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Re-enactors and medals.


Eightball
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I spent 30 years as a Police Officer and during that time, I was issued with three medals.

 

Queens Golden Jubilee.

 

Queens Diamond Jubilee.

 

Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

 

When RAF re-enacting I wear a

 

King George VI Coronation Medal

 

and a

 

King George V medal.

 

As these are service medals and not bravery medals that I would not entitled to wear.

 

When re-enacting USAAF Officer are there equivalent medals that it would be okay to wear, if so what are they?

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I asked this question of an Air Force officer at a reenactment some years ago, and unless it has changed, this is what he told me.

 

Other than the CMOH . . . you can wear any medal and/or ribbon, valour included, as long as you don't claim that the honour is yours. There were tons at the reenactment wearing valour ribbons and medals.

 

That's what I know! If it has changed since then, I'm sure someone on here will chime in!

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I asked this question of an Air Force officer at a reenactment some years ago, and unless it has changed, this is what he told me.

 

Other than the CMOH . . . you can wear any medal and/or ribbon, valour included, as long as you don't claim that the honour is yours. There were tons at the reenactment wearing valour ribbons and medals.

 

That's what I know! If it has changed since then, I'm sure someone on here will chime in!

Thank you, I will not wear bravery (Valour) medals.

What would be suitable for a 8th Air Force USAAF Officer?

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Not necessarily an answer, but I put together an 8th AF gunner's uniform to wear when teaching. I have a EAME ribbon and a plain Air Medal ribbon because a guy would have one if he lived to 5 missions. I use that as a talking point, because there was a time when your average lifespan as a gunner was reportedly short enough that you'd likely not get an OLC on it. I don't reenact, but I think a lot of folks would be OK with campaign ribbons if it was important to the impression.

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American Campaign, American Defense, EAME, Air Medal and possibly the DFC. Those are the most common that I find when doing USAAF officers. :)

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DFC and AM are technically valor medals, or at least awarded as such for outstanding deeds. They were also awarded for flying x number of missions, which is where I see a grey area between accurate portrayal and piling on valor awards. If you're portraying a P-51 pilot, you very likely would have multiple AMs and a DFC or so even if you weren't some kind of war hero. So it's not exactly like sticking a CIB, DSC, SS and BS on your uniform as an infantryman. I put a single AM on mine to tell the kids a real gunner might not see his second award, and to me that's an important part of the story.

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Thank you for your replies.

 

I do not want to go over the top, if I went for:

 

Air Medal.

 

Soldiers Medal.

 

American Defence Medal.

 

Good Conduct Medal.

 

Would that be okay and not cause offence to anyone, including serving military?

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I wouldn't do the soldier's medal. They were very specific and not common. They were generally awarded for things like a ground crewman pulling a wounded pilot out of a burning plane, or etc. to my understanding.

 

Here's the criteria: "The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life."

 

It is the highest award for valor in a non-combat situation.

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Hi Eightball -

 

Good for you for asking!

 

Most quality reenactors go with "been there, done that" decorations, with a few minor exceptions.

 

The exceptions include a CIB for an infantry impression, CMB for a combat medic impression, jump wings for an airborne impression, and wings for a AAF impression. Those badges were all very important to the people who really earned them, but you wouldn't see a combat infantryman without a CIB, a combat medic without a CMB (depends on the time period), a paratrooper without jump wings, or a pilot or aircrew member without wings.

 

I see a couple of problems with your list:

 

The Soldiers Medal is a valor award, and a pretty rare one. It is awarded for actions at the risk of one's life, while not in combat. I have seen It described as a "non-combat Silver Star." I don't know if that is accurate, but you get the idea.

 

The Good Conduct Medal is for enlisted men only. Officers do not wear the GCM unless they earned it during prior service as an enlisted man.

 

If you are doing an impression of a pilot based in England or anywhere in Europe, then you would rate a Europe, Africa, Middle East campaign medal commonly referred to as an EAME. Everybody got those, pretty much by just by setting foot on foreign soil. If you have narrowed your impression down to a specific unit at a specific point in time, you could do some research and see if that unit had been awarded any campaign stars by that time and add those to your EAME ribbon.

 

I hope this helps!

 

Seve

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Hi Eightball -

 

Good for you for asking!

 

Most quality reenactors go with "been there, done that" decorations, with a few minor exceptions.

 

The exceptions include a CIB for an infantry impression, CMB for a combat medic impression, jump wings for an airborne impression, and wings for a AAF impression. Those badges were all very important to the people who really earned them, but you wouldn't see a combat infantryman without a CIB, a combat medic without a CMB (depends on the time period), a paratrooper without jump wings, or a pilot or aircrew member without wings.

