4 Replies Latest reply on Aug 16, 2020 3:24 PM by Thomas Richardson Branched to a new discussion.

    What are these WWII Campaign Ribbons for?

    Alisa Goetz Newbie

      My grandfather served in WWII (also possibly before the war) and I recently came across some campaign ribbons that I cannot identify. I looked at the U.S. military heraldry website and through an illustrated guide of military ribbons. One ribbon matched up to an AFROTC award, but that doesn't seem correct given the WWII time period. My grandfather also served with the Coast Guard Reserves after the War.  Can anyone tell me what these ribbons are for? Thanks!

        • Re: What are these WWII Campaign Ribbons for?
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Do you have any other information on the individual you are seeking such as name, DOB, place of birth?


          The bottom picture light blue bars and two solid blue ribbon is considered CG  Auxiliary Member Service Ribbon.

          Green Ribbon with yellow lines and single red line middle of ribbon is considered AFROTC ( Commendation Award).

          The ribbon with the stripe blue/white/red solid yellow middle is also an AFROTC ( Arnold Air Society Hagan Trophy Ribbon).


          Red sides and yellow middle strip may be the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA Academy Unit Commendation).



          Hope this helps,


          Elliot Schneider

          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: What are these WWII Campaign Ribbons for?
              Alisa Goetz Newbie



              Thank you for your reply. I'm the one who was seeking info about the 215th GFAB. Just trying to fill in more pieces of the puzzle. These ribbons don't seem to fit neatly in my puzzle. Only the Coast Guard ribbon makes sense as part of my grandfather's military history, and that was post-war. He never went to a military academy and was not in an ROTC program. In fact he entered the military with only three years of high school. It seems the Arnold Air Society wasn't even formed until 1947. I must conclude they are not related to his WWII service. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.




            • Re: What are these WWII Campaign Ribbons for?
              Thomas Richardson Tracker

              Dear Ms. Goetz,


              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


              The ribbon images you submitted do match with some U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marine service ribbons from the World War II-era. However, not all ribbon designs and color schemes are individually unique. Some have been repurposed and utilized by other service branches over the years and can cause some confusion when verifying their authenticity.


              The two-tone blue ribbon is a Coast Guard Auxiliary Member Service Ribbon given to those who have served for at least five years in the USCG Reserves. Appurtenances are added for every five years of service after the initial ribbon. The yellow ribbon with red, white and blue edging is currently recognized as an Honorable Discharge Commemorative Ribbon, but given the three bronze service star appurtenances, it could also be a campaign ribbon of some type. The red, white, and blue stripes are common for service in or around the Philippines during World War II so if he served in the Pacific, it is possible he received a campaign ribbon for overseas service.


              The red and yellow ribbon is indeed a Merchant Marine medal issued during World War II and it was common for Coast Guard service members to receive a Merchant Marine medal if they met the criteria.


              The blue, white, red, and yellow ribbon with bronze service stars could possibly be an American Defense Service Medal if he served between September 8, 1939 and December 7, 1941. Bronze star devices were authorized on the ADSM ribbon in lieu of clasps that were given for duty in a fleet, base, or posting outside the continental United States.


              After searching through online sources, the green, yellow and red ribbon is indicative of an Air Force ROTC commendation ribbon, but this would not fit within the time frame and service type of your grandfather in the Coast Guard. This possibly could be another auxiliary ribbon that is no longer routinely issued. If you have questions about Coast Guard awards, you may visit the USCG Personnel Services Division website and read the Coast Guard Military Medals and Awards Manual for more information.


              If he did serve with the Merchant Marine or Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine Personnel and Licensing Records dated prior to 1968 in the Records of the U.S. Coast Guard (Record Group 26) are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.govInclude the name, date of birth, dates of service, "Z" number, and date of death, if known, in your request.


              Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


              We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!

              2 people found this helpful
              • Re: What are these WWII Campaign Ribbons for?
                joan stachnik Tracker

                Hi Alisa, not sure if this will help with any ribbons you might have from your grandfather's service, but below are the awards for my dad. I think they were in some of the same campaigns. These are Good conduct, European-African-Middle Eastern campaigns, Victory medical and Purple Heart. Hope this is of some help. joan

                1 person found this helpful