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Ribbons and medals

  • 14-11-2012 7:02pm
    #1
    Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,769 Mod ✭✭✭✭


    Have been wondering for years about the acres of medals and ribbons worn in the army especially officers.

    The recent photographs of senior US army officers regarding other activities show impressive collections of these.

    I can understand in e.g the Boy Scouts etc that awards be given for particular skills, courses, or camps attended, - but in the case of grown-ups..........................?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,798 ✭✭✭Local-womanizer


    Course, overseas, shooting achievements and acts of bravery or distinction.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,688 Mod ✭✭✭✭Morpheus


    you wont see many in Ireland, we have a distinct lack of taste for shiny things in my opinion. But its a form of recognition for a lot of the effort and work some people put into the job I guess. Still, the USA give you a medal for being injured. Id prefer my mates to smack me on the helmet for not staying in cover ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 311 ✭✭KickstartHeart


    The US military award medals, ribbons, and badges for basic things that all soldiers should have done/be qualified to do anyway.

    There are branches of the US military that award badges and ribbons for being able to fire your rifle efficiently. Most of it in the case of the US military is a bit pomp. Personally I think having soldiers wear medals and ribbons for simply finishing basic courses etc. is a bit silly, and defeats the purpose of being awarded medals. You can be full sure that a large proportion of the medals/ribbons/random dangly bits that you'll see pinned to US service people's uniforms are for things of a trivial nature, and not actually for acts of bravery, tours of duty completed etc.

    In the Irish Defence Forces the medals you'll see are; one for length of service, one which is the 'peacekeepers' medal, which is awarded on the completion of a tour of duty as a peacekeeper. The other medals you will see after those two are tour medals, and the rarer medals for bravery. Upon completion of a tour, no matter what your role was on that tour, you'll be awarded the respective tour medal. There's not much else you can do, or once could do to get medals in the Irish Defence Forces, bar the distinguished service medal and medals like the good conduct medals for enlisted men during the troubles and the emergency medal and the likes.

    Snipers have a snipers pin, EOD guys have an EOD pin, people who have completed parachute training wear a small silver metal para wings badge on their chest. And, if someone could confirm this, because I'm not sure if its true, but I've heard that people who are fluent in Irish can wear a small pin for that too.

    Its similar in the UK. The British Armed forces would also be of the persuasion of awarding soldiers for things actually worthy of reward.
    To also reduce the number of shiny bits you'll notice that in the Irish Defence Forces, service personnel who have completed the same tour of duty more than once will wear that tour medal, and the number of times they have been on that tour will be pinned to the medal in the form of a small little silver number.

    Have a read of this, it will explain a lot;
    http://www.military.ie/info-centre/df-ceremonial/defence-forces-medals


    This is even better;
    http://www.military.ie/fileadmin/user_upload/images/Info_Centre/documents/Df_Medals_2010.pdf


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 245 ✭✭Hedgemeister


    Forgive me for barging in on this thread but as an ex-soldier with 30 years Service I'd like to add my tuppence worth.
    No Irish soldier (by that I mean PDF) wears Medals won for shooting, and or, Courses completed !
    What a ridiculous, ignorant and foolish thing to say. (What? There's medals for course completion now ?)

    During my service (between 1966 and 1996) I served in Cyprus (1960s), Lebanon (1970s, 80s,90s,) (and Gaza 1990.) I was awarded United Nations Peackeeper Medals for these, along with the Peacekeepers Medal awarded in 1988 because we were part-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize that year for our work, and in due course I received the Long Service Medal (awarded to me by no less a personage than The President, of Ireland on behalf of the people of Ireland.)

    As a member of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association I sometimes get to wear my (hard-earned) Medals with pride - but my old comrades and I are fully aware that our 'shiny decorations' mean nothing to the populace, though they mean a lot to us.

    BTW I've never heard a soldier saying they were going on 'a tour' of a war-zone!
    Is this an American term - or a Computer Game?
    How very dismissive a term that is?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,688 Mod ✭✭✭✭Morpheus


    Nobody is knocking the medals received by any irish soldiers. my comments may have been interpreted wrong, but I was rather knocking the practice by other armies to award medals for all kinds of mundane things. It can sometimes be cultural too. I prefer the model used by both Ireland and Britain where you are awarded either service medals, the likes of UN medals and then finally medals for conduct or bravery. Thats more than enough I wouldve thought?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭Donny5


    BTW I've never heard a soldier saying they were going on 'a tour' of a war-zone!
    Is this an American term - or a Computer Game?
    How very dismissive a term that is?

    You have really never heard the term Tour? It's shorthand for Tour of Duty and refers to time spent in combat in wartime and used in Ireland to refer to an overseas trip.

