Why is Silver Medal of Valor the top award?

Started by OldSalt, March 31, 2010, 07:40:53 PM

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OldSalt

Hi Folks,

I was just wondering if anyone knows the history behind CAP's current decorations? Not all the service and training ribbons, just our 10 decorations. What got me thinking about it is why our top two decorations are the Silver and Bronze Medals of Valor - seems to me that (if we're keeping with the Olympic standards) - Gold should be the top. :o

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

lordmonar

We don't have a gold medal of valor.

And from a military stand point we only have a bronze star and silver star which the S/BMV are the equivalent to.
PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP

davidsinn

Quote from: lordmonar on March 31, 2010, 08:12:07 PM
We don't have a gold medal of valor.

And from a military stand point we only have a bronze star and silver star which the S/BMV are the equivalent to.

The gold medal would be CMOH. That raises the question: Would we be eligible for the CMOH for actions on an AFAM? Because I'd argue that the lost sub-hunters would be the guys in line if so.

Former CAP Captain
David Sinn

James Shaw

This is some of the history around the Medal of Valor. This may help answer some of your questions.

The selected and approve designs by CAP and the NEB were re-submitted to the United States Army, Office of the Quartermaster General to be presented for review by the Commission of Fine  Arts. They approve of the Medal and ribbon design.

Minutes, National Board-National Executive Board, 22 April 1960.
The following resolution was unanimously approved: The present Medal of Valor is changed to two types:  the "Silver Medal of Valor", to recognize acts of heroism for which the present Medal of Valor is now awarded; and, the "Bronze Medal of Valor, to recognize act of heroism which do not meet the criteria for the award of the "Silver Medal of Valor".  It was decided as  a cost saving approach,  that CAP rename the present Medal  of Valor and casting it in a silver color  with the accompanying ribbon having the addition of three silver stars. The second type of action could be the awarded using  the present Medal of Valor, and  so renaming it to the "Bronze Medal of Valor", with accompanying ribbon without stars.. It was noted that  Silver stars  are readily available for purchase at a small price. The Colorado Wing Commander Col. Charles F. Howard,  suggested, and was approved, that the Distinguished, Exceptional and Meritorious Service Awards will no longer be awarded for acts of heroism. (AUTHORITY: p. 11, NEB Minutes, 22-23 Apr 1960.)

So to answer the question: it was a cost saving measure when they created seperate medals of valor. Hope this helps.
Jim Shaw
USN: 1987-1992
GANG: 1996-1998
CAP:2000 - Current
USCGA:2018 - Current
SGAUS: 2017 - Current

Major Lord

Quote from: davidsinn on March 31, 2010, 08:25:24 PM
Quote from: lordmonar on March 31, 2010, 08:12:07 PM
We don't have a gold medal of valor.

And from a military stand point we only have a bronze star and silver star which the S/BMV are the equivalent to.

The gold medal would be CMOH. That raises the question: Would we be eligible for the CMOH for actions on an AFAM? Because I'd argue that the lost sub-hunters would be the guys in line if so.

Not to beat a dead horse, but there is no such thing as the "CMOH" (Congressional Medal of Honor) Its is called the "Medal of Honor",  and is awarded by the President in the name of the Congress. It has been awarded to at least one civilian (not lately!) but to even compare it to a CAP award is.......well, lets just say, a little unseemly. It is a thing that is sacred.

Major Lord
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Smithsonia

#5
The MEDAL OF HONOR has only recently become sacred and indeed it is sacred award. If I asked you which War had the most Medal of Honor Awardees you'd likely say WW1 or WW2. It turns out to be the Indian Wars. Something over 400 awardees and many men received it twice, including Tom Custer - the brother of George - Buffalo Bill got one - and entire numerous units too. Some awardees received it for the Wounded Knee Massacre (2 I think) It was not awarded during the Civil War but was awarded retroactively to Civil War Vets in 1873 (if I remember right). When the Silver and Bronze Stars came along which was later... the MOH was elevated to it's current status. So the award was raised to the current exalted status during WW1. It's exalted status has grown over time and through numerous acts of extreme self sacrifice, courage, and gallantry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_of_Honor

My point being:
Any bastardization of any of our life-saving awards through raising and lowering standards is a disservice to all those who richly deserve true credit. I've met several Silver Medal of Valor awardees, including the only two time awardee in the History of CAP - Jerry Alsum. All of them deny that they deserved it. All are grateful to have been awarded it. All are humbled by this award. All are proud of their service in the CAP. I can vouch for the members that I have met who received this award... all of them richly deserved it.
With regards;
ED OBRIEN

lordmonar

Actually it was the Civil War that got the most.....and yes an entire unit got them for simply reenlisting.

