Individual awards for valor
Other than the awards to unknown soldiers of World War I, the Medal of Honor, the highest United States valor decoration, has not been awarded to a non-U.S. recipient. The highest valor decoration which non-U.S. individuals may receive is the service crosses of the services - the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross. To date, no awards of the Air Force Cross have been made to non-U.S. individuals. The Army has awarded 440 Distinguished Service Crosses to non-U.S. individuals, with most of these having come in World War I (154) and World War II (258). The Navy and Marine Corps have awarded 124 Navy Crosses to non-U.S. individuals, again with most of these having come in World War I (100) and World War II (19). Among notable recipients of these decorations were:
World War Two
- Sher Ali, British Indian Army - Sepoy Sher Ali of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment received the Army Distinguished Service Cross for heroism near San Clemente, Italy on 22 February 1945 during a raiding patrol behind German lines.
- Jack M. Blamey, Australian Imperial Force - Captain Blamey was posthumously awarded the Army Distinguished Service Cross for heroism in the Buna-Gona campaign on Papua New Guinea in November 1942.
- Sir Thomas Blamey, Australian Army - then-General, later Field Marshal Blamey was decorated with the Army Distinguished Service Cross as Commander, Allied Land Forces, Southwest Pacific for "heroism in action in New Guinea, during the Papuan Campaign, July 23, 1942, to January 8, 1943." He was Jack Blamey's uncle.
- Gordon Bridson DSO, DSC, VRD, Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve - then-Lieutenant Commander Bridson received the Navy Cross as commander of HMNZS Kiwi for the sinking of the Japanese submarine I-1 off Guadalcanal.
- Campbell H. Buchanan, Royal New Zealand Navy - Leading Signalman Buchanan was posthumously decorated with the Navy Cross for heroism in the HMNZS Kiwi's sinking of the Japanese submarine I-1 off Guadalcanal.
- Vasily Chuikov, Soviet Army - Army Distinguished Service Cross in World War II.
- Harold B. Farncomb CB, DSO, MVO, Royal Australian Navy - received the Navy Cross for gallantry in the invasion of Luzon in the Philippines in January 1945.
- William Henry "Bull" Garing, CBE, DFC, Royal Australian Air Force - Group Captain Garing received the Army Distinguished Service Cross for "extraordinary heroism in action in New Guinea, during the Papuan Campaign, July 23, 1942 to January 8, 1943"
- Jeanette Guyot, French Army - A French resistance operative and OSS Sussex Team member, Jeanette Guyot was one of only two female recipients of the Army Distinguished Service Cross in World War II (the other was also an OSS operative, U.S. civilian Virginia Hall).
- Donald G. Kennedy, New Zealand - Captain Kennedy, a Coast Watcher behind Japanese lines in the Solomon Islands, received the Navy Cross for heroism in guerrilla warfare against the Japanese and for rescuing Allied airmen.
- Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC with bar, Royal Navy - Captain Peters, a Canadian officer serving in the Royal Navy, received the Victoria Cross and the Army Distinguished Service Cross for heroism during the November 1942 landings in French North Africa.
- Sir Peter Phipps KBE DSC VRD, Royal New Zealand Navy - then-Lieutenant Commander Phipps received the Navy Cross as commander of HMNZS Moa for the sinking of the Japanese submarine I-1 off Guadalcanal.
- George A. Vasey, Australian Army - Major General Vasey received the Army Distinguished Service Cross for heroism during the Papua New Guinea campaign from July 23, 1942 to January 8, 1943 as commanding general of 7th Division, Australian Army.
- Jesus Villamor, Philippine Army Air Corps - technically counted as a U.S. recipient, as the Philippine armed forces were part of the U.S. armed forces during World War II. Villamor received two Army Distinguished Service Crosses as well as the Philippine Medal of Valor.
