July, 16

US Navy Decorations: Honoring Courage and Service

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US Navy Decorations – these three words hold immense significance for those who have served in the United States Navy. Decorations are a way of recognizing and honoring the achievements, bravery, and sacrifices made by sailors during their service in the US Navy. From medals awarded for valor to ribbons given for meritorious service, decorations serve as a reminder of an individual's contribution to their country.

The US Navy has a rich history when it comes to awards and decorations. The tradition began with the founding of the Continental Navy during America's fight for independence from Britain. Since then, countless sailors have been recognized with various honors such as The Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal among others.

In this article about US navy decorations we will explore all there is to know about these prestigious awards that recognize servicemen who went above and beyond their call of duty while serving on land or sea. So join us on this journey through history as we delve deeper into what makes these decorations so important in not just recognizing but also preserving our nation's rich naval legacy.

US Navy Decorations: Honoring the Brave

The United States Navy is one of the most respected and revered armed forces in the world. With a rich history spanning centuries, it has been at the forefront of numerous military operations, peacekeeping missions, and humanitarian efforts across the globe. The brave men and women who serve in this institution deserve recognition for their commitment to duty, honor, and country. One way that they are honored is through US Navy decorations.

What Are US Navy Decorations?

US Navy decorations are awards that recognize outstanding performance or achievement by members of the naval service. They can be earned for various accomplishments such as acts of heroism, exemplary service during combat or peacetime operations, meritorious achievements in areas like technology or innovation among others.

These awards come in various forms ranging from medals to ribbons with different colors indicating different levels of recognition- some may be awarded for specific acts while others may recognize an entire career's worth achievements.

Types Of US Navy Decorations

There are several types of US navy decorations that servicemen/women can earn throughout their careers:


A medal is a physical object given as an award which can be worn on dress uniform suspended from a ribbon around your neck called "neck drape". There exist many medals including:

  • Medal Of Honor
  • Silver Star
  • Bronze Star
  • Purple Heart


Ribbons display on dress uniforms horizontally mounted above your left chest pocket representing each award you have earned within your career.
Some common ribbons include:

  • Defense Meritorious Service Ribbon
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
    amongst many more.


Badges represent qualification attained by sailors after completing training programs required to attain particular skills In addition badges also exists awards given under certain conditions making them appear like patches sewn onto uniform sleeves.
Some common badge types include:

  • Navy Diver Badge
  • Submarine Warfare Insignia
  • Parachutist Badge

Certificates and Letters

Certificates are awards that recognize completion of training or successful completion of a specific program. One such example is the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) School certificate, which is awarded to those who complete an intense training course to become a SEAL.

Letters come in two types: personal letters and letters of commendation. Personal letters are written by commanding officers to servicemen/women who have demonstrated exceptional abilities/personal qualities. Letters of commendation on the other hand recognises extraordinary acts during service.

How US Navy Decorations Are Earned

US Navy decorations are earned through exemplary performance, bravery, dedication and commitment with some being automatic such as campaign medals while others require nominations from seniors – e.g., achievement medals.

The Medal Of Honor however requires demonstration of conspicuous gallantry above beyond what's expected resulting in risk or danger where it results in extreme risk even death.

The Value Of US Navy Decorations

Aside from being recognition for services rendered these decorations offer value both within military ranks and civilian life.
A decorated sailor gives off an impression that they perform excellently enough at their jobs to earn them accolades thus increasing their chances for promotion.
In addition certain ribbons like the combat action ribbon also help veterans attain VA benefits such as priority access when seeking medical care amongst other perks available through government programs


US navy decorations serve as tangible symbols recognizing courageous actions performed by sailors demonstrating unwavering patriotism, fortitude , honor etc… Serving one's country regardless if it’s part-time or full time command respect leading many sailors once retired proudly hanging up dress uniforms including all awards earned signifying years spent serving America at home & abroad.

As we conclude; honours don't just show gratitude towards recipients but similarly inspire ordinary individuals around them to follow in their footsteps for exceptional service.


What are US Navy decorations and why are they awarded?

US Navy decorations, also known as medals or ribbons, are awards given to sailors and other members of the United States Navy for various achievements or acts of valor. There is a wide variety of decorations ranging from military campaign medals to meritorious service ribbons.

One type of decoration awarded by the US Navy is a medal. These medals can be earned for exceptional service in combat situations, long-term dedication to service, and leadership roles. The most prestigious medal awarded by the US Navy is the Medal of Honor which recognizes those who have distinguished themselves through conspicuous gallantry at great personal risk.

Another type of decoration is called a ribbon or award which typically recognizes achievement outside combat such as completing training programs like aviation warfare qualification program (AWQP), good conduct awards for maintaining high standards during active duty time periods (GCA) etc. Regardless if it's a medal or ribbon/award, these decorations serve as symbols representing an individual's commitment to their country and their fellow sailors.

How do I apply for US Navy decorations?

If you believe that you qualify for an award such as a medal or ribbon/award based on your own actions in accordance with established guidelines then speak with your commanding officer has access application forms required via document identification codes (DICs) found on Department Of Defense Instruction Guidebook: Awards And Decorations Program Manual.

When filling out this form make sure you provide all relevant information including documentation supporting your claim(s). This could include relevant certificates proving completion training programs like AWQP; photo evidence record keeping displaying behaviors deserving recognition; witness statements from others who saw actions were taken worthy recognition.

After submitting application form along with any supporting documents required ,it will be reviewed at higher levels within chain command before being approved/denied whether it qualifies recipient receive requested decoration(s).

Can veterans still receive US navy decorations?

Yes! Veterans can still receive US Navy decorations provided they are eligible. The eligibility criteria varies depending on the specific decoration in question. However, veterans must have been honorably discharged from service before being awarded any decoration or award.

One example of a decoration that can be awarded to veterans is the Navy Cross, which is given for extraordinary heroism while engaged in combat with an enemy force and may be presented posthumously if those recipient has passed away prior to receiving it.

Another example of an award that can be given to veterans is the Good Conduct Medal, which recognizes periods serving without incident misconduct during active duty time period.

What are some common US navy decorations?

Some common US Navy decorations include:

  • The Purple Heart (awarded for bravery or injury sustained while fighting enemy forces)
  • The Bronze Star Medal (awarded for heroic or meritorious achievement in combat situations)
  • The Meritorious Service Medal (awarded for outstanding non-combat performance over a long period of time)
  • Naval Commendation Medals(award recognizing accomplishments beyond regular duties)
    There are many other types of awards available and each one has its own set criteria so it's important to consider what each reward represents before making any decision.

Can family members wear their loved one’s US navy decorations?

Family members cannot wear their loved ones' US Navy decorations but they can display them as part of home decor – perhaps framed together with photographs etc.

US government regulations stipulate that only authorized individuals may wear military medals and ribbons/awards issued by the United States armed forces. Such individuals include active-duty members who earned these distinctions themselves through their service as well as retired servicemembers who were honorably discharged after earning these recognitions.

However,in event a family member wishes obtain exact copy medal/ribbon then such awards could purchase through certain license companies approved by Department Of Defense(U.S Army Institute Heraldry)which produce identical replicas– but these replicas could not be worn in place of original decorations.

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