Inter-service awards and decorations of the United States military
Inter-service decorations of the United States military are military awards that are issued by the U.S. Armed Forces to members of all five branches of military service. Such medals are thus considered "inter-service" and are awarded under the same criteria to all military branches.
The first inter-service medal to be created was the World War I Victory Medal. This was followed by the Purple Heart and the Silver Star, established in 1932 by a General Order of the Department of the Army. In 1942, the United States Navy authorized the issuance of these two medals to members of the Navy and United States Marine Corps. Prior to this time, several older service medals had been issued both to the Army and Navy, but in different versions for each service. The World War I Victory Medal, Silver Star, and Purple Heart were thus the first medals which appeared identical, regardless of which service was bestowing the award.
The next inter-service medals to be created were the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal. By the end of World War II, several Second World War campaign medals had also been established for issuance to both Army and Navy personnel. The United States Coast Guard also received such decorations under the authority of the Department of the Navy.
The Korean Service Medal was the first inter-service decoration which was issued to all five branches of the U.S. military as, by the time frame of the Korean War, the United States Air Force had been established as a separate branch of service. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States Armed Forces began creating several more campaign medals and service awards, all of which could be issued to every branch of the military.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States Department of Defense began creating a series of peacetime meritorious awards which were eligible for presentation to any military member working in a joint command or under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. The last such medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, was created in 1983. The only inter-service unit decoration, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award was created in 1981.
The Medal of Honor, while technically an inter-service decoration, is issued in different versions for each branch of military service. There are presently three versions in existence for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Marines receive the Navy version while a Coast Guard version, which exists in theory, has never been bestowed (the one Coast Guard recipient of the Medal of Honor received the Navy version).
The following are the various military medals of the United States which are considered inter-service. Medals are shown in categories, not in order of precedence for uniform wear.
Medal of Honor 
|Medal of Honor|
Department of Defense decorations 
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal||Defense Superior Service Medal||Defense Meritorious Service Medal||Joint Service Commendation Medal||Joint Service Achievement Medal|
|Joint Meritorious Unit Award|
Federal military decorations 
|Silver Star||Legion of Merit||Distinguished Flying Cross||Bronze Star Medal||Purple Heart||Meritorious Service Medal||Air Medal|
Federal service medals 
General service 
Volunteer Service Medal
Reserve and Special service 
|Armed Forces Reserve Medal||Prisoner of War Medal||Antarctica Service Medal|
Korean War service 
|Korean Service Medal||Korea Defense Service Medal|
Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Balkans service 
|Vietnam Service Medal||Southwest Asia Service Medal||Kosovo Campaign Medal|
|Afghanistan Campaign Medal||Iraq Campaign Medal||Global War on Terrorism
|Global War on Terrorism
- "PURPLE HEART (Background.c.)"，The Institute of Heraldry，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/purple_heart.aspx
- "The United States of America: Silver Star"，Medals of the World，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/silver_star.aspx
- "PURPLE HEART (Background.d.)"，The Institute of Heraldry，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/purple_heart.aspx
- "SILVER STAR (Background.c.)"，The Institute of Heraldry，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/silver_star.aspx
- "LEGION OF MERIT"，The Institute of Heraldry，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/legion_of_merit.aspx
- "The United States of America: Korea Service Medal"，Medals of the World，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/korean_service.aspx
- "Joint Meritorious Unit Award"，http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/joint_meritorious.aspx
- "JOINT MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD"，Headquarters United States European Command，http://www.eucom.mil/english/CommandStaff/ECJ1/ECJ1-PAD/JMUA/jmuamain.asp
- "Douglas Albert Munro, USCG", http://www.uscg.mil/history/Munro%20Index.html
See also