Note - This
listing illustrates the typical awards of the Era and is not meant to be an
all inclusive listing. Other awards were certainly granted and omission from
this listing is not meant to lessen the individual achievements in earning
Congressional Medal of
Honor– The nations highest award.
The Medal of Honor is awarded for
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one's life, above and
beyond the call of duty. This gallantry must be performed while engaged
in action against an enemy of the United States.
During Vietnam, one Seabee, CM3 Marvin G. Shields was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his service with the 5th Special Forces.
Information on Marvin G. Shields can be found at
Silver Star –
The Silver Star was awarded to any
person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United
States, is cited for gallantry in action
against an enemy of the United States, while
engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.
The gallantry must have been performed with marked distinction.
Bronze Star –The
Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in
or with the military of the United States distinguished himself or herself by
heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against
an enemy of the United States. Awards for
personal valor include a 'V' attachment.
Purple Heart –The
Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any
member of an Armed Forces, or any civilian national of the United States who has
been wounded or killed in action.
Navy Achievement Medal –The
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal is awarded to members of the Armed
Forces in the grades of lieutenant commander (or major) and below. It is awarded
for meritorious service or achievement in either combat or noncombat based on
sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature.
Meritorious Unit Citation –The
Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded by the Secretary of the Navy to
units of the Navy or Marine Corps that distinguishes itself under combat or
noncombat conditions by either valorous or meritorious achievement which renders
that unit outstanding compared to other units. Supplemental awards are shown by
Bronze Stars attached to the device
Combat Action Ribbon –The
Combat Action Ribbon is a personal decoration awarded to members of the Navy,
Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when operating under the control of the Navy)
while in the grade of captain (or colonel in the Marine Corps) and below who
have actively participated in ground or surface combat. The principal criterion
is that the recipient must have participated in a bona fide ground or surface
combat firefight or in an action during which he was under enemy fire and his
performance while under fire was satisfactory.
National Defense Medal –The
National Defense Service Medal was awarded for honorable active service as a
member of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.
Vietnam Service Medal –The
Vietnam Service Medal was awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United
States who served at any time between July 4, 1965, and March 28, 1973, in
Vietnam or its contiguous waters or airspace; or, for any period of service
during the same time period in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia or the air spaces
there-over and in direct support of operations in Vietnam. The Fleet Marine
Force Combat Insignia (a miniature bronze Marine Corps emblem) was authorized
for Seabees who served under the operational command of the Marine Corps while
that Marine Corps unit served in active combat situations. Stars worn on
this medal do not constitute actual 'tours' of duty in Vietnam. These stars
signify presence in Vietnam during certain offensive campaigns.
Vietnam Campaign Medal –The
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal was awarded to members of the Armed Forces of
the United States who served a minimum of 6 months 'in country' Vietnam prior to
January 28, 1973. The time requirement was waived for becoming wounded, or being
killed in action. The medal is also authorized for those that were 'in country'
from January 28, 1973 to March 28, 1973 regardless of other time requirements.
Vietnam Civic Action Medal –The
Republic of Vietnam Civic Action Medal was used to signify various awards by the
Republic of South Vietnam. It could be issued for individual
achievement, or was also awarded on the unit level. Devices attached to the
medal signified level of achievement. As an individual award, the ribbon is worn
without a gold frame. As a unit award it is worn with a gold frame The
award was for outstanding achievements in Civil Affairs.
Vietnam Technical Honor Medal –Awarded
by the Republic of Vietnam to individual military servicemen who have shown
outstanding professional capacity, initiative, and devotion to duty while
working in an advisory role to the Armed Forces of Vietnam
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry –Awarded
by the Republic of Vietnam for valor and heroic conduct while fighting the
enemy. It could be issued
for individual achievement, or was also awarded on the unit level. Devices
attached to the medal signified level of achievement. As an individual award,
the ribbon is worn without a gold frame. As a unit award it is worn with a gold
Navy Expert Rifleman –The
Navy Rifle Marksmanship Award is worn for scoring at the marksman, sharpshooter
or expert level of qualification on a prescribed course of fire for the rifle.
During Vietnam this usually meant firing with the M-14 or the M-16. Also during
Vietnam, the award was typically only formally presented to those at the Expert level,
indicated by a Silver E on the award.
Navy Expert Pistol –
The Navy Pistol Marksmanship Award
is worn for scoring at the marksman, sharpshooter or expert level of
qualification on a prescribed course of fire for the pistol. During Vietnam this
usually meant firing with the ,45 Caliber Revolver. Also during Vietnam, the
award was typically only formally presented to those at the Expert level, indicated by a
Silver E on the award.