Army Soldiers Mini Medal
Criteria: Heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed enemy of the United States
Devices: Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Authorized by Congress on July 2, 1926 to any member of the Army, National Guard or Reserves for heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed enemy.
The bronze octagonal medal has, as its central feature, a North American bald eagle with raised wings representing the United States. The eagle grasps an ancient Roman fasces symbolizing the State’s lawful authority and conveys the concept that the award is to a soldier from the Government. There are seven stars on the eagle’s left side and six stars and a spray of leaves to its right. The octagonal shape distinguishes the Soldier’s Medal from other decorations. The stars represent the thirteen original colonies that formed the United States. The laurel spray balances the groups of stars and represents achievement. The reverse has a U.S. shield with sprays of laurel and oak leaves representing achievement and strength in front of a scroll. The words, “SOLDIER’S MEDAL” and “FOR VALOR” are inscribed on the reverse.
The ribbon contains thirteen alternating stripes of white (seven) and red (six) in the center, bordered by blue and are taken from the United States flag. The thirteen red and white stripes are arranged in the same manner as the thirteen vertical stripes in the U.S. Coat of Arms shield and also represent the thirteen original colonies.
Gaetano Cecere designed and sculpted the Soldier’s Medal (the art deco influence of the 1920’s can certainly be seen in this medal more than in any other Army award.) The Soldier’s Medal is one of four decorations for which an enlisted soldier may increase his retirement by ten percent. The increase is not automatic, however; recipients of the Soldier’s Medal must petition the Army Decorations Board for the bonus. Additional awards are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
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