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Question about WWII era Ribbons/Medals


EricJK

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I'm putting a shadowbox together for my grandfather's WWII stuff that he never got issued in his lifetime. An old picture we have shows that he had some ribbons on his uniform, one of which had a device on it that I believe to be a star. When the Military sent us all of his medals, the ribbons didn't have the device.

 

If he had a device on his ribbon and I purchase one to affix to the ribbon that was sent me after his death, will the corresponding medal have that same device on it as well?

 

Also, which ribbon holder should I purchase for WWII ribbons? I probably need 2 triples and a single I just don't know which size.

 

I didn't really know who to contact about this so I figured this is the place.

 

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Yes a Star Device will be on the full size medal, but he might of had more by the time the war ended, as the one you show looks to be a wartime foto.

 

Ribbon with star device looks like the Europe Africa Middle East (EAME) Ribbon, where what we can make out so far is the American Campaign ribbon, the aforementioned EAME ribbon and the American Defense ribbon, as he apparently was on a ship that was both in the Atlantic and the Pacific, something that was seen to be sure, and that means more stars in either case, more on one and more on the other.

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Why wouldn't the Navy have sent me ribbons with devices? What is also interesting that I mentioned in another thread is that his military record only shows that he was awarded two medals, and based on my research looking at the mission of the ship and his time aboard I don't really know for sure that he served in the Pacific.

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The fact the Navy sent you his medals means they have his papers. You need to request copy's of his paper work to give context to the medals. The papers will have the names of the ships he served on and when. The American Defense medal indicates indicates he was in service during the limited emergency prior to the war. Was he at sea at that time? If so he should have a "Fleet" clasp on the medal. Their is no associated clasp for the ribbon bar. The devices you talk about are campaign stars or in the case of the Good Conduct indicate more than one award. They are worn on the medal and ribbon. His papers will show how many campaigns he was in and what they were. In as far as his papers...it depends on when that paper work was written. Many awards did not reach the veteran until as late as 1947. At the time of his discharge he may of had only two medals on file, but post war the Navy got up to speed with the paper work. My Grandpaw was in the Navy from 1940-1970 and his papers work shows medals reaching him in 1947. Your Grandpaw fell off the radar and was never sent all of his awards. The Navy does not issue awards from other country's like the Philippine Liberation medal. If he was awarded that you will have to find it on your own. You can buy campaign stars on e-bay to attach on the medal and ribbon. They come large stars for the medal and small for the ribbon on Navy medals, but the guys put on what was on hand at the time. The ribbon bar mount is normally three wide. The lone ribbon is the Navy/Marine combat action ribbon. This was not authorized until 1969. I have no idea why they sent it to you. I do know that some WW2 Navy vets petitioned the Navy post war and were issued that ribbon.

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The Navy doesn't send devices mounted on the awards. The devices always come separately.

 

You should request his service records, which more than likely have now been archived, and it will show where the devices go. From my experience, it is always good for the family to see the whole service record so they can see aspects of that person's military career that have been forgotten or something he or she didn't want to talk about because of what happened -- like being torpedoed.

 

One more thing. It isn't uncommon for the Navy to send Good Conduct Medals with only the medal and the ribbon purchased separately.

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The lone ribbon is the Navy/Marine combat action ribbon. This was not authorized until 1969. I have no idea why they sent it to you. I do know that some WW2 Navy vets petitioned the Navy post war and were issued that ribbon.

 

The Combat Action Ribbon is retroactive to 7 December 1941, so the Navy section at St. Louis is attuned to including them in packages sent to families.

Jeff Floyd

The universe is made up of neutrons, protons, electrons and morons

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The Combat Action Ribbon is retroactive to 7 December 1941, so the Navy section at St. Louis is attuned to including them in packages sent to families.

Interesting they made it retro to WWII, didn't know that, but in the strictest sense, would be one not appropriate, as it would not be something he would of worn in 45-46.

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Thanks to everyone for all the help. He passed away in 2006 and after finding his father in-law's WWI paperwork I decided to petition for him to have a footstone. When we got his records we noticed that he had been awarded two of the medals. I promptly applied for them and we received the group above.

 

A couple of months ago we found some pictures of him in uniform and noticed the device on the ribbon. His military record doesn't mention what campaigns he was in. The closest information is just what ships he served on and when. Looking up the mission of his ships in various places and using his transfer dates as a guide, I'm still unable to determine the circumstance for the Asiatic Pacific Campaign and I don't remember any stories about him being in the Pacific.

 

He was in a few months prior to Pearl Harbor though and served the duration of the war. Is there more paperwork that I can ask them about other than his service record?

 

Is the ribbon device the 3/16th and the medal device is the 5/16th?

