Combat Action Ribbon
Display Recognition

Site Index

      • Example Display Recognition
      • Applicable Combat Missions
      • Display Types
      • Issue Requirements
      • Issue Regulations, Source I
      • Issue Regulations, Source II
      • Who May Apply
      • Administration Processing and Delivery
      • How To Apply For This Display Recognition and/or Medal
      • Mailing Address
      • Questions?
      • Other Display Recognitions
      • Example Display Recognition:
        Actual Size: 8 1/2 x 11



        Issue Requirements
        You must submit the followind:

      • An unaltered photocopy of your NAVPERS or DD-214 authorizing your CAR authorization.
      • NOTICE

        This Display Recognition is available ONLY to authorized recipients who possess orders, or authorization form, or release documentation that confirms award eligibility. (See "Issue Requirements"). To obtain either a Display Medal or a Display Recognition for your authorized award you will be required to provide military-issued documentation authorizing your award. There are no exceptions.

        WARNING!
        You must NOT submit a military issued document or photocopy that:

        • has been altered in any way by you after
          the original's official issue
        • contains information or corrections or
          additions that you entered
        • lists awards or training you knowingly did not receive
        • contains highlighting, colorizing or other markings you entered

        Be advised that on request any knowingly fraudulent document sent by you will be released to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that may result in prosecution and/or fine/imprisonment.

        Email Questions, or Phone: 310-532-0634

        Who May Apply

        • Veteran recipients
        • Active Duty recipients
        • Family Members of recipients
        • Estate Inheritors

        Display Types

        You have four display types to choose from:
        Black & White (No Color)
        Heavy Bond Enclosure

        Heavy Bond Enclosure
        Colors: Regal, Black, Navy
        Trimmed in Appearance Gold

        Ready for Mantle or Shelf Display

        Personnel Branch
        Processing and Delivery

        Style Admin Shipping Total
        Full Color .PDF (Printable) $7.50 Emailed $7.50
        Published Document only (Full Color) $14.00 $7.15 $21.15
        Heavy Bond Enclosure (Full Color) $19.00 $6.75 $25.75
        Full Color Printable Certificates
        on CD-Rom (minimum 20 Certificates)
        $7.50 $7.50 By Count
        Full Color Printable Certificates
        on CD-Rom (minimum 20 Certificates)
        $7.50 $7.50 By Count
        Full Color Printable Certificates
        on CD-Rom (minimum 20 Certificates)
        $7.50 $7.50 By Count

      • Total/Shipping fees, above, apply to 50 U.S. states
      • Contact The War Library for international shipping cost
      • How to Apply

        You may apply for your Display Recognition using a...

      • Check Debit card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Charge card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Personal, Business, Bank or Cashiers Check ( Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • Money Order (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • (* Upon reception of required documentation)

        Complete and MAIL this APPLICATION FORM.
        Don't forget to include an unaltered COPY of your DD-214 or other pre-arranged document(s).

        DISPLAY RECOGNITION and/or MEDAL APPLICATION FORM

        Mailing Address

        Records Chief (REC-AMW)
        The American War Library
        16907 Brighton Avenue
        Gardena CA 90247-5420

        Questions?

        Click here for answers to common questions

        Email: CAR Recognition Inquiry

        Telephone: 1-310-532-0634

        Copyright ©  The American War Library
        Military and Veteran Websites
        The G.I. Photograph Museum of Honor
        Locator Registry Applications
        Accessing The Worldwide Military Personnel Database

        Issue Regulations


        Click for larger image

        Establishing Authority

        Retro-active to 1941, The Combat Action Ribbon was established on February 17, 1969, by Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee and announced by SECNAVNOTE 1650 of February 17, 1969. The Annual Defense Authorization Bill (Public Law 106-65) signed into law by President Clinton on October 5, 1999, authorized the Secretary of the Navy to award the Combat Action Ribbon to members of the Navy or Marine Corps who participated in combat during any period after December 6, 1941.

        Effective Dates

        The Combat Action Ribbon originally took effect on March 1, 1961; however, with the passage of Public Law 106-65 (cited above), award of the Combat Action Ribbon may now be made retroactive to December 7, 1941.

        Criteria

        NAVY AND USMC PERSONNEL: The Combat Action Ribbon is a personal decoration awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when operating under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain (or colonel in the Marine Corps) and below who have actively participated in ground or surface combat. Current Marine and Naval personnel who earned the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge while a former member of the Army and now a Marine or Sailor may be authorized to wear the Combat Action Ribbon.

        ARMY PERSONNEL: Army and Air Force personnel may be authorized the Combat Action Ribbon by Naval or USMC commanders only when operating in direct support of naval personnel on a naval vessel or operating in combat or combat support within a Marine unit engaged against enemy forces. Wear of the CAR on the Army uniform must be approved by local Army commanders.

        Order of Precedence

        The Combat Action Ribbon is worn after the Navy Achievement Medal and before the Navy Presidential Unit Citation.

        Devices

        Because this ribbon is considered to be a personal decoration, additional awards are indicated by gold stars five-sixteenths of an inch in diameter (an additional star in silver of the same size denotes a sixth award).

