View Full Version : Marines opt to change award rules

07-25-06, 08:48 AM
Marines opt to change award rules
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO - To U.S. Marines, the Combat Action Ribbon is greatly prized as proof that they participated in the fight, rather than serving in the rear with the gear.

The rules for awarding the ribbon, which can also be given to sailors and Coast Guard personnel, were written in an era when war meant firefights -- unlike the Iraqi insurgency, which hides among civilians and employs roadside bombs and mortars.

So the commandant of the Marine Corps has changed the standards for awarding the Combat Action Ribbon. Troops who "render satisfactory performance under enemy fire" can receive the ribbon, even if no shots are fired in response.

"Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terror represent a new type of battlefield," said Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commanding general of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Sattler, who commanded Marines during the battle for Fallujah in late 2004, had asked Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee to review the ribbon.

Hagee announced the final rules, approved by the secretary of the Navy, late last month. Officers have until Jan. 1 to request that the ribbon be awarded to their troops retroactively.

So far, 85 Marines who had been rejected have received the award under the new rules.

The Combat Action Ribbon -- with its gold, blue and red stripes -- was created in 1969, during the Vietnam War.

In 1999 the award was made retroactive, extended to personnel who served in World War II and Korea. Coast Guard personnel are eligible when working under Navy direction.