View Full Version : Some Info On Medals...

09-27-02, 07:55 PM

This is an e-mail from the WW I-List that I am subscribed to--thought some of you might be interested....


Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2002 10:04:58 +1000
From: "Harvey Shore" <onero@ozemail.com.au> | This is Spam | Add to Address Book
To: wwi-l@raven.cc.ku.edu
Subject: Re: Medal Ribbons

I always like to compare or contrast the wearing of medal ribbons per se with the activities of that wonderous American Douglas MacArthur. In 1917 this former staff officer was promoted to Colonel and sailed to France as CofS of the 42nd National Guard Div (The Rainbow Div).

His Division occupied a quiet sector of the Western Front from March to July 1918 and, apart from coming under artillery fire, it saw no combat until a counter-offensive on July 17, 1918. It then saw combat for three weeks. After three weeks, MacArthur was transferred to command of the 84th Brigade. The 84th was in reserve.

It did not go into action until 7 September, 1918. It stayed in action until 18 October, 1918 - about six weeks. It then went back into reserve. One week before the armistace, MacArthur took command of the Rainbow Div - but then the war ended. So in total MacArthur saw about nine (9) weeks of action.

Now, in the First World War, let's agree that it was rare for any senior staff officer to be in the trenches, or to be in a position to act with gallantry against the enemy, or to be awarded medals for gallantry. Headquarters officers had no place at the front, and would not be doing their duty if they were there too often.

But during the nine weeks that MacArthur's unit was actually in combat, MacArthur was:
* Nominated in November 1918 by himself (as Rainbow Division's commander) for a Cingressional Medal of Honour.

* Decorated with a DSO and a Silver Star (and a French Croix de Guerre) for his first six weeks in action, after being nominated in all cases by the 42nd Div's CofS (himself)..

* Decorated with another six Silver Stars, a second DSO and the Distinguished Service Medal, all awarded by the commander of the 84th (himself).

Later, MacArthur instituted the US practive where each separate award can be represented by another medal ribbon. Thus, elsewhere, six silver stars would be represented by one medal and five bars.

But MacArthur wanted all his medals to be clearly seen, and changed the US Military Forces' entire rule book so this could happen. That's one reason US soldiers display such a large acreage of medals and other armies do not.

Incidentally MacArthur's habit of taking the credit and getting the medals continued until he was sacked. Once in Australia during World War Two, MacArthur accepted an Air medal from his own Air Commander for making a routine flight from Brisbane to the Aussie troops fighting near Port Moresby, and then flying back to his base in Brisbane.

Harvey Shore

----- Original Message -----
From: dave
To: wwi-l@raven.cc.ku.edu
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2002 4:23 AM
Subject: Re: Medal Ribbons

I can't comment on what Haig was wearing on his ribbon bar, but I am sure that it probably did not {ed: include?} many or even any "time and place" awards.
But why pick on modern times American generals. Isn't that comparing apples and oranges? Also, if you are in wonderment about American generals, have you ever seen pictures Soviet-era generals and others with the swarm of awards that they carried on their chests, sometimes both sides.

09-28-02, 01:25 PM

09-28-02, 02:16 PM
Just based on things I remember seeing when I was in. I saw a L/Cpl address an issue of equipment concern on a Helicopter. The Sergeant and GySergeant got the Navy Achievement medal for seeking to correct this issue The L/Cpl got nothing. Saw another Marine lose two years time in grade and given a medal for heroism for the same incident. His rank was restored a few months later, w/o the time in grade. Basically ruining his chances for promotion to SNCO. I saw that type of thing a few times. I couldn't begin to tell of the number of times I saw an officer get a medal for what his troops did, with none of the troops gettin any recognition. I don't know how many times I saw one Marine get a medal for something, while another who did the exact same thing was ignored. The enlisted folks, particularly the junior enlisted Marines definitely earned every medal they got, and more. How many others were never recognised for their actions only due to the fact that an officer or senior SNCO didn't witness their sacrifice....

I am proud to have served.