Washington, D.C., United States | By Krisna Garcia | Earning any military medal is a great accomplishment, but earning a top military medal is a truly noteworthy mark in your career. The top military medals are given for truly exemplary performance, in which a member of the military risks their lives for the good of their fellow soldiers and their county. Here are the top military medals;
Medal of Honor
This is the highest decoration that a member of the military can receive for valor. It is the only decoration that is approved by Congress and presented by the President in the name of Congress. It is one of the oldest medals as well, first introduced in the mid-1800s.
In order to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, you need to distinguish yourself in a way that is not just gallant, but conspicuously gallant. Furthermore, you must be engaged in active combat with an enemy of the US or fighting with allies of the US against opposing forces. This medal has a ribbon, five stars, and a rosette with 13 stars.
Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and Air Force Cross
Each of these awards occupies the place as a second top military medal. They are specific to branches of the military. They are given for extraordinary valor like that which can earn a service member the Medal of Honor, but not to the level of this topmost award. Earning this award in your area is the greatest honor that can be bestowed in your branch. Each medal bears an insignia representing the branch that it honors.
- Distinguished Service Cross: This medal is awarded to a member of the Army who has shown exceptional heroism in battle. It was initially awarded in 1918 to acknowledge the bravery of those who served in World War I.
- Air Force Cross: This medal was given to soldiers in the Air Force in 1960. Prior to this, the Distinguished Service Cross was also given to Air Force members.
- Navy Cross: The Marine Corps, Navy, and until 2010 the Coast Guard, are awarded the Navy Cross for bravery.
This is the third-highest military medal. It recognizes excellent heroism in combat while engaged with a foreign force or assisting a friendly force in conflict against an opposing foreign force. This medal honors those who have put their lives between their fellow soldiers or civilians and forces that would do harm to America.
The Purple Heart
This is one of the best-known military metals. Unlike many other important medals which a soldier must be recommended for, the Purple Heart is automatically awarded to anyone who fits the criteria. These medals are given to members of the armed forces who are injured or die in the line of duty.
If a soldier dies in the line of duty, the Purple Heart can be awarded to their family. No one goes into military service with the goal of earning a Purple Heart, but it is an essential medal to mark the sacrifices made in the line of military duty.
Distinguished Flying Cross
This medal is a lesser-known but important military medal. Any member of the Navy, Army, or Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Air Force, can be awarded this medal for exceptional feats of heroism performed in the sky while engaging with an enemy.
The Top Military Medals Deserve Respect
If you or someone that you love has earned a top military medal, you should share and display the medal with pride. Medals are often misplaced, stolen, or destroyed. Military medals can be replaced with the correct authentication from the government.