Service: All Services (Originally Army only)
Criteria: Gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States or while serving with friendly foreign forces
Devices: Army/Air Force: Bronze, Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard: Gold, Silver Star
Notes: Derived from the 3/16" silver “Citation Star” previously worn on Army campaign medals
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Awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States or while engaged in military operations involving conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The level of gallantry required, while of a high degree, is less than that required for the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross or Navy Cross.
The actual Silver Star Medal was instituted in 1932 with the first award presented to General Douglas MacArthur, the Army’s then-Chief-of-Staff. The Silver Star was designed by Rudolf Freund of the firm of Bailey, Banks and Biddle. On August 7, 1942, the award was extended to Navy personnel and, later that year, authorized for civilians serving with the armed forces who met the stated criteria specified in the initial regulation.
The ribbon, based on the colors of the National flag, has a center stripe of red flanked by a stripes of white which are flanked by blue bands with borders of white edged in blue. Additional awards are denoted by a bronze or silver oak leaf clusters or gold and silver stars depending on the recipient’s Branch of Service.