Battle and Citation Streamers

The U.S. Armed Forces signify a unit's participation in the battles and military campaigns of American history through a system of silk ribbons attached to the staff of the organizational flag.  This custom began with the Army in 1920 and was subsequently adopted by the Marine Corps (1939), Air Force (1947), Coast Guard (1968), and Navy (1971).  For campaigns since the mid-19th century, these streamers are of the same design as the service medals worn by individuals for service in the corresponding conflict.  In the three naval services, the streamers are 2 3/4 inches wide and 36 inches long.  In general, a single streamer is carried for each war or series of operations, in contrast to the Army and Air Force, which carry a streamer for each campaign or battle.  Where Army and Air Force streamers are embroidered with the name of the action for which they were granted, Navy and Marine Corps streamers are simply decorated with bronze or silver stars to indicate the number of actions represented by the streamer, one silver star representing five bronze ones (with the exception of the streamer for Marine Corps Expeditionary Service, the Marines use stars only for campaigns after 1900).  The Coast Guard uses plain, unadorned streamers.  In addition, the award of unit citations is also reflected by attaching streamers in the colors of the medal ribbon that goes with the award.  The Navy indicates multiple awards of unit citations with red numerals embroidered on the streamer, the Marine Corps with bronze and silver stars (except that the large numbers of citations on the battle color of the Marine Corps itself, as opposed to the battle colors of organizations and units, are indicated with red numerals as in the case of the Navy).

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Streamer Navy Marine Corps Coast Guard
Revolutionary War (1775-83) 2 silver stars Plain streamer  
Maritime Protection of the New Republic (1790-97)     Plain streamer
Quasi-War with France (1798-1801) 3 bronze stars Plain streamer Plain streamer
Barbary Wars (1801-05, 1815) 4 bronze stars Plain streamer  
War of 1812 (1812-15) 2 silver + 4 bronze stars Plain streamer Plain streamer
African Slave Trade Patrol (1820-61) Plain streamer Plain streamer Plain streamer
Operations against West Indian Pirates (1822-1830s) Plain streamer Plain streamer Plain streamer
Indian Wars (1835-42) Plain streamer Plain streamer Plain streamer
Mexican War (1846-48) 4 bronze stars Plain streamer Plain streamer
Civil War (1861-65) 3 silver stars Plain streamer Plain streamer
Marine Corps Expeditionary Service (1874-)   12 silver + 3 bronze stars
+ silver"W" for Wake 
on 3 streamers
 
Spanish Campaign (1898) 4 bronze stars Plain streamer Plain streamer
Philippine Insurrection Campaign (1899-1906) Plain streamer Plain streamer  
China Relief Expedition (1900-01) Plain streamer Plain streamer  
Latin American Campaigns (1906-20)  1 silver star    
Cuban Pacification (1906-09)   Plain streamer  
Nicaraguan Campaign (1912)   Plain streamer
Mexican Service (1914-17)   Plain streamer  
Haitian Campaign (1915, 1919-20)    1 bronze star  
Dominican Campaign (1916)   Plain streamer  
World War I (1917-18) 1 silver star 1 silver + 1 bronze star + Maltese cross + Siberia and West Indies inscriptions (2 streamers) Plain streamer
Army of Occupation of Germany   Plain streamer  
Second Nicaraguan Campaign (1926-33) Plain streamer Plain streamer  
Yangtze Service (1926-27, 1930-32) Plain streamer Plain streamer Plain streamer
China Service (1936-39 and 1945-57) Plain streamer 1 bronze star Plain streamer
American Defense Service (1939-41) Plain streamer 2 bronze stars Plain streamer
World War II - American Theater (1941-45) 1 bronze star Plain streamer Plain streamer
World War II - Pacific Theater (1941-45) 8 silver + 3 bronze stars
on 2 streamers
8 silver + 2 bronze stars
on 2 streamers
Plain streamer
World War II - European-African-Mediterranean Theater
(1941-45)
1 silver + 4 bronze stars 1 silver + 4 bronze stars Plain streamer
World War II Victory    Plain streamer Plain streamer
Navy Occupation Service   Inscribed "Europe & Asia" Plain streamer
Korean Service (1950-54) 2 silver star 2 silver stars Plain streamer
National Defense Service (1961-) 1 bronze star 2 bronze stars Plain streamer
Armed Forces Expeditionary Service (1958-) 5 silver + 1 bronze stars 5 silver + 1 bronze stars Plain streamer
Vietnam Service (1962-73) 3 silver + 2 bronze stars 3 silver + 2 bronze stars Plain streamer
Southwest Asia Service 3 bronze stars 3 bronze stars Plain streamer
Kosovo Campaign (1999-) 2 bronze stars 2 bronze stars Plain streamer
Presidential Unit Citation Numeral 6 silver + 2 bronze stars
(a/o 1989)
Plain streamer
Presidential Unit Citation (Army)   1 silver oak leaf 
cluster
 
Joint Meritorious Unit Award   Plain streamer  
Navy Unit Commendation Numeral 22 silver + 3 bronze stars
on 4 streamers
Plain streamer
Valorous Unit Award (Army)   Plain streamer  
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Numeral Plain streamer Plain streamer
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation   Plain streamer Plain streamer
Philippine Defense   1 bronze star Plain streamer
Philippine Liberation   2 bronze stars Plain streamer
Philippine Independence   Plain streamer Plain streamer
French Croix de Guerre (World War I)   2 bronze palms + gilt star  
French Croix de Guerre (World War II)     Plain streamer
Korean Presidential Unit Citation   2 bronze stars  
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation   2 bronze stars  
Vietnamese Gallantry Cross    1 bronze palm Plain streamer
Vietnamese Civil Actions Medal First Class    1 bronze palm Plain streamer

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