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MyMilitaryMedals.com Blog

Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon

June 26th 2009 - 8:01 am

The Air Force Longevity Service Ribbonis a military ribbon that is only awarded in the Air Force branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Department of the Air Force General Order 60, Nov. 25, 1957 authorized this ribbon. The Air Force Longevity Service Award is awarded for completing four years of Active, Reserve, or Air National Guard service. For those members of the Reserve and National Guard, service must have been in a drilling status with regular attending of weekend drills and annual training.    

The Air Force Longevity Service Award is a ribbon that replaces the federal service stripes previously worn on the uniform. These service stripes denote years of military service and are still used by other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the U.S. Air Force service stripes were only worn by enlisted members, but the longevity ribbon is awarded to both enlisted members and officers. 


The Longevity Service Ribbon is only awarded as a military ribbon and is not available as a full-size or mini-medal.  This award is one of many military ribbons that are not awarded as a medal.

The ribbon is ultramarine blue divided by four equal stripes of turquoise. Bronze oak-leaf clusters are worn on the ribbon to indicate subsequent awards of the Air Force Longevity Service Award.    

The Overseas Service Ribbons of the U.S. Armed Forces

June 24th 2009 - 8:40 am

An Overseas Service Ribbon is a service award of the United States Military which recognizes those service members who have performed military tours of duty outside the borders of the United States of America. There are different versions of the Overseas Service Ribbons for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. Marines receive the Navy version of the Overseas Service Ribbon and the U.S. Coast Guard does not issue an equivalent award. These awards are only issued as military ribbons and are not available as a military medal. The Army Overseas Service Ribbon was first issued in August of 1981. It is presented to any member of the United States Army who completes a standard overseas tour of duty. In the 11 December 2006 revision of AR 600-8-22 (Military Awards), the Army eliminated the policy which had restricted the awarding of the Overseas Service Ribbon when another campaign or service medal is awarded. Additional awards of the Army Overseas Service Ribbon are denoted by award numerals. For those Army service members performing overseas duty prior to 1981, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon is a military ribbon that may be awarded retroactively, provided that a service member was on active duty subsequent to 1981. The Army also issues an Overseas Service Bar which is an entirely different decoration from the Overseas Service Ribbon. The Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon is the reserve component companion to the Overseas Service Ribbon and is awarded to drilling members of the Army Reserve and National Guard. The Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon is presented to any member of the drilling reserves who completes ten or more consecutive days of active duty for training outside the contiguous United States. Additional awards are denoted by numerals. The Army Reserve, and Army National Guard are the only branches of the reserve components which issues an overseas ribbon separate from the active duty award. These military ribbons can be worn in conjunction with their active duty equivelant. The Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon was first proposed in 1968, but not officially approved until June of 1987. The decoration is awarded to any member of the Navy or Marine Corps who completes one year of consecutive or cumulative duty at a permanent overseas duty station. For members of the reserve components, the first decoration is authorized upon completion of either 30 consecutive or 45 cumulative days of overseas active duty for training. For subsequent awards, the criteria of award for reservists are the same as the active duty members criteria. In 1999, a directive of the Chief of Naval Operations permitted those personnel stationed on overseas homeported naval vessels to receive the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon. Prior to this time, such personnel were only eligible to receive the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Current regulations now permit the receipt of both decorations for the same tour of duty. Additional awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon are denoted by service stars. The Air Force Overseas Service Ribbonwas first created in 1980 by order of General Lew Allen, Air Force Chief of Staff. The award is issued in two grades, being that of "short tour" and "long tour." A service member may be awarded and wear both of these military ribbons at the same time. The Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon is awarded for less than two years of duty or as directed by Air Force policies. Normally, the Short Tour Service Ribbon is awarded for a permanent duty assignment of at least 181 consecutive days or, if stationed overseas, 300 days within an 18 month time span; Airmen generally serve such assignments unaccompanied by family members, though a short tour assignment need not be unaccompanied. Historically, most Short Tour Service Ribbons awarded were done so for service in South Korea, by far the most common short tour assignment in the USAF. Recently, however, more duty locations have been designated as short tour assignments. The Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon is issued for completion of a standard overseas service assignment greater than two years in length with additional awards denoted by oak leaf clusters. Long tour credit is awarded for completion of a prescribed overseas long tour (2 years) by Air Force Instructions, or to any member assigned to a United States or overseas location who is subsequently sent under temporary duty orders (to include combat tours) for 365 or more days within a 3 year time frame. Additional awards of the Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon are denoted by oak leaf clusters and Air Force regulations permit the receipt and wear of both the short and long tour ribbons simultaneously. The "A" device is authorized only on the short tour ribbon to any service member who performs a tour of duty at an arctic based Air Force facility.


The Purple Heart

June 21st 2009 - 7:57 pm

The United States military medal "The Purple Heart", is a decoration awarded to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. Military. The Purple Heart (the Badge of Military Merit) is the oldest symbol and award that is still given to members of the U.S. military, surpassed in history only by the long obsolete Fidellity Medallion. This military medal " The Purple Heart", designated as the Badge of Military Merit was established by George Washington-then the commander and chief of the Continental Army. The actual order includes the phrase, "Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the purple heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen." Only three Revolutionary War soldiers were awarded The Badge of Military Merit and fell into disuse following the War of Independence. Although never abolished, the award was not proposed again officially until after World War II. This U.S. military medal was awarded for death or wounds inflicted by forces hostile to the United States. Specific examples of services which warrant the Purple Heart are; any action against an enemy of the United States, any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged, 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, as a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces, or as the result of an act of any hostile foreign force. The Purple Heart is recognized by members of the U.S. Armed Forces and by civilian personnel as a symbol of bravery and dedication to our country. This military medal is synonymous with heroism and is viewed as a trademark of men who have put themselves in harms way to protect the freedoms that we take for granted each day as a U.S. citizen.

Thin Ribbons for U.S. Navy Veterans

June 18th 2009 - 6:23 pm

With over 400 ships and nearly 400,000 sailors, the U.S. Navy is one of the largest, most technically advanced fleets to sail the seven seas. Members of the U.S. Navy protect the nation by scouring the seas and oceans from the decks of ships or submarines, searching for signs of unrest or danger. The Navy must face the intense threat of the elements in addition to the danger of war or battles, and thus special decorations and awards commemorating valor and accomplishments are particularly important for these brave servicemen and women.

Just like for the rest of the units of the U.S. Military (including the Armed Forces, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard and the National Reserves), the U.S. Navy awards special medals and ribbons to praise personnel for excellence on the job. Thin ribbons worn on a plaque on the left breast pocket of the uniform are some of the most distinguished decorations that members of the Navy can receive.

Thin ribbons are basically a set of colorful stripes that serve to symbolically represent medals or other awards. The Navy awards these ribbons for overseas service, sea service deployment, and even arctic service. Furthermore, Navy personnel may receive ribbons for recruiting, completing training, and marksmanship with rifle or pistol. Members of the Navy Reserve can be awarded a special ribbon for active service, as well. Finally, ribbons can also be awarded for individual excellence in various units. Each ribbon is identifiable for its own unique striped pattern.

Not only are thin ribbons a visual reminder of the navy member's excellent service, but they can also help Navy personnel accumulate points to achieve promotion to a higher rank. These military decorations are thus an extremely important sign of a navy member's personal and professional dedication to his or her nation.