Robert E. Wyllie.

Orders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each online

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This last proviso is a recent amendment to the law, and
it provides recognition for the orders issued by a colonel
or other junior when in temporary command of a brigade
or other unit which is supposed to be commanded by a
general officer. There can never be any doubt regarding
the sufficiency of any case so far as this qualification is
concerned, neither can the second requirement ever be
obscure, that is, that it cannot be worn if a Medal of
Honor or Distinguished Service Cross is given for the
same act. The third condition however, "gallantry in
action," may require interpretation. The following
citation of Chaplain J. C. Moore, 313th Infantry is self
evident, as the exact phrase, "gallantry in action/' is

For gallantry in action near Montfaucon, 27th of September,
1 91 8, in giving aid to the wounded under enemy fire.


American ©ecorationsf

However, very few cases are so clear. Here is one whicn
illustrates when a decision is necessary:

I. The following officers and enlisted men are cited in orders
for distinguished conduct in action :

First Lieutenant James Lawrence, 9th Field Signal Battalion

By reason of his efficient handling of the Signal Corps
Detachment, attached to the 6th Infantry, during the St.
Mihiel engagement, successful communications were main-
tained at all times. This officer was constantly on duty at
his post, night and day. He personally took charge of and
directed the re-establishment of lines of communication at the
most advanced battalion P. C. during hostile bombardment.

This was decided favourably on the principle that
"gallantry in action" does not require any specific act of
heroism. Coolness and brilliant leadership in performing
his allotted mission in action to a sufficient extent as to
call forth such special commendation as a citation in
orders, is thus considered as "gallantry in action" under
the terms of this law. However the services which were
actually rendered must be set forth in the citation, quite
a number of orders were issued which simply cited indi-
viduals by name for "gallantry in action" without describ-
ing what they did to merit such mention. These orders
are defective and it has been officially held that they do
not authorize the wearing of a citation star until the order
has been amended to describe the services performed.

Services however distinguished and meritorious if not
carried out under hostile fire, cannot be considered. This
is illustrated in the following citation:


©rterj0{, ©ecotationfif, anb 3ns;ignia

The citations below are published for the information of all
concerned and the Commanding General hereby takes occa-
sion to express his added appreciation of the services rendered:

Lieutenant Colonel J , C.A.C.

For meritorious and distinguished service to the Govern-
ment in a responsible position in connection with military
operations against an armed enemy of the United States.

From 20 September to 23 October, 191 8, he was on duty as
a member of the operations section on the Staff of the Com-
manding General, Railway Artillery, attached to the ist
Army, A. E. F., in the Argonne-Meuse operation, of the ist
American Army. The performance of his duties was marked
by untiring energy and- zeal, good judgment and general
excellence and contributed largely to the success of the
American arms.

This does not entitle Colonel J to a citation star

but it brought forth a special certificate, signed by the
Commanding General, A.E.F., for meritorious services.
No decoration, however, accompanies such a certificate.

Many citations have been published in orders praising
entire units for gallantry in action, nevertheless, citation
stars are not authorized in such cases. The star is an
individual decoration and can only be worn for individual
services, gallantry on the part of an entire unit is appro-
priately rewarded by a decoration for the unit as a whole
rather than for the individuals composing it.

The citation star is not limited to the World War, it
can be worn for suitable citations in any war, on the proper
ribbon. Formerly it was not the custom in our country
to issue such orders, in fact at one time the War Depart-
ment in an official communication deprecated the publi-


lamerican ©etotation?

cation of orders in praise of living officers. It was con-
sidered perfectly proper in reports but not in orders which
are made public, consequently very few citations in orders
were made prior to the World War, for such as were
issued however citation stars are permitted, and some are
being worn now with the Philippine Campaign Medal.