- Jose M. Artiaga, Jr., Philippine Army - First Lieutenant Artiaga, a platoon leader with the Tank Company, 10th Battalion Combat Team, Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea, was killed in action during the Battle of Yultong Bridge. 1st Lt. Artiaga was posthumously awarded the Philippine Distinguished Conduct Star and the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross.
- James Carne, British Army - commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, in the Battle of the Imjin River in April 1951, Lt. Colonel Carne received the British Victoria Cross and the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross.
- Albert Crahay, Belgian Army - commanding officer of the Belgian UN Battalion in Korea, Lt. Colonel Crahay received the Army Distinguished Service Cross for valor in the Battle of the Imjin River in April 1951. Lt. Colonel Crahay was also decorated with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Leopold II and the Belgian Croix de guerre 1940 with palm
- Louis Misseri, French Army - a sergeant with the French Battalion attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division during the Korean War, Misseri received the Army Distinguished Service Cross for heroism during the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge.
- Kenneth Muir VC, British Army - a major with the 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, in the Korean War, Muir posthumously received the British Victoria Cross and the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross.
- Conrado D. Yap, Philippine Army - Captain Yap, commander of the Tank Company, 10th Battalion Combat Team, Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea, was killed in action during the Battle of Yultong Bridge. Capt. Yap was posthumously awarded the Philippine Medal of Valor and the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross.
- Tran Van Bay, Army of the Republic of Vietnam - Private First Class Tran was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism after he sacrificed his life to save a U.S. Marine on February 19, 1967.
- Keith Payne VC, Australian Army - received the Victoria Cross and the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross in the Vietnam War.
- Nguyen Van Kiet, Navy of the Republic of Vietnam - a petty officer with the Vietnamese naval special forces, Nguyen received the Navy Cross for heroism in April 1972.
- Nguyen Quy An - Major in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force and a recipient of the United States Distinguished Flying Cross.
Awards to Unknown Soldiers
On November 11 1920
, an unidentified British soldier from a battlefield of the First World War
was buried at the western end of the Nave
of Westminster Abbey
. The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior
as it came to be known, was to serve as a memorial to all of the soldiers who had no known grave. On October 17 1921
, the Unknown Warrior was presented with the Medal of Honor
, the highest award for gallantry conferred by the United States, by General John J. Pershing
, Chief of Staff of the United States Army
. The Medal of Honor was awarded by an Act of Congress approved March 4, 1921. The medal hangs in a frame on a pillar close to the tomb.
The Belgian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (French: Tombeau du Soldat Inconnu
, Flemish: Graf van de Onbekende Soldaat
) is located in Brussels. In War Department General Orders No. 52 of 1922, the United States announced the award of the Medal of Honor to the Belgian unknown soldier: "By virtue of the authority vested by law in the President of the United States, the Congressional Medal of Honor, emblem of the highest military ideals and virtues, is bestowed in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unknown, unidentified Belgian soldier in a desire to add all that is possible to the imperishable glory won by the soldiers of Belgium who fought as comrades of the American soldiers during the World War, and to commemorate with them the deeds of the nations associated with the United States of America, by paying this tribute to their unknown dead."
The French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (French: Tombeau du Soldat Inconnu
) is located in the Arc de Triomphe
in Paris. The award of the Medal of Honor came in the same Act of Congress of March 4, 1921 which approved the award to the British Unknown Warrior.
A joint resolution of Congress on October 12, 1921 awarded the Medal of Honor "upon the unknown, unidentified Italian soldier to be buried in the National Monument to Victor Emanuel 11, in Rome."
War Department General Orders No. 22 of June 6, 1923 announced the award of the Medal of Honor to the Romanian unknown soldier: "By virtue of the authority vested by law in the President of the United States, the Congressional Medal of Honor, emblem of the highest military ideals and virtues, is bestowed in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unknown, unidentified Rumanian soldier in a desire to add all that is possible to the imperishable glory won by the soldiers of Rumania who fought as comrades of the American soldiers during the World War, and to commemorate with them the deeds of the nations associated with the United States of America, by paying this tribute to their unknown dead."