    As for being dismissive, I don't see where you get that from, but your "Computer Game" comment is. I think you forgot to return your high horse to stores when you got out.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 245 ✭✭Hedgemeister


    The Good Conduct Medal ceased to be awarded in the Irish Army many years ago, I think about 1994/5 as it was seen as 'divisive.' ie most troops with Exemplary Service were never even considered for it, just a selected few from each Unit.
    Haven't heard the term 'Tour' of Duty since the Vietnam era, or the last time I was in a Game Shop.
    I'm not on a 'high-horse' and apologies to all if I sounded that way.
    BTW my youngest son left for Lebanon yesterday (his third time to serve there) and has already served in tChad twice, Liberia, & Kosovo twice!
    (The best of luck to all the lads and lassies that flew out to Beirut last night)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    It's worth comparing the US Marine Corps' approach to ribbons with the US Army's - the Army certainly likes it's 'merit' badges!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,148 ✭✭✭rednik


    I never went on a TOUR overseas it was always a trip.;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,798 ✭✭✭Local-womanizer


    The Koreans (the naughty ones) are mad for their medals, among other things.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭John Mongo


    There are branches of the US military that award badges and ribbons for being able to fire your rifle efficiently. Most of it in the case of the US military is a bit pomp. Personally I think having soldiers wear medals and ribbons for simply finishing basic courses etc. is a bit silly, and defeats the purpose of being awarded medals.

    You mean like getting a marksman's badge?

    Do a Basic Sniper Course and you'll get a lovely badge for your troubles, do a Basic Static Line Course and you'll get a lovely set of wings for your troubles.

    Never understand why people always seem to get up on their high horse about the Yanks and their medal system. Bit rich talking about "defeating the purpose of being awarded medals" when the DF issues a Service medal for nothing other than being in the job a certain length of time.

    The lads came back after fighting in Jadotville and had their names dragged through the dirt... Not a single medal issued for what the lads did over there. Gimme the Yank system over a system like our one anyday.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,798 ✭✭✭Local-womanizer


    John Mongo wrote: »

    You mean like getting a marksman's badge?

    Do a Basic Sniper Course and you'll get a lovely badge for your troubles, do a Basic Static Line Course and you'll get a lovely set of wings for your troubles.

    Never understand why people always seem to get up on their high horse about the Yanks and their medal system. Bit rich talking about "defeating the purpose of being awarded medals" when the DF issues a Service medal for nothing other than being in the job a certain length of time.

    I thought the US army give you a medal for completing your first range qualification with the M16.

    I've heard you get a medal for turning up, shooting your rifle and passing out!

    Do all military not award service medals for various lengths of service?


  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭John Mongo


    I thought the US army give you a medal for completing your first range qualification with the M16.

    I've heard you get a medal for turning up, shooting your rifle and passing out!

    Do all military not award service medals for various lengths of service?

    No, there is an award for qualifying as Expert, Sharpshooter or Marksman on a weapon at your annual practice.

    They probably do, it's still a medal for nothing more than being in a job for a certain length of time. Can't talk too much about other armies being all about pomp etc. if medals like that are issued. Throwing stones in glasshouses and all that.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,913 ✭✭✭galwaycyclist


    And, if someone could confirm this, because I'm not sure if its true, but I've heard that people who are fluent in Irish can wear a small pin for that too.

    Likely you're thinking of a Fáinne

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A1inne

    Not a military decoration as such but I would be surprised if they aren't permitted.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,769 Mod ✭✭✭✭nuac


    The Good Conduct Medal ceased to be awarded in the Irish Army many years ago, I think about 1994/5 as it was seen as 'divisive.' ie most troops with Exemplary Service were never even considered for it, just a selected few from each Unit.
    Haven't heard the term 'Tour' of Duty since the Vietnam era, or the last time I was in a Game Shop.
    I'm not on a 'high-horse' and apologies to all if I sounded that way.
    BTW my youngest son left for Lebanon yesterday (his third time to serve there) and has already served in tChad twice, Liberia, & Kosovo twice!
    (The best of luck to all the lads and lassies that flew out to Beirut last night)


    All the best to your son and all others going to the Lebanon


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,950 ✭✭✭Milk & Honey


    A fainne and a pioneer pin are both allowed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭Cork boy 55


    Some countries do go a bit OTT
    The Late Colonel Qaddafi RIP

    20111023-qaddafi%20medals.jpg


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭Cork boy 55


    I think the OP is questioning the whole concept of adults wearing medals
    and ribbons.
    I agree they should be phased out along with all the other medieval and imperial trappings that modern armies have
    An Army is for fighting all the homo-erotic trappings should be binned
    Scrap saluting officers
    No more gun salutes
    No guards of honour.
    No state Military funerals
    No army bands
    No number one uniforms
    No flyovers
    No Horsey school
    No motor bikey outriders
    no medals and stars and badges
    etc

    Thats IMO anyway


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."

