"V" Device

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"V" Device
Valor device.jpg
Awarded by United States
Type Ribbon device
Status In use
Statistics
First awarded 1945

The "V" Device is a miniature bronze or gold colored 14 inch letter "V" with serifs that is authorized to be worn on certain personal decorations awarded to members of the United States Army (bronze "V"), Air Force (bronze "V"), [1]Navy (gold "V"), Marine Corps (gold "V"), and Coast Guard (bronze "V"). The Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard refer to the "V" device as the Combat Distinguishing Device or Combat "V".[2][3][4][5]

The criteria for wear of the "V" device differ between the services.[6]

Criteria and wear[edit]

The "V" device must be specifically authorized in the award citation for wear on the award. Although a service member may be cited for heroism in combat and be awarded some awards authorizing the "V" device, only one "V" may be worn on each award.[1] The criteria vary between the services:

  • Army – the "V" is worn solely to denote "participation in acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy".[2]
  • Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard – the "V" is worn to denote combat heroism or to recognize individuals who are "exposed to personal hazard during direct participation in combat operations".[1][4][5]
  • Air Force – the "V" is worn on the Bronze Star Medal to denote heroism in combat, on the Commendation Medal and Achievement Medal to denote heroism or being "placed in harms' way" during contingency deployment operations, and on the Outstanding Unit Award and Organizational Excellence Award ("V" device discontinued for both awards on January 1, 2014) it had indicated the unit participated in direct combat support actions.[3]

For the Medal of Honor, the Department of Defense, Manual of Military Decorations and Awards, 2010 specifies, "for each succeeding act that would otherwise justify award of the Medal of Honor, the individual receiving the subsequent award is authorized to wear an additional Medal of Honor ribbon and/or a "V" device on the Medal of Honor suspension ribbon."[7]

Army and Air Force[edit]

The "V" Device is worn alone or in conjunction with bronze or silver oak leaf clusters on Army and Air Force service ribbons. The "V" is always worn to the right of any oak leaf clusters from the wearer's perspective. The "V" is worn in the center of the ribbon if no oak leaf clusters are worn.[8][9]

Valor device.svg Distinguished Flying Cross (one award with the "V")
Valor device.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Bronze Star Medal (two awards; 1-2 awards with the "V")
Valor device.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal (three awards; 1-3 awards with the "V")
Valor device.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Army Commendation Medal (four awards; 1-4 awards with the "V")
Valor device.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Outstanding Unit Award (five awards; 1-5 with the "V") - "V" discontinued 1-1-2014

Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard[edit]

The Combat "V" may be worn alone or in conjunction with gold or silver 516 Inch Stars on Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard service ribbons. The "V" is always worn in the center. Any stars are added to the right and left of the "V" in balance, starting with the right side from the wearer's perspective.[10][11]

Combat Distinguishing Device.png Legion of Merit (one award with the "V")
Combat Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).png Distinguished Flying Cross (two awards; 1-2 awards with the "V")
Combat Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png Bronze Star Medal (three awards; 1-3 awards with the "V")
Combat Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards; 1-4 awards with the "V")
Combat Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).pngAward star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (five awards; 1-5 awards with the "V")
Valor device.svg Award star (gold).pngAward-star-silver-3d.pngAward star (gold).png Coast Guard Commendation Medal (eight awards; 1-8 awards with the "V")

Air Medal with "V" device[edit]

The military service branches authorize the "V" Device (or Combat "V") for the Air Medal. In the past, Air Medal devices varied greatly depending upon the branch of service and time period of issuance. Air Medal devices denote a distinction between individual flight achievement and those awarded for strike-flight missions. An Air Medal with the "V" device is awarded for an individual mission where heroism in aerial combat was involved.

Table of decorations[edit]

The "V" device may be worn on the following decorations:

Army personnel[2] Navy and Marine Corps personnel[4] Air Force personnel[3] Coast Guard personnel[5]
Medal of Honor Medal of Honor Medal of Honor Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal Legion of Merit Distinguished Flying Cross Legion of Merit
Air Medal Distinguished Flying Cross Bronze Star Medal Bronze Star Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal Bronze Star Medal Air Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal Air Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal Coast Guard Commendation Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal Air Force Commendation Medal Coast Guard Achievement Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Air Force Achievement Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Outstanding Unit Award (Discontinued 1-1-2014)
Organizational Excellence Award (Discontinued 1-1-2014)

History[edit]

In 1944, the Army authorized the "V" Device as an attachment to be worn on the Bronze Star Medal.[12] The "V" device was first worn to denote an award for valor in 1945.[1] The Secretary of the Navy authorized the Combat "V" for the Bronze Star Medal and the Legion of Merit on February 13, 1946.

The Army and Air Force authorizes the "V" Device for specific decorations to denote valor. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard authorizes the Combat "V" for specific decorations to denote valor in combat, combat participation, or combat support participation.[1]

In 2011, updated regulations concerning the Medal of Honor specified that the "V" Device (or Combat "V"), instead of the oak leaf cluster and 5/16 inch star would be used to denote additional citations in the rare event of a second Medal of Honor recipient. This is the first use of the "V" device for a Medal of Honor. As there has not been a living repeat Medal of Honor recipient since the era of World War I, the use of the "V" in this fashion has yet to be implemented in practice.

In 1996, the "V" device garnered public attention after the suicide of Admiral Jeremy Boorda, who was the Chief of Naval Operations of the Department of the Navy. The news media reported that his death by suicide may have been caused by a Navy investigation into whether he was wearing this device on the service ribbons of his uniform without authorization. Admiral Boorda had been wearing a Combat "V" on two decorations he was awarded during the Vietnam War as a weapons officer and executive officer aboard two naval ships off the coast of Vietnam. Although there were indications these devices were authorized to be worn on his Navy Commendation and Achievement Medals, the Department of the Navy Board For Correction of Naval Records determined after his death that both of the devices were not authorized to be worn.[13]

Notable recipients[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Department of Defense Manual 1348.33, Volume 3". Defense Technical Information Center. 23 November 2010. p. 53. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Army Regulation 600–8–22 Military Awards". United States Army. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "AFI 36-2803 Air Force Military Awards and Decorations Program". 18 December 2013. p. 218. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c SECNAVINST 1650.1H
  5. ^ a b c "COMDTINST M1650.25D Medals and Awards Manual". May 2008. pp. 1–15. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Burgess, Lisa. "Pentagon reviewing ‘V’ device for consistency". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Department of Defense Manual 1348.33, Volume 1". Defense Technical Information Center. 12 October 2011. p. 34. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Department of the Army Pamphlet 670–1 Uniform and Insignia Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia". United States Army. 31 March 2014. p. 237. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "AFI 36-2903 Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel". United States Air Force. 18 July 2011. p. 156. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "CHAPTER FIVE IDENTIFICATION BADGES/AWARDS/INSIGNIA". United States Navy Uniform Regulations. United States Navy, Bureau of Personnel. pp. 5–48. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Uniform Regulations COMDTINST M1020.6G". United States Coast Guard. March 2012. pp. 3–100, 3–104. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "About the medals". http://www.stripes.com/. Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Board for Correction of Naval Records