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Military Medals & Decorations
The U.S. military has created a large number of awards, decorations, and campaign ribbons that are given to awardees as a result of their notable actions or service. The most rare and significant award is the Medal of Honor while one of the most common is the Purple Heart, awarded for a service related injury. There are many medals of lower precedence than the Purple Heart, awarded for specific service or accomplishments.
For the U.S. military, the Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, VA, an arm of the office of the Secretary of the Army, furnishes services related to official symbolic items to the Armed Forces and other United States government organizations, including the Executive Office of the President. The activities of the Institute encompass research, design, development, standardization, quality control, and other services relating to seals, decorations, medals, insignia, badges, flags, and other items awarded to or authorized for official wear or display by government personnel and agencies. Limited research and information services concerning official symbolic items are also provided to the general public.
Medals and Awards
Awards to individuals serving in the U.S. Military are given for distinguished heroism, valor and service. The highest ranking medals, in order of precedence, are:
1. Medal of Honor (Army)
16. Army Commendation Medal
31. Korean Service Medal
In addition to individual awards, units of the U.S. Military may be collectively recognized by one of these awards:
These lists of awards are not exhaustive and may change from time to time. The requirements for awards and how they are to be worn are governed by regulations, according to the written documents issued and updated. For the U.S. Army these include:
Books About Medals and Awards
For more comprehensive information on this subject, the following books are recommended:
Find More Information on the Internet
There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.
For good results, try entering this: military medals. Then click the Search button.