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Service star

Not to be confused with the Silver Star medal, Bronze Star Medal, or 5/16 inch stars
Battle star redirects here. Or see Battlestar.
Service Star
Bronze and Silver Service Stars
Awarded by the United States
Type Ribbon device
Awarded for Worn to denote subsequent awards or periods of service.[1]
Status Currently in use

A service star is a miniature metal device worn by members of the seven uniformed services of the United States on medals and ribbons issued by the uniformed services to denote additional awards or periods of service.[1] Depending on the award and the manner in which they are used, they may also be referred to as campaign stars or battle stars.[2]

Service, campaign, and battle stars are bronze or silver in appearance, 3/16 inches (4.76mm) in height, and worn with one point of the star pointing up on the suspension ribbons of medals and on service ribbons. A silver service star is worn in lieu of five bronze stars.[1] Bronze and silver 3/16 inch stars are sometimes confused with individual decorations such as the Silver Star medal and the Bronze Star Medal. The silver 3/16 inch star is also similar to the silver 5/16 inch star, which is issued for subsequent awards of other individual decorations.

Service stars

For United States service medals such as the Prisoner of War Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air and Space Campaign Medal, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, bronze and silver service stars are used to indicate additional awards.[1] The service ribbon itself indicates the first award, with a bronze service star being added to indicate the second award. If applicable, a silver service star is worn in lieu of five bronze stars. For example, when a service member is authorized to wear the National Defense Service Medal, the potential addition of service stars for participation in up to four of the designated wartime conflicts would be:[3]

106px First award: any one of four conflicts
Second award: two of the four conflicts
Third award: three of the four conflicts
Fourth award: all four conflicts

Campaign stars

For United States campaign medals such as the Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal, bronze and silver campaign stars are worn to indicate the total number of campaign phases or periods an individual participated in.[2] As a result, at least one campaign star will be worn on the ribbon. For example, when a member is authorized to wear the Iraq Campaign Medal, the potential addition of bronze and silver service stars for the seven designated Iraq Campaign phases would be:[4][5][6]

Any one of the seven phases
Two of the seven phases
Three of the seven phases
Four of the seven phases
Five of the seven phases
Six of the seven phases
All seven campaign phases

Battle stars


Currently, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal are authorized to be awarded with bronze and silver battle stars for personnel who were engaged in specific battles in combat under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action.[7][8] Only a combatant commander can initiate a request for a battle star.[8] The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the approving authority. Only one award of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Service Medal may be authorized for any individual; therefore, no service stars are used.[8]

Navy warships

Historically, during World War II and the Korean War, commendations called "battle stars" were also issued to United States Navy warships for meritorious participation in battle, or for having suffered damage during battle conditions. Similarly, during the Vietnam War and afterwards, The Battle Effectiveness Award ("Battle E") took the place of receiving battle stars for superior battle efficiency in place of combat operations.

Earlier stars

Service stars and campaign stars were also authorized for the World War I Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. The specific manner of wear and symbolism of the stars varied from medal to medal. For example, a star on the American Campaign Medal indicated the service member had participated in an antisubmarine campaign. On others, stars were used on the medal's service ribbon in lieu of campaign claps worn on the suspension ribbon of the medal itself.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Manual of Military Decorations and Awards, Volume 3" (PDF). Department of Defense. Paragraph 14e (Page 53). Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Manual of Military Decorations and Awards, Volume 3" (PDF). Department of Defense. Paragraph 14f (Page 53-54). Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  3. Air Force Personnel Center National Defense Service Medal
  4. "Afghanistan Campaign Medal or Iraq Campaign Medal". Awards and Decorations Branch Article. Army Human Resource Command. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  5. Additional Phases Identified for Iraq Campaign Medal
  6. "News Release: Additional Phases Identified for Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals". Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  7. "Manual of Military Decorations and Awards, Volume 3" (PDF). Department of Defense. Paragraph 14g (Page 54). Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "DoD Announces Criteria for Global War on Terrorism Medals". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 26 February 2004. 

External links