No specific award of the star is necessary, the order
citing the individual is itself the award and constitutes
all the authority needed for wearing the decoration on
the proper ribbon, provided the three requisite conditions
above discussed are fulfilled. For this reason the number
of these stars awarded is not known, it is estimated that
it must be approximately 20,000. A large number have
more than one, probably six is as many as any one person
has earned. For the same reason the distribution be-
tween officers and enlisted men is unknown, but it
probably follows the general lines of the other valour

It will be observed that this decoration can be bestowed
on the field of battle, because the general in command
can issue his citation order as soon as he is in possession
of the facts, and this at once entitles the person to wear
the star. In this it corresponds quite closely to the
French Croix de Guerre and the Italian War Cross. All
our other decorations must be passed on by a central
board of awards, and then in the usual case by the Sec-
retary of War or the Secretary of the Navy before the
award is made. In the World War, however, this author-
ity was conferred on General Pershing for troops under
his command recommended for the Distinguished Service


Medal or Cross, and also for the Medal of Honor when
the person recommended was mortally wounded.

The law establishing the citation star applies only to
the Army but the Navy has adopted the same principle
in connection with their Victory Medal for the World
War by providing that a silver star will be worn on the
ribbon thereof, when any person has been commended,
"as the result of the recommendation of the Board of
Awards, by the Secretary of the Navy for performance of
duty not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor, Dis-
tinguished Service Medal or Navy Cross."

Citation Certificate

This is not a decoration, but as it is a reward for merit,
it deserves a place in this study. It is a certificate issued
by the Headquarters of the American Expeditionary
Forces in France and signed by General Pershing com-
mending the holder for specially meritorious services ren-
dered or for gallantry in action, two different forms of
certificate. It was authorized by the Secretary of War
in December, 191 8, in order to fill a gap in the existing
system of decorations and rewards, and it was given to
those whose services merited recognition, but who were
not eligible for any of the established decorations. For
example for those who performed the most excellent ser-
vice not involving heroism there is no decoration available
unless they were in the "duty of great responsibility'*
necessary to qualify for the Distinguished Service Medal.
It was largely to individuals of that class that General


American Betoration^Bi

Pershing gave these citation certificates, they therefore
correspond to the Navy Cross when that decoration is
given for services other than heroism. These certificates
do not carry any medal, ribbon, or other decoration and
therefore are similar to the Certificate of Merit prior to
1905. None of these certificates has been given except
for services with the A.E.F., arid with the return of our
forces to America the authority for their issue has ceased
(Plate 8).

Life Saving Medals

There are two classes of these medals, in gold and in
silver, both designed by A. C. Paquet. (Plate 7.) They
are bestowed by the Treasury Department under authority
of an Act of Congress of 1874. The gold medal, which is
suspended from a wide red ribbon, is awarded to persons
"who, by extreme and heroic daring have endangered
their lives in saving, or endeavouring to save, lives from
the perils of the sea in the waters over which the United
States has jurisdiction, or upon an American vessel." The
silver medal has a blue ribbon of the same width and is
given for the same character of services which are not
sufficiently distinguished to justify a gold medal. No act
however heroic can be rewarded with one of these medals
if performed in waters lying wholly within the boundaries
of a State and not forming a part of the navigable waters
of the United States, because the federal government has
no jurisdiction over such waters, so the Act does not apply.

Two medals of the same class are never given to one
person, instead a clasp of gold or silver to correspond with


the medal, is awarded in lieu of a second medal, but a per-
son can receive both a gold and a silver medal.

These medals can be given either to civilians or to mem-
bers of the miHtary and naval establishments. They are
worn on the left breast, after all other decorations but
before all service medals.

Any medal awarded by any department of the Federal
government can be worn on suitable occasions, but service
ribbons are authorized for those in the military and naval
services of the United States only for medals given by
the War and Navy departments, not for those awarded
by the civil branches of the government. In addition to
these life-saving medals this rule applies to the medal
awarded those who performed special services in connec-
tion with the construction of the Panama Canal, which
was received by several Army officers.














SERVICE medals are worn in the order in which the
services were performed. Owing to the fact that
in some cases one medal commemorates campaigns
widely separated in time, the relative positions of the
medals are not the same for all. For example, the Philip-
pine Campaign Medal is given for all the fighting in
the Philippines from 1899 ^o 1913, while the China medal
is limited to the years 1900-1901. If one person has both
these the order of wearing will depend on whether he was
in the Chinese expedition before or after he earned the
Philippine medal, that for the earliest service being worn
first. It frequently happens that an individual partici-
pated in several campaigns, any one of which entitles him
to the medal; in such a case, the date of the first which
qualifies him to receive the medal governs. The service
medals of our Army and Navy will now be described,
arranged according to the dates of the first campaign or
expedition commemorated.