But to answer the OP's question....generally in the military silver is to top medal and bronze is the lower.

Bronze star vs Silver Star
Bronze Cluster vs Silver Cluster

Why?  Have no clue...except that originally medals were actually made from the material so a gold medal would have cost way too much.
PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP

James Shaw

Please folks lets not have this argument again. No one has ever compared the MOV to the MOH.
Jim Shaw
USN: 1987-1992
GANG: 1996-1998
CAP:2000 - Current
USCGA:2018 - Current
SGAUS: 2017 - Current

MIKE

Still don't understand why we need two classes of Medal of Valor and a Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving.  IMO a CAP Airman's Medal and Commendations and Achievement awards for lesser feats covers it nicely.
Mike Johnston

OldSalt

Quote from: caphistorian on March 31, 2010, 08:26:15 PM
This is some of the history around the Medal of Valor. This may help answer some of your questions.

The selected and approve designs by CAP and the NEB were re-submitted to the United States Army, Office of the Quartermaster General to be presented for review by the Commission of Fine  Arts. They approve of the Medal and ribbon design.

Minutes, National Board-National Executive Board, 22 April 1960.
The following resolution was unanimously approved: The present Medal of Valor is changed to two types:  the "Silver Medal of Valor", to recognize acts of heroism for which the present Medal of Valor is now awarded; and, the "Bronze Medal of Valor, to recognize act of heroism which do not meet the criteria for the award of the "Silver Medal of Valor".  It was decided as  a cost saving approach,  that CAP rename the present Medal  of Valor and casting it in a silver color  with the accompanying ribbon having the addition of three silver stars. The second type of action could be the awarded using  the present Medal of Valor, and  so renaming it to the "Bronze Medal of Valor", with accompanying ribbon without stars.. It was noted that  Silver stars  are readily available for purchase at a small price. The Colorado Wing Commander Col. Charles F. Howard,  suggested, and was approved, that the Distinguished, Exceptional and Meritorious Service Awards will no longer be awarded for acts of heroism. (AUTHORITY: p. 11, NEB Minutes, 22-23 Apr 1960.)

So to answer the question: it was a cost saving measure when they created seperate medals of valor. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info. The record quoted seems to imply that there were some concerns that there were too many awards for valor in CAP at the time and they wanted to shorten the list. It is interesting though that "the winning combination" was 2 medals for valor picked for cost saving measures.

And, please don't turn this post into a MOH vs. ANY CAP award discussion - I was asking a specific CAP history question here.

Besides the recent addition of the CAP Achievement Award, was the 1960 review the latest review made of our decorations? Has there been any talk about further distinguishing the awards instead of just using the star devices - say moving to the use of the "V" device which is the common military designator for an award for valor? It seems that would make more sense, especially since devices of all kinds are relatively cheap add-ons.

MichaelAGates

QuoteNot to beat a dead horse, but there is no such thing as the "CMOH" (Congressional Medal of Honor) Its is called the "Medal of Honor",  and is awarded by the President in the name of the Congress.

Actually, United States law does refer to it as the Congressional Medal of Honor.


TITLE 18--CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I--CRIMES
CHAPTER 33--EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA, AND NAMES
Sec. 704. Military medals or decorations
c) Enhanced Penalty for Offenses Involving Congressional Medal of
Honor.--
        (1) In general.--If a decoration or medal involved in an offense
    under subsection (a) or (b) is a Congressional Medal of Honor, in
    lieu of the punishment provided in that subsection, the offender
    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or
    both.
        (2) Congressional medal of honor defined.--In this subsection,
    the term ``Congressional Medal of Honor'' means--
            (A) a medal of honor awarded under section 3741, 6241, or
        8741 of title 10 or section 491 of title 14;
            (B) a duplicate medal of honor issued under section 3754,
        6256, or 8754 of title 10 or section 504 of title 14; or
            (C) a replacement of a medal of honor provided under section
        3747, 6253, or 8747 of title 10 or section 501 of title 14.



