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Silver Star

The creation of the Silver Star award was first authorized by Congress as a United States Navy military medal in the year of 1942. A short 4 months later, on December 15, 1942, Congress extended that authorization to create a United States Army decoration.  Congress also authorized civilians as recipients of these military medals. The Silver Star award had also been approved by the Secretary of War as a substitute for the military medal called Citation Stars ten years previous. When the Silver Star was created, the old Citation Star was included as the center decoration in these new United States military medals.
The Silver Star is awarded to American service members for acts of bravery in action against an enemy of the US, when the rewarded actions are considered less heroic than those actions that justify awarding the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Air Force Cross. These military ribbons and military medals are awarded to United States Armed Forces personnel for distinguishing themselves by extraordinary heroism involving action against an enemy of the United States, or in a conflict with a foreign force; and, while serving with a friendly foreign force in a conflict against an armed force against the United States of America.
The Silver Star is the third highest award given for valor in the face of the enemy to a member of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Silver Star’s equivalent at the unit level is the military medals known as the Valorous Unit Awards. The Department of Defense estimates that 150,000 Silver Star medals may have been awarded since this military medals creation.
The Silver Star is often awarded to Air Force pilots when they become aces for having five or more confirmed kills in combat. Four nurses became the first female recipients of the Silver Star while serving in Italy in 1944, and the next female recipient of the Silver Star was in Iraq in 2005. In 2007, three more nurses were posthumously awarded the Silver Star for their service in World War I.
The order of precedence that has been established for the proper display of all military awards dictates that Silver Stars are worn below the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross; and above the Bronze Star with a Valor Device and the Defense Superior Service Medal. The U.S. Army and Air Force denote additional military awards of the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, while the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard represent additional awards with Silver and Gold Stars.

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