Jump to content

Does US medals confer post-nominals?


Recommended Posts

I was busy cataloguing my medal collection when I suddenly wondered if the US allow soldiers the use of post nominal letters for any of their medals/orders. I'm referring to among others the British medals such as Victoria Cross (VC), George Cross (GC) and the South African Honoris Crux 1975 (HC) etc.

I have a National Defense Service Medal and I'm waiting for my order of a Legion of Merit and Purple Heart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I had heard a story that General Patton had learned of an American officer affecting the use of post-nominal letters signifying his combat medals and told him to stop that. Probably in a not very polite way of handling the matter. However, award abbreviations appear on DD 214 (discharge papers), so that is as close to post-nominal usage as can be expected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...



Found this on Wikipedia:


Order of post-nominals in the United States

In the United States, standard protocol is to list post-nominal letters in the following order:[20]

  1. Religious institutions
  2. Theological degrees
  3. Military decorations
  4. Academic degrees
  5. Honorary degrees, honors, decorations
  6. Professional licenses, certifications and affiliations
  7. Retired uniformed service.

Active duty services personnel do not use any post-nominals other than, if applicable, Staff Corps affiliation (Navy only) followed by a comma and then their branch of service. Names are bracketed by the appropriate pre-nominal and post-nominal, e.g. LCDR John Q Public, MC, USN.[20]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My almost completely uninformed view on this - shaped by 40 years of reading US news and collecting/studying militaria - is that postnomials are uncommon in the US.  Not banned, not ordered, just not often used.


One has to distinguish between what the 'rules' say, whoever compiles those, and what the 'average Joe' or average Josephine tends to do.  Brits, and their colonial offspring - Canadian, Indians, etc - have a long history of using postnominals.  OTOH, I suspect that many Americans regard this as an affectation and in truly republican [small 'r'] fashion choose not to use titles or postnominals.


If one looks at Europe, the use of 'Doctor', 'Engineer', 'Lawyer' in place of Mr. or Mrs. or their equivalents is a whole 'nuther story.  My father loved to tell of a German academic, in the 1970s,  who insisted on being addressed as 'Fraulein Doktor Doktor Schmidt'.  Which I suspect would sound pretentious even in Germany these days. 


'When in Rome...' and, pace Audie Murphy, Americans using postnominals seems odd and unusual to me. 

My two dollars and change worth.  Standing by for agreement, correction and chastisement. ;)





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Judging by the number of awards made, for apparently everything, in the USA, post-noms for all of them would be a nightmare and would probably double the length of one's name......and would require re-printing of ID cards etc on a semi-annual basis.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but on the government issued headstones, such as we see above, for military/naval personnel it is the common practice to note major conflicts and decorations unless you tell them not to do so.  But as for appending abbreviations of decorations after one's name in print . . .  in US service that would be greatly frowned upon in some quarters, ridiculed in others and probably both for the rest.

Edited by RAL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Blog Comments

    • Two years down the line.   My mother-in-law passed away this summer, as did one of her sisters-in-law.   My exhibition opened, and we had a marvellous speakers' night with four Peacekeeping veterans, including a Meritorious Service Medal winner.  But Covid closed it down in March 2020, and while still there it hasn't reopened.
    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
    • At work the standard indian tea such as PG tips is referred to as chimp tea. This goes back to the days when we had a Spanish girl working for us whose command of the English language was extremely limited. One lunch she said she was going to the shop could she get anything. I asked if she could get a pack of tea bags. She returned with some disgusting herbal concoction. I tried to explain what was required but without success. I then remembered PG tips had a picture of a chimpanzee on the packe
    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
  • Create New...