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MyMilitaryMedals.com Blog

The World War II Medals

February 27th 2009 - 2:11 pm

World War II was a war between the Allies and the Axis. The Allies included the United States, the British Empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China. An estimated 60 million people died in World War II and 85 percent of those deaths were on the Allied side. Despite the Allies losses they defeated their enemies and many World War II medals were awarded to those who risked, and lost, their lives. Service medals were awarded to personnel for their service in World War II. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps all received WWII Medals for 30 consecutive days served in Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, Korea or Berlin. If a member performed duties during the Berlin Airlift or the Airlift Device then they would have received a Navy Occupation Medal. Another respectable American medal is the American Defense Service Medal. President Franklin D. Roosevelt created this medal in 1941 to recognize those members of the U.S. military who served on active duty during the initial years of the European conflict before American’s entry into World War II. The American Defense Service Medal is awarded to any military member who performed duty between September 8th, 1939 and December 6th, 1941. Members of the U.S. Army were required to perform at least one year of consecutive duty during that time period while the U.S Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard members were awarded the medal for any length of time served during that time period. President Franklin D. Roosevelt also issued the American Campaign medal, originally named the “American Theater Ribbon”. This decoration was planned to recognize the service personnel who had performed duty in the American Theater of Operations during World War II. A military member was required to either perform one year of consecutive duty within the borders of the United States or 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days of duty outside the borders of the United States but within the American Theater of Operations. The American Theater of Operations encompassed the entirety of the United States, most of the Atlantic Ocean, a portion of Alaska and a small part of the Pacific Ocean bordering California and Baja California. Because a lot of this area is oceans and seas, a lot of the recipients of this medal were Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The victorious end to World War II was the reasoning behind the World War II Victory Medal. It was awarded to any member of the U.S. military who served on active duty between December 7th, 1941 and December 31st, 1946.


Medals of United States

February 26th 2009 - 2:01 pm

There are many medals that have been awarded to military members in all branches of the United States military, and each one has its own unique criteria and description. The United States has seven uniformed services consisting of: the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the Coast guard, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.  The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast guard are all part of the Armed Forces and four of which are a part of the Department of Defense; the Coast guard is under the control of Homeland Security and at times of war has military duties. Any member of the armed forces is eligible to be awarded a medal in their particular field and/or any of the other United States medals offered. The highest level of United States medals offered is personal decorations. The highest personal decoration offered is the Medal of Honor. The President, in the name of Congress, awards the Medal of Honor to a member of the U.S. Armed forces that shows great heroism at the risk of their own life and goes above the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States. This medal is usually given posthumously given its criteria. The second highest level of decorations are the Cross decorations. The Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross. Each of these is given to their respectful branch of the Armed Forces and is awarded for extraordinary heroism. The Distinguished Service medals are the next level of United States medals. The highest of the Distinguished Service Medals and the highest peacetime defense award is the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.  This medal is awarded for exceptional performance of duty contributing to nation security or defense of the U.S. The Distinguished Service Medals of the Army, Navy & Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard are all presented to any person serving in those braches of the United States military who has distinguished themselves by remarkably commendable service to the U.S. Government in a duty of great responsibility. The third highest United States medal for combat heroism and valor, fourth highest overall, is the Silver Star. The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.  The Legion of Merit is sixth in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations. This award is the only United States medal with specific degrees of rank. The Legion of Merit is issued to both United States military and to friendly foreign nations who have distinguished themselves for extraordinarily meritorious manner in the performance of exceptional services. The Purple Heart is the oldest award that is still given to members of the U.S. military. It is awarded to recognize a single meritorious act including wounds received in action. Although the Purple Heart is not the highest United States medal it is certainly one of the most honorable if not the most honorable; under the Medal of Honor of course. There are resources available to find the list of recipients of the high awards.