TITLE 36--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES, CEREMONIES, AND ORGANIZATIONS
Subtitle II--Patriotic and National Organizations
Part B--Organizations
CHAPTER 405--CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES  OF AMERICA
Sec. 40501.  Organization.


..

davidsinn

Quote from: Major Lord on March 31, 2010, 09:02:12 PM
Quote from: davidsinn on March 31, 2010, 08:25:24 PM
Quote from: lordmonar on March 31, 2010, 08:12:07 PM
We don't have a gold medal of valor.

And from a military stand point we only have a bronze star and silver star which the S/BMV are the equivalent to.

The gold medal would be CMOH. That raises the question: Would we be eligible for the CMOH for actions on an AFAM? Because I'd argue that the lost sub-hunters would be the guys in line if so.

Not to beat a dead horse, but there is no such thing as the "CMOH" (Congressional Medal of Honor) Its is called the "Medal of Honor",  and is awarded by the President in the name of the Congress. It has been awarded to at least one civilian (not lately!) but to even compare it to a CAP award is.......well, lets just say, a little unseemly. It is a thing that is sacred.

Major Lord

I wasn't trying to compare it to one of our awards. I was thinking that the military only has bronze and silver stars and the MOH would be the gold one. That's why we don't have a gold award because it would be a very rare thing indeed that rose to that level. I wouldn't think anybody but sub-hunters would even come close to earning it.
Former CAP Captain
David Sinn

lordmonar

We don't have a gold one...because we don't have a gold one.

No other reason.

PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP

davidsinn

Quote from: lordmonar on April 01, 2010, 12:57:11 AM
We don't have a gold one...because we don't have a gold one.

No other reason.

Or that.
Former CAP Captain
David Sinn

Major Lord

If Tony was still around, we would have had a Gold one by now, probably worn on a neck ribbon, possibly with a matching cape. He would be the sole recipient, for gallantry in the face of insurmountable 2B actions, fought off unsuccessfully while receiving life threatening paper cuts, and stacking the bodies of his subordinates as a shield against incoming fire.

Major Lord
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Strick

Quote from: Major Lord on April 01, 2010, 01:48:46 AM
If Tony was still around, we would have had a Gold one by now, probably worn on a neck ribbon, possibly with a matching cape. He would be the sole recipient, for gallantry in the face of insurmountable 2B actions, fought off unsuccessfully while receiving life threatening paper cuts, and stacking the bodies of his subordinates as a shield against incoming fire.

Major Lord

OUCH.............that stingss
[darn]atio memoriae

Major Lord

It should only hurt if you were one of Lord Voldemorts' henchmen........Those dark days are gone, but not forgotten!

Major Lord
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

ltcmark

The question was brought up why silver trumps gold on awards.  A few years ago I was doing some research on rank and came across this little tidbit.  Unfortunately I did not save the references so I cannot give credit where credit is due.  If you are into the history, this is an interesting read.


Why Silver "Ranks" Gold

At the start of the American Revolution, officers in the Continental Army wore no rank insignia; it soon became apparent that some means of identifying the officers was required. As an expedient, field officers were ordered to wear red cockades on their hats, captains wore yellow or buff and lieutenants were provided with cockades of green.

In 1782 Washington implemented a system where epaulettes would be worn by officers as indicators of rank: major generals wore epaulettes with two stars on each shoulder, brigadier generals epaulettes with one star on each shoulder, field graders a plain gold epaulette on each shoulder, captains wore a single epaulette on the right shoulder, and subalterns wore one on the left.

In 1821 this practice was abolished in favor of using chevrons to denote rank. Chevrons for officer rank did not last long (except at West Point, where they're still used today to designate cadet officer rank), and in 1832 epaulettes came back. (This was also when the spread eagle was adopted as the insignia for full colonels.) Infantry officers wore silver epaulettes; all others wore gold. For example, an infantry colonel wore a gold eagle on his silver epaulette, and all other colonels wore silver eagles on gold.

