Soldier’s Medal

On a 1 3/8 inch wide Bronze octagon an eagle displayed, standing on a fasces, between two groups of stars of six and seven, above the group of six a spray of leaves. On the reverse is a shield paly of 13 pieces, on the chief the letters "US", supported by sprays of laurel and oak, around the upper edge the inscription "SOLDIER’S MEDAL" and across the face the words "FOR VALOR." In the base is a panel for the name of the recipient to be engraved. The medal is suspended from the ribbon by a rectangular-shaped metal loop with corners rounded.

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/8 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118 on each side and the center containing 13 White and Red stripes of equal width (7 White 67101 and 6 Old Glory Red 67156).

 Criteria - The Soldier’s Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States, or of a friendly foreign nation who while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished him/herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The same degree of heroism is required as for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. 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.

Components - 

The following are authorized components of the Soldier’s Medal.

  • Decoration (regular size): MIL-D-3943/16. NSN 8455-00-269-5759 for decoration set. NSN 8455-00-246-3835 for individual medal.

  • Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/16. NSN 8455-00-996-5014.

  • Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/137. NSN 8455-00-252-9956.

  • Lapel Button: MIL-L-11484/12. NSN 8455-00-253-0820

Bronze Oak Leaf
Silver Oak Leaf


A need to recognize acts of heroism in 1922 resulted in the War Department issuing War Department orders for acts of bravery during peacetime. This led to an Act of Congress (Public Law 446-69th Congress, 2 July 1926 (44 Stat. 780)) which established the Soldier’s Medal for acts of heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The Secretary of War directed that the Quartermaster General prepare and submit appropriate designs of the Soldier’s Medal per letter signed by The Adjutant General dated 11 August 1926.

The Secretary of War requested assistance in preparing a design from the Secretary of Treasury by letter dated 18 January 1927. In a response to the Secretary of War by letter dated 22 January 1927, the Secretary of Treasury indicated that the Director of the Mint had been instructed to request the Engraver of the Mint at Philadelphia to submit designs and model. A proposed design was completed and forwarded from the Philadelphia Mint on 22 June 1927 and forwarded to the Commission of Fine Arts for comments. The Commission of Fine Arts in a letter to the Secretary of War dated 27 February 1928 stated.. "It would be a very serious disappointment to this Commission, after all its struggles to obtain good medals, to have to rely on work of this character. One of the fundamental objections to the designs submitted is a lack of that simplicity which should characterize all medals of the highest class. The designs and casts are disapproved and returned". Subsequent designs were submitted and rejected by the Commission in November 1929. The Quartermaster General forwarded a letter to Mr. Gaetano Cecere, New York, NY on 20 January 1930, requesting a design and indicating the War Department would pay not more than $1500.00 for an approved design and cast. Mr. Cecere provided a proposed design in April 1930 that was approved by the Commission on 5 May 1930.

Title 10, United States Code (USC), Section 3750 contains current statutory requirements for the Soldier’s Medal. Enlisted personnel may be entitled to an increase in retired pay under Title 10, USC 3991 when credited with heroism equivalent to that required for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross.

Order of precedence and wear of decorations is contained in Army Regulation 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, supply, and issue of decorations is contained in Army Regulation 600-8-22.

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