Jump to content
Wessel Gordon

Are any UK medals authorized for wear on a US uniform?

Recommended Posts

As some of you might know I have medals of South Africa, Britain and the United States and the following question suddenly popped up in my mind: is there any UK/SA medals/decorations that are officially allowed to be worn on a US soldier's uniform? According to Wikipedia there isn't any but dear old Wikipedia's information isn't always infallible. I'm thinking in terms of say, a US senior officer, that worked closely with his British/South African counterparts on some sensitive mission/issue and the foreign country decide to reward the US soldier with an appropriate medal.

Obviously the soldier in question's US medals will always take precedence in terms of display either in the form of the medals themselves or their appropriate ribbons as seems to be the rule in all countries militaries.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Foreign orders and medals have been issued to British military personnel over the years with the French Croix de guerre being an example which were awarded to whole battalions during WW1. Usually the wearing of any such award had to have approval to wear alongside campaign medals etc awarded by the British Government. US awards which are awarded to British military are Distinguished service cross, Navy Cross, Air force cross, Army & Navy DSM, DFC, Legion of Merit, Silver & Bronze star and the Air Medal. The DFC, Bronze star and air medal are regularly available to collect in the UK as no doubt they were awarded during WW2 and beyond. On the flip side 1st Lt "Moose" Heyliger of the 506th PIR 101st airborne was awarded a British Military Cross for his leadership in commanding the rescue of the 140 men north of the Rhine which included mainly British paratroopers, some Dutch civilians and 5 US airmen all cut off following the disaster of the Arnhem campaign. I believe the Military Cross ribbon is displayed along with other foreign awards he received on his ribbon bar but on the bottom row of three.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

muckaroon,

Thanks for the reply.

After a refreshing afternoon nap I suddenly remembered the old South African General Jan Smuts. Despite fighting against the British in the Second Boer War (1899-1902) at the end of his life in 1950 he was a British Field Marshall with the following medals: 1914-1915 Star, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, British War Medal, Defense Medal, France and Germany Star, Italy Star, Order of Merit, Order of the Companions of Honor and War Medal 1939-1945.He was also a member of the Privy Council.

So it definitely happened that South African soldiers was appropriately awarded by foreign nations in times of war.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly U.S. military personnel may be decorated by foreign governments including the UK & SA.  Any number of U.S. military personnel received [honorary] UK awards over the years; a very few got them from SA.   Specific regulations govern acceptance procedures.

For official military related regulations see:  https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/134833p.pdf?ver=2019-06-20-104911-377   Section 10.

wiki has   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorized_foreign_decorations_of_the_United_States_military   This list appears to be incomplete.

 

 5 U.S. Code § 7342 available at  https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/7342 governs foreign awards to U.S. Federal government civilian employees.  The UK decorated a number of U.S. Federal civil servants over the years as well, usually honorary appointments to diplomatic/consular personnel.  I am aware of just a handful of SA awards to U.S.  Federal employees, including Ambassador Edward Perkins who also received a Namibia award.

Foreign awards to U.S. citizens not in Federal Service appear to have no restrictions except for the Constitutional ban on accepting a title of nobility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

922F,

Thanks. As mentioned in my original post I did have a glance at Wikipedia but since most articles seems to be written by enthusiasts and not experts on a topic there's sometimes are glaring oversights and omissions.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

922F

I do know about the ban on noble titles as long as a citizen remains a US citizen but for instance Bill Gates is a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire so if for some reason he decides to relinquish his US citizenship and accept UK citizenship he would be entitled to be called Sir Bill Gates.

Strictly speaking ''Sir'' or ''Dame'' is a honorific and not a noble title which in the British system starts with Baron which would entitle the holder to use the title ''Lord Gates of Microsoft'' to use a very stupid example.

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Guest
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.


×
×
  • Create New...