Authorized foreign decorations of the United States military

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Authorized foreign decorations of the United States military are those military decorations which have been approved for wear by members of the United States armed forces but whose awarding authority is the government of a country other than the United States.

Policy and determination[edit]

The wear of foreign decorations may either be approved on a case-by-case basis or a general order may be declared allowing for blanket approval to all U.S. service members to wear a particular non-U.S. decoration.

The following is a list of foreign decorations which have been approved at one time for wear on United States military uniforms. Such awards are always worn after all United States decorations and before international military awards. The list below is by no means comprehensive, but does display the awards which have been bestowed to U.S. service members by the governments of foreign countries.

Awards of specific nations[edit]

Argentina[edit]

Argentinian decorations are only rarely awarded to senior US officers, most of those senior U.S. officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Australia[edit]

Australian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff level

Bahrain[edit]

Kingdom of Bahrain decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those senior US officers in the United States Central Command as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Belgium[edit]

Belgian Orders were awarded to senior U.S. officers, while the War Cross was presented to any rank for valor during World War I & World War II.

Bolivia[edit]

  • Order of Naval Merit (Bolivia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Naval Merit
  • Order of Aeronautical Merit (Bolivia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Aeronautical Merit

Bolivian decorations are only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, most of those senior US officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Brazil[edit]

Brazil's highest orders of merit were rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, during World War II.

In the 21st century United States military most of those post World War II era presentations are still only awarded to senior US officers, most of those senior U.S. officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Bulgaria[edit]

  • Order of the Madara Horseman ribbon.jpg Order of the Madara Horseman

Bulgarian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Canada[edit]

Canadian decorations were mainly awarded during World War I and World War II. The Meritorious Service Cross and Meritorious Service Medal are currently the only Canadian awards still being awarded to US personnel today. Most of those are awarded to senior U.S. officers in the United States European Command, United States Northern Command or North American Aerospace Defense Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Colombia[edit]

  • Order of Boyacá - Extraordinary Grand Cross (Colombia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Boyaca – Extraordinary Grand Cross, Grand Cross, Grand Officer
  • Order of Boyacá - Silver Cross (Colombia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Boyaca – Silver Cross
  • Order of Boyacá - Commander (Colombia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Boyaca – Commander
  • Order of Boyacá - Officer (Colombia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Boyaca – Officer
  • Order of Boyacá - Knight (Colombia) - ribbon bar.png Order of Boyaca – Knight
  • Colombian Air Force Cross.jpg Colombian Air Force Cross

Colombian decorations are only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, most of those senior US officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

China, Republic of (Taiwan)[edit]

Chinese decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War II.

Chile[edit]

  • Order of Merit.png Order of Merit

Chilean decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War II.

Croatia[edit]

  • Order of Prince Branimir.jpg Grade of Prince Branimir

Croatian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those were awarded to senior US officers in the United States European Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Czechoslovakia / Czech Republic[edit]

Czechoslovak War Cross 1918 Ribbon.png Czechoslovak War Cross 1918
Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945 Ribbon.png Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945

Czech Order of the White Lion was only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. The Czechoslovak War Cross was a little more commonly awarded to officers, then the Czech Order of the White Lion was, during World War I and World War II.

Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defense First Class are only rarely awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Denmark[edit]

Danish decorations were only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, during World War II.

Ecuador[edit]

Ecuadorean decorations were only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, during World War II.

Egypt[edit]

Egyptian decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those senior U.S. officers in the United States Central Command as "end-of-tour" decorations.

El Salvador[edit]

  • El Salvador Gold Medal for Distinguished Service Ribbon.png Gold Medal for Distinguished Service Medal

El Salvadoran decorations are only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, most of those senior U.S. officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Estonian[edit]

Estonian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those were awarded to senior U.S. officers in the United States European Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

France[edit]

Croix de Guerre (Cross of War)
Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 ribbon.svg Croix de guerre 1914-1918
Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svg Croix de guerre 1939-1945
Croix de Guerre des Theatres d'Operations Exterieurs ribbon.svg Croix de guerre des Théatres d'Opérations Exterieures

French decorations were presented to U.S. service members extensively during World War I and World War II. By far, the Croix de guerre was the most commonly bestowed decoration to United States service members of all ranks. Today, members of United States 5th Marine Regiment and 6th Marine Regiment, the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, the Army's 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st BN U.S. 28th Infantry Regiment, and the National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade Separate Brigade are authorized to wear a Fourragère aux couleurs de la Croix de guerre, signifying the award of three Croix de guerre to each unit during World War I, but only while that individual is assigned to the unit. The wearing of the decoration is considered ceremonial and the fourragère is not entered as an official military award in permanent service records.