25 Field Battery, Royal Artillery
In October 1944, 7th US Armored Division was holding a very long stretch of the Allied line in The Netherlands when a German force of tanks and infantry attacked and captured the small town of Meijel in the centre of the Division's line; the village of Asten was also threatened. As 7th Armored was operating under British VIII Corps at the time, the corps commander, Gen Sir Richard O'Connor, sent 25th Field Regiment to support the US formation.
The German attack intensified and the artillery regiment, especially 25 Field Battery, played a critical role over two and a half days in ensuring that the line was not broken. On the afternoon of 28 October, 25 Battery engaged enemy tanks and infantry continuously for two hours, causing many casualties in the attackers' ranks. Although the Germans advanced some 700 - 1000 yards their advance was held.
Further reinforcements, from 15th (Scottish) Division, arrived on the 29th and 7th Armored was able to withdraw, having suffered heavily but not having allowed the enemy to pass. For its part in the battle, 25 Battery was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation and an Honour Title, becoming 25 (Asten) Battery, Royal Artillery. In 1947 it was renumbered as 59 (Asten) Battery and is today 59 (Asten) Training Battery.
No. 13 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
No. 13 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its service in the Timor area in August to September 1942. Despite being awarded in October 1942 the citation was not officially presented to the Squadron until May 1990. The Distinguished Unit Citation was redesignated after World War II as the Presidential Unit Citation.
French 2nd Armored Division
The French 2nd Armored Division (2e Division Blindée) was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for the liberation of Saverne and Strasbourg during the period from 16 to 24 November 1944. Citation
Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère
The Foreign Legion March Regiment (Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère), subsequently renamed the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (3e Régiment étranger d'infanterie), of the French Foreign Legion was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation with the inscription "Rhine-Bavarian Alps" for its actions in the drive of the Sixth United States Army Group, of which the French First Army was part, across the Rhine River into southern Germany to Bavaria and Austria in 1945.
1st Brazilian Fighter Group
On April 22 1986, the 1st Brazilian Fighter Group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions in the Po Valley region of Italy in World War II. The Brazilians, operating in Italy in support of Allied forces, destroyed in one day (April 22 1945) over 45 vehicles, strafed pontoon bridges on the River Po (hampering a German retreat) and harassed fixed positions of the German forces. From the citation:
"The casualties that they suffered reduced their pilot strength to about one half that of the United States Army Air Force squadrons operating in the same area, but they flew an equal number of sorties as their US counterparts...Eleven missions of 44 sorties were flown destroying nine motor transports and damaging 17. Additionally, they destroyed the facilities of a motor pool, immobilized 35 horse vehicles, damaged a road bridge and a pontoon bridge, destroyed 14 and damaged three enemy-occupied buildings, and attacked four military positions and inflicted much other damage."
Royal Marines at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Task Force Drysdale, a combined unit of the United States 1st Marine Division which included 41 Commando, Royal Marines, formed in November 1950 at Hungnam in South Korea, with the aim of fighting its way to reinforce the garrison at Hagaru on the southern tip of the Chosin Reservoir. The column of Drysdale came under sustained attack almost from the off, but was eventually able to force its way through to Hagaru, with 321 casualties sustained. On entering the town, 41 Commando was nominated as the garrison reserve, and was called into action on the night of November 29/November 30, when part of the Commando was called on to reinforce a unit of the United States Marine Corps that was part of Drysdale on a hill overlooking the Chinese lines. During this night, the two Chinese divisions facing them sustained over 5000 casualties. Despite this, other United Nations forces along the reservoir were failing to hold the lines. So, the force at Hagaru were ordered to withdraw back to Hungnam. 41 Commando, along with the 5th Marine Battalion, brought up the rear, beginning on December 6. The force stopped at Koto-Ri on December 8, where a mass grave for 117 dead troops was prepared. 41 Commando moved out in the afternoon to guard the high ground over the formation against infiltration during the night. On December 9, the formation moved out to march the remaining distance to the Hungnam bridgehead, getting clear by December 11 and embarking with 22,000 US Marines to be shipped down to Pusan. The action had left 41 Commando with 93 casualties, and so the unit was withdrawn to Japan for reinforcement during the winter of 1950/51.
