Campaign, War Service and Unit Award Streamers
1. BACKGROUND. a. Battle honors were first depicted by inscribing the names of battles on the organizational color or guidon. On 25 August 1861, Major General John C. Fremont, commanding the Western Department, commended troops from Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri for their extraordinary service in the battle of Wilson’s Creek, near Springfield, Missouri which had occurred 10 days earlier. The Union soldiers had fought a Confederate force five times as large and the battle ended in a moral victory for the Union Army. Fremont ordered the word “Springfield” to be emblazoned on the colors of the units involved in the fighting.
b. General Order 19, War Department, 22 February 1862, prescribed that there should be inscribed upon the color or guidons of all regiments and batteries the names of the battles in which they had borne a meritorious part.
c. On 7 February 1890, the use of inscribed battle honors upon the national and regimental colors was discontinued and engraved silver rings, now called silver bands, were authorized. This practice continued until 1918 when the silver bands were in short supply and the War Department authorized the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces (Gen. John J. Pershing) to locally procure ribbon as a substitute and inscribe on the ribbon strips the name of special battles and major operations that color bearing units of the AEF had been engaged in during World War I. These ribbon strips became the forerunners of our present day campaign streamers.
d. Hand embroidered silk streamers were introduced on 3 June 1920. The original directive prescribed that there would be a silk streamer for each war in which the organization participated in the theatre of operations and to be the color of the campaign ribbon for the different wars. The name of the battle or campaign of a war was embroidered on the ribbon.
e. Unit award streamers were also first authorized in 1920 when the War Department authorized a blue silk streamer with the name of the action embroidered thereon. The streamer was adopted to reflect organizations “Mentioned In Orders” by the War Department for meritorious service in action.
2. CURRENT STREAMERS/DECORATIONS. Only campaign streamers are displayed on the Army flag and they are 2 3/4 inches wide and 4 feet long. Streamers (2 3/4 inches wide and 3 feet in length) are currently authorized for display by organizations authorized a distinguishing flag to indicate the following:
a. Campaign Streamers. The streamer reflects campaign participation credit and is the campaign or service ribbon design authorized for the soldiers for that specific conflict or operation during the period. Organizations display the streamers on the colors for campaigns or service for which they have received campaign participation credit as shown on the unit’s lineage and honors. The inscription is as shown on the unit’s lineage and honors/statement of service. Campaign streamers displayed by organizations do not have the date of the campaign embroidered on the streamer unless it is part of the name (e.g. Mexico 1916-1917). The 174 campaign streamers displayed on the Army flag include the date of the action:
b. War Service Streamers/Battle Streamers. War service streamers without inscriptions were awarded during or prior to World War II to units located in the theater but did not participate in designated campaigns nor specified battles/locations. Prior to 1945, units may also have been awarded streamers for participation in battles other than designated campaigns. The lineage and honors and the inscription on the streamer indicates location and year rather than the designated campaign (e.g. Civil War Service may reflect “GEORGIA 1863” or WWI reflects “LORRAINE 1918” rather than the name of a designated campaign).
c. Unit Award Streamers. Unit award streamers indicate the unit has been awarded a unit decoration. Both foreign and U.S. decorations are reflected through the use of unit award streamers. In addition to the regular size unit award streamers for display by organizations authorized a distinguishing flag, unit award streamers (1 3/8 inches wide and 2 feet long) are displayed by separate units authorized a guidon. The inscription, normally location and/or date(s), is as indicated in the unit’s lineage and honor statements.
d. Fourragere, Lanyards, and Decorations. Fourragere and/or Lanyards which have been awarded by foreign governments and shown on the unit’s lineage and honors may be displayed on the flagstaff for ceremonial occasions. In addition, foreign decorations may be displayed on the applicable unit award streamer for ceremonial occasions.
