The Ohio Cross may be awarded to any member of the state military forces who distinguishes himself/herself by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his/her life. The deed performed must have been by voluntary act and of personal bravery or self sacrifice, so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual for gallantry and intrepidity above his/her comrades and must have involved risk of life.

The Ohio National Guard Distinguished Service Medal may be awarded to any member of the state military forces who distinguishes himself/herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the state or to the United States, or to any person, including civilians, who, by unselfish and untiring activities in connection with the Ohio military forces or the national defense establishment renders a distinct service in furthering the interests of and in promoting the security and welfare of the state of Ohio. When awarded to someone who distinguishes himself/herself by bravery or outstanding courage involving personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life, a bronze "V" will be awarded as a part of the decoration to indicate valor.

The Ohio Commendation may be presented to each person who, while a member of the state military forces, distinguishes himself/herself while serving in any military capacity by meritorious achievement. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service which was clearly outstanding.

Awarded to any member of the state military forces who, while under orders, participated in active military service of the state in upholding the law and preserving order, protecting lives and property, in the aid and relief of civilians in disasters, and similar service duly ordered by the Governor.

The Medal of Valor may be presented to any member who distinguishes himself by courageous conduct at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, while in the service of the State

The Distinguished Service Medal may be presented to any member who distinguishes himself by exceptional meritorious service to the State in a duty of great responsibility thereby furthering the interest of and promoting the security and welfare of the State.

The Medal of Merit may be presented to any member any person who, by unselfish and untiring activities in connection with the Ohio Military Reserve, has rendered a distinct service in furthering the interest of and in promoting the security and welfare of the State.

The Purple Cross Medal may be awarded to any person who, during an authorized Aid to Civil Authorities mission, suffers physical injury, the magnitude of which requires professional medical attention of two occasions (i.e., treatment and follow-up treatment or inspection) in the course of their duties and as a result of their duties which are directly in fulfillment of the mission.

The Lifesaving Medal may be awarded to any member of the OHMR who directly renders active assistance to another individual at any time in the form of rescue, first aid, CPR, or other aid, without which the victim would have most likely died or have suffered grievous bodily harm.

The Commendation Award may be awarded to any commissioned officer, warrant officer or non-commissioned officer who has distinguished himself by meritorious achievement or service which, while lesser than that required for the award Medal of Merit, must nevertheless have been of service to the OHMR and accomplished with distinction.

The Achievement Award may be awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement or service, which while lesser than that required for the Commendation Award, must nevertheless have been of service to the OHMR and accomplished with distinction that reflects the qualities and values of the OHMR.

The Search and Rescue Award may be presented to any member of the OHMR who participates in an actual emergency search and rescue mission as a member of the OHMR, either under training duty orders or state active duty orders.

The Community Service Award may be presented to any member who has made significant contributions to the quality of life in a community, either over a period of time or in some single substantial manner, through their personal involvement, dedication and effort.

The Aid to Civil or Military Authority Award may be presented to any member of the OHMR who participates in an Aid to Civil or Military Authorities (ACMA) mission, for missions conducted after 01JAN2017. To qualify for this award, the individual must be under orders and not on a training assignment.The intention of this award is to recognize service that is not considered State Active Duty, but is significantly more than training. Approval authority for this award is the Brigade Commander.

This may be presented to any enlisted person who has demonstrated fidelity through faithful and exact performance of duty, efficiency through capacity to produce desired results, and whose behavior has been such as to deserve emulation.

This may be awarded to any officer for honorable and satisfactory in the OHMR for a continuous period of three (3) years.

The Soldier of the Year Award will be presented annually to a single enlisted or noncommissioned officer member of the OHMR. The individual will be selected from candidates recommended by the Command Sergeant Major of each brigade and Corps HHD.

The Honor Graduate Award may be presented to not more than one person in a graduating class of BELT, PLDC, 31B10, BNCOC, ANCOC and BOC.

The Officer Training Graduate Award may be awarded to any member of the OHMR who, while a member of the OHMR, has successfully completed an officer professional development course.