The actions of 1st Marine Division led to it receiving a Distinguished Unit Citation. Although 41 Commando was not mentioned in the original citation, representations to the USMC subsequently led to it also receiving the award, which was accepted in 1957. The streamer was born on the Regimental Colour of 41 Commando, Royal Marines until its disbandment in 1981.
UN Forces in the Chinese Spring Offensive
During the April 1951 Chinese Spring Offensive, along the breadth of the United Nations front, UN forces faced attacks from numerically superior Chinese Communist forces. Among the units which received the Army Distinguished Unit Citation for battles during this offensive were the following:
- 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, together with C Troop, 170 Mortar Battery, Royal Artillery: In the Battle of the Imjin River, 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, together with C Troop, 170 Mortar Battery, Royal Artillery, was surrounded and all but a handful of its soldiers killed or captured after holding off the Chinese for three days. The streamer of the citation, bearing the honour 'Solma-ri', was attached to the Regimental Colour of the 1st Battalion. Since the amalgamation of the Gloucestershire Regiment, this tradition has been assumed by the 1st Battalion, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry until its amalgamation into The Rifles in 2007. In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, 170 Mortar Battery was awarded an Honour Title to become 170 (Imjin) Battery, Royal Artillery. Today it is 25/170 (Imjin) Battery, RA.
- Belgian-Luxembourg UN Battalion: a Belgian battalion with an attached Luxembourg platoon, attached to the British 29th Brigade, the battalion initially held the brigade's right flank and was able to withdraw under enemy fire and move into the gap created by the Chinese surrounding of the Glosters. The Belgians and Luxembourgers participated in the attempts to relieve the Glosters and to hold the line.
- Tank Company, 10th Battalion Combat Team, Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea: Subjected to fierce Chinese attacks on the night of April 22-23, elements of the Philippine battalion were overrun during the Battle of Yultong Bridge. Troops of the Tank Company attacked to successfully recapture lost positions and recover fallen comrades. After Yultong Bridge, the Philippine battalion participated in the attempts to relieve the Glosters.
- 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) and 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry ("The Patricias"): 3RAR and the Patricias were in the vanguard of the 1st Commonwealth Division's 27th Brigade, defending the Kapyong valley, in the Battle of Kapyong during the Chinese Spring Offensive. In recognition of their heroic actions at Kapyong, both 3RAR and the 2nd Battalion of the Patricias, together with A Company of the U.S. Army's 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion, were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. The streamer of the citation, bearing the honour 'Kapyong', is carried on the Regimental Colours of the Australian and Canadian battalions. In addition, although not a U.S. gallantry award, the 16th Field Regiment of the Royal New Zealand Artillery were awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for their actions during the Battle of Kapyong.
French Bataillon de Corée
The French Korea Battalion (Bataillon de Corée) was a volunteer battalion which arrived in Korea at the end of November 1950 and was attached to the 23rd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division. The battalion fought in numerous battles, including the Battle of the Twin Tunnels, Chipyong-ni, Hongchon, Hwachon Reservoir, the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, and the Battle of Arrowhead Ridge, until departing Korea in July 1953. The French Battalion earned three U.S. Presidential Unit Citations (for Twin Tunnels, Chipyong-ni, and Hwachon Reservoir) and a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for Arrowhead Ridge. It is unclear from the sources, but the "Hwachon Reservoir" citation may have been a U.S. Navy Presidential Unit Citation while the first two were the Army version.