 

 

 

Thanks again.

Eric

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Interesting they made it retro to WWII, didn't know that, but in the strictest sense, would be one not appropriate, as it would not be something he would of worn in 45-46.

The book I have on medals and ribbons was published in 1990. It does not state that ribbon was retro to Dec 7 1941. Grandpaw was on the USS Oklahoma on 07Dec41 . My Grandpaw retired from the Navy in 1970 after 30 years service, a year after that ribbon was issued and it was never apart of his uniform nor does his paper work indicate that award. He passed away in 1987. He was an active member and past president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association up to his death. I would think at some point in time if that ribbon was awarded retroactive he would of heard about it or maybe he didn't really care about it. Could be his Bronze Star with the combat "V" and his Purple Heart were proof enough he saw combat. As a matter of record can anyone state when that ribbon was retro?

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"The closest information is just what ships he served on and when. Looking up the mission of his ships in various places and using his transfer dates as a guide, I'm still unable to determine the circumstance for the Asiatic Pacific Campaign and I don't remember any stories about him being in the Pacific." If he was land based anyplace in the Pacific at the outbreak of the war until the end of the war he would have been awarded that medal. Look for gaps in his ship service records that could account for this. I do not think you have his full jacket. His jacket will have copy's of his enlistment, insurance parers, medical records and transfers from duty station to duty station. Ask for "every and all records" related to him. You have to be very specific in what you want. In as far as the ships records keep in mind ships go out in groups or a task force. The actions of the task force relate to the whole group. My Grandpaw was at the Battle off Samar 24Oct44 also known as Taffy Three. All members of all ships in that battle were awarded the Presidential (with star) and Navy Unit citation ribbon. You have to look at the bigger picture when looking at ships records. After my Grandpaw passed away I was given all his Navy items. I had no idea what everything meant and I had to dig to find out why he had these awards. He never talked about any of it.

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You need to expand your library. A lot has happened in 28 years. According to the 2004 edition of THE CALL OF DUTY, the Secretary of the Navy on 12 March 2000 authorized the CAR to be awarded retroactively to 7 December 1941 to personnel who meet eligibility requirements.

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You need to expand your library. A lot has happened in 28 years. According to the 2004 edition of THE CALL OF DUTY, the Secretary of the Navy on 12 March 2000 authorized the CAR to be awarded retroactively to 7 December 1941 to personnel who meet eligibility requirements.

I need to update allot of things. What are the parameters of this? Do you add a star every time you come under fire or do you add some number device. Were does this rate in the pyramid? Being this was never an award in his life time I'm not sure what I think about it. If he were alive I am not sure what he would have thought about it.

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P-59A,

His record has all that you mentioned. So if he was in San Diego at the USNTS when Pearl Harbor happened, that would qualify him for the Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal?

 

This is as complete as I can make it tonight.

 

 

I'm going to call them tomorrow an talk to someone.

 

Thanks!

 

Enlisted 13 Oct 1941

Entered Group II School 31 Oct 41

(It isn't really clear exactly what took place between these dates. I imagine processing, PT, Marksmanship, etc)

Entered Class: 1 Dec 1941

Separated from School 23 Mar 42 Radioman class 3.

(Can't explain gaps)

Ships:

Alcor 13 Jul 42-4 Nov 43

USS Madison 4 Nov- 43- 18 Dec 43

Alcor 18 Dec 43- 18 Jan 44

USS Charles Lawrence 18 Jan 44- 19 Feb 44

Alcor 19 Feb 44- 9 Mar 44

USS Charles Lawrence 9 Mar 44- 22 Aug 44

USS Tillman 22 Aug 44- 9 Oct 44

USS Mayo 9 Oct 44 to 8 Apr 45.

USS Jouett 9 Apr 45 - 1 Nov 45

Date of Separation: 7 Nov 45

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P-59A,

His record has all that you mentioned. So if he was in San Diego at the USNTS when Pearl Harbor happened, that would qualify him for the Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal?

 

This is as complete as I can make it tonight.

 

 

I'm going to call them tomorrow an talk to someone.

 

Thanks!

 

Enlisted 13 Oct 1941

Entered Group II School 31 Oct 41

(It isn't really clear exactly what took place between these dates. I imagine processing, PT, Marksmanship, etc)

Entered Class: 1 Dec 1941

Separated from School 23 Mar 42 Radioman class 3.

(Can't explain gaps)

Ships:

Alcor 13 Jul 42-4 Nov 43

USS Madison 4 Nov- 43- 18 Dec 43

Alcor 18 Dec 43- 18 Jan 44

USS Charles Lawrence 18 Jan 44- 19 Feb 44

Alcor 19 Feb 44- 9 Mar 44

USS Charles Lawrence 9 Mar 44- 22 Aug 44

USS Tillman 22 Aug 44- 9 Oct 44

USS Mayo 9 Oct 44 to 8 Apr 45.

