Reviewing Ribbons for WWII
There are tons to be said about what goes on your Class A's. In this post we're going to talk about some of the simple ribbons that everyone should know. But as you read this, think about the specific time-frame of your impression. What would you be wearing? Has that ribbon even been awarded to your unit yet? Are you old enough to say you were in the Armed Forces before Pearl Harbor? What theater were you in?
American Defense Medal: Issued 9/18/1939 Onward
This medal was issued to all those who served in the armed forces before Pearl Harbor (12/7/1941). By all those, we mean those who who were either active duty or had 12 months service as a reservist. As a reminder, Those who were conscripted in either the 1940 or 1941 draft should wear this ribbon.
American Campaign Medal: Issued 11/6/1942 Onward
This medal has a few more rules, But follows a pretty easy example. Are you (member of the US Armed Forces) in the Continental US? If you answered no, you are probably able to wear this medal. If you said yes but you've been serving for greater than a year, you can wear this medal. The exact rules can be read below.
European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal: Issued 11/6/1942 Onward
This medal is probably the most common service award for reenactors. Given to those who served in Europe/Africa/Middle East (EAME), Odds are you were awarded one of these. This is one of the ribbons where campaign stars are appropriate (Arrowheads for Amphibious/Airborne Action).
Egypt-Libya 11th June 1942 - 12th February 1943
Air Offensive, Europe 4th July 1942 - 5th June 1944
Algeria-French Morocco, 8th November 1942 - 11th November 1942
Tunisia, 12th November 1942 - 13th May 1943
Sicily, 14th May 1943 - 17th August 1943
Naples-Foggia, 18th August 1943 - 21st January 1944
Anzio, 22nd January 1944 - 24th May 1944
Rome-Arno, 22nd January 1944 - 9th September 1944
Normandy, 6th June 19442 - 4th July 1944
Northern France, 25th July 1944 - 14th September 1944
Southern France, 15th August 1944 - 14th September 1944
Northern Apennines, 10th September 1944 - 4th April 1945
Rhineland, 15th September 1944 - 21st March 1945
Ardennes-Alsace, 16th December 1944 - 25th January 1945
Central Europe, 22nd March 1945 - 11th May 1945
Po Valley, 5th April 1945 - 8th May 1945
There are specific geographic requirements , Click Title for exacts.
Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal: Issued 11/6/1942 Onward
This medal was awarded to those who served in the Pacific Campaign. This is another ribbon where Campaign Stars are appropriate. The Army Campaigns are below, and you can see all 48 Navy Campaigns if you click on the title.
Philippine Islands, 7th December 1941 - 10th May 1942
Burma, 1942 7th December 1941 - 26th May 1942
Central Pacific, 7th December 1941 - 6th December 1943
East Indies, 1st January 1942 - 22nd July 1942
India-Burma, 2nd April 1942 - 28th January 1945
Air Offensive, Japan 17th April 1942 - 2nd September 1945
Aleutian Islands, 3rd June 1942 - 24th August 1943
China Defensive, 4th July 1942 - 4th May 1945
Papua, 23rd July 1942 - 23rd January 1943
Guadalcanal, 7th August 1942 - 21st February 1943
New Guinea, 24th January 1943 - 31st December 1944
Northern Solomons, 22nd February 1943 - 21st November 1944
Eastern Mandates, 7th December 1943 - 14th June 1944
Bismarck Archipelago, 15th December 1943 - 27th November 1944
Western Pacific, 17th April 1944 - 2nd September 1945
Leyte, 17th October 1944 - 1st July 1945
Luzon, 15th December 1944 - 4th July 1945
Central Burma, 29th January 1945 - 15th July 1945
Southern Philippines, 27th February 1945 - 4th July 1945
Ryukyus, 26th March 1945 - 2nd July 1945
China Offensive, 5th May 1945 - 2nd September 1945
World War II Victory Medal: Issued on 2/5/1946
Congrats! If you served in the Armed Forces during WWII, you qualify for this service ribbon. Literally, If you enlisted a day before the war ended you could be awarded this Medal. Just remember, this wasn't issued until February of 46'. I've never seen an impression that late war.
World War I Victory: Issued 2/4/1919
This medal is useful for all the older gentlemen in reenacting. It was issued to all those who served in the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. For WWII reenactors, You'd have to born before the turn of the century to make this logical (i.e. over 45 years old).
Note: There were a few "Old Guys" around in the Infantry, But not very common.
Final Note: These are all service ribbons and were awarded on the basis of service to the armed forces (not necessarily valor). This is where we draw the line for whats appropriate to wear on your Class A's. In our opinion (and most in the hobby) You should not wear awards that you have not actually earned.