Go Back > Urban Legends > Military

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11 December 2012, 08:22 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 4,223
Default Bronze star

I heard a new one yesterday. I was at physical therapy and heard a woman claiming that she was having to buy all sorts of things for her son who is in the military. I heard her mention a special shirt that they wear under their body armor. That may be true.

Then I heard her state that her son had won the bronze star but in order to receive the medal, he had to pay for it. She also claimed this was true for the purple heart. This I doubt but I can't find the rumor or fact on the net.

Any help any one?
Reply With Quote
Old 11 December 2012, 08:35 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 25,550

IMS, most military awards have two versions, the actual medal and the small ribbon that is worn for everything but full formal events. It could be that the small ribbon needs to be be purchased even if the full medal does not.
Reply With Quote
Old 11 December 2012, 08:54 PM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 21,075

Could this also be a misinterpretation of someone metaphorically "paying" for the medal by risking their lives and being injured?
Reply With Quote
Old 11 December 2012, 09:29 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 4,223

Nope, the parts of the conversation I overheard made it clear that she was talking about actual cash payments. One other thing she said was that they also had to pay for their food and uniforms. Uniforms is correct. Food these days, I am not sure about either.
Reply With Quote
Old 11 December 2012, 10:07 PM
Mateus's Avatar
Mateus Mateus is offline
Join Date: 07 September 2001
Location: Bridgeport, CT
Posts: 3,768

YMMV, but all the ribbons and medals I earned, I got a free copy, but bought a few backups for posterity.
Reply With Quote
Old 11 December 2012, 10:41 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is online now
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,373

In everything I could find, there is no mention of paying for medals. There was one well reported story about a man who was charged FedEx shipping to receive his Purple Heart. I have to believe that if he paid for it on top of the shipping that would have been mentioned in one of the articles.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 December 2012, 12:01 AM
nonnieyrissa's Avatar
nonnieyrissa nonnieyrissa is offline
Join Date: 16 July 2007
Location: Brooklyn/Hudson, NY/Rancho Cordova, CA
Posts: 2,554

Yes, they do. They need to go through the Military Awards Specialist at 800-308-0849 to purchase them.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 December 2012, 12:45 AM
nonnieyrissa's Avatar
nonnieyrissa nonnieyrissa is offline
Join Date: 16 July 2007
Location: Brooklyn/Hudson, NY/Rancho Cordova, CA
Posts: 2,554

I hate missing the editing time limit. This was to Mateus, not Beachlife, in regard to buying spare and replacement medals. I replied and hadn't yet read Beachlife's comment. I just noticed it and realized it looks like I am replying to him.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 December 2012, 01:29 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,086

One thing about receiving a medal with our military. I received one last week. It looks good and will go nicely with the others I have. However, it has to be mounted with the others I have. It will cost me in the neighbourhood of $100 for mounting. The medal was free, but the mounting is pricey.

ETA: and that is not including the miniature versions for my mess dress and evening wear. I have to buy those versions and pay to have them mounted.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 December 2012, 11:01 PM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,302

My take on this is that over time the services have gotten away from properly awarding medals. I could definitely see this happening, especially if the “soldier” wasn’t really a soldier, but a sailor (though if they were a sailor, the Navy has a somewhat tighter policy on awards of the Bronze Star, so they probably wouldn’t have gotten a Bronze Star to begin with).

In the Navy these days you're just crossing your fingers hoping that whatever you get, whether you receive the actual medal or not, makes it into your service record. My first decoration didn't make it into my record (even though I was given the actual medal and award certificate way back in 2007) until last year, the same time my most recent award made it in. This is because at least with my last job it was explicit (as in actually promulgated as written guidance) that the award documentation would need to be mailed in by the awardee, because the Navy sucks at providing administrative(or really any other kind of) support for people deployed as Individual Augmentees. So I figured if I was going to send in one award, I might as well get the other one in the record as well. In fact, I actually found out about the same time that the National Defense Service Medal awarded to every serving post-9/11 to a date TBD didn’t even make it into my record until I showed up to my 2nd ship in 2008, which apparently had a somewhat more “on the ball” personnel department.

Although I have always at least gotten the medal for any “decorations” (a subset of awards referring specifically to medals for meritorious service or heroism, though to be clear never for heroism in my case) I have known of people who only learned they even got an award after the fact when it popped up in their service record. And who knows how many people should have gotten an award but their personnel department was as hosed as the one on my first ship was and not only didn’t get the award in their record, but didn’t even know that it was missing because they were never given the medal either. Of course as UEL notes even when you do get the medal from the military free of charge (it's the same for the US military) you don't just pin individual medals on a uniform, they have to be properly mounted, which costs a good chunk of money. Fortunately, I haven't worn a full dress uniform (the kind you wear medals on) since I was an Ensign, so I literally have not had to put two medals side by side in 7 years of active duty and have probably saved a ton on mounting fees.

Oh, and I've also noted that the medals awarded to me are actually too short: they don't meet the regulation 3.25" from top of ribbon to bottom of medal, so they're pretty much useless anyways: I’d probably have to buy new ones if I were to ever need to get medals mounted.

And that's only the "decorations". I've NEVER been issued a campaign medal or a service medal, I would have to buy the ones I am entitled to, but I think this is not necessarily uniform among the services: I think the Army does still tend to actually issue campaign/service medals and maybe in theory the Navy is supposed to as well, but I think over the last decade or so (I can only guess, I've only been in since 2005) those "niceties" (ie: proper awarding and documentation of medals among other things) have gone by the wayside as the Navy has gutted its shipboard admin/personnel departments. In fact the policy when I commissioned as an Ensign was that "officers maintain their own service records" which meant that I was responsible for ensuring that everything, not just medals/awards, was properly documented. Of course at around the same time, they also disestablished the Surface Warfare Officer Division Officer Course, so they basically said "Ensign, we have given you absolutely no training in how to maintain your service record, or anyone else's for that matter, in fact you probably don't even know what is supposed to go in a service record or what references you could look up to find out the answer, but it's your responsibility to maintain your own service record."

Hmmm... I'm in danger of going off into a rant about the poor state (or downright absence) of shore-based training and support for operational units, so maybe I'd better just wrap it up...

Anyways, maybe one of these days I’ll go out and buy the Iraq Campaign Medal I earned, so I can at least see what one looks like up close…
Reply With Quote
Old 13 December 2012, 11:49 AM
Stormshine Stormshine is offline
Join Date: 12 December 2012
Location: Waynesville, MO
Posts: 3

Usually when you receive an end of tour award it is just the medal pinned on you and you have to go buy the ribbon yourself. The unit is not going to buy a nice set for every person down range. Keep in mind that there are two kinds of bronze stars: service and valor. Most are service, which are handed out to most officers and higher ranking (E-7 and above) who served a full tour in a leadership or other important position just for doing a good job (no combat required). A bronze star for valor would receive more attention as it's for valor in combat. All enlisted have a uniform allowance as well as part of their pay.

As to the special shirt, it's called a combat shirt and it's a nice to have. I only got issued two when I went and they tore easily, but you can still wear normal tops under body armor.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Searching for the Star of Bethlehem snopes Religion 2 28 December 2011 01:44 AM
Twinkie, little star snopes Snopes Spotting 0 10 October 2007 09:51 AM
Johnny Carson: Bronze Star recipient? snopes Military 3 24 April 2007 06:32 PM

All times are GMT. The time now is 09:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.