e. Combat and Expert Infantry Unit Streamers. A white ribbon with blue embroidered inscription “COMBAT INFANTRY (UNIT)” or “EXPERT INFANTRY (UNIT)” is awarded to brigade or smaller size units. The Combat Infantry streamer may be awarded by commanders of divisions, corps, or armies if 65 percent or more of the TOE strength of the unit has been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge during military operations. Award for subsequent military operations are reflected by a blue embroidered star after the inscription. The expert infantry streamer may be awarded by commanders of battalions or brigades when 65 percent or more of the assigned strength of the brigade or smaller size unit is awarded the Expert Infantryman Badge during annual testing. The Expert Infantry Streamer may be displayed for one year. Devices to indicate subsequent awards are not authorized.
f. Combat and Expert Medical Unit Streamers. A maroon ribbon with a narrow white stripe on each side and white embroidered inscription “COMBAT MEDICAL (UNIT)” OR “EXPERT MEDICAL (UNIT)” is authorized to indicate service in combat or successful testing for the Expert Medical Badge. The Combat Medical Streamer may be awarded by commanders of armies, corps, divisions, or separate brigades when 65 percent or more of the TOE strength of a medical unit has been awarded the Combat Medical Badge during military operations in war. The Expert Medical Streamer may be awarded by commanders indicated in AR 600-8-22 when
65 percent or more of the assigned strength has been awarded the Expert Medical Badge as a result of Expert Field Medical Badge testing. The expert medical unit streamer may be displayed for one year after the unit qualifies.
3. ARMY FLAG STREAMER SET. A streamer for each campaign in which Army organizations participated is displayed on the Army flag. There are currently 174 streamers displayed on the Army flag. Units, which received campaign credit participation for these campaigns, may display a three-foot streamer without dates on their organizational flag.
a. Revolutionary War. There were 16 campaigns in the revolutionary war. The revolutionary war streamer is scarlet with a white center stripe with golden yellow inscription.
Scarlet is the color of the mother country and the white stripe symbolizes the virgin land of the new country separated from its former sovereign by force of arms. The following inscriptions are on the revolutionary war streamers:
QUEBEC 1775, 1776
CHARLESTON 1776, 1780
LONG ISLAND 1776
SAVANNAH 1778, 1779
GUILFORD COURT HOUSE 1781
b. War of 1812. There were 6 campaigns in the war of 1812. The streamer is scarlet with two white stripes with the following inscriptions in yellow. Scarlet is again used to symbolize the former mother country and the two white stripes symbolize our second successful defense of our homeland against the same enemy in the preceding conflict.
LUNDY’S LANE 1814
NEW ORLEANS 1814-1815
c. Mexican War. There were 10 campaigns in the Mexican War. The streamers are green with a white center stripe. The color green is one of the colors associated with ancient Mexico and the colors green and white appear in the present Mexican tricolor flag. The white center stripe also represents the United States flag. The following inscriptions in yellow are on the Mexican War streamers:
PALO ALTO 1846
RESACA DE LA PALMA 1846
BUENA VISTA 1847
VERA CRUZ 1847
CERRO GORDO 1847
MOLINA DEL RAY 1847
d. Civil War. There were 25 campaigns in the Civil War. The streamers are equally divided with blue and gray. Units that received campaign credit as a confederate unit use the same ribbon with the colors reversed. Blue refers to Federal Service and gray is indicative of the Confederacy, joined together they represent the unification of the country after the Civil War. The following inscriptions in yellow are authorized on the streamers:
BULL RUN 1861 (“FIRST MANASSAS”) FOR CONFEDERATE SERVICE)
HENRY & DONELSON 1862
MISSISSIPPI RIVER 1862-1863
MANASSAS 1862 (“SECOND MANASSAS”) FOR CONFEDERATE SERVICE
ANTIETAM 1862 (“SHARPSBURG”) FOR CONFEDERATE SERVICE
COLD HARBOR 1864
e. Indian Campaign. There were 14 Indian Campaigns that covered the period 1790 to 1891. The streamer is red with two black stripes. Red is a sacred color with all Indians and is usually considered symbolic of strength and success. The color red, symbolic of war, is also a symbol of day and the Sun god. The color black, symbolic of death and mourning, is also a symbol of night and the Underworld god. The following inscriptions in yellow are authorized:.
