U.S. Army Awards And Decorations

Complete List Of Awards / Ribbons Of U.S. Army

Army Awards
Medal of Honor Recipient. .mil

Napoleon once said, " A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."  Ask soldiers why they fight and they will say, they fight for the people to the left and right of them.

The United States Army uses military awards and decorations (medals and ribbons) to foster mission accomplishment by recognizing excellence of military members of the force and motivating them to high levels of performance and service.

Displayed proudly on a soldier's chest, the awards, ribbons, medals, and badges all symbolize a potential long list of accomplishments both for non-combat related duty as well as heroism in combat.

The first medals and ribbons were issued to Army soldiers during the Civil War. These were unofficial awards given by individual commanders.  The first official award established in the Army was the Congressional Medal of Honor. The highest medal of distinction is the Congressional Medal of Honor (pictured above - as displayed being awarded to Staff Sergeant Sal Guinta).

A medal will not be awarded or presented to any individual whose entire service subsequent to the time of the distinguished act, achievement, or service has not been honorable. The determination of "honorable" will be based on such honest and faithful service according the standards of conduct, courage, and duty required by law and customs of the service of a member of the grade to whom the standard is applied.

Unit and Individual Awards

An interesting tradition that only the Army does of all the services is separate the unit citations and awards from individual awards. When facing a soldier, the individual awards, medal, and badges that person earned will appear on your right (his/her left) side of the chest.

The unit awards and citations will be on your left (his/her right) side of the chest, above the name tag. The unit awards are encased in a gold frame that wraps around the ribbon. 

Common Errors Describing Medal Recipients

It is often stated haphazardly, or unknowingly, by civilians usually that someone who serves "won a medal of honor," or was a "medal of honor winner." It should be noted that no one "wins" a medal, servicemen and women earn a certain medal and are also forever labeled as a recipient of that medal. For instance, one does not "win the Silver Star", one is a "Silver Star recipient" or has "earned" a Silver Star.

The below decorations are shown in order of precedence.

Click on the below decorations for a detailed picture, description, and basic award criteria:

 

MEDAL OF HONOR

 

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS

 

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL

 

SILVER STAR

 

LEGION OF MERIT

 

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS

 

SOLDIER’S MEDAL

 

BRONZE STAR MEDAL

 

PURPLE HEART

 

MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL

 

AIR MEDAL

 

ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL

 

ARMY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL

 

PRISONER OF WAR MEDAL

 

GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL

 

RESERVE COMPONENTS ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL

 

CIVIL WAR CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

INDIAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

SPANISH CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

SPANISH WAR SERVICE MEDAL

 

CUBAN OCCUPATION MEDAL

 

PUERTO RICAN OCCUPATION MEDAL

 

PHILIPPINE CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

PHILIPPINE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL

 

CHINA CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

CUBAN PACIFICATION MEDAL

 

MEXICAN SERVICE MEDAL

 

MEXICAN BORDER SERVICE MEDAL

 

WORLD WAR I VICTORY MEDAL

 

OCCUPATION OF GERMANY
WW I

 

AMERICAN DEFENSE MEDAL

 

WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS MEDAL

 

AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

ASIATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

EUROPEAN-AFRICAN-MIDDLE EASTERN MEDAL

 

WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL

 

ARMY OF OCCUPATION MEDAL

 

MEDAL FOR HUMANE ACTION

 

NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL

 

KOREAN SERVICE MEDAL

 

ANTARCTICA SERVICE MEDAL

 

ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL

 

VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL

 

SOUTHWEST ASIA SERVICE MEDAL

 

KOSOVO CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

AFGHANISTAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

IRAQ CAMPAIGN MEDAL

 

GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL

 

GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM SERVICE MEDAL

 

KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL

 

ARMED FORCES SERVICE MEDAL

 

HUMANITARIAN SERVICE MEDAL

 

MILITARY OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER SERVICE MEDAL

 

ARMED FORCES RESERVE MEDAL

 

NCO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT RIBBON

 

ARMY SERVICE RIBBON

 

OVERSEAS SERVICE RIBBON

 

RESERVE COMPONENTS OVERSEAS TRAINING RIBBON

(VARIOUS DESIGNS)

UN PEACEKEEPING MEDALS



NATO MEDAL


VIETNAM GALLANTRY CROSS


REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM CAMPAIGN MEDAL


KUWAIT LIBERATION MEDAL (PRESENTED BY SAUDI ARABIA)
 


KUWAIT LIBERATION MEDAL (PRESENTED BY KUWAIT)
UNIT AWARDS


ARMY PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION


JOINT MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD


ARMY VALORIOUS UNIT AWARD


ARMY MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD


ARMY SUPERIOR UNIT AWARD


PHILLIPPINE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION


REPUBLIC OF KOREA PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION


REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION
VIETNAM GALLANTRY CROSS UNIT CITATION


VIETNAM CIVIL ACTIONS UNIT CITATION


Army awards and decorations are approved accordance to the guidance contained in Army Regulation 600-8-22, The Military Awards.

Rules for the proper wear of Army awards and decorations can be found in Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms.

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