The History of Military Medals

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Is there anything that instills the love for one's military more than their graceful uniform? What's not to love; the subtle colors, pointy beret, and most importantly - the shiny medals that speak for their courage and bravery in the line of fire. Pair all this with the poise of a military soldier, and it's enough to teach the love for the military in the nation's youth. 

Military medals are the highest form of tribute awarded to soldiers and officers for their heroism and courage. They are the military's and the nation's way of honoring all those warriors who combat beyond the call of duty and perform exceptionally. However, they are more complicated than you think. The highest-ranking medals are awarded to soldiers for their outclass performance on the battlefield. In contrast, the lowest medals are awarded for combat and non-combat duties, depending on their service branch.

Let's take a look at the precedence of military type medals, the history, and the awards and decorations that are up for grabs for these sons of the soil. 

History of Military Medals

Before we get into the US history of military awards, it is vital to learn about their importance on the historic and world-wide scale. They have been awarded since the antiquity days. Sweden, to this day, has the distinction of having the oldest military medals. The "For Valor at Sea" and "For Valor in the Field awards were created back in the 1700s by King Gustav. Besides Sweden, Egypt has its Oder of the Golden Collar to honor their fighters. 

On the other hand, the military medals in the United States came into being following General Washington's success from the British, which led to their surrender at Yorktown. As this incident proved to be a significant milestone in the War of Independence, the nation wanted to recognize the heroes who proved their mettle in the battle. As a result of this, Congress decided to bestow gold medals to the outstanding military personnel. The approved medals were given to the victors of war, including George Washington himself. 

Types of Military Awards & Decorations

If you ever had an opportunity to see or meet a serviceman in their uniform, you must have wondered what the fancy medals on their uniform mean. US Military has hundreds of awards and decorations across their different branches - each with their criteria, history, and significance. But some medals are easy to recognize at first glance because of their importance. Here are the top medals you need to know about:

The Congressional Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest and the most prestigious decoration in the United States of America for the US military men who show an act of valor. A proposal for battlefield decoration was submitted in the first year of the Civil War, but the idea was adopted later to motivate the gallant servicemen.

A resolution for the Medal of Honor was passed by the army in 1862 to be provided to all such heroes who distinguish themselves by their gallantry in the battlefield. However, it was made a permanent decoration in 1863 by Congress. Since its creation, the medal has only been awarded to the bravest of brave soldiers who displayed exceptional gallantry on the battlefield. The medal has three versions for each force; Army, Navy, and the Air Force, and the medal is awarded the President of the United States.  

Navy Cross

Navy Cross is the second-highest decoration that is only awarded to the members of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps for their valor in combat. The award was created to honor the heroes of World War I in 1919 for their bravery. 

Distinguished Service Cross

Soldiers go into the battlefield to display extraordinary heroism and defend their country. If a soldier shows exceptional heroism, yet not enough for the Medal of Honor, he is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross closely behind the former. Like the Navy Cross, this medal was also awarded to acknowledge the sacrifice and bravery of World War I heroes. It was also awarded to the heroes of the Air Force initially till Air Force Cross came into being. 

Air Force Cross

Following the path of the Service Cross and the Navy Cross is the Air Force Cross that is the second-highest military award for the defenders of the sky. The honorable award has been awarded to an air veteran George Day and John A Chapman. His award was later upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

Distinguished Flying Cross

When we say defenders of the sky, we do not only mean the Air Force. It also includes those members of the Army and the Navy who display an excellent achievement during an aerial flight. One of the most famous receipts of the distinguished awards is the former President George Bush.

That's it for now! We hope you are more informed about the military type medals and their history after reading this article. Let's honor the heroes! Did this information get you pumped up to join the military and strive to get one for yourself? Good, start preparing, maverick!

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