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Valorous Unit Award
Valorous Unit Award ribbon.svg
Awarded by United States Army
Type Ribbon and Streamer
Eligibility Combatant Military Unit
Awarded for "Extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States of America."
Status Currently awarded
Last awarded On going
Next (higher) Presidential Unit CitationFile:Tankandbranch.JPG
Equivalent DoD - Joint Meritorious Unit AwardFile:Tankandbranch.JPG
Army - Valorous Unit AwardFile:Tanklogo.JPG
Navy - Unit CommendationFile:Tankandbranch.JPG
Air Force - Gallant Unit CitationFile:Tanklogo.JPG
Coast Guard - Unit CommendationFile:Branchlogo.JPG
Silver StarFile:Tanklogo.JPG
Next (lower) Meritorious Unit CommendationFile:Tankandbranch.JPG
Streamer VUA Army.PNG
Streamer for the Valorous Unit Award

The Valorous Unit Award is the second highest unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit (the highest being the Presidential Unit Citation) and is considered the unit equivalent of the Silver Star. It is awarded to units of the United States Army which display extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States of America.


As a result of a request from the Commander, USMACV, to expand the scope of the Meritorious Unit Commendation to include acts of valor, a review of the unit awards program was conducted in 1965. The study concluded that a gap did exist in the awards program. The Distinguished Unit Citation[1] (renamed Army Presidential Unit Citation in November 3, 1966)[2] was awarded for gallantry in action for heroism that would warrant the Distinguished Service Cross for an individual. There was no lesser unit award for heroism. Based on the study, it was recommended the scope of the Meritorious Unit Commendation be expanded to include acts of heroism. The CSPER disapproved the recommendation and in a memorandum to the CSA, dated 7 January 1966, it recommended a Valorous Unit Award be adopted to signify unit gallantry in combat to a degree equivalent to that required for award of a Silver Star to an individual. The recommendation with the proposed design was approved by the Chief of Staff, Army, on 12 January 1966.

The ribbon is worn by all members of a cited organization, and is considered an individual decoration for those involved in the cited acts. They continue to wear it after they leave the unit. Other personnel may wear the decoration to indicate the unit they serve in has received the Valorous Unit Award, but they can no longer wear it once they leave the unit.


The Valorous Unit Award[3] is to be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent part for actions occurring on or after 3 August 1963. The Valorous Unit Award requires a lesser degree of gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps than that required for the Presidential Unit Citation. Nevertheless, the unit must have performed with marked distinction under difficult and hazardous conditions in accomplishing its mission so as to set it apart from the other units participating in the same conflict. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Silver Star to an individual. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either ground or air, is not sufficient. This award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans. It is not reasonable to presume that entire units can sustain Silver Star performance for extended time periods under the most unusual circumstances. Only on rare occasions will a unit larger than a battalion qualify for this award.[4]

A NOTABLE RECIPIENT: 3rd Platoon, A Troop, 2/17th Cavalry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Vietnam Recon Scouts mounted their machine gun jeeps and rushed to the aid of engineers of the 101st who were under fire from a company of North Vietnamese. About 16 men under the command of Lt. Seth Hudgins (now Colonel, ret.) dismounted and with 4 machine guns engaged in battle with the enemy. Outnumbered 50 to 1, they fought for 5 hours before 1st and 2nd Platoons of about 40 men each reinforced them. Four hours later the 502nd and 327th Infantry began arriving by air to reinforce them. Colonel David Hackworth, 1st/327th infantry, received a silver star and Distinguished Service Cross from this battle. PFC Philben, A Troop, Recon Scout Machine gunner, (Virtual Wall) was killed after destroying 7 or 8 of the enemy who had AK-47s. LT Gardner of the infantry was killed in this battle and awarded the Medal of Honor both on February 7, 1966. A Troop was involved in the rescue of pilots who were shot down in the MEDEVAC chopper in the middle of the Tua Hoa rice fields. Completely bare to hostile fire they helped them to safety just a minute or so before the North Vietnamese hit the chopper with Rocket Fired Grenades (RPGs) The 1st 327th and 502nd infantry companies along with A Troop Recon were all decorated for extraordinary Heroism during this battle which began Operation Harrison Spring 1966 submitted by John Harris Recon Scout.

Description and components

Comparison of the Silver Star with the VUA.

The ribbon worn to represent award of the Valorous Unit Award is 1 7/16 inches wide and 9/16 inch in height. The emblem consists of a 1/16 inch wide Gold frame with laurel leaves which encloses a ribbon of the pattern of the Silver Star Medal ribbon centered on a Red ribbon. The stripe dimensions of the ribbon are: 3/8 inch Old Glory Red 67156; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 1/64 inch White 67101; 3/32 inch Ultramarine Blue; 3/32 inch White; center 3/32 inch Old Glory Red; 3/32 inch White; 3/32 inch Ultramarine Blue; 1/64 inch White; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue; and 3/8 inch Old Glory Red. The streamers are the same pattern as the Silver Star Medal ribbon. The current components of the Valorous Unit Award are the emblems awarded to members of the unit and the streamer for display on the unit flag/guidon.

  • Valorous Unit Award: MIL-D-3943/32 (frame) and MIL-R-11589/154 (ribbon). NSN-8455-00-964-4296.
  • Streamer: MIL-S-14650/5. Manual requisition in accordance with Chapter 9, Army Regulation (AR) 840-10.


See also

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