The National Order of the Legion of Honor is mostly awarded to senior U.S. officers and Senior Enlisted Advisors in the United States European Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations. The National Order of Merit is awarded to lower ranking U.S. officers (Brigadier General - Major) and Senior Non-commissioned officers assigned to the United States European Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations. The French Commemorative Medal and the French Medal of National Defense can be awarded to any foreign military member who has served under French command.[1] These are the only French medals still being awarded to U.S. personnel today.

Germany[edit]

GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Bravery ribbon.svg Bundeswehr Cross of Honour for Valour
GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Red Gold ribbon.svg Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor for Outstanding Deeds
GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Gold ribbon.svg Bundeswehr Cross of Honor

German decorations have been awarded to United States soldiers beginning as far back as the American Revolution. By the time of the First World War, German decorations had faded from the military memory of the United States and, during the actual conflict where Germany and America were on opposing sides, the wear of any German decoration by an American soldier would have been unthinkable.

The sole authorization of a Nazi decoration to U.S. personnel was in 1938 when the Order of the German Eagle was awarded to a small number of U.S. military personnel who had either served in Germany in a diplomatic posting or who had performed an act of service to the German state. The Order was entered in service records, but was never authorized for display on a United States uniform.

In the 21st century United States military, the German Proficiency and Marksmanship Badges are far more commonly awarded, mainly to U.S. Army and Air Force personnel. The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany was last awarded to a US officer in 2007 and is today rarely awarded to only very senior U.S. officers. Most of those senior U.S. officers were in the United States European Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Greece[edit]

Greek decorations were only very rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers, during World War II.

Guatemala[edit]

  • Guatemalan Armed Forces Cross.jpg Guatemalan Armed Forces Cross

Guatemalan decorations are only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, most of those senior U.S. officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Haiti[edit]

Haitian decorations were only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, during World War II.

Honduras[edit]

  • Honduras Armed Forces Cross Ribbon.png Honduran Armed Forces Cross

Honduran decorations are only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, most of those senior U.S. officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Hungary[edit]

  • Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic ribbon.JPG Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic

Hungarian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Iceland[edit]

Icelandic decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Iraq[edit]

  • Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm Ribbon.png Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm

Iraqi decorations are only awarded to very senior U.S. officers, most of those were awarded to the Multi-National Force - Iraq Commander as "end-of-tour" decorations.

To date the only person that has been allowed to wear any Iraqi award has been General Petraeus, Multi-National Force - Iraq Commander.

Israel[edit]

The Service in Israel Medal is awarded to military attachés who service at least two years in Israel upon the end of their assignment with the IDF. First instituted in 2007, it is still a somewhat rare decoration and there are certain restrictions regarding its display (or in some case, even its mention) for U.S. personnel stationed in other Middle Eastern Arab countries who are on unfriendly terms with Israel. These include the UAE, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

Italy[edit]

Italian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. The first presentations of Italian decorations to U.S. personnel were made in the months following World War II. This was mainly done to foster a new era of friendly relations between the US and Italy.

There are post-World War II presentations, but most of those medals are awarded to officers assigned in Italy. The Italian Orders are mainly awarded to senior U.S. officers in the United States European Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Japan[edit]

The first presentations of Japanese decorations to U.S. personnel were made in the months following World War II when the new Japanese government presented several decorations to senior U.S. military officers then in charge of the occupation force garrisoning Japan. This was mainly done to foster a new era of friendly relations between the US and Japan and to recognize the joint and allied nature which the new Japanese Self Defense Force would have with the United States armed forces. Some awards were discontinued after the Second World War, such as the Order of the Golden Kite.

Today Japanese decorations are only awarded to senior U.S. officers in the United States Pacific Command usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Kuwait[edit]

The Kuwait Liberation Medal was awarded to all U.S. service members who served in the theater of operations during the "Operation Desert Shield" and "Operation Desert Storm" phase of the Gulf War, between 2 August 1990 and 31 August 1993.[2]

Lithuania[edit]

Lithuanian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. But most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Luxembourg[edit]

Luxembourg decorations were presented mainly during World War II. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

The Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau was founded by Grand Ducal decree on 31 March 1858 by King-Grand Duke William III. The honour was to be shared between both branches of the House of Nassau, under agreement between William, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Adolphe, Duke of Nassau and future Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Mexico[edit]

Mexican decorations were mainly presented to very senior U.S. officers during World War II. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but these are mainly confined to the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

Montenegro[edit]

Montenegrin decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War I.

