Pro Virtute Decoration

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Pro Virtute Decoration
Pro Virtute Decoration.jpg
Awarded by the State President and, from 1994, the President
Country South Africa  South Africa
Type Military decoration for bravery
Eligibility Officers
Awarded for Distinguished conduct and exceptional combat leadership in the field
Campaign(s) 1966-1989 Border War
Status Discontinued in 2003
Post-nominals PVD
Statistics
Established 1987
SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
SADF succession:
SANDF succession:
Ribbon - Pro Virtute Decoration.gif
Ribbon bar

The Pro Virtute Decoration, post-nominal letters PVD, is a military decoration for bravery which was instituted by the Republic of South Africa in 1987. It was awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for distinguished conduct and exceptional leadership during combat operations in the field.[1][2][3][4][5]

The South African military[edit]

The Union Defence Forces (UDF) were established in 1912 and renamed the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1958. On 27 April 1994, it was integrated with six other independent forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[5][6][7]

Institution[edit]

The Pro Virtute Decoration, post-nominal letters PVD, was instituted by the State President in 1987. The equivalent award for other ranks was the Pro Virtute Medal.[1][3][5]

Award criteria[edit]

The decoration could be awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for distinguished conduct and exceptional leadership during combat operations in the field. A Bar, instituted in 1993, could be awarded for a further similar deed of leadership in combat.[1][3][5]

Order of wear[edit]

The position of the Pro Virtute Decoration in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975, to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first with the integration into the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, again in April 1996 when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and finally with the institution of a new set of awards on 27 April 2003.[8][9]

South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994

Honoris Crux (1975) (HC) Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

  • Official SADF order of precedence:
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Police Cross for Bravery (PCF).
    • Succeeded by the Southern Cross Decoration (SD).[8]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Cross for Bravery Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

South African National Defence Force from April 1996

Star for Bravery in Silver (SBS) Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Star for Bravery in Silver (SBS) of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
    • Succeeded by the Southern Cross Decoration (SD) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003

Nkwe ya Selefera (NS) Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Nkwe ya Selefera (NS) of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Southern Cross Decoration (SD) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Mendi Decoration for Bravery, Silver (MDS) of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Southern Cross Decoration (SD) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Pro Virtute Decoration is a 9 carat gold five-armed Maltese cross, with one arm pointing down, which fits in a circle 45 millimetres in diameter. The arms of the cross are in white enamel, with the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms on a roundel in red emamel in the centre. Crossed proteas attach the upper two arms of the Maltese cross to the ribbon suspender, which is a bar decorated with leaves.[3][5]

Reverse

The reverse is undecorated and bears the words "PRO VIRTUTE".[3]

Pro Virtute Decoration and Bar
Bar

The Bar is silver-gilt and has an emblem depicting a Protea embossed in the centre. The same Bar was used to indicate multiple awards of the Pro Virtute Decoration, Southern Cross Decoration, Pro Merito Decoration and Ad Astra Decoration.[3]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 21 millimetres wide orange centre band between two 5½ millimetres wide pale blue bands, and hangs on a rectangular bar-brooch which is, like the suspender bar, decorated with leaves.

Discontinuation[edit]

Conferment of the Pro Virtute Decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003.[7][10]

Since a situation such as the Battle of Bangui in the Central African Republic from 22 to 24 March 2013 was not foreseen, the decoration was not replaced by a similar honour to distinguish between leadership under fire and leadership under non-operational conditions. This engagement has been described as one of the hardest-fought actions which the South African military have ever experienced, during which two officers displayed exceptional combat leadership to defeat a well-armed force, estimated at between 4,000 and 7,000, with only 200 men.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
  2. ^ SA Army - Uniform: Former Forces Medals - South African Defence Force (SADF)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mussell, John W.; Editorial Team of Medal News (2004). Mackay, James, ed. The Medal Yearbook 2004. Devon, UK: Token Publishing Ltd. p. 380. ISBN 978-1-870192-62-0. 
  4. ^ "The South African Air Force". Saairforce.co.za. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  6. ^ South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  7. ^ a b Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  8. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  10. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 26778, Pretoria, 17 September 2004
  11. ^ DefenceWeb Book Review: The Battle in Bangui: The untold inside story. By Helmoed Romer Heitman (Accessed 3 May 2015)
  12. ^ Tia Mysoa - 'The Battle in Bangui: The untold inside story' – Truth or Propaganda? (Accessed 3 May 2015)