Receiving a Bronze Star Medal: What to Expect

A Bronze Star Medal is a tremendous honour which you should be extremely proud to be receiving. It is one of the highest military decorations that you can receive for acts of valour. This decoration is awarded for heroism. A heroic achievement or service of great merit in a combat zone is rewarded with a Bronze Star.

Who can Receive a Bronze Star?

  • Members of the Army and Air Force receive a Bronze Star for acts of valour on the battlefield or otherwise in combat. In such cases, a “V” Device can be worn on the medal. This indicates that the award is for valour rather than meritorious service.
  • Members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard can have a Combat “V” whether they have acted in valour or performed meritorious service.
  • Officers from other uniformed services can also get the award, as can foreign soldiers who have fought with the US.
  • Civilians who have served along with US forced can also receive this award. Ernest Hemingway is a famous example of a civilian recipient of the Bronze Star.

History of the Bronze Star Medal

In the 1940’s, the Bronze Star was established as an award for acts of heroism and meritorious service that are less than those worthy of the Silver Star or Legion of Merit. They should, however, be meritorious and distinguished from average behaviour in battle.

The creators of the Bronze Star wanted to maintain high morale among the ground force. These forces often live under very difficult conditions and fight in close combat with the enemy regularly. Therefore, maintaining good morale in these forces was essential.

Soon after, in the early 1960’s, the award was extended to also include friendly forces. Throughout its history, there has been debate about exactly who should receive the award. Some Americans believe that this award should only go to individuals who are in combat situations. “Meritorious Service” can be a somewhat vague term that does not necessarily refer to active duty in a combat zone.

Therefore, it has been awarded to people providing essential support services but who did not necessarily put their lives in great danger to perform an act of valour or merit.

Bronze Star Devices

Depending on how many Bronze Stars you have earned and the circumstances of your award-worthy deeds, you may also get devices to decorate your Bronze Star. The V designation indicates valour instead of merit in Army and Air Forces. Oak leaves can be worn to indicate further Bronze Stars. These devices can be mounted on the medal or ribbon.

Displaying your Bronze Star

The next question that you will have when you get your new Bronze Star is how should you display it in your home? After all, you’ll want everyone to be able to see and admire it, but you don’t want to risk getting it dirty or having it stolen.

A shadow box is one way that many people choose to display their Bronze Star. You can see the medal up close while protecting it from dust and even the damaging rays of the sun. A medal rack is another good option for displaying and storing your Bronze Star. This may be especially appropriate if you have a lot of medals to display.

Get your Bronze Star

If your Bronze Star has been lost or stolen, there is no reason not to replace this marker of your bravery. Receiving a bronze star medal is a huge accomplishment that you should celebrate. Do not let the fact that you have misplaced or otherwise no longer have your Bronze Star keep you from celebrating the reasons that you earned it.


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