The Civil War Medal was awarded for services in the
rnilitary or naval forces of the United States during the
Civil War. The obverse of the Army medal bears the head
of Lincoln and one of his most famous sayings "With


malice toward none, with charity for all." On the reverse
is a wreath enclosing the inscription "The Civil War 1861-
1865" (Plate 6). The battle between the Monitor and
Merrimac is represented on the obverse of the Navy
medal, while the reverse shows an eagle standing on a foul
anchor, with the words ''For Service"; above appears
** United States Navy" or "United States Marine Corps,"
as the case may be, and in the lower part a wreath of
laurel and oak (Plate 9). This reverse is used on nearly
all the Navy and Marine Corps medals, the exceptions
will be noted. The significance of the blue and grey rib-
bon is apparent.

The Indian Campaign Medal commemorates the various
campaigns of the Army against Indian tribes since 1865,
the list of these is long and they occurred all over the west-
ern portion of the country. The last for which the medal
was given was the expedition against the Chippewas in
Northern Minnesota in October, 1898. On the obverse
is a mounted Indian (Plate 6). The reverse shows an
eagle on a trophy of arms and flags, above the words
"For Service"; the inscription "United States Army"
appears around the upper half, with thirteen stars round
the lower edge. This reverse is used for the majority of
the Army service medals, the exceptions will be mentioned.
The original ribbon was all red, suggestive of the Indian,
but when our troops began to appear in France in the
summer of 191 7, it was found that the French mistook it
for the ribbon of the Legion of Honour; not only was the
colour the same, but it was also worn to the right of all
others (the same as a Frenchman wears the Legion of


American g>erbite JJlebafe antr Pabgefi^

Honour) , all Civil War veterans being out of active service.
As we did not wish to sail under false pretences, the two
black stripes were added. This medal was designed by-
Frank Millet.

The Manila Bay Medal, commonly known as the
"Dewey Medal,'* was authorized by Act of Congress
approved June 3, 1898, to commemorate the victory of
Manila Bay, and was awarded to all officers and men of
the Navy and Marine Corps who took part in that battle
of May I, 1898. It was designed by the sculptor, Mr.
Daniel C. French, and on the obverse is the bust of
Admiral Dewey (Plate 10). The reverse shows a seaman
sitting on a naval gun, grasping the staff of a flag draped
across his lap, below is stamped the name of the ship on
which the recipient served in the battle. This medal is
peculiar in that it is suspended from a bar by a link and
the ribbon merely hangs behind the medal and is not in
any way connected with the suspension thereof. The bar
shows an American eagle with its wings spread over the
sea, a. sword hilt to the right and an olive branch on the
left. The ribbon is in the Navy colours, blue and gold.

The Medal for Naval Engagements in the West Indies j
i8q8, popularly known as the "Sampson Medal," was di-
rected by Act of Congress, March 3, 1901 , and was awarded
to all officers and men of the Navy and Marine Corps
who participated in any of the engagements in the West
Indies between May 6, 1898, and August 14, 1898. The
medal is provided with bronze bars above the ribbon
bearing the names of the ships on which the recipient
served. On the obverse is a bust of Admiral Sampson,


0xhtt^, Becoratiottis^, anb KttjJignia

and on the reverse a group of figures on the deck of a ship,
the central figure being an officer, another a sailor firing
a rapid-fire gun and the third a marine with a rifle in his
hand, below is the name of the engagement (Plate lo).

