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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThis article is about the US military award. For the campaign attachment, seeservice star. For the Canadian life saving award, seeRoyal Life Saving Society Canada."Bronze Star" redirects here. Not to be confused withBronze Award,Bronze medal, orBronze Medallion.Bronze Star MedalFront viewTypeMilitary medal (Decoration)Awarded for"Heroic or meritorious achievement or service"Presented byDepartment of the Army[1]
Department of the Navy[2]
Department of the Air Force[3]
Department of Homeland Security[4]ClaspsArmy, Air Force, and Space Force –"V" device
  • Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard –Combat "V"
StatusCurrently awardedEstablishedExecutive Order 9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded byE.O. 11046, 24 August 1962)First awarded4 February 1944 (retroactive through 7 December 1941)Last awardedCurrently awardedMedal ribbon(above) – Reverse side of star Medal
Naval Service:Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Air and Space Forces:Airman's Medal
Coast Guard:Coast Guard MedalNext(lower)Purple Heart

TheBronze Star Medal(BSM) is aUnited States Armed Forces decorationawarded to members of theUnited States Armed Forcesfor either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in acombat zone.

When the medal is awarded by theArmy,Air Force, orSpace Forcefor acts of valor in combat, the"V" deviceis authorized for wear on the medal. When the medal is awarded by theNavy,Marine Corps, orCoast Guardfor acts of valor or meritorious service in combat, theCombat "V"is authorized for wear on the medal.

Officers from the otherUniformed Services of the United Statesare eligible to receive this award, as are foreign soldiers who have served with or alongside a service branch of the United States Armed Forces.[5][6]

Civilians serving with U.S. military forces in combat are also eligible for the award. For example,UPIreporterJoe Gallowaywas awarded the Bronze Star with "V" device for actions during theVietnam War, specifically rescuing a badly wounded soldier under fire in theBattle of Ia DrangValley, in 1965.[7][8]Another civilian recipient was writerErnest Hemingway.[9]

General information[edit]

The Bronze Star Medal was established byExecutive Order9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, as amended by Executive Order 13286, 28 February 2003).[10]The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded by the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary ofHomeland Securitywith regard to theCoast Guardwhen not operating as a service in theDepartment of the Navy, or by such military commanders, or other appropriate officers as the Secretary concerned may designate, to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with theArmy,Navy,Marine Corps,Air Force,Space Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after 6 December 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, herself or himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight—

(a) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;(b) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or(c) 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.

The acts of heroism are of a lesser degree than required for the award of theSilver Star. The acts of merit or acts of valor must be less than that required for theLegion of Meritbut must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

The Bronze Star Medal (without the "V" device) may be awarded to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 6 December 1941, was cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 7 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. For this purpose, the US Army'sCombat Infantryman BadgeorCombat Medical Badgeaward is considered as a citation in orders. Documents executed since 4 August 1944 in connection with recommendations for the award of decorations of higher degree than the Bronze Star Medal cannot be used as the basis for an award under this paragraph.

Most Filipino and American servicemembers who served in theUnited States Army Forces in the Far Eastfrom 6 December 1941 to 10 May 1942 qualify to be awarded the Bronze Star Medal. They must have served onLuzon,Bataan, orCorregidorat any point within that five-month period in order to qualify.[11]

Effective 11 September 2001, theMeritorious Service Medalmay also be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal (without Combat "V" device) for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater.[12]


The Bronze Star Medal was designed by Rudolf Freund (1878–1960) of the jewelry firmBailey, Banks & offerdle.[13](Freund also designed theSilver Star.[14])

The medal is abronzestar1+1⁄2inches (38mm) in circumscribing diameter. In the center is a3⁄16inch (4.8mm) diameter superimposed bronze star, the center line of all rays of both stars coinciding. The reverse bears the inscription"HEROIC OR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT"with a space for the name of the recipient to be engraved. The star hangs from its ribbon by a rectangular metal loop with rounded corners. The suspension ribbon is1+3⁄8inches (35mm) wide and consists of the following stripes:1⁄32inch (0.79mm) white 67101;9⁄16inch (14mm) scarlet 67111;1⁄32inch (0.79mm) white; center stripe1⁄8inch (3.2mm) ultramarine blue 67118;1⁄32inch (0.79mm) white;9⁄16inch (14mm) scarlet; and1⁄32inch (0.79mm) white.[15]

Authorized devices[edit]

The Bronze Star Medal with the "V" device to denote heroism is the fourth highest military decoration for valor. Although a service member may be cited for heroism in combat and be awarded more than one Bronze Star authorizing the "V" device, only one "V" may be worn on each suspension andservice ribbonof the medal.[16][17]The following ribbon devices must be specifically authorized in the award citation in order to be worn on the Bronze Star Medal, the criteria for and wear of the devices vary between the services:

