Established on February 4, 1944, the Bronze Star Medal (more commonly known simply as the Bronze Star) honors members of any branch of the United States Armed Forces who demonstrate exceptional or heroic achievement so as to set themselves apart from their peers, though to a lesser degree that what would warrant a Silver Star or the Legion of Merit. These achievements must take place according to the following criteria:
-Not during aerial flight
-During military engagement with a hostile force
-Alternatively, during service with a foreign ally against a hostile force
-In a designated combat zone
-On or following December 6, 1941
Additionally, Armed Forces personnel who were cited for notable combat conduct against hostile forces between December 7, 1941 and September 2, 1945 may be presented with the award without a “V” device.
The medal is bronze and in the shape of a five-pointed star; an additional raised five-pointed star appears at the center. The reverse bears an inscription reading “HEROIC ACHIEVEMENT” or “MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT” as appropriate along with the recipient’s name. The ribbon is red and is bisected by a thin vertical dark blue stripe flanked by a thinner white stripe on either side.
The award may be issued with the bronze “V” device for valor, oak leaf clusters (Army/Air Force), or stars (Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard).