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American Military Patches, Other Insignia and Decorations of World War Two by Dr. Howard G. Lanham c.2002


Ribbons of Medals

United States Army

Second World War Period and Prior

At the time of the Second World War campaign medals existed which had been awarded back to the Civil War. Although I cannot know what the earliest campaign medals that an active member of the armed services serving in the Second World War might have worn, I have decided to arbitrarily begin the series of campaign medals with the China Campaign Metal of 1900.

Army ribbon bars are three-eighths inch (9 mm) high. Various devices may appear on ribbons. A bronze oak leaf cluster indicates an additional awards of the same medal. A silver oak leaf cluster is equal to five bronze ones. A star on a campaign medal indicates participation in a major engagement. A silver star equals five bronze stars. In 1944 a one-quarter inch arrowhead was authorized for wear on the campaign ribbons of those soldiers who particupated in a landing or combat jump on hostile territory. Most of the examples of ribbons pictured are originals and may have minor damage or fading. The links within the section go the a discussion of the background of the corresponding medal.

Medals for Valor or Meritious Service

Medal of Honor Certificate of Merit D.S.C. D.S.M. Legion of Merit
Medal of Honor Certificate of Merit Distinguished Service Cross Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit
Silver Star D.F.C. Soldier's Medal Bronze Star Air Medal
Silver Star Distinguished Flying Cross Soldier's Medal Bronze Star
V for valor
Air Medal
Purple Heart Typhus Good Conduct
Purple Heart American Typhus Commission 1942 Good Conduct

Campaign Metals (1900-1945)

China Campaign Cuban Pacification Mexican Service Mexican Border Service WW I Victory
China Campaign 1900 Cuban Pacification 1906 Mexican Service 1911 Mexican Border Service 1916 World War Victory 1918
Army of Occupation American Defense WAC American Campaign Euro-Afro-ME
Army of Occupation 1918 American Defense 1940 Women's Amry Corps 1941 American Campaign 1941 European-African-Mid East 1941
Euro w/ star arrowhead Asiatic-Pacific WW II Victory
Euro Afro Mid East with
two campaign stars
and one assault arrowhead
Asiatic-Pacific 1941 World War Two Victory 1945

Distinguished Unit Awards

Distinguished Unit Meritorious Unit
Distinguished Unit Citation 1942
Oak Leaf Cluster for additional award
Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944


  1. The Certificate of Merit was replaced by the Distinguished Service Medal in 1918 and in 1934 this was upgraded to a Distingusihed Service Cross.

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