Military Ribbon and Medal Placement

Ribbon And Medal Placement on Army Dress Blues

Army Dress Blues Medal & Ribbon Placement

Earning a medal or ribbon for your service in the United States Army is a great honor. Part of that honor is getting the opportunity to wear those medals and ribbons on your Army dress blues when the situation calls for it.

However, just as is the case with any military uniform, there are specific regulations you must adhere to when you place your medals and ribbons on your dress blues. The standards for dress blues include everything you wear on them, not just medals and ribbons, so make sure you’re aware of all of the specific details of this important dress code. 

To help you do that, we’ve created this easy guide to Army dress blues, Army dress blues medal placement, and Army dress blues ribbon placement. Make sure to reference this guide the next time you wear your dress blues to ensure you’ve met all of the various uniform regulations and can wear your ribbons and medals with pride.

Overview of Army Dress Blues

Your Army dress blues are the uniform you wear when attending an event that requires formal attire. They consist of a long-sleeved white shirt, a black-tie (in certain instances, a black bowtie is acceptable), an Army blue coat, and Army blue trousers. 

A beret typically accompanies the Army dress blues, but it’s not a requirement to wear any headgear during evening social occasions.

On your Army blue coat, it’s a requirement to wear an identification badge, your regimental insignia, your branch insignia, hash marks, and overseas bars, if you have them. You may also wear any unit awards, combat and skill badges, full-sized medals, and ribbons that you’ve earned.

Events that Warrant Army Dress Blues

As previously stated, the Army dress blues are worn explicitly during formal events. What constitutes a proper formal event varies based on whether you are on active duty or a veteran. We’ve broken down exactly what that means in the sections below.

Active Duty

If you’re currently enlisted in the United States Army, you have a more comprehensive range of events considered formal enough for Army dress blues than veterans do. 

You should be wearing dress blues during national holidays, funerals and weddings, parades, and certain military ceremonial events. 

There are slight variations in the regulations regarding your dress blues, depending on the nature of the formal event. For instance, a black bow tie is worn only after the retreat, while a four-in-hand tie is worn on all other occasions.


Veterans may still wear their Army dress blues under a more limited number of circumstances. The only times you should wear them are at special formal events centered around the military or at family events such as military funerals or military weddings. Veterans can also be buried in their Army dress blues.

Army Dress Blues Medal Placement

Wearing your medals on your Army dress blues requires placing them using specific measurements. Those Army dress blues medal placement measurements are listed below. Make sure to note them or even memorize them, so you don’t have any issues with the dress code.

Combat and Skill Badges

Your combat and skill badges can be worn either 1/4″ above any ribbons or below the top of the pocket. Badges should be placed 1/2″ apart from one another.

Marksmanship Badges

Marksmanship badges should be placed 1/4″ below the bottom row of ribbons and spaced 1″ apart from one another in the case that there is more than one. Any special skills badges should be placed to the right of marksmanship badges.

Unit Awards

Any awards earned by your unit may be worn centered 1/8″ above the right breast pocket of your Army dress blues jacket.

Hash marks

Hash marks denoting the length of your service appear on the outside of the left sleeve of your Army dress blues jacket. Hash marks should be at a 45-degree angle with the lower end toward the inside seam of the sleeve. They must be centered and placed 4″ above the bottom of the sleeve.

Overseas Service Bar

The Overseas Service Bar is on the right sleeve of the Army dress blues jacket. It needs to be on the outside of the sleeve 4″ above and parallel to its bottom. All Overseas Service Bars are worn parallel to one another and set 1/16″ apart.

Army Dress Blues Ribbon Placement

Just like with your medals, there are specific measurements you must adhere to during Army dress blues ribbon placement. Those measurements are listed below for both male and female uniforms, as there are slight variations.

Male Uniform Ribbon Placement

All ribbons should be worn on the left side of the Army dress blues jacket. They should be worn centered and 1/8″ above the left jacket pocket.

Female Uniform Ribbon Placement

All ribbons should be worn on the left side of the Army dress blues jacket, centered, and with the bottom row of ribbons parallel to the bottom of the

nameplate. Ribbon placement can be adjusted for female personnel according to their body shape.

Other Army Dress Blues Details

There are other essential details regarding the placement of badges on your Army dress blues. These details include multiple badges and insignia with

 specific measurements that you will need to know. Those measurements are listed below.

Identification Badges

Place identification badges on the right side of the Army dress blues jacket. They should be centered between the bottom of the right pocket and the bottom of the pocket’s flap.

DUI Crest

The DUI crest should be placed on the left shoulder, centered between the button and rank insignia.

Regimental Insignia

The regimental insignia should be worn on the right side of the Army dress blues jacket. It should be worn 1/8″ above the right pocket or 1/4″ above the unit awards.

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