HomeAboutFact SheetsDisplay

Silver Star Medal

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons

BACKGROUND

The Silver Star Medal had its beginning during World War I. An Act of Congress of July 9, 1918, authorized the wearing by Army personnel of a small silver star, 3/16 of an inch in diameter, upon the service ribbon of a campaign medal, to indicate a citation for gallantry in action, published in orders issued from headquarters of a general officer, not warranting the award of a Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross. Known in the Army as the citation star, the award was made retroactive, so that all those cited for gallantry in action in previous campaigns, even as far back as the Spanish-American War, were eligible to wear it.

 

CRITERIA

The Silver Star is currently awarded by all branches of the Armed Forces to any person who, while serving in any capacity, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly forces against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

 

MEDAL DESCRIPTION

On August 8, 1932, the Silver Star was re-designed as a medal by an Act of Congress. This medal, designed by the firm of Bailey, Banks and Biddle, is a gilt-toned star of five points. On the obverse side in the center, is a small silver star, (the same size as the original citation star) centered within a wreath of laurel. Eighteen rays radiate from the star to the wreath. The reverse of the star has the inscription: “For Gallantry in Action” in raised letters, below which is a blank area suitable for engraving the recipient's name.

 

RIBBON DESCRIPTION

The ribbon, one of the most striking of all American awards has a wide center stripe of red flanked on either side by a wide stripe of dark blue, a wide stripe of white, a thin stripe of white and a narrow stripe of dark blue at the edges.

 

AUTHORIZED DEVICES

Oak Leaf Cluster

 

WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 9