MIAMI 1790 – 1795
CREEKS 1813-1814, 1836 – 1837
SEMINOLES 1817-1818, 1835-1842, 1855-1858
BLACK HAWK 1832
COMMANCHES 1867 – 1875
MODOCS 1872 – 1873
APACHES 1873, 1885 – 1886
LITTLE BIG HORN 1876 – 1877
NEZ PERCES 1877
CHEYENNES 1878 – 1879
UTES 1879 – 1880
PINE RIDGE 1890 – 1891
f. Spanish American War. There were three campaigns during the Spanish American war in 1898. The Spanish Campaign ribbon is yellow with two blue stripes. The color yellow was suggested by the field of the Spanish flag. The two blue stripes of the streamer refer to the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea) and the Pacific Ocean (Philippine Sea). The three yellow portions of the ribbon allude to Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands, the areas of the conflict. The following inscriptions in scarlet are authorized on the streamers.
PUERTO RICO 1898
g. China Relief Expedition. There were three campaigns during the Boxer Revolt in China during 1900. The China Relief Expedition streamer is yellow with a narrow blue stripe on each side. The color yellow was restricted for use only by the Manchu rulers of China during the Ts’ing dynasty (1644-1911). The color blue is emblematic of the east and of the blue dragon depicted on the yellow imperial and other Manchu standards. The following inscriptions in ultramarine blue are authorized:
h. Philippine Campaign. There were 11 campaigns during the Philippine Insurrection between 1899 and 1913. The Philippine Campaign ribbon is blue with two red stripes. The colors blue and red were suggested by the field of the Philippine flag. The two red stripes of the ribbon refer to the Filipino insurrectionists and the United States Army. The blue indicates service overseas and also as our national color alludes to the United States support of Filipino independence. The following inscriptions in yellow are authorized:
LAGUNA DE BAY 1899
SAN ISIDRO 1899
ZAPOTE RIVER 1899
SAN FABIAN 1899
JOLO 1905, 1906, 1913
i. Mexican Service. There was 1 campaign for Mexican Border Service during the period 1916 – 1917. The streamer is yellow with a blue center stripe and a narrow green stripe on each edge. The colors green and yellow are associated with the Aztecs of ancient Mexico. The Aztec standard carried at the battle of Otumba in 1520 consisted of a gold sun surrounded by the green plumes of the quetzal. The blue, our national color, alludes to the United States Army and also refers to the Rio Grande River which separates in part Mexico from the United States. The following inscription in white is authorized:
j. World War I. There were 13 campaigns for World War I during the period 1917-1918. The streamer is the World War I Victory Medal ribbon which had a red center with a rainbow on each side of the center stripe and a purple edge. The double rainbow symbolizes the dawn of a new era and the calm which follows the storm. The following inscriptions in white are authorized:
SOMME DEFENSIVE 1918
SOMME OFFENSIVE 1918
ST. MIHIEL 1918
VITTORIA VENETO 1918
k. American Campaign. The Army only displays one campaign streamer to reflect the American Campaign because Army units did not participate in combat within the American Campaign. The streamer is light blue with a narrow blue, white and red stripe in the center and a narrow white, red, black and white stripe on each side. The blue represents the Americas and the white and black refers to the German part of the conflict while the red and white refers to the Japanese part of the conflict on the Pacific coast. The following inscription is in yellow.
