Military medals, ribbons, and awards are a language all their own, and you could spend a lifetime understanding all the intricacies of the various awards handed out throughout the world, or even in the United States alone. It only makes sense that the world with the greatest military also has a whole litany of awards to hand out for service, but for service members, those honors mean a whole lot more. Each medal is a memory of an achievement, and together they form a history of your time in the service. And while some – like the medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross – are known to almost everyone, we’re here to talk about the smaller but no less important ones that remind us that every meaningful achievement matters.
It’s only understandable that the U.S. military branches would place an emphasis on being able to handle a gun, so it should come as no surprise that there’s a whole subsection of awards that are designed to demonstrate one’s capacity with a firearm. The Coast Guard and Navy offer a total of nine marksmanship awards between them each for rifle and pistol competencies. Additionally, the Air Force offers their own distinct marksmanship award for use with small arms.
Good Conduct Medals
While grand acts of valor are obviously worthy of praise, it’s also important to recognize that it’s often the small but consistent acts of generosity that really help the move keep on spinning. That’s why all of the armed services offer their own version of good conduct medals. While the standards for a good conduct medal can vary by branch, they generally require three years of service (or one in wartime), with consistent efficiency ratings and a commitment to continuing education and training in their specialization.
The first service medal was designed to celebrate the soldiers who fought in America’s great conflicts. The National Defense Service Medal was put in place by Dwight D. Eisenhower and is awarded to anyone who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, or the War on Terror. An Armed Forces Service Medal was also created by President Clinton for those who were enlisted during major conflicts not covered by the National Defense Service Medal. Active combat isn’t required to receive the medal, so most military members of the past couple of generations will receive one of these two service medals.
But there are a number of service medals designed to commemorate other special engagements as well. There are also service medals in place for humanitarian and volunteer work. And as the nature of the military has changed, a whole slew of other service medals have been created to recognize these new and unconventional ways of showing courage and patriotism. There are medals for nuclear deterrence, air and space campaigns, and work in Antarctica as well as others.
Find the Right Medals For You
The amount of medals handed out by the armed forces are warranted, and it’s exciting to see how inclusive they are about recognizing the multitude of different ways that a service member can show their commitment to serving America. But that means it can also be hard to shop for the awards that you’ve earned throughout your career. If you’re looking to replace lost medals or find some replicas for your shadow box, it’s important to find a partner that you can depend on. A brand like Armed Forces Super Store offers a huge collection of military medals and awards, but they also employ a system that makes that catalog easy to navigat