Morocco[edit]

Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite ribbon.png 1913 - 1956 Order of Ouissan Alaouite
Order of Ouissam Alaouite.svg 1957 - Present Order of Ouissam Alaouite

The Order of Ouissam Alaouite was awarded mainly to United States military officers who had served on the Operation Torch planning staff during World War II. In the film Patton, George C. Scott plays then Major General George S. Patton who is awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite at the start of the film. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but these are mainly confined to the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

The Netherlands[edit]

The Dutch presented awards to U.S. service members mainly during World War II; the Honorary Sabre was very rarely awarded to very senior US officers. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

The Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau was founded by Grand Ducal decree on 31 March 1858 by King-Grand Duke William III. The honour was to be shared between both branches of the House of Nassau, under agreement between William, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Adolphe, Duke of Nassau and future Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Nicaragua[edit]

  • Nicaraguan Cross of Valor.png Nicaraguan Cross of Valor
  • Nicaraguan Medal of Military Merit.png Nicaraguan Medal of Military Merit

Nicaraguan medals were somewhat commonly awarded to U.S. Marine and Navy personnel, during the Nicaraguan Campaigns of 1912 & 1933.

Norway[edit]

Norwegian decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers, during World War I & World War II.

The War Cross is Norway's highest ranking decoration for gallantry. It was so rarely awarded to US military personnel, that only two U.S. officers have ever received it to date, CAPT Alfred Carini and LTC Keith N. Allen.

Pakistan[edit]

Pakistani decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War II. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but these are mainly confined to the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

Paraguay[edit]

  • National Order of Merit (Paraguay) - ribbon bar.png Paraguay National Order of Merit

Paraguayan decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War II.

Peru[edit]

Peruvian decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War II. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but these are mainly confined to the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

In the 21st century United States military, the awarding of Peruvian decorations are still only rarely awarded to senior US officers, most of those senior US officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Philippines[edit]

The Philippine Medal of Valor, Distinguished Conduct Star and Philippine Legion of Honor were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers, during World War II. The Philippine Defense Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal and Philippine Independence Medal were commonly awarded to soldiers and sailors of all ranks during World War II.

Poland[edit]

Polish decorations were first presented to U.S. senior military leaders in the aftermath of World War II as a measure of thanking the Allies for liberating Poland from Nazi Germany.

When Poland fell behind the Iron Curtain, awards to U.S. service members all but ceased. In the 21st century, with Poland now a member in NATO, awards have resumed to U.S. personnel, but most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

The Iraq Star has been awarded to U.S. officers who served with Polish forces in Iraq (MND-CS).
The Afghanistan Star has been awarded to U.S. officers who served with Polish forces in Afghanistan (as part of the ISAF).

The Polish Army Medal has been awarded by Minister of National Defense to foreign nationals, military or civilian, who rendered merit in cooperation between the Polish Armed forces and the armed forces of other countries, in particular by supporting peacekeeping operations of the Polish Armed forces, rendered merit in the area of cooperation of international military units including Polish units, contributed to the growth of military potential of the Polish Armed Forces or to dissemination of Polish military history or traditions abroad.

Portugal[edit]

Portuguese Order of Aviz was awarded to very senior U.S. officers, during World War II. Most of the medals awarded now in the 21st century United States military, are to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Republic of Korea (South Korea)[edit]

Tong-il Security Medel Ribbon.png Tong-il Medal
Gugseon Security Medal Ribbon.png Gugseon Medal
Cheon-Su Security Medal Ribbon.png Cheon-Su Medal
Sam IL Security Medal Ribbon.png Sam-il Medal
Gwangbog Security Medal Ribbon.png Gwangbog Medal
Taeguk Cordon Medal.png Taeguk Cordon Medal
Eulji Cordon Medal.png Eulji Cordon Medal
Chungmu Cordon Medal.png Chungmu Cordon Medal
Hwarang Cordon Medal.png Hwarang Cordon Medal
Inheon Cordon Medal.png Inheon Cordon Medal

South Korean decorations were first awarded to U.S. service members during the Korean War.

The award of Korean medals in the 21st century is mainly confined to senior U.S. military leaders attached to either USFK or CNFK.

Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)[edit]

Senior Leadership awards

ArmyDSMribbon.png Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class
Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order Ribbon 2nd Class.png Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 2nd Class
Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Order, First Class ribbon.png Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class
Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Order Ribbon 2nd class.png Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Order, 2nd Class
Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, First Class ribbon.png Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class
Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order Ribbon 2nd Class.png Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, 2nd Class

Individual awards

Unit awards

Other awards

Republic of Vietnam military awards (South Vietnam decorations) were first awarded to United States service members beginning around 1964. The Vietnamese Gallantry Cross and the Vietnamese Civil Actions Medal were awarded to some U.S. servicemen for heroism and meritorious service. The National Order was awarded to some U.S. military officers who were killed in action and the Military Merit Medal was awarded to some U.S. non-officers who were killed in action. The National Order and Distinguished Service Order was awarded to some senior U.S. military personnel. The Campaign Medal were commonly awarded to all U.S. military personnel and the remainder of the decorations were awarded with different frequency between the U.S. service branches and amongst officer/non-officer personnel.

