How to Organize Your Military Medals


Military medals are used to commemorate the service of our brave troops. Because of these courageous men and women, we, as Americans, are able to live our lives peacefully and securely.

There are medals for every branch of the military including the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. These medals act as a symbol of honor and dedication.

Unfortunately, there has been a ton of disregard for members of our military in recent times. For that reason, it is more important than ever to protect the legacy of our troops.

Whether active or retired, military members deserve recognition for their tremendous sacrifice. These heroes literally risk their lives for the good of our country.

There are various types of medals that can be worn by military members. For instance, certain medals are used to honor certain moments, such as Afghanistan Medals. These specific types of medals are worn exclusively by military members that served in the War of Afghanistan.

There is also a tradition in how you organize military medals. In order to preserve this tradition, it is imperative to display your medals in the correct fashion.

Wearing Ribbons

Along with shiny, heavy medals, the military also gives out ribbons to their service members. These ribbons can be worn alongside your medals, or alone.

However, large medals and their equivalent ribbons should not be worn concurrently. Badges, both large and miniature, can also be worn with medals and ribbons.

Military ribbons should be worn in order of precedence. Therefore, if you are planning on wearing multiple ribbons, they should be organized by priority from right to left, in one or more rows. There should be either no space between rows or ⅛ of an inch between rows.

Ribbons can be worn in the morning or the daytime. They are usually worn on your military uniform, but you can also wear them on your regular civilian clothing if you’re attending a military event.

For proper placement, place your ribbons on your left lapel or breast pocket. If you’re wearing a jacket or tuxedo, put the ribbon on the left side of the lapel.

Claiming Medals

Now, you may be wondering if you can wear the medals of old family members. Well, the answer is yes; however, you need to do it the right way.

When a veteran passes away, their military medals are passed onto the immediate next of kin, typically the spouse. If the spouse is also deceased, it passes on to the oldest child.

Despite this rule, war medals should only be worn on the left breast by the person it was originally issued to. When wearing your family medals, you should wear it on the right breast.

Though it is not a crime to wear medals that aren’t yours, it is illegal under section 197 of the Army Act 1955 to impersonate a member of the armed forces. It is a crime to wear any military decoration, badge, wound stripe or emblem without authority.

Medal Rack

The traditional way of wearing your military medals is by displaying them on a medal rack on your uniform. Medal racks are used to organize and display your medals neatly.

Best of all, it is super easy to add this rack to any outfit. For your next wedding, banquet, or funeral, you can simply add this rack to your top.

If you have a lot of medals, you can also use different medal racks for different medal types. For example, if you have a handful of medals from a particular event, you can display all of them on the same rack.

Organizing by Branch

Ultimately, the way that you organize your medals will depend on the branch of the military you served in.

For Army members, full size medals are worn on blue uniforms, the preferred dress. They used to also be worn on green uniforms, but these have been discontinued. Miniature medals should be worn on the mess and evening uniform jackets.

For Marine Corps members, full size medals are worn on blue and white dress jackets. They are centered and in line between the first and second button of the uniform. Miniature medals should be worn on even dress jackets and centered on the left front jacket panel.

For Navy members, full size medals are worn on full dress uniforms, centered on the left side. Miniature medals are worn with all formal and dinner dress uniforms. They are centered on the left lapel of uniform jackets or on the left breasts of suit jackets.

For Air Force members, full size medals are worn on service and ceremonial dress uniforms. Miniature medals are worn on the blue mess dress or formal dress.


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