ANTISUBMARINE 1941 -1945
l. Asiatic Pacific Theater. There were 21 campaigns in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. The Asiatic Pacific Campaign streamer is yellow with a narrow blue, white and red center stripe and a narrow white, red and white stripe on each side. The yellow color represents Asia; the blue, white, and red stripes taken from the American Defense Medal refer to the continuance of American Defense after Pearl Harbor. The red and white stripes are the Japanese colors. The following inscriptions in blue are authorized:
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS 1941-1942
CENTRAL PACIFIC 1941-1943
EAST INDIES 1942
INDIA-BURMA 1942 – 1945
AIR OFFENSIVE, JAPAN 1942 – 1945
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS 1942 – 1943
CHINA DEFENSIVE 1942 – 1945
NEW GUINEA 1943 – 1944
NORTHERN SOLOMONS 1943 – 1944
EASTERN MANDATES 1944
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO 1943 – 1944
WESTERN PACIFIC 1944 – 1945
LEYTE 1944 – 1945
LUZON 1944 – 1945
CENTRAL BURMA 1945
SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES 1945
CHINA OFFENSIVE 1945
m. European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign (EAME). There were 16 campaigns in the EAME Theater. The EAME streamer is green with a brown stripe on each edge. The center has a narrow blue, white and red stripe. On the upper portion is a narrow white and red stripe with a narrow white, black and white stripe on the lower portion. The brown color is representative of the sands of Africa and the green color for the green fields of Europe. The central blue, white, and red stripes taken from the American Defense Medal ribbon refers to the continuance of American Defense after Pearl Harbor. Green, white, and red are the Italian colors, and the white and black colors refer to Germany. The following inscriptions in yellow are authorized:
AIR OFFENSIVE, EUROPE 1942-1944
ALGERIA-FRENCH MOROCCO 1942
NORTHERN FRANCE 1944
SOUTHERN FRANCE 1944
NORTH APENNINES 1944-1945
CENTRAL EUROPE 1945
PO VALLEY 1945
n. Korean Service. There were 10 campaigns for Korean service during the period 1950 – 1953. The Korean Service streamer is light blue with a white center stripe and a narrow white stripe on each edge. The medium blue and white are the colors of the United Nations referring to the UN mission. The following inscriptions in yellow are authorized:
UN DEFENSIVE 1950
UN OFFENSIVE 1950
CCF INTERVENTION 1950-1951
FIRST UN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 1951
CCF SPRING OFFENSIVE 1951
UN SUMMER-FALL OFFENSIVE 1951
SECOND KOREAN WINTER 1951-1952
KOREA SUMMER-FALL 1952
THIRD KOREAN WINTER 1952-1953
KOREA SUMMER 1953
o. Vietnam Service. There were 17 campaigns for Vietnam service during the period 1962 – 1973. The Vietnam Service streamer is yellow with three red stripes through the center. It has a green stripe on each side. The yellow with red stripes was suggested by the flag of the Republic of Vietnam. The green alludes to the jungle. The following inscriptions in white are authorized:
VIETNAM ADVISORY 1962 – 1965
VIETNAM DEFENSE 1965
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE 1965-1966
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE, PHASE II 1966-1967
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE, PHASE III 1967-1968
TET COUNTEROFFENSIVE 1968
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE, PHASE IV 1968
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE, PHASE V 1968
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE, PHASE VI, 1968-1969
TET 69/COUNTEROFFENSIVE, 1969
VIETNAM SUMMER-FALL 1969
VIETNAM WINTER-SPRING 1970
SANCTUARY COUNTEROFFENSIVE 1970
VIETNAM COUNTEROFFENSIVE, PHASE VII, 1970-1971
CONSOLIDATION I 1971
CONSOLIDATION II 1971-1972
VIETNAM CEASE-FIRE 1972-1973
p. Armed Forces Expeditionary. There are three expeditionary missions which use the Armed Forces Expeditionary ribbon to reflect campaign credit. The Armed Forces Expeditionary streamer is light blue with a narrow blue, white and red stripe in the center. On each edge is a narrow green, yellow, red, and black stripe. The colors red, white and blue refer to the United States while the light blue suggests water and overseas service. The stripes of brown, black, green and yellow are indicative of the various areas of the world where the Armed Forces of the United States might be called upon to serve. The following inscriptions in white are authorized:
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1965-1966
q. Southwest Asia Service. There will be three campaigns for the Southwest Asia War. The streamer is tan with a black border and center stripe. On each side of the black center is a green stripe. A grouping of red, white, and blue stripes are centered on each side. The sand colored ribbon with red, white, blue, green, and black stripes represent the desert and the colors of the United States and the coalition members. The following inscriptions in white are authorized:
DEFENSE OF SAUDI ARABIA 1990-1991
LIBERATION AND DEFENSE OF KUWAIT 1991
KUWAIT CEASE FIRE 1991- 1995
r. Kosovo Campaign. The streamer has five stripes (blue, red, white, blue and red). The inscription is yellow. The following inscriptions are authorized:
KOSOVO AIR CAMPAIGN 1999
KOSOVO DEFENSE CAMPAIGN 1999-200?