        14. Combat Action Ribbon (CAR)

        a. Authorization. SECNAVNOTE 1650 of 17 February 1969.

        b. Eligibility Requirements

        (1) Awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when the Coast Guard or units thereof operate under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain/colonel and junior thereto, who have actively participated in ground or surface combat. Upon submission of evidence to their commanding officer, personnel who earned the Combat Infantryman Ribbon or Combat Medical Ribbon while a member of the U.S. Army may be authorized to wear the CAR.

        (2) The principal eligibility criterion is that the individual must have participated in a bona fide ground or surface combat fire-fight or action during which he/she was under enemy fire and his/her performance while under fire was satisfactory. Service in a combat area does not automatically entitle a service member to the CAR. The following amplifying remarks are furnished as guidance.

        (a) Personnel in riverine and coastal operations, assaults, patrols, sweeps, ambushes, convoys, amphibious landings, and similar activities who have participated in fire fights are eligible.

        (b) Personnel assigned to areas subjected to sustained mortar, missile, and artillery attacks actively participate in retaliatory or offensive actions are eligible.

        (c) Personnel in clandestine or special operations such as reconnaissance, SEAL teams, EOD teams, and Mine Countermeasures operations are eligible when the risk of enemy fire was great and was expected to be encountered.

        (d) Personnel aboard a ship are eligible when the safety of the ship and the crew were endangered by enemy attack, such as a ship hit by a mine or a ship engaged by shore, surface, air or sub-surface elements.

        (e) Personnel eligible for the award of the Purple Heart would not necessarily qualify for the Combat Action Ribbon.

        (f) Personnel serving in peacekeeping missions, if not eligible by the criteria cited above, are eligible to receive the award when all of the following criteria are met:

        - the member was subject to hostile, direct fire,

        - based on the mission and the tactical situation, not returning fire was the best course of action, and

        - the member was in compliance with the rules of engagement and

        his orders by not returning fire.

        (g) The CAR will not be awarded to personnel for aerial combat since the Strike/Flight Air Medal provides recognition for aerial combat exposure; however, a pilot or crewmember forced to escape or evade after being forced down could be eligible for the award.

        (h) Under Public Law 106-55, the CAR may be awarded retroactively to 07Dec41.

        c. Operations. An individual, whose eligibility has been established in combat in any of the following listed operations is authorized the award of the CAR. Only one award per operation is authorized. The listing is not all inclusive as the CAR has been awarded in minor operations and for specific actions. Subsequent awards will be indicated by the use of a Gold Star on the ribbon:

          (1) Southeast Asia. From 01Mar61 to 15Aug73.
          (2) Dominican Republic. From 28Apr65 to 21Sep66. (No ships qualified)
          (3) USS LIBERTY (AGTR 5). 08Jun67 and 09Jun67.
          (4) USS PUEBLO (AGTR 2). 23Jan68.
          (5) Operation FREQUENT WIND. (Evacuation Operations, Saigon) 29Apr75 and 30Apr75. (No ships)
          (6) Operation MAYAGUEZ. 15May75. (No ships)
          (7) Grenada. 24Oct83 - 02Nov83. (No ships)
          (8) Lebanon. 20Aug82 to 01Aug84. (No ships)
          (9) Persian Gulf

