Bronze Star Medal

Infobox Military Award
name=Bronze Star Medal


caption=
awarded_by=the United States of America
type=Medal
eligibility=
for=“Heroic or meritorious achievement or service”
status=Currently awarded
clasps=The Valor device identifies the award as resulting from an act of combat heroism
established=
first_award=4 February 1944 (Retroactive through 7 December 1941).
last_award=Currently awarded
total=
posthumous=
recipients=
higher=Army - Soldier's Medal Navy - Navy and Marine Corps Medal Air Force - Airman's Medal
Coast Guard - Coast Guard Medal
same=
lower=Purple Heart


caption2=Reverse side of the Bronze Star Medal

The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration which may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the 9th highest military award (including both combat and non-combat awards) in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations.

General information

The medal may be awarded for Valor (i.e., a particular instance of combat heroism), in which case it is accompanied by an attached V, or it may be awarded for Meritorious Achievement (i.e., doing one's combat job well over a period of time), in which case the medal does not have a valor component and does not have the attached V denoting Valor. Most of the bronze stars awarded are meritorious and thus do not have the V device.

The medal is awarded to a member of the military who, while serving in or with the military of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished him/herself by:
* Heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight
* While engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States
* While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign forceor
* While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star. Awards may also be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service, while of lesser degree than required for the award of the Legion of Merit, must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

To be eligible for the Bronze Star Medal, a military member must be receiving hostile fire/imminent danger pay during the event for which the medal is to be awarded.

As of 30 October 2000, the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded to Department of the Army civilians.

The Bronze Star Medal is typically referred to by its full name (including the word “Medal”) to differentiate the decoration from bronze service stars which are worn on campaign medals and service awards.

History

The award that eventually became the Bronze Star Medal was conceived by Colonel Russell P. “Red” Reeder in 1943, who believed it would aid morale if there was a medal which could be awarded by captains of companies or batteries to deserving people serving under them. Reeder felt the medal should be a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, and proposed that the new award be called the “Ground Medal”. [Reeder, Colonel Red. "Born at Reveille." New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce (1966), page 218. ] The idea eventually rose through the military bureaucracy and gained supporters. General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated 3 February 1944, wrote cquote|The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal has had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.

The Air Medal had been adopted 2 years earlier to raise airmen's morale. President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419 dated 4 February 1944, retroactive to 7 December 1941. This authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 3, dated 10 February 1944.

The Executive Order was amended by President John F. Kennedy, per Executive Order 11046 dated 24 August 1962, to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces. This allowed for awards where U.S. servicemembers might be involved in an armed conflict where the United States was not a belligerent. At the time of the Executive Order, for example, the U.S. was not a belligerent in Vietnam, so U.S. advisors serving with the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces would not have been eligible for the award.

Since the award criteria state that the Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to "any person...while serving in any capacity in or with" the U.S. Armed Forces, awards to members of foreign armed services serving with the United States are permitted. Thus, a number of Allied soldiers received the Bronze Star Medal in World War II, as well as U.N. soldiers in the Korean War, Vietnamese and allied forces in the Vietnam War, and coalition forces in recent military operations such as the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Iraq War.

CIB & CMB Conversion

As a result of a study conducted in 1947, the policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal to soldiers who had received the Combat Infantryman Badge or the Combat Medical Badge during World War II. The basis for doing this was that the badges were awarded only to soldiers who had borne the hardships which resulted in General Marshall's support of the Bronze Star Medal. Both badges required a recommendation by the commander and a citation in orders.

Appearance

The Bronze Star Medal was designed by Rudolf Freund (1878-1960) of Bailey, Banks and Biddle. (Freund also designed the Silver Star. [http://www.omsa.org/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=1765] )

The Bronze Star is a bronze star 1½ inches (38 mm) in circumscribing diameter. In the center thereof is a 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) diameter superimposed bronze star, the center line of all rays of both stars coinciding. The reverse has the inscription “HEROIC OR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT” and a space for the name of the recipient to be engraved. The star is suspended from the ribbon by a rectangular shaped metal loop with the corners rounded. The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/32 inch (1 mm) white 67101; 9/16 inch (14 mm) scarlet 67111; 1/32 inch (1 mm) white; center stripe 1/8 inch (3 mm) ultramarine blue 67118; 1/32 inch (1 mm) white; 9/16 inch (14 mm) scarlet; and 1/32 inch (1 mm) white.

Devices

Additional awards of the Bronze Star Medal are denoted in the Army and Air Force by oak leaf clusters. The Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard issue award stars to denote subsequent decorations.

The Valor device (or “"V" device”) is authorized by all services and identifies the award as resulting from an act of "combat heroism" (as in the case of the army and air force) or signifying that the medal was earned in combat (as in the case of the navy), thus distinguishing it from meritorious achievement awards. However, an accumulation of minor acts of combat heroism does not justify an award of the Valor device. Combat service deserving a bronze star, but not achieved in a particular valorous act, would warrant a meritorious bronze star. The Valor device does not denote an additional award. Only one may be worn on any ribbon.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=7771 Air Force Personnel Center information on the Bronze Star]
* [http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/BRONZE%20STAR1.html US Army Institute of Heraldry: Bronze Star Medal]


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