Military Awards


Military awards are medals and decorations the United States Army uses to recognize different achievements by its soldiers. The accomplishments can either combat or non-combat.

The very first receivers of medals and ribbons were Army soldiers who battled during the Civil War. At that time, they were unofficial awards presented to persons by commanders. Congress then established the first official award for the Army known as the Medal of Honor, which has to date remained the highest medal ranking.

Medals are only meant to be awarded to persons whose entire service after the period of that particular act, achievement, or service has been honorable. Whether a soldier is “honorable” or not depends on how faithful they are in service in line with the codes of conduct, bravery and completion of duty as required by law.

These days, you can get a custom medal or ribbon for your relatives who served. You can shop now for some common military award and decorations.

1-Medal of Honor

With Congress’s power, the Head of State is permitted to award a medal of honor to any individual who while serving as an army member stands out conspicuously, to risk their life past the call of duty out of courage and loyalty for their country.

The actions justifying whether one is worth the medal must be executed during a war against the United States, and enemy nations, or if the individual is part of a battle against an opposing force while fighting along friendly foreign forces where the US is not the offensive party.

Plus, these acts must entail a risk of life, and the performers must have shown self-sacrifice and courage so extraordinary compared to their comrades. Unquestionable proof must also be provided, and any Medal of Honor recommendation falls under extraordinary merits.

2-Good conduct medal

The Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy personnel have their Good Conduct Medals. Most of these were coined during World War II, and this award goes to soldiers, sailors, marines, and air fighters listed to conduct themselves properly without of any non-judicial penalties, or any other offences.

The behaviors of the awardees are studied across three successive years. Any infraction in the three years record timeline means your restart the count. Therefore, a soldier could end up with 5 such medals if they serve for 15 years and behave themselves all through. Plus, there are several other categories under good conduct medals awarded for different acts.

3-Air Medal for Armed Forces of the US

The Air Medal goes to any Army soldier that sets themselves apart from their comrades by praiseworthy acts during an aerial flight. The award may be presented in appreciation of single acts of heroism, or for a service full of merits.

Principally, the Air Medal was meant to recognize current crew or non-crew member expertise which requires that the individual participates in an aerial fight as a part of their primary duties.  But it is also awarded to army persons whose combat duties demand flying from time to time, or used to acknowledge extraordinary acts of a crew member performed while not on flight status.

4-The Soldier’s Medal/Medal of Acts of Valor

The Soldier’s Medal also known as the medal for acts of bravery is presented to anyone who while in service with the Armed Forces of the United States or any civilian of an ally foreign nation (while assisting the US)that is recognized for bravery but not concerning direct contact with an enemy.

There’s a degree of courage needed to earn the soldier’s Medal for Acts of Valor just like with the Distinguished Flying Cross medal. The actions justifying the presentation of this medal must entail a personal choice of risk life in situations where they are not directly encountering a rival.  Merely saving a life is not good enough to earn anyone a soldier’s medal for acts of courage.

5-The Legion of Merit

The Legion of Merit goes to members of the Armed Forces of the US, as well as to martial and political figures from foreign nations.

This award is presented to members of foreign countries in accordance with the line of responsibility of the awarded. Army Rule 672-7 ranks the degrees depending on the standard on the qualified rank of the award receiver:

  • Chief Commander: presented to Head of Government of Chief of State
  • Commander: awarded to anyone an equivalent of a U.S. military Chief of Staff or more senior rank than Chief of State
  • Officer: offered to Flag or General Officer comparable to a U.S. military service officers or Military Attaches
  • Legionnaire: presented to individuals not listed under any other ranks or positions

5-Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal

An Army Reserve Troop Program Unit or Army National Guard was awarded in groups or to an individual t by the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal in appreciation of commendable behavior, competence, and fidelity for four years of service from 3 March 1972.

On 28 March 1995, a modification request was made to reduce the time to three years, but this change was not put into effect. To get an Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the receiver must have served for the four years nonstop, and merely serving with the Reserve Component of the United States Navy, Marines, Air Force, Navy, Marine or Coast Guard does not deem you fit for the award.  The receiver must be recommended by their unit commander for faithful and honest service in staying in line with the principles of behavior, duty and courage, as demanded by the law of the service.

6-Bronze Star Medal

Anyone whom while in any form of service with the US military after 6 December 1941, distinguished themselves from their comrades by acts of bravery that do not involve taking part in aerial flight can get a bronze star. The actions justifying the presentation of this medal must be done during a fight against a United States opponent, or while in conflict with a foreign force. It is also awarded for intrepidness when assisting friendly troops fighting against an enemy where the United States is not the offensive party.


These medals are just a tip of a larger iceberg. There are many other decorations including ribbons offered to those who have been (or are still) in service in acknowledgement for different acts.