A unit award is designed, intended, and awarded to recognize a unit, or units, for heroism, meritorious service, or outstanding achievement during peacetime or in action against hostile forces or an armed enemy of the United States. Certain unit awards were also created to recognize US Air Force organizations for outstanding heroism or achievement performed during international tension, national emergencies, and/or extraordinary situations/events that involve national interests.

Presidential Unit Citation (Air Force and Army)

Presidential Unit Citation (Air Force and Army)

 

The Distinguished Unit Citation is the predecessor of the PUC (Army). On 3 November 1966, the Distinguished Unit Citation was redesignated the PUC (Army). The PUC is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after 7 December 1941. The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of a DSC to an individual. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either ground or air, is not sufficient. This award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans. It is not reasonable to presume that entire units can sustain DSC performance for extended periods except under the most unusual circumstances and a written justification for an exception must be provided for recognition of any length over 30 days. Only on a rare occasions will a unit larger than a BN qualify for award of this decoration. Units larger than a BN must submit a memorandum of justification for the recommendation through the HRC, ADB (AHRC–PDP–A) to the SECARMY.

Recommendations for award of the PUC to Army units will be submitted on a DA Form 7594 (Unit Award Recommendation) and processed through normal military command channels to Commander, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Awards and Decorations Branch (AHRC–PDP–A), 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Fort Knox, KY 40122–5408. Recommendations will be initiated by a senior headquarters for the unit recommended for the award. Each recommendation will be submitted as promptly as practicable, supported by the following data:

(1) Operational orders and reports.

(2) Maps showing the terrain and the dispositions and actions of the opposing forces.

(3) Casualties sustained on both sides.

(4) A list of all units assigned and attached, actually present and participating in the action, and the inclusive dates of the period of service for each unit.

(5) The complete official unit designation and unit identification code (UIC) must be included for each unit. Include designations and derivative UICs for subordinate elements of parent units and for all elements comprising the task force organization. When less than the entire unit is involved, but more than 65 percent of the modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE) strength, it should be indicated by a minus sign (-) next to the unit designation. When the percentage involved is less than 65 percent of a unit’s MTOE strength, the unit should be listed as a detachment of the parent unit.

(6) A statement from the commander certifying that more than 65 percent of each unit’s MTOE strength participated in the action. If less than 65 percent participated, a detachment of the unit may be cited.

(7) Any other pertinent material.

(8) A proposed citation, naming all participating units, and the specific date and geographic location (map feature, town, province name, and so forth) of the action.

Each recommendation for the PUC unit award must be formally entered into official channels within 2 years from the date of the heroism or services performed. Recommendations made after the 3-year window will be submitted in accordance with the 10 USC 1130 process. Refer to paragraph 1–14 and appendix F.

(1) Recommendations for award of a unit decoration to a unit of the Armed Forces of the United States or a cobelligerent nation serving in a joint command will be submitted through command channels to the commander or military department having authority to make the award. When a recommendation covers more than one military Service, all or a portion of which were performed while the unit was operating under a joint commander; comments or a recommendation concerning the valorous actions of that unit will be obtained from the joint commander concerned.

(2) Intermediate level commanders will recommend approval or disapproval for each recommendation and forward it to the next higher headquarters. If disapproval is recommended, the reasons for disapproval will be cited.

The SECARMY, on behalf of the President of the United States, is the final approval authority for the PUC.

Recommendations for award of the PUC to a unit of another military Service permanently or temporarily assigned to the Army may be approved with written concurrence of that Service. The award must be approved prior to obtaining concurrence.

The award elements for the PUC (Army) are as follows: PUC Streamer (Army); Presidential Unit Emblem (Army); certificate and citation; and DAGO. 

Presidential Unit Citation (Navy and Marine Corps)

Presidential Unit Citation (Navy and Marine Corps)

The Navy citation was established by Executive Order 9050 on 6 February 1942.

