IG CORNER - Understanding military awards, decorations - Part 2
Story by: Sgt. First Class Anthony P. McFarland Sr. ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL, 1ST INF. DIV.
Editor's Note: The following is the second of two articles on military awards and decorations.
This article will discuss guidance on awards for individuals on whom favorable personnel actions have been suspended, retirement awards, awards revocation, appeals, eligibility to nominate and unit awards.
Individuals on whom favorable personnel actions have been suspended may not be recommended for nor receive awards during the period of the suspension.
Exceptions to the above are Soldiers who are flagged for Army Physical Fitness Test failure, in accordance with Army Regulation 600-8-2, paragraph 1-15, and Soldiers who are flagged for being overweight. These Soldiers may be recommended for and presented with an award based on valor, heroism or for length of service retirement.
A waiver of the overweight flag must be processed to the first general officer in the Soldier's chain of command for approval or disapproval. A waiver for being overweight is not required for the Purple Heart to be awarded.
When a Soldier is getting ready to retire, how far back can the award recommendation refer?
Meritorious service awards may be awarded upon retirement to include periods of service longer than that served in the recommending command. It is recommended that such periods be limited to the last 10 years of service. This is not to imply that an extended period of service should be considered for every individual who retires. An extended period should only be considered in those cases where the length or nature of the individual's terminal assignment would not qualify him or her for an appropriate award.
Can an award be taken back after it is approved and presented?
Once an award has been presented, it may be revoked by the awarding authority if facts subsequently determined would have prevented original approval of the award had they been known. Presentation of a decoration is the physical act of pinning or clipping the medal on a Soldier's chest or handing the Soldier the medal, certificate or orders. Failure to be reassigned or separated as originally scheduled does not constitute grounds for revocation of an award that has been presented.
How may a Soldier appeal an award?
The following are a few steps for appeal, but for more in-depth information, refer to AR 600-8-22, paragraph 1-16.
A request for reconsideration, or the appeal of a disapproved or downgraded award recommendation, must be placed in official channels within one year from the date of the awarding authority's decision.
Recommendations are submitted for reconsideration or appeal only if new, substantive and material information is furnished and the time limits specified in paragraph 1-14 of AR 600-8-22 do not prevent such action.
Requests for reconsideration or appeal must be forwarded through the same official channels as the original recommendation. If the reconsideration or appeal is approved, and when a lesser decoration has already been approved, action is taken by the awarding authority to revoke the lesser awarded decoration.
Who may recommend an award?
Quite simply, it is the responsibility of any individual having personal knowledge of an act, achievement or service believed to warrant the award of a decoration, to submit a formal recommendation into military command channels for consideration. The Army does not condone self-recognition; therefore, a Soldier may not recommend himself or herself for award of a decoration.
Unit Awards are awards made to organizations when the heroism displayed or meritorious service performed is a result of group effort. Unit awards – such as Campaign Participation Credit and Campaign Streamers; and War Service Credit such as War Service Streamers and smaller streamers like Infantry and medical streamers – are authorized as recognition of certain types of service, usually during war, as a means of promoting esprit de corps. Unit Decorations also include those such as the Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation and more. The criteria and explanation of these unit awards and decorations can be found in AR 600-8-22, Chapter 7.
Contact your local personnel office, your commander or the Inspector General's Office with any questions or concerns regarding awards, the awards process, appeals or anything award related.
DID YOU KNOW?
» General officers cannot receive an Army Achievement Medal or Army Commendation Medal.
» The Meritorious Service Medal is authorized to be awarded only for meritorious service or achievement while serving in a non-combat area.
» The Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal is awarded to eligible Army Reserve Component Soldiers during times of peace and war.