Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

An ordinary soldier’s service

Posted by Dana Pico on 2011/11/20


While we were cleaning up the living room/dining room after some recent work, we found my father-in-laws medals and ribbons from his service in World War II. You can click on the picture to enlarge. He was with the Corps of Engineers, primarily building runways in the Pacific, but he had to have seen some combat: he was awarded the Purple Heart.

I’m not certain about the medal with the airplane on it; it was in his medals case, but the inscription is “Changes in latitude, changes in attitude.” That expression was in use during World War II; Jimmy Buffet didn’t invent it.

My father-in-law passed away in 1998.

World War II (WWII) Victory Medal Ribbon

Criteria: Awarded to any member of the United States military who served on active duty, or as a reservist, between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946. The World War II Victory Medal was first issued as a ribbon, and was referred to simply as the “Victory Ribbon.” By 1946, a full medal had been established which was referred to as the World War II Victory Medal. There is no minimum service time limit for the issuance of the World War II Victory Medal, and the National Personnel Records Center has reported some cases of service members receiving the award for simply a few days of service. As the Second World War ended in August 1945, there are also cases of service members, who had enlisted in 1946, receiving the decoration without having been a veteran of World War II.

Army Good Conduct Medal and Ribbon

Criteria: Awarded to any enlisted member of the United States Army who completes three consecutive years of “honorable and faithful service.” Such service implies that a standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishments, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses. If a service member commits an offense, the three-year mark “resets” and a service member must perform an additional three years of discipline free service before the Good Conduct may be authorized. During times of war, the Army Good Conduct Medal may be awarded for one year of faithful service. The medal may also be awarded posthumously, to any soldier killed in the line of duty. To denote additional decorations of the award, a series of Good Conduct Knots are provided as attachments to the decoration. Service for the Army Good Conduct Medal must be performed on active duty and the medal is not awarded to members of the Army reserve or National Guard who are not federalized to active service. For those Reserve and Guard members who satisfactorily perform annual training and drill duty, however, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal may be awarded in lieu.
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Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal – WWII Ribbon

Criteria: Awarded to any member of the United States military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945. There were twenty one official campaigns of the Pacific Theater, denoted on with a service star. The arrowhead device is authorized for those campaigns involving amphibious assaults. Credible campaigns for the Pacific Theater are as follows: Philippine Islands 7 Dec 41 – 10 May 42; Burma, 1942 7 Dec 41 – 26 May 42; Central Pacific 7 Dec 41 – 6 Dec 43; East Indies 1 Jan 42 – 22 Jul 42; India-Burma 2 Apr 42 – 28 Jan 45; Air Offensive, Japan 17 Apr 42 – 2 Sep 45; Aleutian Islands 3 Jun 42 – 24 Aug 43; China Defensive 4 Jul 42 – 4 May 45; Papua 23 Jul 42 – 23 Jan 43; Guadalcanal 7 Aug 42 – 21 Feb 43; New Guinea 24 Jan 43 – 31 Dec 44; Northern Solomons 22 Feb 43 – 21 Nov 44; Eastern Mandates 7 Dec 43 – 14 Jun 44; Bismarck Archipelago 15 Dec 43 – 27 Nov 44; Western Pacific 17 Apr 44 – 2 Sep 45; Leyte 17 Oct 44 – 1 Jul 45; Luzon 15 Dec 44 – 4 Jul 45; Central Burma 29 Jan 45 – 15 Jul 45; Southern Philippines 27 Feb 45 – 4 Jul 45; Ryukyus 26 Mar 45 – 2 Jul 45; China Offensive 5 May 45 – 2 Sep 45. Additionally, the following Pacific Theater “blanket” campaigns qualify – but without service stars: Antisubmarine 7 Dec 41 – 2 Sep 45; Ground Combat: 7 Dec 41 – 2 Sep 45; Air Combat: 7 Dec 41 – 2 Sep 45.

Purple Heart Medal

Criteria: Awarded as an entitlement entitled upon being killed or wounded in a manner meeting the specific criteria of AR 600-8-22: (1) In any action against an enemy of the U.S.; (2) In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the U.S. are or have been engaged; (3) While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the U.S. is not a belligerent party; (4) As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces; (5) As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force; (6) After March 28, 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the U.S.; (7) After March 28, 1973, as a result of military operations, while serving outside the territory of the U.S. as part of a peacekeeping force; (8) After December 7, 1941, by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, regardless of the fire causing the wound; (9) While held as a prisoner of war or while being taken captive. Additionally, individuals wounded or killed as a result of friendly fire in the heat of battle will be awarded the Purple Heart as long as the “friendly” projectile or agent was released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment.

2 Responses to “An ordinary soldier’s service”

  1. Foxfier said

    Heh, nice to know the Good Cookie was around way back when; makes mine carry a bit more weight.

    Like

  2. Foxfier said

    I would guess the plane pin wasn’t a medal, it was related to who he worked with– kind of like patches.

    Like

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