Decorations and Medals

Decorations and medals are the two broad categories of award recognition given to military members for valorous acts, achievement, and service. Both are symbolic in nature and intended to reinforce desired behavior through public recognition. A decoration is awarded to an individual for a heroic act during a military conflict or engagement. A medal is awarded to individuals or units for achievement or service, both during war and peacetime. Decorations and medals physically consist of a medallion suspended beneath a ribbon. Each has a distinctive design and color pattern and is worn on the dress uniform during parades or formal events. Both are presented in public, usually by the level of command corresponding to the place of precedence of the award. The Department of Defense ...

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