The Navy version has blue, yellow, and red horizontal stripes, and is the only Navy ribbon having horizontal stripes.[6] To distinguish between the two versions of the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy version is typically referred to as the "Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation," while the Army and Air Force refer to the decoration simply as the Presidential Unit Citation. These are only worn by persons who meet the criteria at the time it is awarded to the unit. Unlike the Army, those who later join the unit do not wear it on a temporary basis.

Joint Meritorious Unit Award

Joint Meritorious Unit Award

BACKGROUND

Authorized by the Secretary of Defense on June 10, 1981, this award was originally called the Department of Defense Meritorious Unit Award. It is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to joint activities for meritorious achievement or service, superior to that which is normally expected, for actions in the following situations; combat with an armed enemy of the United States, a declared national emergency, or under extraordinary circumstances that involve national interests.

 

All joint units and activities (as defined in DOD 1348.33-M, paragraph B.1.) are eligible for award of the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) in recognition of exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service. However, a unit's or activities outstanding accomplishment of its normally assigned and expected mission is not in and of itself sufficient justification for award approval.  Instead, qualifying achievements must be superior to that which is expected under one of the following conditions and should be operational in nature.

 

CRITERIA

Eligibility for the JMUA is only to those members of the armed forces of the United States who were present at the time and directly participated in the service or achievement for 30 days or more, or for the period cited if less than 30 days, shall be authorized to wear the JMUA ribbon.  Members must be permanently assigned or attached by official orders to the joint unit receiving the JMUA. Local commanders may waive, on an individual basis, the 30-day minimum time requirement for individuals (e.g., Reserve personnel on active duty and temporary duty and/or temporary assigned duty personnel), who, in the opinion of the commander contributed directly to the achievement cited, and were assigned on official orders to the awarded unit during the approved time frames. Service units or individuals deployed in support of a joint task force (JTF), but not assigned and/ or attached to the JTF by official orders, are not eligible for the JMUA, even if they are under the operational control of the JTF. The Services, may award appropriate Service unit awards to their units assigned and/or attached to a JTF.   Additional awards are indicated by an oak-leaf cluster worn on the ribbon.

 

To find a listing of all approved JMUAs, please consult DOD 1348.33-M dated September 1996; or review a listing of approved Air Force Unit Awards from 1991 to present, or approved DOD Awards (to include the JMUA) at: United States Air Force Unit Award - DOD Awards.

 

RIBBON DESCRIPTION

This award ribbon is identical to the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon, indicative of the fact that the service performed would have been similar to warrant the award of this medal to an individual. It has a center stripe of red, flanked on either side by equal stripes of white, light blue and gold, with a narrow stripe of light blue at the edge. The ribbon is within a gold colored 1/16 inch wide metal frame with laurel leaves. Similar to other Army and Air Force unit awards, it is worn in the same manner.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Oak Leaf Cluster

Gallant Unit Citation

Gallant Unit Citation

BACKGROUND

In March 2004, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the Gallant Unit Citation to recognize organizations for outstanding heroism in combat.

 

CRITERIA

Awarded to Air Force active duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard units for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

 

The GUC requires a lesser degree of gallantry, determination and esprit de corps than that required for the Presidential Unit Citation. Nevertheless, the unit must have performed with marked distinction under difficult and hazardous conditions in accomplishing its mission so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same conflict. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Silver Star which is awarded for gallantry and heroism of high degrees, including risk of life in action.

 

The GUC award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans. Only on rare occasions will a unit larger than a group qualify for GUC. Although units larger than a group may submit, it will be extremely rare that a large organization will receive the GUC due to the degree of valor required. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either air or ground, is not sufficient.

 

RIBBON DESCRIPTION

The GUC shall be worn immediately before the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.  Subsequent awards will be denoted by Oak Leaf Clusters.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Oak Leaf Cluster

 

WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 0

Valorous Unit Award 

Valorous Unit Award 

The VUA may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party for actions occurring on or after 3 August 1963.