    Oak leaf cluster– In theArmy,Air Force, andSpace Force,[18]the oak leaf cluster is worn to denote additional awards.
  • 5/16inch star– In theNavy,Marine Corps, andCoast Guard, the5/16inch star is worn to denote additional awards.[17]
  • "V" device– In the Army, the "V" is worn solely to denote "participation in acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.";[18]in the Air Force and Space Force, the "V" is worn to denote heroism in combat.
  • Combat "V" – In the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, the "V" is worn to denote combat heroism or to recognize individuals who are "exposed to personal hazard during direct participation in combat example of an army Bronze Star Medal citation, given for combat valor.MarineCol. Richard E. Edgington after being awarded a Bronze Star

    ColonelRussell P. "Red" Reederconceived the idea of the Bronze Star Medal in 1943; he believed it would aid morale if captains of companies or of batteries could award a medal to deserving people serving under them. Reeder felt another medal was needed as a ground equivalent of theAir Medal, and suggested calling the proposed new award the "Ground Medal".[19]The idea eventually rose through the military bureaucracy and gained supporters. GeneralGeorge C. Marshall, in a memorandum to PresidentFranklin D. Rooseveltdated 3 February 1944, wrote

    The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close inpersonal combatwith the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal has had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.

    The Air Medal had been adopted two years earlier to raise airmen's morale. President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal byExecutive Order9419 dated 4 February 1944, retroactive to 7 December 1941. This authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 3, dated 10 February 1944.

    PresidentJohn F. Kennedyamended Executive Order 9419 per Executive Order 11046 dated 24 August 1962 to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces. This allowed for awards where US service members become involved in an armed conflict where the United States was not a belligerent. At the time of the Executive Order, for example, the US was not a belligerent in Vietnam, so US advisers serving with the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces would not have been eligible for the award.

    Since the award criteria state that the Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to "any person ... while serving in any capacity in or with" the US Armed Forces, awards to members of foreign armed services serving with the United States are permitted. Thus, a number of Allied soldiers received the Bronze Star Medal inWorld War II, as well as UN soldiers in theKorean War, Vietnamese and allied forces in theVietnam War, and coalition forces in recent military operations such as thePersian Gulf War,War in Afghanistan, and theIraq War. A number of Bronze Star Medals with the "V" device were awarded to veterans of theBattle of Mogadishu.

    World War II infantry award[edit]

    As a result of a study conducted in 1947, a policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal (without the "V" device) to all soldiers who had received theCombat Infantryman Badgeor theCombat Medical BadgeduringWorld War II. The basis for this decision was that these badges were awarded only to soldiers who had borne the hardships which resulted in General Marshall's support of the establishment of the Bronze Star Medal. Both badges required a recommendation by the commander and a citation in orders.[15]

    U.S. Air Force criteria controversy[edit]See also:Medal inflation

    In 2012, two U.S. airmen were allegedly subjected tocyber-bullyingafter receiving Bronze Star Medals for meritorious non-combat service. The two airmen, who had received the medals in March 2012, had been financeNCOICsin medical units deployed to theWar in Afghanistan. The awards sparked a debate as to whether or not the Air Force was awarding too many medals to its members, and whether the Bronze Star should be awarded for non-combat service.[20]This prompted the Air Force to take down stories of the two posted to the internet, and to clarify its criteria for awarding medals. The Air Force contended that meritorious service awards of the Bronze Star outnumber valor awards, and that it views awards on a case-by-case basis to maintain the integrity of the award.[21]

    This is not the first time that the USAF has been criticized for offering this award. The Department of Defense investigated the award of the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) by the USAF to some 246 individuals after operations in Kosovo in 1999. All but 60 were awarded to officers, and only 16 of those awarded were actually in the combat zone. At least five were awarded to officers who never leftWhiteman Air Force Basein Missouri. During this campaign, the Navy had awarded 69 BSMs, and the Army with 5,000 troops in neighboring Albania (considered part of the combat zone) awarded none.[22][23]In the end, there was a Pentagon review and decision by Congress in 2001 to stop the awarding of Bronze Stars to personnel outside the combat zone.[24]