Romania[edit]

Romanian decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers, during World War I and World War II. There have been some rare post-World War II presentations, but these are mainly confined to the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

The Saudi Arabian Kuwait Liberation Medal was a little less commonly awarded to all U.S. service members, it was awarded only during the dates of 17 January 1991 and 28 February 1991 with in-theater service of the Gulf War.

Singapore[edit]

Singaporean decorations are very rarely awarded to only senior U.S. officers, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff level.

Slovakia[edit]

  • Commemorative Medal of the Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic First Class ribbon.jpg Commemorative Medal of the Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic First Class

Slovakian decorations are only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers. Most of those were awarded to the United States European Command Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Soviet Union / Russia[edit]

Soviet decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during World War II. Due to the different ribbon bar sizing between US and USSR decorations, Soviet ribbons were also impractical for daily wear on United States uniforms. In addition, by the 1950s at the start of the Cold War, most U.S. officers who had been awarded such medals during World War II simply chose to stop wearing them.

Spain[edit]

  • Spanish Grand Cross of Naval Merit Ribbon.png Grand Cross of Naval Merit

Spanish decorations were only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers during World War II.

Sweden[edit]

SWE Royal Order of the Polar Star (1748-1975) - Knight BAR.png 1748 - 1975 Order of the Polar Star
SWE Order of the Polar Star (after 1975) - Knight 2nd Class BAR.png 1975 - Present Order of the Polar Star

Swedish decorations were only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers during World War II.

Thailand[edit]

Thai decorations are very rarely awarded to only senior U.S. officers, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff level.

Tunisia[edit]

Tunisian decorations were only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers during World War II.

United Arab Emirates[edit]

  • Military Merit Order First Class Ribbon.png Military Merit Order First Class
  • King Faisal Award, 2d Class Ribbon.png King Faisal Award, 2d Class

UAE decorations were only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers during the Gulf War. Most of those senior U.S. officers in the United States Central Command as "end-of-tour" decorations.

United Kingdom[edit]

Orders of Chivalry

Military Decorations

Campaign Medals

Britain's highest award for gallantry the Victoria Cross has only been awarded to one U.S. military member, the U.S. Unknown Soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross, on November 11, 1921.

United Kingdom decorations were awarded extensively to U.S. service members during both the First World War and World War II. The orders of chivalry were reserved mainly for senior U.S. military leaders. The remaining decorations were awarded frequently amongst the entire enlisted and officer corps of the U.S. military. The Distinguished Flying Cross was a common decoration for those Americans attached to the Eagle Squadrons; when some of those personnel transferred back to the United States Army Air Forces after America entered the war, the British DFC became a fairly common sight on U.S. uniforms during that time period.

In the 21st century United States military, the awarding of British decorations to U.S. service members is still somewhat common, most often to officers assigned in England or other various capacities with NATO European based defense groups.

Uruguay[edit]

  • Urug Aeronautical Merit ribbon.jpg Aeronautical Merit Medal

Uruguayean decorations are only rarely awarded to senior U.S. officers, most of those senior U.S. officers have been in the United States Southern Command & United States Southern Command Air Forces Commander usually as "end-of-tour" decorations.

Vatican City[edit]

Vatican awards of Pontifical Equestrian Orders of Chivalry are made by the Vatican Secretary of State in the name of the Sovereign Pontiff and may be accepted and retained by U.S. Military personnel as honorary merit awards and not for wear of the U.S. Military Uniform.[3]

Yugoslavia[edit]

The Order of the White Eagle was only rarely awarded to very senior U.S. officers, during World War II.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bagram.afcent.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123194285
  2. ^ "Kuwait Liberation Medal". Air Force Personnel Center. 2009-07-26. 
  3. ^ AR 600-8-22 (Military Awards), Appendix E (Foreign Decorations), March 2013
  • "Case Reference Guide for the authorization of military awards and decorations", Military Personnel Records Center; St. Louis, Missouri
  • SECNAVINST 1650.1H (Navy Awards Manual)
  • AFI 36-2803 (Air Force Awards and Decorations Program)
  • AR 670-1 Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia [1]
  • AR 600-8-22 Military Awards Appendix D, Foreign Badges, and E, Foreign Awards [2]