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Decorations

Medals

Silver Medal of Valor


Silver Medal of Valor ribbon

The Silver Medal of Valor is the highest decoration a Civil Air Patrol member can receive. It is awarded for "distinguished and conspicuous heroic action, at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of normal duty."

If the situation does not put a members life in immediate danger, they may qualify for the Bronze Medal of Valor (see below). The same ribbon is used for both the Silver and Bronze Medals of Valor; with the exception that the Silver Medal of Valor ribbon has three silver star attachments. The basic ribbon (without attachments) represents the Bronze Medal of Valor.

Bronze Medal of Valor

Bronze Medal of Valor ribbon

The Bronze Medal of Valor is awarded to members for "distinguished and conspicuous heroic action where danger to self is probable and known.” The Chairman of the National Awards Review Board is authorized to approve this medal for the National Executive Committee. If there arises a case in which a member is credited with saving a human life, but where the act does not meet the criteria for either the Silver Medal of Valor or the Bronze Medal of Valor, the member is generally recommended for a Certificate of Recognition of Lifesaving. The award for both of these medals of valor consists of the medal and ribbon and a certificate that accompanies the decoration. A miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

Distinguished Service Medal

Distinguished Service Medal ribbon

The Distinguished Service Medal of the Civil Air Patrol is awarded for "conspicuous performance of outstanding service in a duty of great responsibility where the position held and results obtained reflect upon the accomplishments and prestige of CAP on a national scale.” The duties for which this medal are awarded must be extremely difficult and of importance to the national mission of the CAP. This is the highest award for service given by the CAP. Any member may nominate deserving cadets or officers for the award. All nominations are approved by the CAP National Headquarters. If the act of service is deemed to be important at the region level or wing level, the member is generally recommended for the Exceptional Service Award or the Meritorious Service Award. This award consists of the medal itself along with a ribbon and certificate that accompanies the decoration.  A miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

Other decorations

Exceptional Service Award

Exceptional Service Award ribbon

The Exceptional Service Award is presented to Civil Air Patrol members who provide "exceptionally outstanding service to CAP...while serving in any capacity with CAP." The award regulations do make clear that the duty should carry the responsibility for completion of a major project at the region level or wing level. Any CAP member may nominate another cadet or officer for the exceptional service award, but the duty must involve the fulfillment of a duty that greatly benefits the region or wing. All nominations must be approved by the region commander. This award does not come with a full-sized medal. It consists of a ribbon and a certificate that accompanies the decoration. A miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

Meritorious Service Award

Meritorious Service Award ribbon

The Meritorious Service Award is awarded for "outstanding achievement or meritorious service rendered specifically on behalf of CAP." The regulations are quite clear that the simply performing one's normal duties very well will not automatically qualify a member for this award. Instead, the award is meant for "achievements and services which are clearly outstanding and unmistakably exceptional," though not worthy of the Distinguished Service Medal or the Exceptional Service Award. When the award is made to individuals who are part of an exceptionally successful group of CAP members, the regulation states that the Meritorious Service Award should be presented only to those members whose efforts were clearly integral to the success of the program. All nominations for this award must be approved by the region commander. Like the Exceptional Service Award, this award does not come with a full-sized medal. It consists of a ribbon and a certificate that accompanies the decoration.  A miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

Commander's Commendation Award

Commander's Commendation Award ribbon

The Commander's Commendation Award is presented to Civil Air Patrol members for "outstanding duty performance where achievements and services are clearly and unmistakably exceptional when compared to similar achievements and service of members of like rank and responsibility." As in the case of the Meritorious Service Award, when an award is made to individuals who are part of an exceptionally successful group of CAP members, the regulation states that the Commander's Commendation Award should be presented only to those members whose efforts were clearly integral to the success of the program. The Commander's Commendation Award differs from the Exceptional Service Award and the Meritorious Service Award in that the former does not require the performance "achievements and services significantly above and beyond normal duty performance." Nominations for this award may be approved by and the award may be presented by either a wing, region, or national commander. In each case, the award is slightly different depending on the authority by whom it is approved:

