Army Bronze Medal Award

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded “for heroic or meritorious achievement of service, not involving aerial flight in connection with operations against an opposing armed force.” The specific wording of the description speaks to its origins of the decoration.

In February of 1944, General George Marshall stated in a memorandum to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the Air Medal, which was established in 1942, had “an adverse reaction on the ground troops” who were “suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.” While Roosevelt disagreed, citing a “danger that we will cheapen the value of such things if we hand out too many of them,” eventually Marshall prevailed, and on February 4, 1944, by Executive Order, the Bronze Star Medal was created.

The Bronze Star Medal is a five-pointed star with a smaller, raised star placed in its center. The words “Heroic” or “Meritorious Achievement” are inscribed in a circle upon the reverse of the Bronze Medal, with the recipient’s name in the center. The ribbon is red with a narrow blue stripe in the center, with both stripes bordered in white. The Bronze Medal is annotated by a “V” device, to indicated valor, when awarded for heroism.

In the hierarchy of military awards in the United States Armed Forces, the Bronze Medal ranks fourth for decorations that recognize bravery in combat, standing behind the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and The Medal of Honor. The Bronze Medal may be awarded either for combat heroism or for meritorious service.

While the Silver Star Medal is often referred to simply as the Silver Star, the word “Medal” is usually included when referring to the Bronze Medal, to differentiate the award from the bronze service stars which decorate other various decorations, medals and awards.