    Notable recipients[edit]Jim MattisGeorge S. Patton
      Joe Medicine Crow, Crow War Chief and historian
    • Julius Ochs Adler, publisher and journalist
    • Eddie Albert, actor
    • James Arness, actor
    • Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps
    • Eben Bartlett, member of theNew Hampshire House of Representatives
    • Tony Bennett, singer
    • Rocky Bleier, NFL football player
    • Rudy Boesch, contestant onSurvivor: BorneoandSurvivor All Stars
    • Bill Bowerman, Coach; Co-founder of Nike, Inc. 4 Bronze Stars received
    • Omar Bradley,US Army Chief of StaffandChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    • Edward Brooke, US Senator
    • Russell Adam Burnham,U.S. Army Soldier of the Yearin 2003
    • Hugh Carey, Governor of New York State
    • Leonard F. Chapman Jr., 24th Commandant of the Marine Corps
    • Joseph S. Clark Jr., Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Cordelia E. Cook, first woman recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and thePurple Heart
    • Erastus Corning 2nd, Mayor of Albany, New York
    • Tom Cotton, US Senator
    • Alan "Ace" Cozzalio, US Army helicopter pilot
    • Dan Crenshaw, Former United States Navy SEAL officer serving as the United States representative for Texas's 2nd congressional district since 2019.
    • Robert E. Cushman Jr., 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps
    • Dieter Dengler, aviator and escaper
    • Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida
    • Bob Dole, US Senator
    • Dale Dye, actor
    • Frank Sutton, actor
    • George Kennedy, actor
    • Jeremiah Denton, US Senator
    • Donnie Dunagan, actor
    • Mark Esper, 27th US Secretary of Defense
    • Walter Fetterly, Colonel who led a rescue mission deep in enemy territory
    • Kenneth Raymond Fleenor, Mayor of Selma, Texas
    • Henry Fonda, actor
    • Joseph L. Galloway, war correspondent
    • Maurice R. Greenberg, CEO of American International Group (AIG)
    • Eric Greitens, Governor of Missouri
    • Bob Gunton, actor
    • Michael Hagee, 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps
    • Ernest Hemingway, writer and war correspondent
    • Gil Hodges, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager
    • Leo Hoegh, former Governor of Iowa
    • Daniel Inouye, US Senator
    • Bernard Jackvony, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island
    • James L. Jones, 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps, 22nd US National Security Advisor
    • Bob Kalsu, NFL football player
    • Otto Kerner Jr., Governor of Illinois
    • Bob Kerrey, US Senator
    • John Kerry, 68th US Secretary of State, senator of Massachusetts
    • Ben Key, Royal Navy Admiral
    • Henry Kissinger,Secretary of Stateand foreign affairs consultant
    • Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan,Muslim-Americansoldier
    • Charles C. Krulak, 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps
    • Sharon Ann Lane, Army Nurse Corps
    • Eddie LeBaron, NFL football player
    • Dallas S. Linscheid, Captain, U.S. Army - 101st Airborne, 3x recipient, 2 tours in Vietnam,
    • Douglas MacArthur, USGeneral of the ArmyandField Marshal of the Philippines
    • Jim Mattis, 26th US Secretary of Defense
    • John McCain, US Senator
    • Ed Meads, NFL player
    • Charles Mergendahl, novelist, television writer[25]
    • Glenn Miller, jazz musician and band leader
    • John U. Monro, Dean of Harvard College
    • Bud Moore, NASCAR team owner and crew chief, two Bronze Stars received
    • Hal Moore, US Army Lieutenant General
    • Robert Neller, 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps
    • Scott O'Grady, Lieutenant most known for having the 2001 filmBehind Enemy Lines (2001 film)based on his events in theBosinan War
    • Peter Pace, 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    • Ferruccio Parri, leader of the Italian resistance movement
    • George S. Patton, legendary general
    • David Petraeus, Director of the CIA
    • Colin Powell, 65th US Secretary of State, 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    • Geronimo Pratt, high-ranking member of theBlack Panther Party, two Bronze Stars received
    • Lewis B. Puller, legendary US Marine Corps general
    • Tony Radakin, 24thChief of the Defence Staff
    • Elliot Richardson, 11th US Secretary of Defense, 69th Attorney General, and Secretary of Commerce
    • Tom Ridge, Governor of Pennsylvania, Secretary US Department of Homeland Security
    • Mickey Rooney, actor
    • Justus Rosenberg, member of theFrench Resistance,Commandeur de laLégion d'honneur, andEmeritus Professorof Languages and Literature
    • Jack Rudin, real estate developer
    • Rod Serling, writer/creator ofThe Twilight Zone
    • Raymond P. Shafer, Governor of Pennsylvania
    • Lloyd Stowell Shapley
    • Larry Siegel, writer
    • EJ Snyder, survivalist and television personality
    • Oliver Stone, director
    • Grace Thorpe, enviornmentalist and Native rights activist
    • Pat Tillman, NFL player and US Army Ranger
    • Lee Van Cleef, actor
    • John Paul Vann, soldier and state department official
    • Richard Vinroot, Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina
    • John Walsh, US Senator
    • Edward Warburg, philanthropist
    • Leroy H. Watson, Mayor of Beverly Hills, California
    • Douglas Wilder, Governor of Virginia
    • Elmo Zumwalt, 19th Chief of Naval Operations
    • Desmond Doss, Combat Medic in Battle of Okinawa
    • Matthew Titel, SPC Intelligence Analyst

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