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U.S. Navy Service and Campaign Medals

Previous Page | Shipwreck CornerU.S. Navy

Since orders, medals and other types of decorations were seen as signs of royalty, they ran contrary to the republican spirit present at the founding of our country. In fact, during the first 120 years of the Navy's existence, no official medals, awards or other visible signs of overseas service or combat were present to our brave and hard-working servicemen. Visit the Naval Historical Center to learn more about the history of these medals present on this page as well as others or view the U.S. Navy's website.

USN Ribbon Checker - check list and graphical representation of the ribbons


Navy Unit Commendation
A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70)
Navy Unit Commendation -
Established by order of the Secretary of the Navy, 18 December 1944, it is awarded by the Secretary to any ship, aircraft, detachment, or other unit of the naval service of the United States Navy which has, subsequent to 6 December 1941, distinguished itself by outstanding heroism in action against the enemy, but not sufficient to justify award of the Presidential Unit Citation.

Meritorious Unit Commendation
Meritorious Unit Commendation -
Established by order of the Secretary of the Navy, 17 July 1967, it is awarded by the Secretary to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps which has distinguished itself under combat or non-combat conditions, by either valorous or meritorious achievement compared to other units performing similar service, but not sufficient to justify the award of the Navy Unit Commendation.

Navy "E"
Navy 'E' Ribbon -
The Navy "E" Ribbon denotes permanent duty on ships or in squadrons that won the battle efficiency competition after July 1, 1974. This ribbon replaces the "E" patch previously sewn on the right sleeve of the uniform.The guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75)

Navy Expeditionary
Navy Expeditionary Medal -
The medal will be awarded to the officers and enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps who shall have actually landed on foreign territory and engaged in operations against armed opposition, or operated under circumstances which, after full consideration, shall be deemed to merit special recognition and for which service no campaign medal has been awarded. (detailed information)

National Defense
National Defense Service -
The National Defense Service Medal will be awarded to all persons in the Naval service who served on active duty at any time between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954. (detailed information)

Armed Forces ExpeditionaryCH-53E "Super Stallion" - On the flight deck of USS Peleliu (LHA-5)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal -
With major worldwide conflicts like World War II and Korea giving way to the Cold War's smaller regional conflicts, the Department of Defense developed the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal to recognize such duty. The medal was authorized through Executive Order 10977 signed by President Kennedy on 4 Dec. 1961 and amplified later by Executive Order 11231 on 08 July 1965. (detailed information)

Humanitarian Service
Humanitarian Service Medal -
The Humanitarian Service Medal was established by Executive Order 11965 of 19 January 1977. It is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 1 April 1975 distinguished themselves by meritorious direct participation in a Department of Defense approved significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature. It is not awarded for participation in domestic disturbances involving law enforcement, equal rights to citizens, or protection of properties. (detailed information)

Images Courtesy: U.S. Navy - Around the Fleet Photo Gallery

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