The Meritorious Service Medal partakes somewhat of
the qualities of a decoration in that it was bestowed on
the personnel of the Navy who rendered particularly meri-
torious or hazardous services other than in battle during
the Spanish War. However it was not awarded individu-
ally, but to all who took part in certain specified opera-
tions and this classifies it definitely as a service medal.
It was directed by Act of Congress in 1901 and was given
to the crew of the Merrimac for their attempt to block
the harbour of Santiago, to the naval officers who recon-
noitred Santiago from the land side to ascertain whether
Cervera's fleet was there, to the crews of the ships which
cut cables under fire, and to the boats' crews which saved
the lives of sailors from the sinking Spanish ships in the
Battle of Santiago. On the reverse is placed the name
and rank of the recipient and the event and date for which
awarded (Plate 9).

The Spanish Campaign Medal was awarded to officers
and men of the Army who served in the theatre of opera-
tions during the Spanish War. In Cuba this required
service prior to the surrender of General Toral on July
17, in Porto Rico prior to August 13, the date of the
surrender of Ponce, and in the Philippines prior to August
16, when the Spaniards surrendered Manila. The castle
on the obverse is suggestive of the Spanish coat of arms
(Plate 6). The Naval medal is awarded to officers and


American g>erbice iHebate anb JSabges;

men of the Navy and Marine Corps who served afloat in
the theatre of active operations, or on shore in Cuba,
Porto Rico, the Phihppines, or Guam between May i,
and August i6, 1898. The obverse shows Morro Castle
at the entrance to Havana harbour (Plate 10). The first
ribbon was yellow and red, the Spanish colours, and the
arrangement was the same as on the Spanish flag. In
1 91 3, out of deference to the sensibilities of Spain, the
red stripes were changed to blue. The Army medal was
designed by Frank Millet.

The Spanish War Service Medal is given to all officers
and men who served ninety days in the war with Spain
and who are not eligible to receive the campaign medal for
that war. This medal was authorized in 191 9 and rec-
ognizes the fact that the entire personnel of the Army
contributed to the success of that war, whether they served
with the expeditionary forces or in the service of supply
at home. The obverse was signed by Col. J. R. M. Tay-
lor, U. S. A., retired, and shows a sheathed Roman sword
hanging on a tablet bearing, the inscription "For Service
in the War with Spain." The sheathed sword symbolizes
the fact that the wearer, although in the Army, did not
participate in the actual fighting (Plate 7). The reverse
was designed by the firm of Bailey, Banks, and Biddle and
shows the American eagle surrounded by a v/reath and with
a scroll below, left blank for the name of the recipient.
The ribbon is green with yellow stripes, the arrangement
being the same as on the ribbon of the Spanish Campaign

The Cuban Occupation Medal commemorates the mili-


tary occupation of that island, which commenced with
the surrender of the Spanish forces at Santiago and ter-
minated on May 20, 1902, when our troops evacuated,
leaving the new Cuban government in control. It is
given to all who served in the Army of Occupation during
that period. On the obverse is the coat of arms of the
Cuban RepubHc (Plate 7).

The Porto Rican Occupation Medal is similarly awarded
to all who served in the Army of Occupation in Porto
Rico, between the cessation of hostilities on August 13,
and the signing of the Treaty of Peace with Spain, Decem-
ber 10, 1898, by the terms of which treaty Porto Rico
became a possession of the United States. The design is
the same as that of the Spanish Campaign Medal with
an appropriate change of inscription, and the colours of
the ribbon are the reverse of those of the Cuban Occupa-
tion ribbon (Plate 6).

It will thus be seen that there are seven medals directly
connected with the Spanish War. One of these, the Span-
ish Campaign Medal, is common to both Army and Navy,
the other six are equally divided between the two services.

The Philippine Campaign Medal is given for services
rendered in the Philippine Islands, afloat or ashore, during
the insurrection, which commenced on February 14, 1899,
and lasted officially until the military government was
superseded by a civil government, July 4, 1902. In the
southern islands hostilities continued for a longer time
and eligibility for the medal in that vicinity extends to
the end of 1904. In addition those who took part in the
Moro campaign in Jolo and Mindanao in 1905, in the


American ^tthitt iWeliafe anb J&abgesf

engagement on Mt. Bud-Dajo in 1906 and the Bagsok
Campaign in Jolo of 191 3 (commanded by General Per-
shing) are also entitled to this medal. The Army medal
was designed by Frank Millet and on the obverse is a
cocoanut palm representing the tropical character of the
Philippines, with a Roman lamp on one side symbolical
of the enlightenment of the islands under American rule,
and the scales of justice on the other side indicating the
nature of that rule (Plate 7). It is engraved with the
year of the services for which rendered. The Navy medal
shows an old gate in the city wall of Manila (Plate 10).

