Military ribbons are a vital part of military culture, and they’re used to signify various achievements, accomplishments, and milestones throughout a service member’s career. However, understanding the different types of military ribbons can be challenging for both service members and civilians. In this guide, we’ll explore the meaning and significance of military ribbons, with a specific focus on thin ribbons.
What Are Military Ribbons?
Military ribbons are small pieces of cloth worn on a military uniform to signify a service member’s achievements, accomplishments, and milestones. These ribbons are awarded to service members for various reasons, including completing a specific training program, serving in a specific location, or demonstrating exceptional performance in a particular area.
Types Of Military Ribbons
There are several types of military ribbons, each with its own unique significance. Some of the most common types of military ribbons include the following.
Service ribbons and medals are awarded to service members for their length of service. One example is the National Defense Service Medal, awarded for service during a time of conflict. Campaign ribbons, such as the Afghanistan Campaign Medal or the Iraq Campaign Medal, are given to service members who have served in a particular campaign.
Achievement ribbons are awarded to service members for specific achievements or accomplishments, such as the Army Achievement Medal or the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Unit awards are awarded to service members of a unit that has demonstrated exceptional performance, like the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation or the Navy Unit Commendation.
Thin ribbons are a specific type of military ribbon awarded to service members who have earned multiple ribbons. Thin ribbons are designed to allow service members to wear multiple ribbons on their uniform without adding excessive weight or bulk. These narrow ribbons are worn in rows, with each ribbon representing a different achievement or accomplishment.
Service members in the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard commonly wear thin ribbons, but they are not typically worn by service members in the Navy or Marine Corps. Thin ribbons have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more service members have earned several ribbons and have found it challenging to wear them all in their uniform.
Understanding The Meaning Of Thin Ribbons
Thin ribbons can be difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with military culture. Each thin ribbon represents a specific achievement or accomplishment, and service members must meet specific criteria to earn each ribbon. Some of the most common thin ribbons include:
- Army Service Ribbon: This ribbon is awarded to service members who have completed basic training and advanced individual training.
- Overseas Service Ribbon: This ribbon is awarded to service members who have served overseas for a specific period of time.
- Army Good Conduct Ribbon: This ribbon is awarded to service members who have demonstrated exceptional conduct and performance.
- Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon: This ribbon is awarded to service members who have served during the Global War on Terrorism.
- Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon: This ribbon is awarded to service members who have completed training while serving in the Army Reserve.
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal: This ribbon is awarded to service members who have served in the reserve component of the military.
Are Military Ribbons Worn In A Specific Order?
Military ribbons are worn in a specific order according to their precedence. The order typically starts with personal decorations, followed by unit awards, service awards, and foreign awards.
For instance, the Medal of Honor is the highest personal decoration. Therefore, it’s worn first, followed by other prestigious awards like the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star.
Ribbons are worn on the left side of the uniform, in rows above the left breast pocket. Each row can contain a maximum of three ribbons, with the top row displaying the highest-ranking ribbons. When multiple rows are needed, the order of precedence continues from right to left and top to bottom, ensuring that the most important ribbons remain prominently displayed.
Military ribbons signify a service member’s achievements, accomplishments, and milestones. Understanding the meaning and significance of military ribbons can be a challenge for both service members and civilians. Still, it is important to recognize the sacrifices and accomplishments of members and their accomplishments.
Military culture is a unique and complex culture shaped by the shared experiences, values, and beliefs of service members. Military ribbons are just one way that these service members are recognized for their exemplary service.