The World War I Medals

February 25th 2009 - 11:06 pm

In April of 1917 the United States crossed the Atlantic Ocean and joined the Entente Powers against Germany in World War I.  The Great War claimed over 16 million people and wounded another 21 million. This was a massive war that included many countries and states. Many United States soldiers were awarded medals for their constant valor and courage in World War I. All medals awarded to the United States military for World War I were given to commemorate their courage but there were significant groups these medals were divided into. The distinction between medals may be unclear and the criteria for receiving these medals changed overtime. The most exceptional of all medals were the medals awarded for bravery and merit. These were awarded for specific acts of bravery or meritorious service. Most bravery decorations have very detailed criteria that possible recipients were expected to fill. In some cases, civilians were awarded a bravery award. The next type of medal was the campaign medal. A campaign medal was given to commemorate certain battles or campaigns. That military medal was then given to personnel who served in that battle or campaign. Service medals were similar to campaign medals except they were applied to a larger range of events. After World War I, the United States honored all veterans who served in the war with a service medal, regardless of a specific battle or campaign.  Faithful service awards were then given to honor long time service of 10 years, and 25 years, rather than to honor certain battles or campaigns. The World War I Occupation medal was awarded for any member of the United States military who performed their duties in either Germany, or the former Austria-Hungary, between November of 1918 until July of 1923.  This was the United States’ World War I medal for service. One of the oldest American medals would be the World War I Victory Medal, also known as the “Allied Victory Medal”. A number of Allied countries involved in the conflict against the Austro-German alliance issued a Victory Medal as well. Each medal is bronze with the same diameter and rainbow ribbon, but with a special national design representing a winged victory. Anyone serving in the armed forces between 1917-1918, 1918-1920 in Russia, and 1918-1920 with the American Expeditionary Force Siberia received this medal. Of all the World War medals awarded, the Medal of Honor was the highest ranked. The President, in the name of Congress, awarded 90 Medals of Honor to members of the U.S. Armed forces after World War I. This award was given to those who showed great heroism at the risk of their own lives and who went above the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.


The Navy Medals

February 24th 2009 - 1:57 pm

The United States Navy is the sea branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and is the largest in the world with a tonnage greater than the next 13 largest combined.  Currently the U.S. Navy has roughly 331,702 active personnel with another 121,194 ready reserve as of December 2008. The U.S. Navy has 283 deployable battle force ships and over 3,700 operational aircrafts. Needless to say, it is a true American honor to be a part of the United States navy and an even greater honor to receive one of its admirable medals. Similar to other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Navy’s medals are awarded to personnel for many different reasons and some are more commonly given than others.  Every medal awarded by the Navy is a praiseworthy medal no matter its rank.  The Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal is awarded for 3 years satisfactory service in the Naval reserves. The Armed Forces Reserve Medal is similar and awarded for 10 years successful reserve service in any of the U.S. Military branches. The next medal available to Naval personnel is the Navy Good Conduct Medal. This medal is issued to every active duty sailor who competes 3 years of successful service. The Navy Good Conduct Medal is the oldest of all the Good Conduct Medals dating back to 1869 and has gone through four different changes.  The Navy Expeditionary Medal is awarded to Navy personnel who have operated on foreign territory in both combat and non-combat operations. The Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal is awarded for the admirable service of junior officers and enlisted persons that are not eligible for the higher Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal. The Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal is reserved for department level officers, senior CPO’s and as a retirement award. It is awarded for constant acts of heroism and service.  The Navy & Marine Corps Medal is the second highest non-combatant medal and is awarded to those who risked their own life and showed great heroism outside of a conflict with an actual enemy. John F. Kennedy was awarded this medal in World War II. The third-highest Navy medal is the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. This medal was originally higher-ranking to the Navy Cross until August 1943 when the ranking was reversed. The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to members of the Navy or Marine Corps who distinguish themselves from other members by providing excellent service to the U.S. government in a duty of great responsibility. Great responsibility means senior military responsibility and the medal is normally only given to senior Navy Flag or Marine Corps General officers.  The Navy Cross is the highest decoration awarded by the Department of the Navy and the only award higher is the Medal of Honor, which is awarded by the United States Government. The Navy Cross may be awarded to any member serving with the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard in the time of war only. This member must have performed great acts of heroism in the presence of danger and must have done so at a higher performance than other members of equal grade. The highest military decoration is the Medal of Honor and every member of the U.S. military is eligible to receive it. There are many other military ribbons and military medals that are issued by the Department of the Navy, and you can reference them at my military medals website.