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Title: Wearing Commemoratives with Official Medals? 

Is it permissable/appropriate to wear commemorative medals at the same time as wearing Federal and/or State medals?

If it is, what is the order of precedence?

I know Federal have precedence over State, so I would assume that commemoratives would have lowest precedence.

Do commemoratives have an order of precedence?


coldwarrior posted on 05/22/2008 08:38

Cold Warrior, in short: No they do not. Commemoratives may be worn by any civilian, whether a Veteran or not, in any order and whenever they feel like it. For those Veterans, it is permissible to wear them with Federal medals / ribbons. Order of precedence is as you stated. Federal in correct order including those awarded by foriegn governments, then State and after that, any commemorative or fraternal ribbons or medals.

I have worn the Foxfall at Legion functions. It is perfectly acceptable although some may frown on it. It is the only commemorative I would wear. I have a few others to dress up an otherwise dull shadow box and I think that is where they should stay. (I'd make an exception for those little hat pin size medals)

pdudkowski posted on 05/22/2008 10:57

i have mixed feeling on the commemoratives. i qualify for a butt load, but won't buy or wear them, as i think it takes away from my federal ones.

and do we really need a bunch of chest candy to brag about our time? doesn't too many medals look silly? the old wwII vets don't like anyone as it is, and wouldn't that just give them more fuel?

spirit_eyes posted on 05/27/2008 09:22

Spirit Eyes.  You crack me up.  That was great.  The old fogies love to bully us younger folks around don't they???  The Marines have always been ANTI MEDAL.  If anything, they made me dislike medals.  "We don't wear medals like the Army, we don't wear our names on our cammies, on and on and on...."  For the longest time, Marines had NO NAME TAGS.  We only had USMC emblem on our left breast pocket and an emblem on our utility covers.  The only medal the USMC seemed to be concerned about was how well you could shoot the M-16. They didn't care about no other medal. That was the impression I always had.  Maybe that is because I never deployed to sea on a long expedition or ended up in Lebanon or something but if you had an expert badge you could sport in the USMC, you were GOOD TO GO.  I'm thumbs down on commemoratives.  I can get commemoratives by filling up at your local SUNOCO gasoline station.  Baseball coins that is.  Or that was.....I don't think they do that anymore. 

29Palms posted on 05/27/2008 09:55

hey, those full sized medals are expensive. AND HEAVY. i have about 6ish (sad. i can't remember), and boys, you may not notice it, but i do. i dance with all that metal on my left boob, bouncing around. and it can hurt. :-)

spirit_eyes posted on 05/27/2008 11:42


Hi everyone,

I think the Marine's not wearing medals bit and the old-fogey part is funny. I was at a Memorial Day service put on yesterday by the local Marine Corps League and they all were wearing their ribbons and qualification badges etc. on their uniforms. So I guess they have changed their minds.

My take on Commemoratives is this and basically mirrors what Paul said. Each service has their own uniform regulations regarding veterans / civilians wear of medals, badges etc. None of the services officially recognizes commemorative medals so they may not at all be worn on military uniforms whether or not you are a veteran entitled to wear your service's uniform.

For civilian clothing, there is nothing that states specifically that commemoratives cannot be worn with federal or state awards. Some veterans or other fraternal organizations have bylaws that prohibit / encourage the wear of commemoratives on their organizational uniforms, however, on strictly civilian clothing and on your own you can wear what you feel most comfortable with.

The V.A. has a new program out since 2006 called the "Veterans Pride Initiative". Basically, the V.A. in consultation with many VSOs and the unifiormed services is now officially encouraging all veterans to wear their service awards and decorations on their civilian clothing for national holidays and special events. More info can be found here: http://www1.va.gov/veteranspride/

This however does not address the wear of commemoratives, only those official awards you earned.

In my personal opinion, I think that commemoratives should be left to shadow boxes, however, I think that for Cold War Veterans and our ongoing fight for recognition, and considering that there is one official military uniform wearable Cold War Victory state award out there (Louisiana's Cold War Victory Medal based on Foxfall's CWM design), I think that it is appropriate to wear just that ribbon / medal with my other official stuff.

I currently wear the Foxfall CWM with my other awards and decorations on civilian clothing. I place it last among my other stuff in order of precedence. When I wear it and anyone asks, I proudly say that it is the Cold War Victory Medal commemorative and say that I am wearing it in honor of all of the fallen and still missing Cold War Veterans that have been forgotten by our government. That usually quells any further debate. It's a good way to broach the subject of the CWVM with other vets without getting in anyone's face and it is completely legal that way.

Just my 2 cents.
David Fofanoff
(Message edited by AIRCAV1ID on 05/27/2008 14:25)

AIRCAV1ID posted on 05/27/2008 14:21

I was reading into the MCL web site and yes, they do talk about wearing their medals ect.  I don't know if whom you saw in the Marine Corps League were actually veterans or ASSOCIATE members.  I knew a Marine Corps League post that their Associate membership did alot more for the community than ACTIVE members.  The Associate always felt like they had to prove something since they never served in the REAL Marine Corps so they did more for the club inasfar as donating their time and marching in parades.  Maybe those are the ones you saw in the parade.

29Palms posted on 05/27/2008 16:35

David one of the problems I have a conflict with is giving numbers on Cold War Loses on our ACWV website we showed about 359 now the VFW has said 5800 (58000?) North Carolina Military 407,000 lost and we have NO KIA,MIA or POW hard numbers to use from being classifed.

Looking into a combat veterans eyes whom knows what their lost are, this weekend when the moving wall was in Ossipee N.H. was hard for me to do just that, when we have such a wide range from our lost (USA)military forces when approaching these folks and the inflated presumed amount (Frank belives it was all types) of 407,000 if added with Korea and VietNam becomes a stagering 500,000.

This I need not say comes short of all whom died in both Korea and VietNam and I belive if not for the Wall in D.C. the politics would shorten the numbers from Nam, as one looks at this nations lost from Valley Forge to today playing with the numbers has become an art form for the goverment.

How do we measure the lost by only those whom died in combat,accident,illness or other means as well just from declared war or undeclared conflicts ?

The problem I have is not wanting to make it bigger thus seem more important than their service or anyones nor have it seem nothing more than a few hundred (the lost of one serving the nation is as important as all )  this is a hurdle as well a conflict within me.

I do better making the case for counting all lost, than this problem of dealing with why how many lost matters.


PastNikeVet posted on 05/27/2008 16:54


I posted a web address a few months ago on accidental military deaths from about 1982 to present, and you commented on it. Do you still have that web address? I can't track down my post to find it.


Jon Barter

USAREUR posted on 05/28/2008 01:13



This might be what you were thinking about the CRS Report


Jerald Terwilliger posted on 05/28/2008 14:40


Thanks! It's amazing how much discussions are helped along with the introduction of actual facts! (heh!). CNA is a well-respected, often-referenced research outfit, so its report (and figures) are good-to-go, in sharp contrast to most of the bogus, completed unvetted trash out there in the ether of the www. Thanks for finding the link and for posting.


Guest posted on 05/28/2008 17:39

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