The NCO Training Graduate Award may be awarded to any member of the OHMR who, while a member of the OHMR, has successfully completed an NCO professional development course.

The Basic Entry Level Training Completion Award may be presented to any member of the OHMR upon satisfactory completion of the OHMR basic entry level training requirements.

The Physical Fitness Award may be presented to any member of the OHMR who: (1) maintains a height/weight level of 10% less or lower than the maximum allowable level for their age group, (2) maintains a hip/waist ratio of .95 for males and .80 for females, or less (3) scores 220 or higher on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) during the year.

The Federal Service School Award may be awarded to any member for the successful completion of any course accomplished as a resident student of at least four (4) days and any U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard Service School, the contents of which will aid the training or full mobilization mission of the OHMR in general, including aid to civil authorities.

The Military Indoctrination Award may be awarded to any member who successfully completes any military indoctrination course including entry level courses appropriate for the individual's grade, branch and primary or secondary MOS.

The Emergency Service Training Award may be awarded to any member who has satisfactorily completed any course dealing with military or civilian emergencies by correspondence or as a resident student in a U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, Ohio Military Reserve Service School or civilian school program.

The Volunteer Service Award may be awarded to any member who has completed a minimum of 100 hours of volunteer service to the OHMR during his anniversary year, exclusive of attendance at drills, staff meetings, ceremonies, and parades.

The Military Readiness may be awarded to any member for 100% attendance at all assigned unit drills, plus annual training, within the anniversary year.

The Recruiting Achievement Award may be awarded to any member who recruits five (5) new enlistees or officers within any twelve (12) month period.

The Military Proficiency Award may be awarded to any member who has attained a military rating of excellent or superior in the performance of his duties as well as displaying a high level of proficiency.

The non-profit organization advocating for the advancement and support of regulated state military forces, as established by state governments under the authority of 32 USC 109. The SGAUS encourages the establishment and advancement of regulated state forces through lobbying and affiliation with independent state associations. The SGAUS offers various certification programs for its members.

The non-profit organization established to respresent the interests of the individual solidiers of the OHMR before the senior OHMR leadership and members of the State Government.

Did You Know?

A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniforms.

Civil decorations awarded to military personnel should not be considered military decorations, although some orders of chivalry have civil and military divisions. Decorations received by police and fire brigade personnel may sometimes be considered alongside military decorations, on which they may be modelled, although they are strictly not military awards.


Awards were common in ancient times, but these were strictly military awards. These awards presented real wages for certain services. They differed significantly from the later medieval and modern orders, which represented above all a sign of belonging to a particular organization, although there were also rewards for outstanding deeds.

Celts and Romans wore a torc or an Arrow without a Head, Dayaks wore and still wear tattoos, etc. Necklaces and bracelets were given during the early Middle Ages, evolving into richly jewelled big necklaces, often with a pendant (commonly a medal) attached.

One of the oldest military decorations still in use is Poland's War Order of Virtuti Militar (Latin for "For Military Valour") and was first awarded in 1792.

Campaign Medals

A campaign medal is a military decoration which is awarded to a member of the military who serves in a designated military operation or performs duty in a geographical theater. Campaign medals are very similar to service medals but carry a higher status as the award usually involves deployment to a foreign region or service in a combat zone.

A service medal is an award to individuals who participated in designated wars, campaigns, or expeditions, or who have fulfilled specific service requirements in a creditable manner.

Campaign medals were first invented to recognize general military service in war, in contrast to meritorious decorations which were only issued on a small scale for acts of heroism and bravery.

The first widespread use of campaign medals dates to the era of the Napoleonic Wars when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered a large number of ribbons and medals for issue to the soldiers serving under his command. Observing the soldiers pride at the receipt of such decorations, and their desire to receive more such awards, Napoleon was quoted as saying: "With a handful of ribbons I can conquer all of Europe".

Service Ribbons

Service ribbons or ribbon bars are small ribbons mounted on small metal bars equipped with attaching devices, and are generally issued for wear in place of medals. Each country's government has its own rules on what ribbons can be worn in what circumstances, and in which order. This is usually defined in an official document and is called "the order of precedence" and/or "the order of wearing". In some countries, (particularly the U.S.), some awards are "ribbon only", having no associated medal.

The service ribbon for a specific medal is usually identical to the suspension ribbon on the medal. For example, the suspension and service ribbon (US standard size, 1 1/4 inches by 3/8 inches) for the US Government's Purple Heart medal is purple with a white vertical stripe at each end.

However, there are some military awards that do not have a suspension ribbon, but have an authorized ribbon and unit award emblem. The Soviet Order of Victory is a badge that was worn on the military parade uniform. However, a ribbon bar representing the Order of Victory was worn on a military field uniform.

Construction & Display

There is a variety of constructions of service ribbons. In some countries, service ribbons are mounted on a "pin backing", which can be pushed through the fabric of a uniform and secured, with fasteners, on the inside edge. These ribbons can be individually secured and then lined up, or they can be all mounted on to a single fastener. After the Second World War, it was common for all ribbons to be mounted on a single metal bar and worn in a manner similar to a brooch. Other methods of wearing have included physically sewing each service ribbon onto the uniform garments.

"Orders of wearing" define which ribbons may be worn on which types of uniform in which positions under which circumstances. For example, miniature medals on dinner dress, full medals on parade dress, ribbons on dress shirts, but no decorations on combat dress and working clothing. Some countries (such as Cuba) maintain a standard practice of wearing full service ribbons on combat utility clothing. Others strictly prohibit this. These regulations are generally similar to the regulations regarding display of rank insignia, and regulations regarding saluting of more senior ranks.

Service medals and ribbons are generally worn in rows on the left side of the chest. In certain commemorative and/or memorial circumstances, a relative may wear the medals or ribbons of a dead relative on the right side of the chest. Medals and ribbons not specifically mentioned in the "Order of wear" are also generally worn on the right side of the chest.

Modern Decorations

Today military decorations include:

  • Orders of Chivalry
  • Bravery awards, in the form of a cross, star or medal on a ribbon
  • Distinguished service awards, in the form of a cross, star or medal on a ribbon
  • Campaign medals worn on a ribbon
  • Service medals worn on a ribbon
  • Awards for entire units
In most NATO militaries only ribbons are normally worn on everyday occasions (as opposed to the actual medals).

Awards and decorations of the United States Military are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the United States armed forces. Together with military badges, such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career.

One of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II was Audie Leon Murphy (1925 - 1971), receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. The 19-year-old Murphy received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.


Phaleristics (from the Latin phalera; sometimes spelled Faleristics) is an auxiliary science of history which studies orders, medals, decorations (and their systems of awards in differing countries, such as the British honours system). The field also studies the medals' accessories, such as ribbon bars, and award certificates. It studies the historical, sociological and art history dimensions. It also defines the study of badges and pins created for civilian usage. The term defines a field of collecting.

The word comes from the Ancient Greece ta phalara, meaning "small round" or "crescent". It referred to the shape of medallions that were given as recognition for outstanding military service or bravery on the battlefield; originally, phalara were hung round horses' necks, but as their importance grew, they were transferred to the fighter's chest.

Later, both the related customs and the term (Latin: phalera) were adopted by the Romans.

Phaleristics was established as a separate scientific discipline in 1937, thanks to the efforts of the Czech soldier, collector and theoretician Oldrich Pilc. This was to distinguish phaleristics from numismatics and heraldry. However, there had been several earlier scholars of phaleristics, such as the 19th century Russian phalerist Julius Iversen.

Although established as a scientific sub-discipline of history, phaleristics usually studies orders and decorations "detached from their bodies".

King George VI of England loved the study of phaleristics, going to the extent of personally overseeing his uniform designs and ribbon placements. He is known to have designed a few British military decorations for the Royal Navy.