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    !New Polish Military Awards

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    On 14 June, 2007 the President of the Republic signed an act establishing six new military awards and reviving a medal that was in use before WWII. It has been the largest amendment to the Polish award system since 1992.

    The Military Cross is a combat decoration, which can be conferred to any military, irrespective of rank and service, for combat valor against an act of terrorism on the territory of Poland or while on an overseas mission, which however does not meet the requirements to be awarded with the Order of the Military Cross. It can also be awarded to members of other uniformed services, to civilians or to a military unit. It can be conferred up to four times to the same individual. It is a non-warlike counterpart of the Polish Cross of Valour.

    The ribbon is crimson with dark blue side stripes, which are the reversed colours of the Order of the Military Cross. Each subsequent award will be denoted by a bronze bar with oak leaves on the ribbon.

    The Army Cross of Merit, Navy Cross of Merit and Air Force Cross of Merit are conferred to members of these services. The crosses are awarded with swords for meritorious service in combat operations against acts of terrorism at home or during military missions overseas. The crosses without swords are awarded for outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service.

    The ribbon is dark crimson, navy blue or light blue, with narrow white edges and side stripes equally spaced. Each cross can be conferred twice. A second award will be denoted by a bar on the ribbon.

    The Long Service Medal was established originally in 1938. It is awarded for long, exemplary service to the country in three classes: gold, silver and bronze, for 30, 20 and 10 years of service respectively. It is conferred to members of the Armed Forces, other uniformed services and to government or local government employees.

    The ribbon is claret with a wide white stripe in the centre. When ribbons only are worn, a Roman numeral is attached to them.

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    The Afghanistan Star and the Iraq Star are conferred to military and civilian participants of the missions to Afghanistan and to Iraq.

    The ribbon of the Afghanistan Star is light green with the edges in the Afghan tricolor. The ribbon of the Iraq Star is sand yellow with the edges in the colors of the Iraqi flag. In the centre there is a red stripe, flanked by narrower white ones. Participation in a contingent or operation is denoted by a bronze bar with contingent number or name of the operation.

    The first bestowal of the Military Cross took place on Independence Day, on 11 November, 2007. The stars have been conferred since 1 January, 2008.

    Photos are courtesy of the President's Chancellery, Warsaw. At the moment I do not have any photos of the commemorative stars.

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