The VUA requires a lesser degree of gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps than that required for the PUC. Nevertheless, the unit must have performed with marked distinction under difficult and hazardous conditions in accomplishing its mission to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same conflict. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of the SS to an individual. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either ground or air, is not sufficient.This award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans, not to exceed 6 months (a month is considered 30 calendar days). It is not reasonable to presume that entire units can sustain SS performance for extended periods except under the most unusual circum- stances. Only on a rare occasion will a unit larger than a BN qualify for award of this decoration. Units larger than a BN must attach a memorandum of justification for the recommendation through the HRC, ADB (AHRC–PDP–A) to the DCS, G–1.

Recommendations for award of the VUA to Army units will be submitted on a DA Form 7594 and processed through normal military command channels to Commander, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Awards and Decorations Branch (AHRC–PDP–A), 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Fort Knox, KY 40122–5408. Recommenda- tions will be initiated by a senior parent headquarters to the unit recommended for the award. Each recommendation will be submitted as promptly as practicable, supported by the following data:

(1) Operational orders and reports.

(2) Maps showing the terrain and the dispositions and actions of the opposing forces.

(3) Casualties sustained on both sides.

(4) A list of all units assigned and attached, actually present and participating in the action, and the inclusive dates of the period of service for each unit.

(5) A statement from the commander certifying that more than 65 percent of each unit’s MTOE strength participated in the action. If less than 65 percent participated, a detachment of the unit may be cited.

(6) The complete official unit designation and UIC must be included for each unit. Include designations and derivative UICs for subordinate elements of parent units and for all elements comprising the task force organization. When less than the entire unit is involved, but more than 65 percent of the MTOE strength, it should be indicated by a minus sign (-) next to the unit designation. When the percentage involved is less than 65 percent of a unit’s MTOE strength, the unit should be listed as a detachment of the parent unit.

(7) Any other pertinent material.

(8) A proposed citation, naming all participating units, and the specific date and geographic location (map feature, town, province name) of the action.

Each recommendation for the VUA must be formally entered into official channels within 2 years from the date of the heroism or services performed. Recommendations made after the 3-year window will be submitted in accordance with the 10 USC 1130 process. (Refer to para 1–14 and app F.)

Recommendations for award of a unit decoration to a unit of the Armed Forces of the United States or a cobelligerent nation serving in a joint command will be submitted through command channels to the commander or military department having authority to make the award. When a recommendation covers more than one military Service, all or a portion of which were performed while the unit was operating under a joint commander; comments or a recommendation concerning the valorous actions of that unit will be obtained from the joint commander concerned.

Intermediate level commanders will recommend approval or disapproval for each recommendation and forward it to the next higher headquarters. If disapproval is recommended, the reasons for disapproval will be cited.

Recommendations for award of the VUA to a unit of another military Service permanently or temporarily assigned to the Army may be approved with written concurrence of that Service. The award must be approved prior to obtaining concurrence.

The DCS, G–1 is approval authority for the VUA. The exception to this is commanders that are delegated wartime awards approval authority by the SECARMY or his or her designee in writing. For all VUAs approved in theater, authorized commanders will provide a copy of the approved POs to HRC, ADB (AHRC–PDP–

A). Refer to table 7–1 on initial coordinating and processing of the VUA.

Recommendations to downgrade the VUA to a MUC will not be approved.

The award elements for the VUA are as follows: VUA Streamer; VUA Emblem; certificate and citation; and DAGO. 

Meritorious Unit Award

Meritorious Unit Award

BACKGROUND

 

In March 2004, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the Meritorious Unit Award to recognize organizations for outstanding heroism in combat as well as outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.

 

CRITERIA

The MUA is awarded to Air Force active duty, Reserve, and Guard units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations for at least 90 continuous days during the period of military operations against an armed enemy of the United States on or after Sept. 11, 2001. 

 

The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit. Superior performance of normal mission will not alone justify award of the MUA. Service in a combat zone is not required, but service must be directly related to the combat effort. Squadrons, groups, and wings may be recommended for this award. 

 

The MUA is not awarded to any unit or unit component previously awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, or unit awards from other service components for the same act, achievement, or service. The component commander will automatically consider all disapproved MUAs for the AFOUA.

