FWT Homepage Translator

Friday, February 09, 2018



Retired personnel and former members of the Army (as described above) may wear all categories of medals described in this regulation on appropriate civilian clothing.

This includes clothes designed for veteran and patriotic organizations on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day, as well as at formal occasions of ceremony and social functions of a military nature.

Personnel may wear either full-size or miniature medals.

Personnel who wear medals on civilian clothes should place the medals on the clothing in approximately the same location and in the same manner as for the Army uniform, so they look similar to medals worn on the Army uniform.


Comrades in Arms:

Here at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, one of the guys, who was considering placing an order for some medals from an Internet dealer, was listing all of his decorations, and I advised him that he ought to order his medals mounted for wear, as that is the easiest way to put them on your clothing.

He said he could understand putting his medals in a display case mounted on the wall of his room, but when would he ever actually WEAR his medals?

I've worn my medals on a lot of occasions, so I've been thinking about that.

Since our Country is at war, it's especially appropriate for us veterans to wear our military decorations on our civilian suits.

We need to set an example for the younger generation.

It's even more true for those of us who served in the old Republic of Viet Nam, because of how we were mistreated and dishonored by our fellow Americans when we made the horrendous mistake of coming back from the war.

The first time I ever wore my medals was when I got married.

(For a larger view, please click on the photographs.)

I was a Specialist Five in the United States Army, and, in compliance with the uniform regulations for enlisted personnel which were in force at that time, I wore them on my dress green uniform, along with a white shirt and black bow tie.

I also wore that same uniform when my wife and I attended a formal military ball at the NCO club celebrating the Cavalry's birthday.

As a civilian, I wear my medals whenever I attend a military funeral (and unfortunately, I've been to a BUNCH of military funerals).

Here in Mississippi, it's too hot to wear a proper coat and tie, so I settle for pinning my medals to a khaki shirt.

If it's an event which is not a formal occasion, then I just wear the riband rack, similar to how we wore our "Class B" uniform when on active duty in the United States Army.

Attending the Virginia Scottish Games and Festival
Anytime I march in a parade, I always wear my medals.

Anytime I attend a public patriotic or military event, I wear my medals.

Anytime I'm wearing my Scottish kilt, and sporting full Highland regalia, it will include wearing my medals.

National Tartan Day is a fine example of that.

I wear my medals when celebrating the birthday of the United States Army.

I wear my medals on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day.

I wear my medals on Independence Day.

If invited to a dinner, I wear my medals on Thanksgiving Day.

That was inspired by my experience as a soldier in the old Republic of Viet Nam going to Australia on a Rest and Recuperation leave in November of 1971, and learning that Thanksgiving was a uniquely AMERICAN holiday, not observed anywhere else.

Other days to wear medals might be the Nineteenth of April, Constitution Day, and Bill of Rights Day.

It's whatever is patriotic and respectful.

I've learned that the full sized medals should be worn on the breast of the suit coat.

For formal evening occasions that require a tuxedo, miniature medals should be worn mounted on the lapel of the suit coat.

When wearing miniature medals while attired in evening dress, unit awards are not worn.

New Year's Eve Dance
I also bought a set of miniature ribands, which I wear on the lapel of my suit coat when I go to church, or anywhere else that requires wearing a coat and tie.

Miniature Riband Rack
for wear on lapel of suit coat.
At the time that I bought them, I bought the type that pin on, but I've since learned that the type that are magnetically mounted are a better buy.

Also, for years, I wore my Expert Rifleman Badge when wearing my medals, but I recently learned from a retired United States Marine Corps gunnery sergeant that firearms qualification badges are not supposed to be worn when wearing the full sized medals.

When purchasing medals, I recommend getting two sets, one mounted for wear, and the other for a display case mounted on the wall.

When you are initially awarded your medals and/or decorations, be sure the accompanying CERTIFICATE and CITATION are included, as those official documents will look especially impressive when properly framed for prominent display on a wall in your home or office.

An example of the CERTIFICATE
accompanying award of the BRONZE STAR

An example of the CITATION
accompanying award of the BRONZE STAR
Also, if you desire, the Department of Defense will engrave your name on the medal, free of charge.

If your military decorations are lost, stolen, or accidentally destroyed, the Department of Defense will replace them, free of charge, - - - ONCE!

Subsequent replacements of lost, stolen, or damaged military decorations must be at the recipient's own expense.

Looking from left to right:
My stepmother's awards, my father's medals,
and my own decorations.
As another bonus for all of us military veterans, several years ago, the Department of Defense issued an announcement, which was also published by the Department of Veterans Affairs, stating that all military veterans, even when attired in civilian clothing, are now permitted to render a military salute (i.e., the position of "PRESENT, ARMS!"). 

In other words, you can salute like a soldier, instead of having to place your hand over your heart, like a civilian would.

Do you know the difference between a "medal" and a "decoration"?

Although we generally use those terms interchangeably, they are NOT the same thing.

The definition is determined by the shape of the metallic device which hangs below the ribbon.

If the metallic device is a round disc, it is a "medal".

A metallic device with a distinctive shape, such as a cross or a star, is a "decoration". 

Military decorations, service awards, and medals are often mistakenly confused with one another.

Decoration is a term for awards which require specific acts of heroism or achievement, whereas a service award or campaign medal is awarded for serving in a particular capacity in a particular geographical area and time frame.

In either case, an award or decoration may be presented as a medal.

So, don't be embarrassed to wear your medals in public.

Why else were they awarded to you - - - , just so you could keep them hidden in a drawer or on a closet shelf?

Thank you.
Armed Forces Retirement Home
1800 Beach Drive, Unit 311
Gulfport, Mississippi  39507



Stilton Jarlsberg said...

John- Very interesting and I enjoyed the pictures! I didn't serve in the military, but appreciate seeing veterans wearing any identification which helps remind others of the honor and importance of service. And I've got to say, in a manly way, that you look good in a kilt!

Hope all is good for you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info.

Semper Fi!!

Anonymous said...

Dang, John. You would enjoy my old ward. The bishop encouraged service members to wear dress uniforms on the Sunday before Memorial Day and occasions where federal holidays like Veteran's Day fall on a Sunday. I blessed my second son on Veteran's day and me and my buddy both wore our uniforms in the blessing circle.

By the way, I found your blog thanks to This Ain't Hell. Keep dropping by.

Mike Davis said...


Thanks for your service, and I appreciate the information.

As a both a kilt-wearer (from "Clan" Macqueen, actually a sept of Clan Chattan) and medal wearer (active duty Army from 1991-1997), I appreciate your efforts to boost both.

Sunny said...

Quick thing sir, I was a SGT in 101st airborne, went with them to Afghanistan twice. That gunnery SGT you talked to was wrong. He doesn't follow the same regs we do, and remember your Expert Infantry Badge is a Skill badge, its not a firearms qualification pin. You wear it like you would a combat infantrymens badge, or in my case a combat medical badge.

Thanks for your service

Anonymous said...

I think he was referring to the Expert Marksman Badge, not the Expert Infantyman Badge (EIB), which is indeed worn like a Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB).

Unknown said...

I appreciate you sharing all the occasions you've found to wear your medals. I'd like to wear mine once in a while, but I have a bit of a dilemma and was hoping you might have some insight. I have never served, however I was a civilian employee working for the CA Army National Guard and was awarded both the CA Medal of Merit an the CA Commendation Medal. Is it appropriate for me to wear them?