The Philippine Congressional Medal was established by
Act of Congress in 1906 to reward those officers and men
of the Army stationed in the Philippine Islands who had
volunteered for the war with Spain and were therefore
entitled by law to their discharge when the Treaty of
Peace with Spain was ratified on April 11, 1899, but who
nevertheless voluntarily remained in the service to help
suppress the insurrection in the Islands. On the obverse
is a colour sergeant carrying the American flag with a
guard of two soldiers (Plate 7). On the reverse is the
inscription "For Patriotism, Fortitude and Loyalty"
within a wreath composed of a pine branch on one side
and a palm branch on the other.

The China Campaign Medal commemorates the inter-
national expedition which marched to Pekin to relieve
the legations during the Boxer trouble of 1900, and was
awarded to all officers and men who took part therein.
The Army medal was designed by Frank Millet and on
the obverse is the Imperial Chinese five-toed dragon


(Plate 7). The Navy medal shows the Chienmen, the
main gate to the walled city of Pekin, with the Imperial
dragon below. (Plate 10). The ribbon is yellow, the
colour of the Manchu dynasty then on the Chinese throne,
with narrow blue edges.

The Marine Expeditionary Ribbon represents partici-
pation in one or more of numerous expeditions to foreign
territories undertaken by detachments of Marines, and
for which no distinctive medal is awarded. Sixteen expe-
ditions are thus commemorated between the years 1902
and 191 7, including nine to Panama, two each to Cuba
and Nicaragua and one each to China, Abyssinia, and
Korea. This list is a good illustration of the diverse em-
ployment of the Marine Corps. This reward is unique in
two ways; first, there is no medal, only a service ribbon
which therefore does not indicate the possession of a medal
as in the case of all other service ribbons, it is itself the
decoration. When other service ribbons are worn, it
takes its place according to date, but in full dress it is
put after all decorations and medals. Second, the number
of expeditions in which the wearer participated is shown
by a bronze numeral on the ribbon. In other cases, for
example the Indian wars, a person may have been in
half a dozen campaigns each one of which qualifies him
for the medal, but he has nothing on either ribbon or
medal to show it, both are exactly the same as those worn
by a man who was in one campaign only. By this numeral
system the Marines give full credit for all the different
services rendered. This ribbon is in the colours of the
Marine Corps, scarlet and old gold (Plate 10).











• * ••.

ametican B>txbitt iUletiate anb JSabgesi

The Cuban Pacification Medal commemorates the mili-
tary occupation of Cuba between 1906 and 1909, and was
awarded to all officers and men who formed part of the
forces in the island during that period. This occupation
was undertaken for the purpose of pacifying Cuba and
aiding in the establishment of a stable government. The
obverse of the Army medal has the arms of Cuba with
two American soldiers at parade rest as supporters (Plate
7). The Navy medal shows Columbia presenting an
olive branch to Cuba, the Dove of Peace hovering above
(Plate 10). The ribbon is the Army olive drab with our
national colours in narrow stripes at each edge.

The Mexican Service Medal is awarded to all officers
and men of the Army who took part in the Vera Cruz
expedition of 19 14, in the Punitive expedition under Gen-
eral Pershing in 191 6-1 7, in the other authorized expedi-
tions into Mexico which occurred about the same time,
and in the various engagements along the border since
191 1 in which there were casualties among the American
forces. The last incident for which this medal is author-
ized was the expedition under General Erwin which en-
tered Mexico at Juarez in June, 1919. It was designed
by Col. J. R. M. Taylor, U. S. A. ; on the obverse is a Mexi-
can yucca plant in bloom, with mountains in the back-
ground (Plate 7) . The Navy medal is given to officers and

1 2 3 4 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryRobert E. WyllieOrders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each → online text (page 6 of 19)