  • the basic ribbon is awarded to members who earn the award as authorized by their wing commander

  • a bronze star is added to the ribbon when the award is authorized by the region commander

  • a silver star is added to the ribbon when the award is authorized by the National Commander

If a CAP member is presented with multiple awards, a clasp is place to the left (from the point of view of the wearer) of a silver or bronze star. Only one star of each type will be worn on this award. Like the Exceptional Service Award and Meritorious Service Award, this commendation does not come with a full-sized medal. It consists of a ribbon and a certificate that accompanies the decoration. A miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

Achievement Award

Achievement Award ribbon

The Civil Air Patrol's Achievement Award is given to a member when the circumstances of his or her performance are above and beyond those of the member’s peers, but are not sufficient enough to warrant a Commander's Commendation Award. The intent of the award is to empower wing and group commanders with the ability to recommend and present achievement awards locally. The official regulations state this the Achievement Award is "presented for outstanding service to the unit, group, or wing." It may be approved by a group commander and, if a group structure does not exist for a given squadron, the wing commander may designate who has the authority to approve this award. Like the other decorations below the level of Distinguished Service Medal, this award does not come with a full-sized medal of its own. It consists of a ribbon and a certificate that accompanies the decoration. A miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving

Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving ribbon

The Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving is awarded to members of the Civil Air Patrol "who save a human life, but do not meet the criteria for the Bronze [Medal of Valor] or Silver Medal of Valor." A member may be awarded this decoration for participation in a transport mission of either blood or organs, in which case he or she is presented with a basic ribbon and a certificate that accompanies the decoration. A silver star is attached to the ribbon in recognition of lifesaving actions other than blood or organ transport which still do not meet the requirements of the higher awards. Subsequent awards are denoted by the addition of bronze and silver clasps to the ribbon. If more than three devices are authorized for wear on this ribbon, a second ribbon is worn to the left (from the point of view of the wearer) of the initial ribbon. If future awards reduce the total number of devices to three the second ribbon is removed. All nominations for this award must be approved by the relevant CAP wing commander. This award does not come with a full-sized medal of its own, though a miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms.

National Commander’s Unit Citation Award

National Commander’s Unit Citation Award ribbon

The National Commander's Unit Citation Award was approved by the Civil Air Patrol's National Board at its March 2006 meeting." It is awarded to "units providing services or achievements above and beyond those normally recognized by a Unit Citation Award." Awards are made at the sole discretion of the National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol. The ribbon of the award is worn by all cadets and officers who were members of the unit during the time period for which the citation is awarded. Once the award has been made, members may continue to wear the ribbon even if they transfer out of the unit at a later date. Units that have been given the National Commander's Unit Citation Award are entitled to attach a streamer to the colors displayed at the unit's headquarters. This award does not come with a full-sized medal of its own, though a miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms that must be purchased through an outside vendor.

Unit Citation Award

Unit Citation Award ribbon

The Civil Air Patrol Unit Citation Award is presented for "exceptionally meritorious service or exceptionally outstanding achievement." This service and achievement must be clearly above that which is performed by other similar units. Members are awarded the Unit Citation Award ribbon if they were members of the unit during the time period for which the citation is awarded. Units can be awarded this citation as a result of extended meritorious service over the course of at least one year, or in recognition of outstanding achievements in a single specific act or notable accomplishment that is separate and distinct from the normal mission or regular function of the unit. The periods of an outstanding achievement are normally characterized by definite beginning and ending dates. Units that have been given the Unit Citation Award are entitled to attach a streamer to the colors displayed at the unit's headquarters. This award does not come with a full-sized medal of its own, though a miniature medal is available for senior members to wear on their mess dress uniforms that must be purchased through an outside vendor.

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