Netherlands Detachment United Nations
The Dutch Battalion (Netherlands Detachment United Nations or Van Heutsz battalion) was a volunteer battalion that was part of the Regiment Van Heutsz which arrived in Korea at the end of November 1950. It was attached to the 38th Infantry Regiment (Rock of the Marne), which was part of the 2nd Infantry (Indianhead) Division. The battalion fought in numerous battles, including Battle of Wonju, Soyang River Battle, Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, and in the Iron Triangle. It left Korea in November 1954, leaving 123 dead and 463 wounded. The Dutch battalion was awarded two U.S. Presidential Unit Citations (with the citations 'Hongchon, Korea' and 'Hoengsong, Wonju, Korea') and two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations for the entire campaign. The decorations were attached to the battalion flag. The battle honour 'Korea 1950-1954' was awarded to the Regiment Van Heutsz. The traditions of the Netherlands Detachment United Nations are still maintained by the Regiment Van Heutsz, the most decorated regiment in the Royal Netherlands Army.
The Turkish Brigade
President Harry Truman signed a Distinguished Unit Citation (now the Presidential Unit Citation
) on July 11, 1951 for the Turkish Brigade
's acts of heroism. It reads: "The Turkish Brigade, a member of the United Nations Forces in Korea is cited for exceptionally outstanding performance of duty in combat in the area of Kumyangjang-ni, Korea, from 25 to 27 January 1951."
D Company, 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment - Battle of Long Tan
A mortar and recoilless rifle attack on the Task Force area opened Operation Vendetta, on the night of August 16/August 17 1966. B Company, of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment was initially dispatched to clear the area to the east of the Task Force base. D Company took over from B Company on August 18 1966. D Company made contact with the enemy force of regimental size and was soon under attack from three sides. The battle was fought into the night under a blanket of mist and heavy monsoonal rain, but D Company held its ground with heroism and grim determination. The remainder of the Battalion deployed to aid the beleaguered Company. With the help of armoured personnel carriers of 3 Troop, 1 APC Squadron hit the flank of a battalion size force which was forming up to assault the rear of D Company, inflicted many casualties and forced the enemy from the battlefield. A Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to D Company by the then President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, for the Battle of Long Tan. August 18 is now commemorated each year as Long Tan Day, in memory of the eighteen soldiers who gave their lives in battle.
The streamer of the citation, bearing the honour 'Long Tan', is carried on the Regimental Colour of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
9th Company, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Republic of Korea Army
The 9th Company, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Republic of Korea Army was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on August 9, 1968 for its valor on August 9-10, 1966 in the defense of Landing Zone 27 Victor, Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam. The citation reads, in part:
"About one hour before midnight the sounds of digging were heard outside the perimeter. The suspicious area was illuminated by a searchlight and reconnoitered by machine-gun fire from one of the United States Army tanks under operational control of the 9th Company. This action triggered the first of a series of violent attacks made against the perimeter by a North Vietnamese Army battalion and reinforced by heavy fire from recoilless rifles, mortars, and rockets. During the next six hours, the foe made repeated assaults from differing directions, only to be beaten back by the coordinated fire from the stalwart defenders. A single enemy managed to penetrate into the position, but this danger was quickly eliminated by a Korean soldier wielding a bayonet. Throughout this long battle the 9th Company held its position and exhibited great gallantry under intense fire and repeated ground attacks. The tenacious defense and subsequent mop-up of the battlefield virtually eliminated the enemy battalion as an effective fighting unit. The heavy losses inflicted upon the numerically superior enemy force attest to the physical courage, determination, and skill of the defenders. ..."