4. UNIT AWARD STREAMERS. Unit award streamers are used by organizations to indicate the unit has been awarded a unit decoration. Both foreign and U.S. unit decorations are reflected through the use of unit award streamers. In addition to the regular size unit award streamers for display by units on the organizational flag, unit award streamers (1 3/8 inches wide and 2 feet long) are displayed by separate companies authorized a guidon. The inscription and device, if required, will be as indicated on the unit’s lineage and honors. Unit awards for companies of battalions are normally displayed on the battalion flag.
a. Army Presidential Unit Citation. A blue streamer with the name of the action embroidered in white. The streamer represents a degree of heroism required that would warrant award of the Distinguished Service Cross to an individual.
b. Navy Presidential Unit Citation for Army organizations. A streamer consisting of a blue, gold and red stripe with the name of the action embroidered in white.
c. Valorous Unit Commendation Streamer. The streamer is the same pattern as the Silver Star Medal ribbon consisting of a blue ribbon with a red center stripe with a white stripe on each side of the center and a narrow white stripe on the blue. The name of the action is embroidered in yellow.
d. Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer. The streamer consists of nine stripes as follows: blue, yellow, blue, white, crimson (center), white, blue, yellow, blue. The inscription is embroidered in yellow.
e. Army Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer. The streamer is red and has the inscription embroidered in white letters. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant a Legion of Merit to an individual.
f. Navy Unit Commendation Streamer for use by Army organizations. The streamer consists of the following stripes: blue, yellow, red, green (center), red, yellow, blue. The inscription is embroidered in white.
g. Air Force Outstanding Unit Streamer. The streamer consists of the following stripes: red, white, blue, white, red (center), white, blue, white, and red. The inscription is embroidered in white.
h. Army Superior Unit Streamer. The streamer is red with a green center stripe with a narrow yellow stripe on each side of the green. The inscription will be embroidered in white.
i. French Croix de Guerre, WWI. The streamer has a total of 16 alternating red and green stripes beginning with red and ending with red. The inscription is embroidered in yellow and the star or palm is embroidered in the color specified.
j. French Croix de Guerre, WWII. The streamer is red with 4 narrow green stripes grouped to the center of the streamer. The inscription embroidered is yellow and the star or palm embroidered in the specified color.
k. French Medaille Militaire. The streamer is yellow with a narrow green stripe on each edge. The inscription is scarlet.
l. Belgian Croix de Guerre. The streamer is red with three narrow green stripes on each side. The inscription is embroidered in white and the palm is green.
m. Luxembourg Croix de Guerre. The streamer is blue with yellow edges and three yellow center stripes. The inscription is white.
n. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. The streamer has three stripes (blue, white, and red) with the inscription embroidered in yellow.
o. Croce Al Merito di Guerra (Italy). The streamer is blue with 2 white stripes with the inscription embroidered in yellow.
p. Military Order of William (Netherlands). The streamer is yellow with 2 blue stripes with the inscription embroidered in dark blue.
q. Ordem da Torree and Espada (Portugal) “Order of the Tower and Sword”. The Streamer is light blue with the inscription in yellow.
r. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. The streamer has a green stripe on each edge and wide white stripe in the center. On each side of the white stripe are narrow stripes of green, white, red, white, red, and white. The inscription is embroidered in dark blue. A taeguk in color is embroidered 5 inches from the hoist.
s. Chryssoun Aristion Andrias (Bravery Gold Medal of Greece). The streamer has five alternating stripes (3 blue and two white) with the inscription in yellow.
t. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross. The streamer has a yellow center stripe with a red stripe on each edge. Eight pairs of thin red lines are on the yellow stripe. The inscription is white. A bronze palm is centered between the hoist end of the streamer and the first letter of the inscription.
u. Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions. The streamer is green with a red stripe near each edge and two red center stripes. The inscription is white and a bronze palm is centered between the hoist end and the first letter of the inscription.
