Personal Decorations


Combat Action Ribbon

Authorized on February 17, 1969, this ribbon is awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard for combat action service. The principal requirement is that the personnel must have been in a ground or surface combat fire-fight, or action during which they were under enemy fire, and that their performance under fire must have been satisfactory.

National Defense Service Medal

Authorized on April 22, 1953 and amended on January 11, 1966, this medal was awarded for honorable active military service as a member of the United States Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard, between June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954 (Korean War period) and between January 1, 1961 and August 14, 1974, (Vietnam War Period). It has most recently been awarded to military members for service during the Persian Gulf War period.

Vietnam Service Medal  

All military personal that served in RVN are entitled to the award.  Addition or subsequent awards for each additional Campaign. Authorized on July 19, 1965 and awarded to all service members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, between July 4, 1965 and March 28, 1973, served in Vietnam and the contiguous waters, and airspace, in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia or airspace in direct support of military operations in Vietnam. Personnel previously awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for services between July 1958 and July 1965 could exchange these medals for the Vietnam Service Medal.

NOTES:  - Ribbon and one (1) bronze star with first award
                - Additional bronze stars awarded for each subsequent period of service
                        - A silver star is used in place of five (5) bronze stars

See Below:


Eligible Campaign periods


Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have served for a six-month period in Vietnam, its surrounding waters or in air support against an armed enemy in Vietnam between March 1, 1961 and March 28, 1973. The time limit is waived if the recipient was killed, wounded or captured at any time before the limit..




Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (Ribbon Only)

Awarded to all military personnel who served in-country Vietnam between 8 February 1962 and 28 March 1973 and to U.S. Army Vietnam and its subordinate units for the period 20 July 1965 to 28 March 1973.  (See the bottom note.)

Basic Jump Wings

(Minimum of 5 Jumps)

BUPERS Notice 1020 of 12 July 1963 announced approval of a new wing insignia for Navy and Marine Corps Parachutists.
The change to the 1959 Uniform Regulations stated that the old Parachutist insignia would be renamed Basic Parachutist insignia in keeping with Army and Air Force nomenclature.
The new Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist device was "a gold embroidered (Navy only) or gold-colored metal pin
, the same as that provided for Naval Aviator’s insignia, except that a gold-colored open parachute shall be centered on the wings vice the shield and foul anchor."

Gold Jump Wings

(Minimum 10 Jumps)

To qualify to wear the insignia, a parachutist must have previously qualified for the Basic Parachutist insignia described above and have, under competent orders,
completed a minimum of five additional static line or free-fall jumps with a Navy or Marine Corps organization whose mission includes parachute jumping.
nce a person has qualified for the Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist insignia, that insignia shall be worn in lieu of the Basic Parachutist insignia.

Scuba Badge

Marine Combat Diver (MCD) – Marines work with scuba and the MK 25 closed-circuit rebreather to ultimately become Marine Reconnaissance
Combatant Swimmers. It is 35 training days in length and divided into four modules of instruction:
Physical Conditioning, Combat diver fundamentals, USMC Open Circuit SCUBA, and USMC Closed Circuit operations.
The course provides underwater infiltration tactical training in accordance with current Marine Corps training and mission performance standards.

Viam MeritoriousUnit CitationNote: From SECNAVINST 1650.1G Chapter 7, pages 7-11 and 7-12.

A.. Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation

(1) Authorization. Awarded by the Chief of the Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in two colors:

Gallantry Cross Medal Color with Palm (8 Feb 62 to 28 Mar 73)

and the Civil Actions Medal, First Class Color with Palm (1 Jan 65 to 28 Mar 73).

The Secretary of the Navy has specifically authorized certain units of the naval service to accept this award.
Such authorization is required in all cases for participation.

(2) Eligibility Requirements. The ribbon bar with frame and palm are authorized for wear by personnel who served with certain cited units in
Southeast Asia during the approved periods. Lists of approved ships and units, which have been cited, are maintained by the CNO and CMC.

(3) In addition to those specific ships/units cited, all Navy and Marine Corps personnel who served "in country" Vietnam
during the eligibility periods are eligible for both awards.

Ribbon Checker - USMC

Get a graphical representation of them. (Not part of 3rd Recon web site)

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