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Navy & Marine Corps Awards and Decorations
Combat Action Ribbon
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Authorization. SECNAVNOTE 1650 of 17 February 1969.

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 CAR.

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/she was under enemy fire and his/her performance while under fire was satisfactory. Service in a combat area does not automatically entitle a service member to the CAR. The following amplifying remarks are furnished as guidance.

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

(b) Personnel assigned to areas subjected to sustained mortar, missile, and artillery attacks actively par­ ticipate in retaliatory or offensive actions are eligible.

(c) Personnel in clandestine or special opera­ tions such as reconnaissance, SEAL teams, EOD teams, and Mine Countermeasures operations are eligible when the risk of enemy fire was great and was expected to be encountered.

(d) 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 sub-surface elements.

(e) Personnel eligible for the award of the Purple Heart would not necessarily qualify for the Combat Action Ribbon.

(f) Personnel serving in peacekeeping missions, if not eligible by the criteria cited above, are eligible to receive the award when all of the following criteria are met: -the member was subject to hostile, direct fire, - based on the mission and the tactical situation, not returning fire was the best course of action, and - the member was in compliance with the rules of engagement and his orders by not returning fire.

(g) The CAR 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.

(h) Under Public Law 106-55, the CAR may be awarded retroactively to 07Dec41.

Operations. An individual, whose eligibility has been established in combat in any of the following listed operations is authorized the award of the CAR. Only one award per operation is authorized. The listing is not all inclusive as the CAR has been awarded in minor operations and for specific actions. Subsequent awards will be indicated by the use of a Gold Star on the ribbon:

(1) Southeast Asia. From 01Mar61 to 15Aug73.

(2) Dominican Republic. From 28Apr65 to 21Sep66. (No ships qualified)

(3) USS LIBERTY (AGTR 5). 08Jun67 and 09Jun67.

(4) USS PUEBLO (AGTR 2). 23Jan68.

(5) Operation FREQUENT WIND. (Evacuation Operations, Saigon) 29Apr75 and 30Apr75. (No ships)

(6) Operation MAYAGUEZ. 15May75. (No ships)

(7) Grenada. 24Oct83 - 02Nov83. (No ships)

(8) Lebanon. 20Aug82 to 01Aug84. (No ships)

(9) Persian Gulf

(a) COMNAVSPECWAR Task Unit Tango - 22Sep87

(b) USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) - 14Apr88

(c) Operation PRAYING MANTIS - 18Apr88

SAG BRAVO
COMDESRON NINE STAFF embarked on (DD 976)
USS MERRILL (DD 976)
HSL-35 DET 1
USS LYNDE MCCORMICK (DDG 8)
USS TRENTON (LPD 14)
CONTINGENCY MAGTF 2-88
HSL 44, DET 5

SAG CHARLIE
USS WAINWRIGHT (CG 28)
USS BAGLEY (FF 1069)
HSL-35, DET 7

USS SIMPSON (FFG 56)
HSL-42, DET 10
COMMANDER, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TASK

GROUP MIDDLE EAST FORCE
SEAL TEAM TWO, THIRD PLATOON

SAG DELTA
COMDESRON TWENTY-TWO
USS JACK WILLIAMS (FFG 24)
HSL-32, DET 2
USS JOSEPH STRAUSS (DDG 16)
USS O'BRIEN (DD 975)
HSL-33, DET 2
CO, SPEC BOAT UNIT TWELVE
SEAL TEAM 5, PLATOON C

(d) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF 1082) USS VINCENNES (CG 49) -03Jul88

(e) Persian Gulf MCM Operations. Specific units during 19Nov87 to 01Apr88; 14 to 20Apr88; 20 to 23Apr88; and 02Aug90 to 10Sep91.

(10) Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama). 20Dec89 - 31Jan90. (No ships qualified)

(11) Operation SHARP EDGE. 05Aug90 - 24Aug90. (No ships qualified)

(12) Operation DESERT STORM. 17Jan91 - 28Feb91.

(a) The Secretary of the Navy approved the CAR as an exception to policy for the following ships that operated north of 28.30N and west of 49.30E from 17Jan91 to 28Feb91:

USS ADROIT (MSO 509) USS AVENGER (MCM 1)
USS BEAUFORT (ATS 2) USS BUNKER HILL (CG 52)
USS CARON (DD 970) USS CURTS (FFG 38)
USS DURHAM (LKA 114) USS FIFE (DD 991)
USS FORD (FFG 54) USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43)
USS PAUL F. FOSTER (DD 964) USS HAWES (FFG 53)

USNS HASSAYAMPA (T-AO 145)
USS IMPERVIOUS (MSO 449)
USS KIDD (DDG 993)
USS LEADER (MSO 490)
USS MACDONOUGH (DDG 39)
USS MISSOURI (BB 63)
USS NASSAU (LHA 4)
USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47)
USS OLDENDORF (DD 972)
USS PORTLAND (LSD 37)
USS RALEIGH (LPD 1)
USS VREELAND (FF 1068)
USS WORDEN (CG 18)

USS HORNE (CG 30)
USS JARRETT (FFG 33)
USS LASALLE (AGF 3)
USS LEFTWICH (DD 984)
USS MCINERNEY (FFG 8)
USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53)
USS NIAGARA FALLS (AFS 3)
USS OKINAWA (LPH 3)
USNS PASSUMPSIC (T-AO 107
USS PRINCETON (CG 59)
USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10)
USS WISCONSIN (BB 64)

(b) The following ships were approved for the dates indicated:

USNS COMFORT (T-AH 20) 26 Feb91
USS GUAM (LPH 9) 25-26 Feb91
USS IWO JIMA (LPH 2) 26 Feb91
USS OGDEN (LPD 5) 25-26 Feb91
USS MISSOURI (BB 63) 12Feb91 and 25Feb91

VC-6 Detachment 12Feb91 and 25Feb91
EODMU Detachments 12Feb91 and 25Feb91

USS RICHMOND K. TURNER (CG 20) 19-24Feb91
USS VALLEY FORGE (CG 50) 16-28 February 1991
USS LEADER (MSO 490) 23Mar91

(13) El Salvador. 01JAN81 to 01FEB92.

(14) Operation RESTORE HOPE (Somalia). 5Dec92 - 31Mar95. (No ships qualified)

(15) Cambodia. 01JUN92 to 15NOV93.

(16) Operation ASSURED RESPONSE (Monrovia, Liberia). 07Apr96 to 18Apr96. (No ships qualified).

(17) Kosovo Campaign. Specific units designated from 24Mar99 to 27Jan00.

Administrative Procedures. SECNAV determines which operations meet the criteria for this award. Requests for determination of eligibility of individuals for operations subsequent to 1975 should be sent to SECNAV via the chain of command including CNO or CMC, as appropriate, unless specifically delegated by SECNAV.

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