|Combat Action Ribbon|
Top: U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps
Bottom: U.S. Coast Guard
Awarded by United States Navy|
United States Marine Corps
United States Coast Guard
|Eligibility||Active participation of ground or surface combat on or after December 7, 1941|
|Awarded for||Actively engaged in ground combat with an enemy of the United States.|
Dept. of the Navy - February 17, 1969|
U.S. Coast Guard - July 16, 2008
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal|
Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbon
Air Force Combat Action Medal|
Army Combat Action Badge
The Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) is a personal decoration of the United States Department of the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard that may be awarded to those who, in any grade including and below that of a Captain in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard (or Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps), have actively participated in ground or surface combat.
Additional awards of the Combat Action Ribbon are denoted by gold and silver 5/16 inch stars.
In October 1999 World War II and Korean War Veterans became retroactively eligible for the Combat Action Ribbon by Public Law 106-65—Oct. 5, 1999, 113 STAT.588, G, Sec. 564 (Pub.L. 106–65), "Retroactive Award of the Navy Combat Action Ribbon", permitted the Secretary of the Navy to award the Combat Action Ribbon to a member of the Navy or Marine Corps for participation in ground or surface combat during any period on or after Dec. 7, 1941, and or before March 1, 1961, if the Secretary determines that the member has not been previously recognized in an appropriate manner for such participation.
Personnel who earned the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge while a member of the United States Army may be authorized to wear the Combat Action Ribbon upon application to the Department of the Navy. As of May 2005, the United States Army has created a new decoration known as the Combat Action Badge (previously known as the Combat Recognition Ribbon) which is considered the direct Army equivalent to the Combat Action Ribbon, though the CAB is not available to infantry or medical Soldiers who are in combat arms units, and is available to officers at or below the rank of Colonel.
Retroactive awards of the Combat Action Ribbon, for retired, deceased, or discharged personnel, are handled by the Navy Liaison Officer to the National Personnel Records Center.
While any eligible Sailor or Marine may receive the ribbon, SECNAVINST 1650.1H lists units and operations whose members or participants are authorized to wear it.
The Navy/Marine Corps version of the Combat Action Ribbon may be awarded to members of the Coast Guard if they are operating with a Navy or Marine Corps unit.
U.S. Coast Guard
The Coast Guard version of the Combat Action Ribbon was created on July 16, 2008 (Coast Guard members who saw combat action prior to this date were awarded the U.S. Navy Combat Action Ribbon, e.g., for combat action in Vietnam).
The criterion for the USCG Combat Action Ribbon is satisfactory performance under enemy fire while actively participating in a ground or maritime engagement.
Criteria also include personnel with direct exposure to the detonation of an improvised explosive device used by an enemy, and for personnel who serve in clandestine/special operations, who are restricted in their ability to return fire, where the risk of enemy fire was great.
Initially, all other similar awards from other military services were required to be converted to the Coast Guard Combat Action Ribbon in order to be worn on the Coast Guard uniform, but the policy was modified to allow wear of the Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon.
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