The Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon: 7 Cool Facts

We have often discussed individual Soldier awards and achievements, but in today’s post we are going to look at an award that is given to a team of Soldiers. The Army Presidential Unit Citation is the award given to units that go above and beyond their call of duty. Any unit that has earned this prestigious award has every right to wear it with pride. Scroll down and see 7 cool facts about the Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.

1: When the Army Presidential Unit Citation became active. On February 26th, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9075 which established special citations to be issued to units of the United States Army or Philippine Army for exceptional performance. It was superseded by Executive Order #9396 signed December 2nd, 1943 and was called the Distinguished Unit Citation. On January 10th, 1957 President Eisenhower signed Executive Order #10694 which changed the award’s name to the Presidential Unit Citation.

2: The highest award given to any unit. The Army Presidential Unit Citation is the highest award any particular Army unit can be given. This makes this a prestigious accomplishment by Army units and instills great pride for being a Soldier in any unit that has earned this honor.

3: The degree of service a unit must provide to be eligible. For any unit to be nominated to receive the Army Presidential Unit Citation, the unit must perform the degree of heroism that would be similar to any one Soldier who has been nominated for a Distinguished Service Cross, which is the 2nd highest award given to individual Soldiers. It states that the acts of service are so great that they distinctly set that unit apart from other units.

4: Uniform wear precedence. When displayed on a Soldier’s uniform, the Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon is worn on the right side above any, and all other unit citation awards.

5: Permanent wear. Any Soldier who was assigned or attached to a unit during the occurrence of the act that earned the award has the right to wear the ribbon on a permanent basis. This includes any Soldiers who were not present at the position of the act of valor. This is what teamwork is all about, and if one Soldier was in another location, but still a part of that unit, they are still a teammate, and can wear the Army Presidential Unit Citation with pride.

6: Temporary wear. As stated in #5, the team has a right to be proud of past accomplishments. Any Soldier who is assigned to a unit that has achieved the Army Presidential Unit Citation for a past accomplishment may wear the award on their uniform as long as they are assigned to that unit. This is a temporary wear, and if they are reassigned, the award must be removed. An example might be: Corporal Franks is assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division in 2009. Franks is now allowed to wear the Army Presidential Unit Citation even though he was not present at the moment in Baghdad when the unit earned the award in 2003. If the Corporal is reassigned, he must remove the award from his uniform.

7: The first recipient of the Army Presidential Unit Citation and the most Army Presidential Unit Citations. The very first Army Presidential Unit Citation awarded was to the 26th Calvary Regiment which was part of the Philippine Department. This unit was based at Fort Stotsenburg in Angeles City, Philippines. Their actions were recognized in the deadly actions in the Battle of Damortis.

In a wide range of searching, I believe that the unit that has the most Army Presidential Unit Citations is the still operational 442nd Infantry based in Hawaii. This unit was comprised primarily of Japanese Americans who fought gallantly against people who were bent on destroying American freedom. Because of their heritage, they were sent to battle against the European Axis powers, and not put in a position of killing their own people. From what I can determine, this unit has been awarded the Army Presidential Unit Citation an amazing 7 times. The 442nd is now the only infantry unit of the Army Reserve from my understanding and is headquartered at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

Final Thoughts

Knowing that a unit you now serve with had earned the Army Presidential Unit Citation for past accomplishments can generate inspiration and pride. Being a part of a unit that earned it while you served is an even larger pride provider. We at Part Time Commander would love to hear your stories of the Presidential Unit Citation. If you currently wear this ribbon, please tell us where, how, and why your unit was given the award.

If you are wearing the award on a permanent basis, this means you were part of the action. Please tell us about the action your unit was a part of. We thank you for your service.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “The Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon: 7 Cool Facts”

    1. If your unit earned the award while you were in the unit, you wear it permanently. Otherwise, when you ETS or PCS and leave the unit, you are no longer authorized to wear it.

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