In 1836 the shoulder strap replaced the epaulette on field uniforms. It had a border of silver or gold depending on the color of the epaulette it replaced. The leaf and bars appeared at this time, but the colors were not fixed—officers wore gold insignia on silver-bordered shoulder straps and vice versa. In 1851 all epaulettes and shoulder strap borders became gold and the insignia on the epaulettes were silver. Majors and second lieutenants wore no rank insignia—they were distinguished only by the type of fringe on their epaulettes. Rank insignia on shoulder straps were silver for all officers down to and including lieutenant colonels; captains and first lieutenants wore gold insignia.

When epaulettes were abolished in 1872 and replaced with shoulder knots which had no fringe, it was necessary to devise some insignia to distinguish the majors from second lieutenants. So the gold leaf was adopted to denote majors, and that's why lieutenant colonels wear silver leaves and majors gold. At the same time the color of the bars for junior officers was changed to silver. The second lieutenant still wore no insignia, and was only distinguished by the shoulder strap or knot.

Finally, in 1917 the second lieutenant got some "respect" and the Army decided to adopt a new insignia for him. The plan called for the least disruption to other rank insignia, so it was decided to follow the color precedent established in devising major's insignia and adopt the gold bar for the second lieutenant


and this

1. The method of identifying Colonels was initially established by General Washington on July 23, 1775 when he stated: "...the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, ...". Although there is evidence that colonels wore the eagle as rank insignia in 1829 when they transferred the gold or gilt eagles that decorated their hat cockades to their collars. In 1832, gold eagles were authorized for infantry colonels because they were placed on silver epaulettes and silver eagles to be placed on gold epaulettes were authorized for all other colonels.

2. In 1851, the silver epaulettes for infantry was abolished and all epaulettes became gold. As a result, all colonel insignia of grade became silver. The 1851 regulation included illustrations which show the embroidered eagle on the shoulder strap faced the arrows while the eagle worn on the epaulettes faced the olive branch. Apparently due to the lack of specifications, the direction of the eagle's head depended upon the manufacturer.

3. Metal insignia was authorized to be worn on the khaki blouse in 1902. The colonel's insignia was described as a silver spread eagle. There is no reference as to the direction of the eagle's head nor are there illustrations. The 1917 uniform specifications and regulations describe the insignia as a metal silver spread eagle, 3/4 inch high and 2 inches between the tips of the wings. It was worn on the shoulder loop, beak to the front, and on the right collar of the shirt with the eagle's beak to the front. In 1921, the size of the eagle was reduced from 2 inches to 1 1/2 inches between the tips of the wings. The height of the insignia remained unchanged at 3/4 inch.

4. In 1926, the insignia was made in pairs with the head of the eagle facing to the front when worn. This was the first reference to the insignia being made in pairs. To do this, the eagle's head was reversed on one insignia – the insignia worn on the right shoulder had the eagle's head facing the laurel branch. On the left shoulder, the eagle's head faced the arrows. The insignia with the eagle's head facing the arrow became known by the term "war eagle".

5. In 1951, the insignia was redesigned so that the eagle's head faced the laurel branch on both the left and right shoulder insignia with the arrows to the rear on both insignia.

6. The so called "war eagle" is no longer authorized for wear on the uniform.

lordmonar

So basically......Silver outranks gold just because that's the way they liked it.

:D

You got to love our militarty traditions sometimes.
PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP

OldSalt

#19
The funny thing about American military history is that no matter how hard the founders tried to remove themselves from the "old european ways" for identification, they found that some things "just make sense" and shouldn't be "changed" just for the sake of "change alone". And we eventually came full-circle.

In the beginning no one wanted our troops to be confused at all with the European power structures - i.e. ranks, medals, ribbons, etc. etc. - but with war they found that we needed allies, and those allies wanted to see that the new country they were allying themsleves with could provide a "professional" army for themselves. Of course, the very allies we needed to impress (i.e. the French) considered only the old European ways to represent "professionalism". Also, since war is war, and troops need to be able to readily identify their leaders - they needed uniforms and insignia. Later on, we re-introduced medals and ribbons back on our uniforms because it was a necessary "evil" for morale and to inculcate greater Espirit de Corps.

Funny how humans in the end are just humans and we all have the same needs and expectations.

The other interesting thing is how "tradition" is preserved whilst change is inevitable over time. Every generation needs to "make their mark", but no one wants to offend our ancestors unecessarily. So, rather than make large sweeping changes - we just do incremental ones based upon the previously accepted ideals. Fascinating if you're into that kind of Sociological musings. 8)