- How To Wear Navy Medals
- For the first 120 years of the Navy's existence, service
men did not wear signs of overseas service or combat. Medals
and decorations of this type were seen as the frills of royalty
and empires. This concept military decoration was the reverse
of the spirit of democracy that initially founded our country.
But on a very few instances the Congress awarded special commendations
to heroes for naval victories. These were not intended to be
worn on a naval uniform however, and were predominantly given
to military commanders.
- It wasn't until 1905 when President Theodore Roosevelt strongly
encouraged the military to create badges to be worn on the uniform
of service men and women. These badges of courage were initially
designed to commemorate prior service in specific campaigns of
conflict or war. The creation and administration of these badges
fell to each individual service organization and no longer required
- In 1908 the U.S. Navy issued it's frist badges for the Civil
War, the Spanish-American War and the Boxer Rebellion. This was
the beginning of the Navy and Marine Corps service medals.
- The Navy has a specific set of criteria and standards for
how medals and ribbons are to be worn on a uniform. The Commissioned
Corps Instruction Wear Of Ribbons and Medals (CC26.3.3) was issued
on 28 August 2008. This issuance applies to all Regular Corps
and Reserve Corps officers.
- Wearing military ribbons of any kind is a very reverent act.
It should be approached with a great deal of respect and honor
not only to the self, but to those who have fallen in service
of their country.
- Gather Together:
- · The right to wear the medals and ribbons
- · A clean uniform or civilian jacket
- Step 1:
- Ribbons are worn in horizontal rows consisting of up to three
ribbons in each row. When more than three ribbons are authorized,
they are worn in horizontal rows of three each. If
not in multiples of three, the uppermost row shall contain the
lesser number and the center of this row is over the center of
the ribbon below it. Ribbons are placed without intervals between
ribbons or rows of ribbons.
- They are worn with the lower edge of the bottom row centered
1/4 inch above the left breast pocket and parallel to the floor.
To avoid being covered by the coat lapel, ribbons may be aligned
so the border is to wearer's left and parallel with the left
side of the pocket.
- Ribbons worn on the right breast (i.e., when wearing Full
Dress uniforms) are worn with the lower edge of the bottom row
centered ¼ inch above the right breast pocket, or ribbons
are worn in the same relative position as if there were a pocket.
- Step 2:
- Ribbons which do not have a symmetrical color design or which
have stars as part of the design are displayed as follows:
- Medal of Honor Ribbon. The stars should form an 'M' with
a single ray of all stars pointing up.
- Navy and Marine Corps Ribbon. The blue stripe is inboard
(to the wearer's right).
- Navy Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. The blue stripe is
- Merchant Marine Mariner's Ribbon. The red stripe is to the
- World War II Theater Ribbons. The blue stripe in the center
is to the wearer's right.
- Army and Navy Occupation Service Ribbons. The black stripe
is to the wearer's right.
- Philippine Defense Ribbon. The stars shall form a triangle,
base down, with a single ray of all stars pointing up.
- Philippine Liberation Ribbon. The blue stripe in the center
is to the wearer's right.
- Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. The
blue stripe is inboard and worn with the gold frame.
- Korean Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. The red portion
of the circular device in the center is uppermost, worn with
- Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. Worn with gold
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. The blue stripe in the
center is worn to the wearer's right.
- Combat Action Ribbon. The outermost blue stripe is to the
- Kosovo Campaign Medal. The broad blue stripe is worn to the
- Kuwait Liberation Medal (Emirate of Kuwait). The black stripe
- Reserve Officers Association. The red stripe is to the wearer's
- Large Medals.
- When more than one medal is worn, they are suspended from
a holding bar of metal or other material of sufficient stiffness
to support the weight of the medals. The holding bar of the lowest
row of medals is located in the same position as the lowest ribbon
bar. The bar is 4 1/8 inches wide and each row of medals is 3
1/4 inches long from top of ribbons to bottom of medals, so that
the bottom of each medal constitutes a horizontal line. When
more than one row is worn, no row is to contain a lesser number
of medals than the row above. Except for the uppermost row, all
rows shall contain the same number of medals, three medals side
by side or up to five medals overlapping. Overlapping is equal,
and right or inboard medal shall show in full. Upper rows of
medals, if worn, are mounted so that these medals cover the suspension
ribbons of the medals.
- When either large or miniature medals are prescribed, both
the Medal of Honor pendant and the Surgeon General's Medallion
are worn from their respective suspension ribbons placed around
the neck. When either of these medals is worn with the officer's
White Service coat, the ribbon shall pass outside the coat collar.
When worn with all other coats, the ribbon shall pass between
the shirt and coat collar.
- Step 4:
- Miniature Medals.
- On the male officer's Formal and Dinner Dress jackets, the
holding bar of the lowest row of miniature medals is positioned
3 inches below the notch and centered on the lapel, parallel
to the ground. Three or more miniature medals are positioned
starting at the inner edge of the lapel and extended beyond the
lapel on the body of the jacket. When worn on the male officer's
Blue or White Service coats, the holding bar is centered immediately
above the left breast pocket. When worn on the jacket of the
female officer's Formal Dress uniform or Dinner Dress uniform,
the holding bar is worn in the same relative position as on the
male's Dinner Dress jacket, down 1/3 of the distance from the
shoulder seam to the coat hem. When worn on the female officer's
Blue or White coats, the holding bar is centered immediately
above the left pocket flap. Each row of miniatures is 2 1/4 inches
long from top of ribbons to bottom of medals so that the bottom
of each medal constitutes a horizontal line. Upper rows of medals
are positioned so that these medals cover the ribbons of the
- When miniature medals are prescribed, the Medal of Honor
and the Surgeon General's Medallion, which are not made in miniature,
are worn as described in Subsection 8-2.b.
- And at least from this writer and my family -
- Thank you all for your service and sacrifice in protecting
- For More Information:
- · Wear
Of Ribbons and Medals (28 August 2008)
- · U.S. Navy Official
- · Service
- Additional Tips:
- Service Men and Women should refer to The Commissioned Corps
Instruction Wear Of Ribbons and Medals for complete instructions.