The first recognized medals of the US Army appeared during the American Civil War and were generally issued by local commanders on an unofficial basis. The Medal of Honor was the first award to be established in regulations as a permanent Army decoration, complete with benefits. The Medal of Honor is the only Civil War era award which has survived as a decoration into the modern age.
Furthermore, the US Army mandates that all unit awards will be worn separate from individual awards on the opposite side of a military uniform. The Army is the only service to require this separation between unit and individual decorations. All Army unit awards are worn enclosed in a gold frame.
The Spanish-American War was the first widespread award of campaign medals, both for service in the actual conflict and for participation in subsequent garrison and occupation duty. After the Spanish-American War, however, medals in the US Army fell into disuse and, apart from a few peacetime Medal of Honor decorations, there were no further Army medals created until the First World War. World War I saw the first widespread distribution of medals for combat, as the Medal of Honor returned awarded for bravery in battle against an enemy force. The Distinguished Service Cross was also created for those soldiers who had performed feats of bravery but not to the level required of the Medal of Honor. The only other medal of World War I was the World War I Victory Medal, accompanied by a confusing array of battle clasps to denote combat participation.
In the 1920s and 30s, the US Army issued very few decorations and it was often common for a service member to spend an entire career without receiving a single medal. With the outbreak of World War II, however, the Army began the largest expansion of medals since the Spanish-American War as well as the first wide scale issuance of inter-service awards. In addition, several World War II campaign medals were created for various theaters and a World War II Victory Medal was established at the end of the conflict as well as an occupation medal.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Army expanded both its number of medals and ribbons, as well as having its service members eligible for several new inter-service campaign and service medals (such as the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the National Defense Service Medal).
In the modern age, members of other military branches serving under an Army command are also eligible to receive Army decorations. All Army service members may receive inter-service awards, international decorations, and authorized foreign medals. The Department of the Army also awards a limited number of civilian awards.
Only time and fate knows the future of peace, wars and the new missions that
the subordinate units of the 1st Cavalry Division may be called on to perform.
In any situation, they stand ready and can look to its combat record with
justifiable pride and hard earned satisfaction. All of the tasks have been
tough and they have been done well.
The following decorations have been earned by the 215th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) in service for their country.
Need a gift for an Alumni of the 1st Cavalry Division?
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Revised 03 Aug '11 SpellChecked