July, 16

US Navy Ribbons and Medals: A Comprehensive Guide

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US Navy ribbons and medals are symbols of honor, courage, and commitment. They represent the dedication and sacrifice that sailors have made to protect their country's freedom. The United States Navy has a rich tradition of awarding ribbons and medals to recognize its sailors' achievements in combat, service, or personal excellence.

Each ribbon or medal is a testimony to the sailor's exceptional performance in various areas such as marksmanship, leadership skills, valorous actions during combat operations or meritorious service rendered. The US Navy ensures that every service member who deserves recognition for their contribution receives it through these awards.

In this article about US Navy Ribbons and Medals we will explore everything you need to know about them in detail so that you can understand what each medal signifies when they are awarded by the United States military forces. Read on!

US Navy Ribbons and Medals: Honoring the Bravery and Achievements of our Heroes

The United States Navy is one of the most esteemed branches of the US Armed Forces. Every sailor in this elite force, from a seaman recruit to an admiral, has gone through rigorous training to serve their country with honor, courage, and commitment. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect their nation's interests at sea.

To recognize exceptional performance or service rendered by sailors, they are awarded various ribbons and medals by the US Navy. These accolades are a testament to an individual's dedication towards duty beyond normal expectations.

In this article today we’ll delve deeper into what these medals represent for those who receive them as well as what it takes for sailors serving in today’s modern naval forces to earn such honors.

What Are Military Ribbons And Medals?

Military medals have been used since ancient times as symbols of achievement or recognition for acts that went beyond ordinary duties or responsibilities.

In modern times military ribbons & medals continue this tradition while adding another layer of meaning; each ribbon symbolizes different contributions made while serving within specific categories such as combat readiness training exercises (CRT), humanitarian service missions abroad (HSM), valor during battle engagements against enemy fighters – just name but a few examples!

Naval Awards

Like other branches of America's armed forces, The United States navy also awards its personnel with commendations that signify outstanding achievements in different fields ranging from professional qualifications like submarine warfare insignias right up until peacetime operations overseas when helping others amidst natural disasters strikes home like earthquakes or tsunamis!

Some notable awards include:

  1. Medal Of Honor: This highest award is presented "for personal acts above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty" which can be conferred upon active-duty/reserve servicemen/women who demonstrate extraordinary heroism during wartime operations.

  2. Navy Cross: This award is given to sailors who "display extraordinary heroism against an enemy in combat."

  3. Silver Star: The silver star ribbon is awarded to those who exhibit gallantry or valor during action against an enemy of the United States.

  4. Bronze Star with Combat V: This medal is bestowed for acts of heroism or merit in combat situations, and it carries a distinctive "V" (for valor) device that distinguishes it from the standard Bronze Star Medal.

  5. Purple Heart: This decoration honors any military personnel wounded as a direct result of hostile action while serving under either friendly fire or enemy attack.

Ribbon Devices

Ribbon devices are small attachments worn on ribbons and medals, denoting additional awards or special circumstances such as multiple tours covering various areas around the world etc.! These can imply things like time served overseas (bronze service stars), participation in specific battles/operations (campaign stars), good conduct citations (small bronze oak leaf clusters) and more!

Tips To Keep In Mind When Wearing Ribbons And Medals

A sailor's uniform reflects their achievements throughout their tenure – from boot camp through retirement! Care should be taken when wearing your full-sized medals; as they’re intended to represent your past achievements you don’t want anything about them appearing less than perfect!

Ensure everything hangs straight especially if there’s more than one ribbon attached to keep them level with others present; also make sure all ribbons/medals are properly aligned horizontally so none appear crooked which would diminish their overall impact.


US Navy ribbons and medals are symbols that recognize exceptional performance by sailors who have gone above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty while serving our country at sea! These accolades offer soldiers faith knowing they've received recognition for uncommon courage shown during both wartime & peacetime conditions, providing reassurance to those who have served while acknowledging their sacrifices.


What are US Navy ribbons and medals?

US Navy ribbons and medals are awards given to members of the United States Navy for outstanding accomplishments, achievements, acts of heroism, or meritorious service. These awards recognize the contributions made by sailors in various areas such as combat operations, leadership abilities, technical expertise or exceptional service rendered.

Ribbons and medals form part of the military tradition that dates back centuries. For instance, during World War II many sailors earned commendations for their bravery and valor in battle. The U.S government recognized these heroic acts by awarding Purple Hearts which were later replaced with Bronze Stars.

In summary, US Navy ribbons and medals are symbols of honor bestowed upon sailors who have demonstrated exemplary conduct on duty.

How do you earn a ribbon or medal in the US Navy?

To be eligible to receive a ribbon or medal in the U.S navy there is no formal application process; instead recognition is based on merit through sustained superior performance over time.

The standards that must be met vary depending on each specific award criteria established by higher authorities like Congress or Department of Defense (DoD). Some examples include combat actions against an enemy force where bravery under fire was displayed; meritorious achievement while participating in support missions overseas; exemplary leadership skills during challenging assignments within different commands among others.

Once all criteria have been met an individual's commanding officer will recommend them for consideration to receive a particular award.

What types of Ribbons/Medals does the US Navy offer?

The U.S navy offers several types of Ribbons/Medals including personal decorations (awarded specifically to individuals), campaign/service awards denoting participation during specific conflicts/events as well as unit/membership awards reflecting group/unit contributions towards mission success:

  • Personal Decorations: These include Medals such as Medal Of Honor ,Silver Star ,Bronze Star among others

  • Campaign/Service Awards: Service stars, campaign medals/ribbons are awarded to individuals who participated in specific conflicts or operations such as Vietnam, Middle East service etc.

  • Unit/Membership Awards: These awards celebrate the contribution made by a particular unit or team towards achieving mission success. Examples include the Navy Unit Commendation Medal which recognizes outstanding performance of a ship/unit during military operations.

How do you wear ribbons and medals in the US Navy?

U.S navy sailors wear their ribbons and medals on their dress uniforms (formal attire) known as "Blues" or "Whites". The Dress Blues uniform is typically worn at ceremonies and formal events while Dress Whites are worn for more relaxed occasions like summer balls.

Ribbons are usually positioned in rows on top of each other starting from left to right. Personnel decorations come first followed by campaign/service awards with unit/membership awards last.

The position where these ribbons sit is determined based on branch regulations i.e., Department of Defense Instruction 1348 .33 Volume 2 Enlisted Medals And Ribbons Wear Policy For The U.S Armed Forces outlines how they should be arranged within a row.

Can family members receive US Navy ribbons and medals posthumously?

Yes, Family members can receive US navy Ribbons/Medals posthumously if an individual dies while serving his/her country honorably.The next-of-kin will have to apply for this recognition through various means that vary depending on location/circumstances surrounding death whether it was combat-related or not among others.

Some examples of those eligible include spouses, parents, siblings etc., but documentation must be provided showing eligibility otherwise no award will be given. It's important however to note that only certain types of decorations may qualify for this type of recognition based upon rules/guidelines set forth pertaining specifically what each decoration represents according to its criteria outlined above earlier.

In conclusion, It’s essential that all sailors understand the importance of Ribbons/Medals in the US Navy. These symbols of honor are awarded to those who have demonstrated superior performance, meritorious service or acts of heroism during their time in service. By wearing them proudly, sailors show respect for their fellow shipmates and for the nation they serve.

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