USS Jouett 9 Apr 45 - 1 Nov 45

Date of Separation: 7 Nov 45

No Sir, State side is the American campaign medal. Give me a minute to run your ships and dates.

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The USS ALCOR was a destroyer tender and she stayed state side for most of her duty. All of the other ships were Destroyers. The USS Charles Lawrence and USS Tillman were escort duty and Sub patrol in the Atlantic. The USS Mayo had combat action when this guy was on it. From Jan 22-24 they were at Anzio. Two of the destroyers went to the Pacific but his dates of service on them do not line up. My Grandpaw's last last WW 2 war time duty was on a sub hunter off the US Pacific costal waters. He wore a star on his American campaign medal for that. I think this would apply to you too.When you look at what the Lawrence and Tillman were doing at those times it looks like they mixed it up quite a bit.

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P-59A Just a bit about the USN/MC CAR

 

Do you add a star every time you come under fire or do you add some number device??

 

The USN/MC Combat Action Ribbon was established in 1969 to signify actual USN/USMC/USCG participation in combat. It might be looked at as a naval version of the Combat Infantrymans' Badge and the Bronze Star retroactively awarded to holders of the CIB after WW 2. At the 1960s time frame, the USN was not into sticking a lot of pins onto its uniforms. That practice changed in the 1970s onward. The CAR is awarded once for that particular war. Additional stars for additional wars..

 

Where does this rate in the pyramid?

 

It is a decoration, following the Achievement Medal in seniority. The Navy just did not and has not considered striking a medal to accompany the decoration, it is a ribbon only, much the same as the USCG Commandants Letter of Commendation, no medal just ribbon.

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I need to update allot of things. What are the parameters of this? Do you add a star every time you come under fire or do you add some number device. Were does this rate in the pyramid? Being this was never an award in his life time I'm not sure what I think about it. If he were alive I am not sure what he would have thought about it.

Like the armys Combat Infantrymans Badge, the CAR is one per war, no matter how many engagements a person was in.

 

The retroactive date for the CAR came about because of pressure from WWII vets who felt slighted that Vietnam combat vets got recognition while their service in a real war didnt. Regardless, even if a WWII combat veteran passed before the authorization in 2000 hes entitled to the CAR.

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while their service in a real war didnt. ?????

My understanding of the Navy during WW2 is they were very strict and rather stingy in awarding Valor awards. Ribbon bars in general for all services during WW2 are only three or four ribbons for the average enlisted man if you enlisted after 7DEC41 unless you had Valor awards or Unit citations. It's not until the 60's-70's that you start seeing ribbon awards for non combat related duty. Many ribbons are issued now that did not exist in my Grandpaw's day. It just struck me as odd the Navy would give in to pressure. I have a large paper group from a WW2 Navy Officer who was in an office during the attack on Pearl Harbor and he did petition the Navy for that award and got it prior to 2000.

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These are my Grandpaw's awards. This is after 30 years service, 20 active duty and 10 active reserve. Many ribbons and medals you would see on a more resent Navy service mans uniform you don't see here. Those things did not exist in his day.

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Where does this rate in the pyramid?

It is a decoration, following the Achievement Medal in seniority. The Navy just did not and has not considered striking a medal to accompany the decoration, it is a ribbon only, much the same as the USCG Commandants Letter of Commendation, no medal just ribbon.

Gee, I do not see an Achievement award in Grandpaw's ribbons. Were would it place based on what has?

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The Navy Achievement Medal was established in the middle 1960s..

 

" My understanding of the Navy during WW2 is they were very strict and rather stingy in awarding Valor awards. "

 

Agree. I have the documents and action recommendation from the CO of his ship for the Silver Star to go to my father ( QM 1c) for the invasion of Noemfoor Island in July 1944. By the time it made it through the award process, it had been changed to the Bronze Star.

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When I applied for the records before, I thought "Any and all records" meant that. I called the NPRC today with my original claim number and I have to do a new request to find out about the medals.

 

Great collection of awards!

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When I applied for the records before, I thought "Any and all records" meant that. I called the NPRC today with my original claim number and I have to do a new request to find out about the medals.

 

Great collection of awards!

They have tons of requests coming in every day and they really are short handed. I am sure they are doing the best they can. Keep in mind the old records are not digitized so someone has to find the actual files and copy them. Some may be on a roll of film and others are in box's. It really is time consuming. That is why you have to stay on top of them. Good luck!!!

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