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The Valorous Unit Award
is the second highest unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit (the highest being the Presidential Unit Citation
The Presidential Unit Citation, originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941...
) and is considered the unit equivalent of the Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....
. It is awarded to units of the United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...
which display extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States of America
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
As a result of a request from the Commander, USMACV, to expand the scope of the Meritorious Unit Commendation to include acts of valor, a review of the unit awards program was conducted in 1965. The study concluded that a gap existed in the awards program. The Distinguished Unit Citation (renamed Army Presidential Unit Citation in November 3rd 1966) was awarded for gallantry in action for heroism that would warrant the Distinguished Service Cross to an individual. There was no lesser unit award for heroism. Based on the study, a recommendation was submitted to expand the scope of the Meritorious Unit Commendation to include acts of heroism. The recommendation was disapproved by the DCSPER and in a memorandum to the CSA, dated 7 January 1966, the DCSPER recommended a Valorous Unit Award be adopted to signify unit gallantry in combat to a degree equivalent to that required for award of a Silver Star to an individual. The recommendation with proposed design was approved by the Chief of Staff, Army, on 12 January 1966.
The emblem is worn by all members of a cited organization and is considered an individual decoration for persons in connection with the cited acts and may be worn whether or not they continue as members of the organization. Other personnel may wear this decoration while serving with an organization to indicate the unit has been awarded the Valorous Unit Award.
The Valorous Unit Award is to be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent part for actions occurring on or after 3 August 1963. The Valorous Unit Award requires a lesser degree of gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps than that required for the Presidential Unit Citation. Nevertheless, the unit must have performed with marked distinction under difficult and hazardous conditions in accomplishing its mission so as to set it apart from the other units participating in the same conflict. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Silver Star to an individual. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either ground or air, is not sufficient. This award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans. It is not reasonable to presume that entire units can sustain Silver Star performance for extended time periods under the most unusual circumstances. Only on rare occasions will a unit larger than a battalion qualify for this award.
Description and Components
The Valorous Unit Award worn to represent award of the Valorous Unit Award is 1 7/16 inches wide and 9/16 inch in height. The emblem consists of a 1/16 inch wide Gold frame with laurel leaves which encloses a ribbon of the pattern of the Silver Star Medal ribbon centered on a Red ribbon. The stripe dimensions of the ribbon are: 3/8 inch Old Glory Red 67156; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 1/64 inch White 67101; 3/32 inch Ultramarine Blue; 3/32 inch White; center 3/32 inch Old Glory Red; 3/32 inch White; 3/32 inch Ultramarine Blue; 1/64 inch White; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue; and 3/8 inch Old Glory Red. The streamers are the same pattern as the Silver Star Medal ribbon.
The current components of the Valorous Unit Award are the emblems awarded to members of the unit and the streamer for display on the unit flag/guidon.
- Valorous Unit Award: MIL-D-3943/32 (frame) and MIL-R-11589/154 (ribbon). NSN-8455-00-964-4296.
- Streamer: MIL-S-14650/5. Manual requisition in accordance with Chapter 9, Army Regulation (AR) 840-10.