The Army Valorous Unit Award Ribbon: What You Should Know

The Army has a wide array of awards that recognize individual Soldiers and officers, but there are also awards that recognize the whole team or unit. Not long ago, I wrote an article that explained about the Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, which is the highest award that any Army unit can attain.

In today’s post, we are going to research and talk about the Army Valorous Unit Award Ribbon. These are some things you should know about this award that you may not be familiar with.

When the Army Valorous Unit Award was approved.

During the Vietnam War, the commander of USMACV (United States Military Assistance Vietnam) who was General William Westmoreland noticed a huge disparity in the unit award program. After a study, it was agreed that there needed to be another award for units who did not fully qualify for the Army Presidential Unit Citation, but had still acted above and beyond the call of duty. The Presidential Unit Citation recognized units who had performed to an extent that an individual Soldier would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The recommendation was made to adapt a Valorous Unit Award and the Army Chief of Staff approved the recommendation on January 12th, 1966.

Individual equivalent

The Army Valorous Unit Award is the 2nd highest unit award. In terms of equivalency, it rates with the Silver Star that is awarded to individual Soldiers. It is awarded for gallantry in action that is not quite deserving of the highest award. This award is given during war or conflicts.

Not to be confused with

In many cases, people confuse the Army Superior Unit Award with the Army Valorous Unit Award. The Superior Unit Award is awarded to units who perform exceptionally well during peacetime missions. The Army Valorous Unit Award is given during war missions.

Permanent and temporary wear

If a Soldier was attached to the unit during the action that gained the award for the unit, that Soldier may permanently wear the award even if they are transferred to a different unit. If a Soldier is attached to a unit that won the award in a past battle or war, that Soldier may wear the ribbon as long as they are with that unit, but if they leave the unit, they must remove the ribbon. This helps Soldiers have pride in the unit they are attached to, knowing that at one time, they received such a prestigious award.

No larger than brigade

Recommendations for the Army Valorous Unit Award can only be made up to the size of brigade. Units larger than such will not be considered.

Who approves the Army Valorous Unit Award?

The Deputy Chief of Staff Army G-1 is the final authority in the approval or disapproval of the Army Valorous Unit Award. If you as a commander want to recommend your unit, it should be forwarded to Commander, USA HRC, ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.

Additional awards

If any one unit is awarded more than one Army Valorous Unit Award, all additional awards will be denoted by an oak leaf cluster pinned to the ribbon.

The most recent approvals

As I studied the Excel files of recent unit awards, I thought I would share with you the most recent awards of the Valorous Unit Award.

For action occurring between July 19th, 2013 through July 18th, 2014 the 242nd Ordnance Battalion who is based out of Fort Carson, Colorado. This includes the 65th Ordnance Company, 760th Ordnance Company, 705th Ordnance Company, 663rd Ordnance Company, 761st Ordnance Company, and the 466 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight Operating Location-Bravo. These Soldiers are currently active in Afghanistan. Stay safe and sound over there and thank you for your valorous service.

Final Words

The Army Valorous Unit Award was a wise addition to the awards for units by the United States Army. Do you currently wear this ribbon? If you do, please explain how and where your unit won it. Please tell us also if you have it for permanent wear, or if it was a previously won award by your unit.

We thank you for your service and dedication to the safety of the American people and to the United States Army.

If you have any questions or comments, please enter them below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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