The United States has a number of very specific features in its military reward system that distinguish it from the armed forces of other countries in the world. However, the main place in it is still occupied by the usual badges. Today we will talk about them in more detail.
It was not by chance that I left out the word “order” from the list of army insignia. In American military awards, the division into orders and medals is absent as such. The name of this or that award is given solely by its appearance. Moreover, in the variety of honorary badges there are differences that do not have a metal equivalent at all and are ribbons similar in appearance to the usual order strips. However, there are also such strips for medals, crosses and stars. And also in almost all cases – reduced copies of the award, corresponding to its full-size sample. Wearing one or another option depends on the form of clothing.
Awards are divided into federal and combat arms. Certain insignia may be awarded to members of both the Army and the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and National Guard. Many – only to those who belong to a certain military formation. In addition to personal awards, many military men also wear “collective” ones: unlike the USSR and Russia, if a unit receives a certain insignia, it is not attached to its banner, but worn by all of its personnel. Sometimes – only by those soldiers and officers who served in the unit specifically during the event for which the award was made. But only while serving in this unit.
Another significant point: the US military can be awarded the same award several times. But you will not see the picture, familiar to us from the photographs of the Great Patriotic War, depicting our heroes, some of whom wore three or four “identical” orders on their chests, in the US Army. A certain detail is simply added to the bar of the award (a letter, a number, laurel wreath, or something else), indicating a repeated award. But the tradition, when wearing, to place all honestly earned insignia not in an arbitrary order, but “according to seniority,” is present in the US Army as well as in our country.
The highest and most honorable among US military awards is the Medal of Honor, commonly referred to in our country as the Medal of Honor. (Although it would be more correct to call this award the “medal of honor”.)
The level is comparable to our Golden Star of the Hero. Available in three variants: Army Medal of Honor, Air Force Medal of Honor, Navy Medal of Honor (Army, Air Force and Navy). Founded by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 and originally intended for soldiers only. The award was extended to officers by the US Congress a year later. Awarded for exceptional courage and heroism during the fighting. According to available data, the number of those honored is less than 2,500 people.
This is followed by the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross and Navy Cross: the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force and Navy Crosses respectively. In fact, there are three variants of one award for different types of troops. Behind them is the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, which is the US Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Service. This is the same, but, of course, a lower rank. It is followed by the Distinguished Service Medal, simply a medal of distinguished service. The Silver Star “closes” this group of awards – something like our analogue of the medal “For Military Merit”. Tellingly, this award has four degrees, but US military personnel can receive only the lowest of them. The rest are for foreigners.
Following are the awards: Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal and Joint Service Commendation Medal. (Single Medal of Commendable Service), which may be awarded to members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. The list also includes a distinction for seniority – Army Good Conduct Medal, that is, an army medal of impeccable service, as well as commemorative medals for participating in certain military campaigns. Examples include the Korea Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal – medals for the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
I would call the Prisoner of War Medal the most strange for us military award of the United States. Who is awarded it and for what, it is clear from the name. What can you say here? Everyone has their own ideas about military valor and exploits, but they don’t go to someone else’s army with their own award rules …