The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration which may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the 9th highest military award (including both combat and non-combat awards) in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations.
The medal is awarded to a member of the military who, while serving in or with the military of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished him/herself by:
Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star. Awards may also be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service, while of lesser degree than required for the award of the Legion of Merit, must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.
To be eligible for the Bronze Star Medal, a military member must be receiving hostile fire/imminent danger pay during the event for which the medal is to be awarded.
As of 30 October 2000, the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded to Department of the Army civilians.
The Bronze Star Medal is typically referred to by its full name (including the word “Medal”) to differentiate the decoration from bronze service stars which are worn on campaign medals and service awards.
The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with 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 2 years earlier to raise airmen's morale. President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419 dated 4 February 1944, retroactive to 7 December 1941. This authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 3, dated 10 February 1944.
The Executive Order was amended by President John F. Kennedy, per Executive Order 11046 dated 24 August 1962, to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces. This allowed for awards where U.S. servicemembers might be involved in an armed conflict where the United States was not a belligerent. At the time of the Executive Order, for example, the U.S. was not a belligerent in Vietnam, so U.S. advisors 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 U.S. 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 in World War II, as well as U.N. soldiers in the Korean War, Vietnamese and allied forces in the Vietnam War, and coalition forces in recent military operations such as the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Iraq War.
The Bronze Star is a bronze star 1½ inches (38 mm) in circumscribing diameter. In the center thereof is a 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) diameter superimposed bronze star, the center line of all rays of both stars coinciding. The reverse has the inscription “HEROIC OR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT” and a space for the name of the recipient to be engraved. The star is suspended from the ribbon by a rectangular shaped metal loop with the corners rounded. The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/32 inch (1 mm) white 67101; 9/16 inch (14 mm) scarlet 67111; 1/32 inch (1 mm) white; center stripe 1/8 inch (3 mm) ultramarine blue 67118; 1/32 inch (1 mm) white; 9/16 inch (14 mm) scarlet; and 1/32 inch (1 mm) white.
The Valor device (or “V device”) is authorized by all services and identifies the award as resulting from an act of combat heroism (as in the case of the army and air force) or signifying that the medal was earned in combat (as in the case of the navy), thus distinguishing it from meritorious achievement awards. However, an accumulation of minor acts of combat heroism does not justify an award of the Valor device. Combat service deserving a bronze star, but not achieved in a particular valorous act, would warrant a meritorious bronze star. The Valor device does not denote an additional award. Only one may be worn on any ribbon.
SCHUMER HELPS SECURE OVERDUE BRONZE STAR MEDAL FOR ROCHESTER HERO FROM WORLD WAR II - THE LATE PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JAMES MORROW RECEIVES AWARD FOR HEROISM DISPLAYED AT OKINAWA THE LATE JAMES MORROW IS AWARDED THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL FOR HEROISM DISPLAYED IN THE ASSAULT ON OKINAWA IN THE PACIFIC THEATRE DURING WORLD WAR II AFTER HIS FAMILY LEARNED HE WAS ELIGIBLE FOR THE BRONZE STAR, BUT IT WAS NEVE.
Nov 10, 2011; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by New York Senator Charles Schumer: Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer...