Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day - Military Decorations & Awards

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Although it was originally created for the Civil War, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863. This is the United States Air Force version.

The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by Gen. George Washington by order from his headquarters at Newburgh, N. Y., Aug. 7, 1782. Records indicate that the Purple Heart was awarded only three times during the Revolutionary War and was not awarded again until it was revived on Washington's 200th birthday, Feb. 22, 1932. Use of the Purple Heart for meritorious service was discontinued on Dec. 3, 1942 when the legion of Merit was created. In present day, the Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed in action.

The Legion of Merit was established by Congress on July 20, 1942, and is awarded to personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States and of the Government of the Commonwealth Philippines and personnel of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations who, distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.

The Joint Service Commendation Medal was established on June 25, 1963 and is awarded only to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after January 1, 1963, distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement or service while assigned to a Joint Service organization.

The Distinguished Flying Cross was established in the Air Corps Act, by Congress, on July 2, 1926, and is awarded to any person, while serving in any capacity with the Air Corps of the Army of the United States, including the National Guard and the Organized Reserves, or with the United States Navy, since April 6, 1917, has distinguished, or who, after the approval of this Act, distinguishes himself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.

The Silver Star is the successor decoration to the Citation Star which was established by an act of Congress on July 9, 1918. It is currently awarded by all branches of the Armed Forces to any person who, while serving in any capacity, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly forces against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

1 comment:

Major Pepperidge said...

Those medals are beautiful artworks all by themselves. Sometimes I'll see a purple heart in an antique store (or worse a "junk shop") and it makes me sad to think of what it represents and how it might have wound up unwanted.