 

I see a couple of problems with your list:

 

The Soldiers Medal is a valor award, and a pretty rare one. It is awarded for actions at the risk of one's life, while not in combat. I have seen It described as a "non-combat Silver Star." I don't know if that is accurate, but you get the idea.

 

The Good Conduct Medal is for enlisted men only. Officers do not wear the GCM unless they earned it during prior service as an enlisted man.

 

If you are doing an impression of a pilot based in England or anywhere in Europe, then you would rate a Europe, Africa, Middle East campaign medal commonly referred to as an EAME. Everybody got those, pretty much by just by setting foot on foreign soil. If you have narrowed your impression down to a specific unit at a specific point in time, you could do some research and see if that unit had been awarded any campaign stars by that time and add those to your EAME ribbon.

 

I hope this helps!

 

Seve

Yes, it does help, I am finding the U.S. medals confusing to say the least.

As I said in my OP I am looking to do USAAF 8th AF officer.

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Elizabeth is right. Most typical for an 8th AF pilot (in my experience) DFC, Air Medal with 1-3 oak leaf clusters, EAME ribbon with a few stars. The attachments change, but those 3 ribbons are very common for pilots (bomber or fighter) throughout the European theater. DFCs weren't always valor awards and could be awarded for completing a tour of missions also.

 

B-17 pilot:

post-32676-0-04278400-1572478488_thumb.jpg

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Elizabeth is right. Most typical for an 8th AF pilot (in my experience) DFC, Air Medal with 1-3 oak leaf clusters, EAME ribbon with a few stars. The attachments change, but those 3 ribbons are very common for pilots (bomber or fighter) throughout the European theater. DFCs weren't always valor awards and could be awarded for completing a tour of missions also.

 

B-17 pilot:

attachicon.gifHeil ribbons trimmed.jpg

Thank you for the information, it is a great help.

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American Campaign, American Defense, EAME, Air Medal and possibly the DFC. Those are the most common that I find when doing USAAF officers. :)

Thank you.

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A lot of officer's that I research had the DFC. Definitely the Air Medal. I would include the EAME. Also, the American Defence is a campaign medal for active service during the emergency (before the official declaration of war). American Campaign is for active service during the war. So, you would use the Defence if your impression is a soldier who joined up before Pearl Harbor. For instance, my GGGUncle was KIA in 1943. Well, of the 11 men who died with him, 2/3 of them joined before Pearl Harbor, so had the Defence ribbon. Actually have pictures of a couple of them wearing their AD ribbon before they died!

 

So, I would decide if you are doing someone who entered after war was declared or before. Then decide on the American Service or the American Campaign.

 

If you are doing a USAAF officer, I would definitely have the Air Medal and really strongly consider the DFC. Pilots, Bombardiers and Navigators tended to get them.

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A lot of officer's that I research had the DFC. Definitely the Air Medal. I would include the EAME. Also, the American Defence is a campaign medal for active service during the emergency (before the official declaration of war). American Campaign is for active service during the war. So, you would use the Defence if your impression is a soldier who joined up before Pearl Harbor. For instance, my GGGUncle was KIA in 1943. Well, of the 11 men who died with him, 2/3 of them joined before Pearl Harbor, so had the Defence ribbon. Actually have pictures of a couple of them wearing their AD ribbon before they died!

 

So, I would decide if you are doing someone who entered after war was declared or before. Then decide on the American Service or the American Campaign.

 

If you are doing a USAAF officer, I would definitely have the Air Medal and really strongly consider the DFC. Pilots, Bombardiers and Navigators tended to get them.

Thanks again you have been very helpful, I will look into it.

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The only thing with the DFC with the officers in heavy bombers is that I tend to see them given for completing a tour (25, 30, or 35 missions). Typically Fighter pilots were more likely to rate a DFC before their tour was done, case in point a P51 KIA man's uniform I own. He went down in 44 and had a DFC for flying missions, not aerial victories.

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Yes, and I agree, swap for the EAME. Or make a 3-ribbon bar with the Air Medal, EAME, and Defense (American spelling) ribbons below and the DFC alone above (centered, no spacing).

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Yes, and I agree, swap for the EAME. Or make a 3-ribbon bar with the Air Medal, EAME, and Defense (American spelling) ribbons below and the DFC alone above (centered, no spacing).

Thank you, I may well go for that option.

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