1. STREAMER DEVICES. The following devices are embroidered on the streamers of organizations when specified in the lineage and honors. Devices are not placed on streamers displayed on the Army flag.
a. Earned Honor Device. The earned honor device is embroidered in yellow two inches from the end of the streamer to indicate the battalion of a regiment that has the device actually participated in the campaign. Prior to the Korean War, if one battalion of the regiment received campaign credit, all battalions received campaign credit participation; however, only those battalions that earned the credit would receive the earned honor device. Since the Korean War, only those battalions of the regiment that receive campaign participation credit are authorized to display the streamer. The campaigns on the battalion’s lineage and honors are indicated by an asterisk if the earned honor device is authorized.
b. Arrowhead Device. A bronze embroidered arrowhead is placed 3/4 inch before the inscription on the streamer to indicate the unit made a parachute jump into enemy territory; participated in an amphibious landing on enemy territory; or made a helicopter assault landing in enemy held territory as part of an organized force carrying out an assigned tactical mission. The unit’s lineage and honors will indicate “with arrowhead” if applicable.
c. Palm. The palm is used on some foreign unit awards (e.g. French Croix de Guerre, Belgian Croix de Guerre, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry) to indicate the level of the military command which cited the unit for the award. The palm indicates the award was made by the Armed Forces headquarters of the foreign government. The embroidered bronze palm outlined in green and with green berries is centered between the hoist end of the streamer and the first letter of the inscription.
d. Stars. Stars, 1 1/2 inches in diameter, are used to indicate the level of the foreign military which cited an organization for an award. A gold star represents citation by a corps, a silver star by a division, and a bronze star by a brigade/regiment. The embroidered gold, silver and bronze stars are centered between the hoist end and the first letter of the inscription on foreign awards. A blue embroidered star is placed 1 1/2 inches after the last letter of the inscription on the combat infantry streamer to indicate subsequent awards.
e. Taeguk. The Taeguk, 2 inches in diameter, is embroidered on the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit streamer, five inches from the hoist end of the streamer.
6. DISPLAY OF STREAMERS ON THE ARMY FLAG. Streamers are affixed to the attaching device in a counterclockwise manner. LEXINGTON 1775 is the first streamer and KOSOVO AIR CAMPAIGN will be the 174th streamer (with an additional streamer to be added at a later date). When the United States flag is not being carried, the streamers will be arranged in such a manner that LEXINGTON 1775 is displayed in the preeminent position, i.e., in the center facing forward and completely identifiable. The streamer awarded for the most recent campaign will also be visible.
7. SILVER BANDS. Separate TOE units authorized a guidon will indicate campaign participation credit by use of a silver band in lieu of a campaign streamer. The silver band is placed on the guidon staff immediately below the guidon. Campaign participation credit for companies of battalions are reflected by the battalion streamer since honors for those companies accrue to the battalion if the battalion received credit. If the battalion did not receive credit but individual companies received credit, the silver band may be displayed by the company.
PROCUREMENT: Streamers and silver bands may be obtained by submitting a manual requisition in accordance with chapter 9, AR 840-10. A copy of the unit’s lineage and honors or a statement of service must be included with the requisition. Battalions and squadrons of regiments will attach a copy of the lineage and honors or statement of service for the regiment if a separate lineage and honors for the battalion is not maintained. Streamers displayed by these battalions/squadrons are a duplicate of the streamers authorized for the regiment unless the battalion is authorized an additional streamer. Separate lineage and honors are not maintained for the reserve battalions.