NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD -- 805 KIDDER BREESE SE
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

 

"Why do the stars on the uniform have two points up?"

This question has been asked innumerable times, with no answer found. The Uniform Board cannot clarify the matter. They have received many queries on the subject and have, over the years, researched it thoroughly. The star on the sleeve has had two points up for well over 150 years. It is probable that the original decision was made from the personal preference of an individual in authority or by some uniform board of many years ago. It is interesting to note than an All-Navy notice of 1945 specifies that engagement stars were worn two points up. In 1964, another order changed this to one point up to conform with the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the U.S. ensign. The Uniform Board did not consider changing the line officer's star. As far as is known, there is no heraldic meaning to the number of star points up or down.

Oak leaves in insignia

Oak leaves have been used as insignia by various corps and ranks of the U.S. Navy since the earliest days. This decorative device was probably adopted originally as a symbol of the excellent oaken ships of the United States. In the days of wooden ships, the government preserved its live oak for shipbuilding by placing oak timbers under water for decades.

NAVY MEDALS AND AWARDS

 

The ribbons below are in the correct order of precedence for those most likely to be worn on a Navy uniform today. Devices worn on these ribbons indicate additional awards or participation in a specific event. Some ribbons do not have accompanying medals. These are listed as "ribbon". For additional information about the proper order of display, placement of devices, or about ribbons not shown, consult Secretary of the Navy Instruction 1650.1F and U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations (NAVPERS 1566.5G).

Medal of Honor Navy Cross Defense
Distinguished
Service Medal
Distinguished
Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense
Superior
Service Medal
Legion of
Merit
Distinguished
Flying Cross
Navy and
Marine Corps
Medal
Bronze Star
Purple Heart Defense
Meritorious
Service Medal
Meritorious
Service Medal
Air Medal Joint Service
Commendation
Medal
Navy/Marine Corps
Commendation
Medal
Joint Service
Achievement
Medal
Navy/Marine Corps
Achievement
Medal
Combat Action
Ribbon
Presidential Unit
Citation
Joint
Meritorious
Unit Award
Navy Unit
Commendation
Meritorious
Unit
Commendation
Navy "E"
Ribbon
POW Medal
Good Conduct
Medal
Naval Reserve
Meritorious
Service Medal
Fleet Marine
Force Ribbon
Navy Expeditionary
Medal
China Service
Medal
Navy Occupation
Service Medal
National Defense
Service Medal
Korean Service
Medal
Antarctic
Service Medal
Armed Forces
Expeditionary
Medal
Vietnam Service
Medal
Southwest Asia
Service Medal
Humanitarian
Service Medal
Military
Outstanding
Volunteer
Service Medal
Sea Service
Deployment
Ribbon
Navy Arctic
Service Ribbon
Naval Reserve
Sea Service
Ribbon
Navy and
Marine Corps
Overseas Service
Ribbon
Navy Recruiting
Service Ribbon
Armed Forces
Reserve Medal
Naval Reserve
Medal
Philippine
Presidential Unit
Citation
Republic of
Korea
Presidential Unit
Citation
Republic of
Vietnam
Presidential Unit
Citation
Republic of
Vietnam
Gallantry Cross
Unit Citation
Republic of
Vietnam
Civil Actions Unit
Citation
United Nations
Service Medal
United Nations
Medal
Multinational Force
and Observers
Medal
Inter-American
Defense Board
Medal
Republic of
Vietnam
Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation
Medal
(Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation
Medal
(Kuwait)
Expert Rifleman
Medal
Expert Pistol
Shot
Medal