            (a) COMNAVSPECWAR Task Unit Tango - 22Sep87
            (b) USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) - 14Apr88
            (c) Operation PRAYING MANTIS - 18Apr88
              SAG BRAVO
              COMDESRON NINE STAFF embarked on (DD 976)
              USS MERRILL (DD 976)
              HSL-35 DET 1
              USS LYNDE MCCORMICK (DDG 8)
              USS TRENTON (LPD 14)
              CONTINGENCY MAGTF 2-88
              HSL 44, DET 5
              SAG CHARLIE
              USS WAINWRIGHT (CG 28)
              USS BAGLEY (FF 1069)
              HSL-35, DET 7
              USS SIMPSON (FFG 56)
              HSL-42, DET 10
              COMMANDER, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TASK
              GROUP MIDDLE EAST FORCE
              SEAL TEAM TWO, THIRD PLATOON
              SAG DELTA
              COMDESRON TWENTY-TWO
              USS JACK WILLIAMS (FFG 24)
              HSL-32, DET 2
              USS JOSEPH STRAUSS (DDG 16)
              USS O'BRIEN (DD 975)
              HSL-33, DET 2
              CO, SPEC BOAT UNIT TWELVE
              SEAL TEAM 5, PLATOON C
            (d) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF 1082) USS VINCENNES (CG 49) - 03Jul88
            (e) Persian Gulf MCM Operations. Specific units during 19Nov87 to 01Apr88; 14 to 20Apr88; 20 to 23Apr88; and 02Aug90 to 10Sep91.
          (10) Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama). 20Dec89 - 31Jan90. (No ships qualified)
          (11) Operation SHARP EDGE. 05Aug90 - 24Aug90. (No ships qualified)
          (12) Operation DESERT STORM. 17Jan91 - 28Feb91.
            (a) The Secretary of the Navy approved the CAR as an exception to policy for the following ships that operated north of 28.30N and west of 49.30E from 17Jan91 to 28Feb91:
              USS ADROIT (MSO 509) USS AVENGER (MCM 1)
              USS BEAUFORT (ATS 2) USS BUNKER HILL (CG 52)
              USS CARON (DD 970) USS CURTS (FFG 38)
              USS DURHAM (LKA 114) USS FIFE (DD 991)
              USS FORD (FFG 54) USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43)
              USS PAUL F. FOSTER (DD 964) USS HAWES (FFG 53)
              USNS HASSAYAMPA (T-AO 145) USS HORNE (CG 30)
              USS IMPERVIOUS (MSO 449) USS JARRETT (FFG 33)
              USS KIDD (DDG 993) USS LASALLE (AGF 3)
              USS LEADER (MSO 490) USS LEFTWICH (DD 984)
              USS MACDONOUGH (DDG 39) USS MCINERNEY (FFG 8)
              USS MISSOURI (BB 63) USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53)
              USS NASSAU (LHA 4) USS NIAGARA FALLS (AFS 3)
              USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47) USS OKINAWA (LPH 3)
              USS OLDENDORF (DD 972) USNS PASSUMPSIC (T-AO 107
              USS PORTLAND (LSD 37) USS PRINCETON (CG 59)
              USS RALEIGH (LPD 1) USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10)
              USS VREELAND (FF 1068) USS WISCONSIN (BB 64)
              USS WORDEN (CG 18)
            (b) The following ships were approved for the dates indicated:
              USNS COMFORT (T-AH 20) 26Feb91
              USS GUAM (LPH 9) 25-26Feb91
              USS IWO JIMA (LPH 2) 26Feb91
              USS OGDEN (LPD 5) 25-26Feb91
              USS MISSOURI (BB 63) 12Feb91 and 25Feb91 VC-6 Detachment
              EODMU Detachments
              USS RICHMOND K. TURNER (CG 20) 19-24Feb91
              USS VALLEY FORGE (CG 50) 16-28 February 1991
              USS LEADER (MSO 490) 23Mar91
            (13) El Salvador. 01JAN81 to 01FEB92.
            (14) Operation RESTORE HOPE (Somalia). 5Dec92 - 31Mar95. (No ships qualified)
            (15) Cambodia. 01JUN92 to 15NOV93.
            (16) Operation ASSURED RESPONSE (Monrovia, Liberia). 07Apr96 to 18Apr96. (No ships qualified).
            (17) Kosovo Campaign. Specific units designated from 24Mar99 to 27Jan00.
          d. Administrative Procedures. SECNAV determines which operations meet the criteria for this award. Requests for determination of eligibility of individuals for operations subsequent to 1975 should be sent to SECNAV via the chain of command including CNO or CMC, as appropriate, unless specifically delegated by SECNAV.

        Issue Regulations

        Combat Action Ribbon

        a. Authorization. SECNAVNOTE 1650 of 17 February 1969.

        b. Eligibility Requirements

        (1) Awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when the Coast Guard, or units thereof, operate under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain/colonel and junior thereto, who have actively participated in ground or surface combat.

        (2) The principal eligibility criterion is, regardless of military occupational specialty or rating, the individual must have rendered satisfactory performance under enemy fire while actively participating in a ground or surface engagement. Neither service in a combat area nor being awarded the Purple Heart Medal automatically makes a service member eligible for the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). The following amplifying guidance is provided: SECNAVINST 1650.1H AUG 2 2 2006

        (a) Direct exposure to the detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) used by an enemy, with or without the immediate presence of enemy forces, constitutes active participation in a ground or surface engagement. Eligibility under this criterion is retroactive to 7 October 2001.

        (b) Personnel who serve in clandestine or special operations, who by the nature of their mission, are restricted in their ability to return fire, and who are operating in conditions where the risk of enemy fire was great and expected to be encountered, may be eligible for the CR.

        (c) The CR will not be awarded to personnel for aerial combat, since the Strike/~light Air Medal provides recognition for aerial combat exposure; however, a pilot or crewmember forced to escape or evade, after being forced down, may be eligible for the award.

        (d) Current DON personnel who were formerly in the U.S. Army and earned the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge, upon submission of official military documentation to their commanding officer, may be authorized to wear the CR.

        (e) Under Public Law 106-65, the CR may be awarded retroactively to 7 December 1941. See Chapter 8 for information regarding retroactive eligibility determinations.

        c. Eligible Operations. SECNAV, or his designee, determines which operations meet the criteria for this award. Appendix E to this chapter lists the operations for which award of the CR has been authorized. An individual, whose eligibility has been established in combat in any of the operations listed in Appendix E, may be awarded the CR. Only one award per operation is authorized. The listing is not all inclusive, as the CR has been awarded in minor operations, as well as for - specific actions. Chapter 8 contains information regarding requests for eligibility determinations for personnel no longer on active duty.

        Go To Top of Page
        Go To Issue Regulations for Other Medals and Badges