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Combat Action Ribbon - USMC

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  • Combat Action Ribbon - USMC

    It has recently come to my attention that many of our men are eligible for the Combat Action Ribbon. Read over the criteria posted below and submit on the Form 180 posted below if you feel you are eligible. The most that can happen is that you can be turned down.

    The CAR is especially significant if you were on perimeter guard during an attack on your base and you returned fire. There is required OFFENSIVE action on your part. You would not be eligible if you returned fire from a helicopter, as you would receive mission/strike credit toward an Air Medal. It has to be a ground or surface combat fire-fight or action during which he was under enemy fire and participated in retaliatory (offensive) action.

    Eligibility is for all Marines O-3 (Captain) and below. If you participated in Operation Frequent Wind (29-30 APR 1975) and Operations in SE Asia between 1 MAR 1961 and 15 AUG 1973, and meet other criteria, you area eligible for two CARs.

    The Combat Action Ribbon of the Navy and Marine Corps was instituted in 1969. Awarded for active participation in ground or air combat during specifically listed military operations.

    NOTE: this is the only Navy/Marine personal decoration that has no associated medal.

    Eligibility Requirements:

    Awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when the Coast Guard or units thereof operate under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain/colonel and junior thereto, who have actively participated in ground or surface combat. Upon submission of evidence to their commanding officer, personnel who earned the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge while a member of the U.S. Army may be authorized to wear the Combat Action Ribbon.

    The principal eligibility criterion is that the individual must have participated in a bona fide ground or surface combat fire fight or action during which he was under enemy fire and his performance while under fire was satisfactory. The following amplifying remarks are furnished as guidance.

    Personnel in Riverine and coastal operations, assaults, patrols, sweeps, ambushes, convoys, amphibious landings, and similar activities who have participated in fire fights are eligible.

    Personnel assigned to areas subjected to sustained mortar, missile, and artillery attacks who actively participate in retaliatory or offensive actions are eligible.

    Personnel in clandestine or special operations such as reconnaissance and SEAL teams are eligible when the risk of enemy fire was great and was expected to be encountered.

    Personnel aboard a ship are eligible when the safety of the ship and the crew were endangered by enemy attack, such as a ship hit by a mine or a ship engaged by shore, surface, air or subsurface elements.

    Personnel eligible for the award of the Purple Heart are not necessarily qualified for the Combat Action Ribbon unless the wound was received while under enemy fire in one of the above scenarios.

    The Combat Action Ribbon will not be awarded to personnel for aerial combat since the Strike/Flight Air Medal provides recognition for aerial combat exposure; however, a pilot or crewmember forced to escape or evade after being forced down could be eligible for the award.

    Operations. An individual, whose eligibility has been established in combat in any of the following listed operations, is authorized the award of the Combat Action Ribbon. Only one award per operation is authorized. Subsequent awards will be indicated by the use of a Gold Star on the ribbon:

    Southeast Asia (Vietnam) From 1 March 1961 to 15 August 1973.

    Dominican Republic. From 28 April 1965 to 21 September 1966. (No ships qualified)

    USS LIBERTY (AGTR 5). 8 and 9 June 1967.

    USS PUEBLO (AGER 2). 23 January 1968.

    Operation FREQUENT WIND. (Evacuation operations, Saigon) 29 and 30 April 1975. (No ships qualified)

    Operation MAYAGUEZ. 15 May 1975. (No ships qualified)

    Grenada. 24 October 1983 - 2 November 1983. (No ships qualified)

    Lebanon. 20 August 1982 to I August 1984. (No ships qualified)

    Persian Gulf

    COMNAVSPECWAR Task Unit Tango - 22 Sep 1987

    USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) - 14 Apr 1988

    Operation PRAYING MANTIS - 18 Apr 1988



    Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama). 20 December 1989 - 31 January 1990.

    Operation DESERT STORM. 17 January 1991 -

    TBD Administrative Procedures. SECNAV determines which operations meet the citeria for this aw

    To ensure a timely response the following information should be provided:

    Standard Form 180 or cover letter with the following information: full name, service number, specific TO/FROM dates associated with ship/combat assignments, unit assignment at the time, and current mailing address. Copy of Naval Personnel Form 553 or Defense Department (DD) Form 214; DD-215 (if applicable). Additional substantiating documentation: copies of combat awards; copies of evaluations; muster sheet or orders showing assignment to the unit for the period requested. All documents should be legible. Request should be only based on ground or surface combat. Air combat does not qualify for the CAR. A complete legible return address should be on your correspondence, not just on the envelope. The envelope for your request should be marked "CAR."

    Fillable Form 180
    Alan H. Barbour, Historian
    USMC Combat Helicopter Assoc
    "Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

  • #2
    Mat Guard

    I guess Mat duty and shooting at a large Rat doesn't count


    • #3
      Big Rat

      Only if it wore black pajamas. PM


      • #4
        CAR Question

        My question is, would an aircrew member who exits his aircraft on the ground to help rescue or load a casualty while under fire be eligible for the CAR,

        or would they actually have to return fire AFTER exiting the aircraft ?