throughout a time when the Coast Guard was underneath the command of the Navy. The Coast Guard CAR applies to service throughout occasions when the Coast Guard is underneath the command of the Navy and when it’s not.
Air Force Combat Action Medal
One of the newer navy medals, the Air Force Combat Action Medal was first approved in 2007. It is issued to members of the Air Force who danger their lives in direct fight throughout an engagement with the enemy in a hostile fight zone.
Prisoner of War Medal
Although the Prisoner of War Medal was first approved by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, it may be retroactively awarded to any servicemember taken prisoner after April 5, 1917, the day that America entered World War I. Prisoners will need to have acted honorably throughout their captivity to be thought of for the medal, which will be introduced posthumously to the following of kin.
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Awarded by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, or different Defense Department businesses, the Joint Service Commendation Medal was first established in 1963. It is awarded to members of any department of service who show meritorious service or achievement as a part of a joint operation.
Army Commendation Medal
The Army awards its Commendation Medal to its personal troopers or members of different branches serving with the Army. First approved in 1945, it acknowledges servicemembers who show meritorious service, who accomplish an excellent achievement, or who distinguish themselves by means of acts of heroism.
Before the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal was approved in 1945, it was known as the Commendation Ribbon. The medal acknowledges heroism and meritorious service or achievement of any member of both department, in addition to members of different branches who’re serving with the Marines or Navy.
Air Force Commendation Medal
Like the opposite branches, the Air Force points a Commendation Medal to its personal members or to members of any department serving with the Air Force whose heroism or meritorious service or achievement earns the excellence. The medal was first approved in 1958.
Coast Guard Commendation Medal
Originally approved as a ribbon bar in 1947, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal was re-designated to its present standing in 1959. It is awarded for meritorious service, excellent achievement, or heroism.
Joint Service Achievement Medal
The Joint Service Achievement Medal, which will be issued to all branches, was established after every particular person department approved its personal Achievement Medal. It awards meritorious service or achievement as a part of joint actions.
Army Achievement Medal
The Army Achievement Medal will be awarded to members of the Armed Forces serving in an official Army capability. First established in 1981, the medal is designated particularly for meritorious service or achievement in a non-combat setting. It is the one department to award an achievement medal strictly for non-combat efficiency with no choice of together with a “V” for “Valor.”
The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal is reserved particularly for enlisted personnel and junior officers. Originally designated for excellent non-combat management and skilled achievements, the medal can now be bestowed for fight valor, as nicely.
Air Force Achievement Medal
The Air Force Achievement Medal acknowledges acts of meritorious service, meritorious achievement, or valor after Sept. 30, 1981. It’s akin to Achievement Medals issued by the opposite branches, though the Army doesn’t have a valor designation.
Coast Guard Achievement Medal
Originally known as the Secretary of the Treasury Commendation of Achievement, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal was first approved in 1968. Like the opposite branches’ Achievement Medals, it ranks slightly below the Joint Service Achievement Medal.
The Navy Expeditionary Medal will be awarded not solely to members of the Navy but in addition to members of the Coast Guard. It is awarded to each enlisted males and officers for opposed touchdown on international territory, offered no different marketing campaign medal was awarded.
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Like the comparable medal that honors Navy and Coast Guard personnel, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal acknowledges Marines who land on opposed international territory. It will also be awarded for operations deserving particular recognition so long as no different marketing campaign medal was awarded.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Originally approved in 1961, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal will be awarded to members of any department of the Armed Forces. It acknowledges not solely participation in U.S. navy operations, but in addition operations in assist of the U.N. or of pleasant international nations.
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Created by President George W. Bush in 2003, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal will be awarded to personnel deployed abroad on or after Sept. 11, 2001. It consists of energetic responsibility, Reserve, and Guard personnel deployed as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Armed Forces Service Medal
Members of all branches are eligible for the Armed Forces Service Medal in the event that they served in peaceable U.S. operations that did not embrace imminent hostile motion or international armed opposition the place no different service medals had been accessible. Servicemembers may obtain the medal in the event that they served in any one among a number of operations within the former Republic of Yugoslavia beginning in 1992.
Good Conduct Medal
All 5 branches award Good Conduct Medals. In the Air Force and Navy, this medal is awarded after three years of above-average service. The Army and the Marines do not require a three-year minimal of exemplary service to qualify.
Humanitarian Service Medal
All navy branches award the Humanitarian Service Medal. First approved in 1977, the award is bestowed for direct participation in military-related humanitarian operations, like rescue operations and pure catastrophe reduction.
Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
The Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal honors members of the Armed Forces who volunteer in an ongoing capability in a local people above what’s required by their place within the navy. It is awarded by all branches of the Armed Services.
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
The Afghanistan Campaign Medal was approved in 2004. Eligible servicemembers need to have been assigned or hooked up to models taking part in Operation Enduring Freedom. One of a number of qualifying standards: 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days of deployment.
Antarctica Service Medal
Authorized in 1960, the Antarctica Service Medal is awarded for taking part in an operation in Antarctica after Jan. 1, 1946. It holds the uncommon distinction of together with non-military U.S. residents and resident aliens who supported U.S. operations there.
Air and Space Campaign Medal
The Air and Space Campaign Medal was approved in 2002 and is issued by the Air Force. The medal is reserved just for personnel who offered direct assist of fight operations from exterior the fight zone’s geographic space.