1st Company, Royal Thailand Army Volunteer Regiment and attached units
The 1st Company, Royal Thailand Army Volunteer Regiment and several attached and supporting units - a medical platoon, an armored personnel carrier platoon and an artillery battery - were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by President Richard Nixon on November 5, 1969 for extraordinary heroism on December 20-21, 1967 in Vietnam. Accordin to the citation:
"During this period the 1st Company was given the mission of conducting combat operations and revolutionary development support in Bien Hoa Province. Elements of the Viet Cong 274th Main Force Battalion and the 3d Main Force Battalion attacked the 1st Company on the night of 20 December. This attack was repulsed by the heroic Thai in a battle characterized by savage hand-to-hand combat with devastating effect on the enemy. By the unparalleled application of exceptional imagination, fearless courage, and unrelenting determination, the 1st Company succeeded in repelling three assaults by the superior enemy force. Although harassed by constant mortar fire, the valiant defenders aggressively engaged the enemy and inflicted heavy enemy casualties. Individual acts of heroism were numerous, and during the entire battle the company officers, through their superb leadership, provided an inspirational example to the rest of the company. The Thai victory deprived the enemy of one of its long-established infiltration and resupply routes. The aggressiveness, determination, enthusiasm, and exemplary courage displayed by the members of the 1st Company and its attached and supporting units reflect great credit upon themselves, the Royal Thailand Army, and the Allied cause in the Republic of Vietnam."
3rd Airborne Task Force, Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The 3rd Airborne Task Force, Army of the Republic of Vietnam, consisting of the Task Force Headquarters and 2nd and 3rd Vietnamese Airborne Battalions, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for heroism in Operation Kham Jei 180 from November 15-22, 1967.
37th Ranger Battalion, Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The South Vietnamese Army's 37th Ranger Battalion received no less than three United States Army Presidential Unit Citations. The first was awarded in Department of the Army General Order 20 of 1967, for extraordinary heroism in the vicinity of Thach Tru, Quang Ngai Province on November 22, 1965. The second was awarded in Department of the Army General Order 23 of 1969, for extraordinary heroism in the period of January 27 to February 25, 1968. The third was awarded in Department of the Army General Order 37 of 1973, for extraordinary heroism in the period of February 11 to April 24, 1970.
1st Battalion Group, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam, 1965–1966
Between May 1965 and May 1966, the 1st Battalion Group, Royal Australian Regiment, consisting of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
, the 4th/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse
and 161 Battery, 16 Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery
served as part of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade
. During that time, the Brigade was constantly involved in heavy fighting, as it was invariably one of the leading units in the front line. For its service throughout this period, the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 4th/19th PoW Light Horse and 161 Battery, RNZA were awarded the United States Meritorious Unit Commendation
The streamer of the commendation, bearing the honour 'Vietnam 1965-66', is carried on the Regimental Colour of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, 1962–1969
For the service it provided during the Vietnam War
between 1962 and 1969, the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam
was awarded the United States Meritorious Unit Commendation.
The commendation is indicated by a red streamer bearing the honour 'Vietnam 1962-69'.
No. 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
For its service in Vietnam between April 1967 and May 1971, No. 2 Squadron
, Royal Australian Air Force
was awarded the United States Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
with attached Valor device
Royal Australian Navy in Vietnam
For their service during the Vietnam War
, both HMAS Perth
and HMAS Hobart
of the Royal Australian Navy
were awarded commendations. The Perth
was awarded both the Meritorious Unit Commendation
and the Navy Unit Commendation
, while the Hobart
received the Navy Unit Commendation.
The RAN's Clearance Diving Team 3 also received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its work clearing the harbours of Vung Tau, Cam Ranh Bay, Qui Nhon, and Nha Trang between February 19 and June 30 1967.
Task Force K-Bar
On December 7, 2004, at a private ceremony in California, President George W. Bush presented the Navy Presidential Unit Citation to the members of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-SOUTH/Task Force K-Bar (CJSOTF-SOUTH/TF K-BAR). Task Force K-Bar was a Navy SEAL-led unit that served in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2001 to March 2002, and it was decorated for "outstanding courage, resourcefulness, and aggressive fighting spirit in combat against a well equipped, well trained and treacherous terrorist enemy". Task Force K-Bar was "joint" in that it included members of more than one service - Army Special Forces, Air Force combat controllers as well as Navy special warfare personnel - and "combined" in that it included military personnel from several countries. Besides United States personnel, special operations personnel from the following countries and units participated, earning the Navy Presidential Unit Citation.