    ....... Napoleon


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,347 ✭✭✭davetherave


    The Gaeilgeoir's wear/wore a little brass gaelic style "G" pin. This could well have been replaced by the fainne though?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 109 ✭✭Brian Clowen


    The military G is still awarded and worn above your name tag
    The Gaeilgeoir's wear/wore a little brass gaelic style "G" pin. This could well have been replaced by the fainne though?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,141 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Detractors of the American system don't understand the concept.

    The purpose of the US system isn't just to say "This is how awesome I am", it's to give the viewer as much information as feasible about what the person they're looking at has done.

    Yes, the USArmy gives you a ribbon for simply graduating Basic Training. The Gay Pride Ribbon, it's commonly called. In actuality, it's the Army Service Ribbon. (Not a medal, mind, some things aren't important enough to rate as a medal). The reason it makes sense is that there is a significant portion of the military who cross branches. Marines join the Army, soldiers join the Navy and so on and so forth. If you look at an Airman, and you see the ASR on his chest, you know he's been in the Army before joining the Air Force.

    It goes into more detail. If I see someone with one campaign medal (say Afghanistan), and an overseas service ribbon with a '2' on it, I know he's likely been there twice. If he's only got one overseas service bar, I also know that one trip was a short tour. If I then see he's wearing an Armed Forces Reserve Medal with an "M" but no "2" next to it, I can also tell that he was active duty when he went once, and a reservist when he went the second time. Or the AFRM could have no "M" at all, but instead an hourglass, I could then compare with the service bars on his sleeve (let's say he has four), and tell you that he went to Afghanistan twice as an Active Duty soldier, and has spent a total of at least ten years as a reservist and has done between two and four years on Active Duty.

    It goes further. Let's say I'm looking at a Sergeant First Class (E-7) and I note that his NCO Professional Development Ribbon has a number '2' on it. That tells me that he's not eligible for promotion to MSG/1SG as he has not yet completed the required training to do so. (Actually, it alo tells me he's a recent promotion to E-7, as Advanced Leader's Course is usually a requirement to maintain the rank)

    Of course, it doesn't preclude a requirement to ask more questions if you want the full details, for example MOS changes are not indicated on the uniform, but it does mean that you know with a reasonable level of detail where the individual you are speaking with is coming from.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,195 ✭✭✭goldie fish


    So it's basically his CV on his chest?


  • Registered Users Posts: 311 ✭✭KickstartHeart


    Forgive me for barging in on this thread but as an ex-soldier with 30 years Service I'd like to add my tuppence worth.
    No Irish soldier (by that I mean PDF) wears Medals won for shooting, and or, Courses completed !
    What a ridiculous, ignorant and foolish thing to say. (What? There's medals for course completion now ?)

    During my service (between 1966 and 1996) I served in Cyprus (1960s), Lebanon (1970s, 80s,90s,) (and Gaza 1990.) I was awarded United Nations Peackeeper Medals for these, along with the Peacekeepers Medal awarded in 1988 because we were part-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize that year for our work, and in due course I received the Long Service Medal (awarded to me by no less a personage than The President, of Ireland on behalf of the people of Ireland.)

    As a member of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association I sometimes get to wear my (hard-earned) Medals with pride - but my old comrades and I are fully aware that our 'shiny decorations' mean nothing to the populace, though they mean a lot to us.

    BTW I've never heard a soldier saying they were going on 'a tour' of a war-zone!
    Is this an American term - or a Computer Game?
    How very dismissive a term that is?


    I use the term tour as its what everyone I know in the Army (both our own, and the one across the water) call their oversea's trips. From my experience of guys I know in the PDF the terms most used are 'tour' and 'trip'.

    You're service is commendable. But relax a little. I'm not a big fan of video game armchair soldiers either. I don't like being painted with the same brush that they would be painted with.

    People who come on to the internet and try to dictate what terms people should use when talking about things to do with the military put people like me off. (People who might some day decide to join, and be quite enthusiastic about their service/job). If anything is dismissive, its that kind of attitude. Maybe in future I'll keep my mouth shut and NOT take the opportunity to let someone know what kind of service Irish Defence Forces personnel have completed with their country's flag on their shoulder, for fear of using a word that a soldier doesn't like.


    And just to let you know, not all of us people from the normal populous think your ribbons and medals mean nothing. Most of us in the normal populous are over opinionated and under educated on our country's defence forces, but there's a few of us who know how hard earned those ribbons and medals are.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    There's more info on Irish Defence Forces Medals here....

    Irish Defence Forces Medals

    It's enough to make you miss the good ol' USSR.....

    konstantin-vasiliev-a-portrait-of-marshal-georgi-zhukov-19681-212x300.jpg


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