 

Approval authority for the MUA will be awarded by the major command (MAJCOM) commander; however, approval authority is delegated in cases when Numbered Air Force commanders are serving as Air Component commanders such as United States Central Air Forces (USCENTAF/CC). The MUA elements will include the citation, certificate, special order, and streamer. The MUA ribbon shall be worn immediately before the AFOUA. Subsequent awards will be denoted by Oak Leaf Clusters.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Oak Leaf Cluster

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

BACKGROUND

The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award was authorized by Department of the Air Force General Order 1, Jan. 6, 1954.

 

CRITERIA

It is awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to numbered units that have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units. The services include: performance of exceptionally meritorious service, accomplishment of a specific outstanding achievement of national or international significance, combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, or military operations involving conflict with or exposure to hostile actions by an opposing foreign force.

 

RIBBON DESCRIPTION

The ribbon has a narrow red stripe, flanked by a thin white stripe, a wide blue stripe, a thin white stripe, edged with a narrow red stripe. A bronze V device is worn on the ribbon to denote award for combat or direct combat support actions.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Oak Leaf Cluster and "V" Device

 

WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 0

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award

BACKGROUND

The Secretary of the Air Force authorized this award on Aug. 26, 1969. The Air Force Organizational Excellence award recognizes the achievements and accomplishments of U.S. Air Force organizations or activities.

 

CRITERIA

It is awarded to Air Force internal organizations that are entities within larger organizations. They are unique, unnumbered organizations or activities that perform functions normally performed by numbered wings, groups, squadrons, etc.

 

RIBBON DESCRIPTION

This award is a ribbon with a narrow blue center stripe, flanked by a thin white stripe, a wide red stripe, a thin white stripe, edged with a narrow blue stripe. A bronze "V" device is worn on the ribbon to denote award for combat or direct combat support actions. Additional awards are annotated by an Oak Leaf Cluster.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Valor for combat/combat support "V" Device and Oak Leaf Cluster

 

WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 0

(Not a unit award, but it falls here in order of precedence for the Air Force)


Prisoner of War Medal 

Prisoner of War Medal 

BACKGROUND

This medal was authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan in 1986. The medal may be awarded to any person who was a prisoner of war after April 5, 1917, (the date of the United States entry into World War I).

 

CRITERIA

It is awarded to any person who was taken prisoner or held captive while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force; or while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The person's conduct, while in captivity, must have been honorable. This medal may be awarded posthumously to the surviving next of kin of the recipient.

 

MEDAL DESCRIPTION

The medal was designed by Jay C. Morris of the Institute of Heraldry. On the obverse of the medal is an American eagle, wings folded, and completely enclosed (imprisoned) by a ring and following the outline of the medal. The reverse of the medal has the inscription, “Awarded To” (with a blank area for the recipient's name) “For Honorable Service While a Prisoner of War” in three centered lines. Below this is a shield of the United States, and below, following the curvature of the medal, are the words, United States of America.

 

RIBBON DESCRIPTION

The ribbon has a very wide center stripe of black, flanked on either side by a narrow white stripe, then a thin blue stripe, then another thin white stripe, and then a thin red stripe at the edge of the medal.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Service Star

 

WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 0

Navy Unit Commendation

Navy Unit Commendation

Eligibility Requirements. Awarded by SECNAV to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps that has distinguished itself by outstanding heroism in action against the enemy, but not sufficient to justify the award of the Presidential Unit Citation; or to any such unit that has distinguished itself by extremely meritorious service, not involving combat, but in support of military operations, rendering the unit outstanding compared to other units performing similar service. This award may also be conferred upon units of the other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and of armed forces of friendly foreign nations serving with the U.S. Armed Forces, provided such units meet the standards established for Navy and Marine Corps units. To justify this award, the unit must have performed service of a character comparable to that which would merit the award of a Silver Star Medal for heroism, or a Legion of Merit for meritorious service to an individual. Normal performance of duty or participation in a large number of combat missions does not, in itself, justify the award. An award will not be made to a unit for actions of one or more of its component parts, unless the unit performed uniformly as a team, in a manner justifying collective recognition. 