- Australian Special Air Service Regiment: Members of an Australian Special Forces Task Group made up of personnel of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment, augmented by personnel from other units, served in Task Force K-Bar. The Presidential Unit Citation was the third to an Australian unit, joining the Army PUC awarded to 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in the Korean War and the Army PUC awarded to D Company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in the Vietnam War.
- Canadian Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2): The contingent of Canada's special operations unit, JTF2, which served in Task Force K-Bar was awarded the Navy Presidential Unit Citation for their service in Afghanistan. The Canadian Department of National Defence announced the award on December 8, 2004 ; however, there were news reports at the time which indicated that the Canadian government declined the award out of a desire to avoid the public spotlight for the secretive unit. Other reports indicated that wear of the award would not be permitted, since that would instantly identify the servicemember as a JTF2 member. On June 2, 2006, the Department of National Defence announced that the U.S. Ambassador to Canada had presented the citation to the members of JTF2.
- Danish Special Forces: On February , 2005, the Danish armed forces command announced the receipt of the Navy Presidential Unit Citation by Danish members of the Frømandskorpset ("Frogman Corps", the Danish naval special operations unit) and the Jægerkorpset ("Hunter Corps", the Danish army special operations unit). Danish representatives were reportedly present at the December 7, 2004 ceremony with the U.S. president. Fornem anerkendelse til danske specialstyrker
- German Special Forces: Members of Germany's Kommando Spezialkräfte, or KSK, served with Task Force K-Bar. The award of the Presidential Unit Citation is noted on the U.S. Navy's unit awards database, but confirmation of acceptance of the award by Germany's Bundeswehr on behalf of the highly secretive KSK has not been made public.
- New Zealand Special Air Service: The New Zealand SAS, was awarded the Navy Presidential Unit Citation for its participation in Task Force K-Bar's operations in Afghanistan. Lt. Colonel Peter Kelly, the commanding officer of the 1st NZSAS Group, represented the unit at the December 7, 2004 awards ceremony. Formal approval for wear came from the Queen in June 2005.
- Norwegian Special Forces: At a private ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on February 8, 2005, U.S. Ambassador to Norway John Doyle Ong presented the Navy Presidential Unit Citation on behalf of the U.S. president to members of Norway's special forces who served with Task Force K-Bar. Norwegian armed forces chief of staff General Sigurd Frisvold also participated in the ceremony. Norwegian special forces from the Royal Norwegian Army's Hærens Jegerkommando and the Royal Norwegian Navy's Marinejegerkommandoen served in Afghanistan from December 2001 to April 2002. Spesialstyrker fikk anerkjennelse
- Turkish special forces: The release noting the unit citation to Task Force K-Bar mentions Turkey among the other coalition members, and the U.S. Navy's unit citation database lists one or more Turkish liaison personnel among persons entitled to the unit citation, but little more has been publicly disclosed about the role of Turkish special operations forces in Task Force K-Bar's operations in Afghanistan.
All of the eligible personnel of these units who served in Task Force K-Bar were awarded the unit citation. However, acceptance and wear of the award is subject to the rules and regulations of each of these countries' armed forces. For example, as noted above, New Zealand SAS personnel were granted permission by the Queen to wear the citation; however, given the unit's secrecy, this may not be done publicly, but only in unit ceremonies.
Presidential Unit Citation to British units attached to 1st MEF
The U.S. I Marine Expeditionary Force (1st MEF), consisting of the 1st Marine Division and attached units, received the Navy Presidential Unit Citation for its actions in combat in Iraq from March 21 to April 24, 2003. Among the attached and supporting units cited were the following British units:
List of units (not including U.S. Army units attached to 1st MEF): MARADMIN 507/03 SUBJ: ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPROVED PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (NAVY)