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Something ''odd'' I spotted during the recent inauguration.

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During the broadcast of the above event at one stage a four-star general walked out on the carpet. I have no idea who it was but he was in full uniform. The thing that struck me as odd was that he was wearing quite an impressive ribbon bar instead of his medals.

My question is: given the solemnity of the occasion wouldn't it be fitting for any soldier (much less a full general) to wear their medals instead of the ribbon bar?

I'm from South Africa so not familiar with the appropriate dress-code for foreign militaries. Any comment will be appreciated.


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Hi Wessel,

If you use Google images and ask to look for American Generals you will see that none of them wear medals, only medalbars (and BIG ones !!).

I guess that if they did wear all their medals they would not be able to walk straight due to the weight of them 😁

They could use it as a bulletproof vest, the whole front of them would be covered.


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Watched the whole thing. It appeared to me that the uniform of the day for the event was service dress, not full dress.  For example, the Army four-star general I saw was wearing the new pinks & greens uniform which specifies ribbons not medals.  Medals are are worn with full dress, which for the Army is blue.  In the photo above all these gents are in service dress.  The blue service dress worn by the Army general center front has been replaced with pinks & greens and the blue uniform is now either dress - with ribbons, or full dress with full medals.  I saw no one wearing full dress uniform.  At some point, usually governed by regulation, someone decides what will be the uniform for the event . . . in this case, service dress as opposed to fancier dress or full dress.  Had there be inauguration balls, obviously forgone this time around, the uniform specified would probably had been mess dress (full dress with bow tie optional since mess dress is not a required article of uniform) worn with miniatures.

Service dress, by definition with ribbons, not medals, is specified for inaugurals in regulation 670-1. 

Edited by RAL
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