Coast Guard Unit Commendation 

Coast Guard Unit Commendation 

  1. The UC may be awarded to any unit that has distinguished itself by valorous or extremely meritorious service not involving combat but in support of Coast Guard operations. The Commandant may also bestow the award upon a unit of another branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, provided such unit meets the standards established for Coast Guard units. To justify the award, the service performed as a unit must be comparable to that which would merit the award of at least the MSM to an individual. When the degree of achievement or service is not sufficient to warrant the award of the UC, the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation should be considered. Normal performance of duty or participation in a large number of operational missions does not in itself justify the award. A Coast Guard Unit Commendation will not be awarded to a large unit for actions of one or more of its sub-units unless the entire unit performed as a team.

a. Recommendations. Recommendations for the UC must be prepared on a Coast Guard Award Recommendation, form CG-1650, and will include the following:

  1. A Summary of Action (SOA) of at least one page containing sufficient data and justification, in accordance with the eligibility criteria, to enable the reviewing and approving authorities to adequately consider the recommendation. Supporting documents may be attached.

  2. A complete list of all units, teams, and individuals recommended for participation, including staffs when appropriate, with dates of attachments to the recommended unit. Previous unit awards for the cited period that have been approved or recommended for any units on the list must be noted or included. If there has been no previous unit award for the cited period, a statement to this effect should be included.

  3.  A proposed citation, drafted by the originator.

    (a)  If the Operational Distinguishing Device is authorized, it must be specified in the citation. 

         (b)  In cases of a subsequent award of the UC to military personnel, a gold star is issued, and shall be specified in the citation.

Standard opening phrase for citations. “For exceptionally meritorious service from (starting date) to (ending date) while . . .”

Standard closing phrase for citations. “The professionalism, pride, and devotion to duty displayed by (unit name) are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.” 

Meritorious Unit Commendation

Army

Meritorious Unit Commendation Army

Navy

Meritorious Unit Commendation Navy

Coast Guard

Meritorious Unit Commendation Coast Guard

Navy “E” Ribbon

Navy “E” Ribbon

Eligibility Requirements. This ribbon denotes permanent duty on ships or in squadrons that won Battle Efficiencycompetitionsafter1July1974. Thereisnomedal, citation, or certificate to accompany this award. Documentation for Navy service records and Marine Corps UD/MIPS will be-madeas appropriate. Following are the specific eligibility criteria:

(1) Military Personnel

     (a) Navy personnel permanently attached to and serving with cited ships and units during the competitive cycle for which the award was given, or any part       thereof, are entitled to the award as of 1 July 1974.

     (b) Marine Corps personnel serving as part of the ship's Marine detachment or otherwise designated as "ship's company are eligible. Personnel assigned to embarked Marine Corps units are not eligible for the award; e.g., aircraft squadrons, Battalion Landing Teams, Regimental Landing Teams, Marine Expeditionary Units, etc.

     (c) All Selected Reserve personnel permanently attached to and serving with the mobilization augmentation Navy Reserve unit(s) during the competitive cycle for which the award was given, or any part thereof, are entitled to the award provided the individuals concerned performed active duty for training aboard the unit during that competitive cycle.

     (d) Reservists performing active duty for training aboard units awarded the "EUwho are not members of the dedicated Reserve unit(s), and Reservists who were members of the dedicated Reserve unit(s), but who did not perform active duty for training aboard, are not eligible for the award.

     (e) Transients and temporary duty personnel are not eligible for this award.

     (f) Embarked personnel, staffs, squadrons, or detachments are also not eligible.

(2) Civilian personnel are not eligible for the Navy "E" ribbon.

(3) Type Commanders, the awarding authority for the Navy "E" must adhere to these rules when issuing local

directives. Type Commanders are also responsible for updating the Navy Department Awards Web Service (NDAWS).

Subsequent Awards. The first, second, and third award of the Navy "E" are denoted by a Silver ''E." Four or more awards are denoted by one wreathed "E."