Star is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the
U.S. Armed Forces , is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of
the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict
with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign
forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which
the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry,
while of a lesser degree than that required for the Distinguished Service
Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.
The Silver Star traces its history back to the silver Citation Star. The Citation Star was authorized in 1918 as a gallantry award, and worn on the campaign ribbon associated with the gallantry. The Silver Star medal was approved in 1932 for heroism of a lesser degree than that required for the DSM, Navy Cross or AFC.
Citation Star was established as a result of an Act of Congress on July 9,
1918 (65th Congress, Sess II, Chapter 143, page 873) and was promulgated
in War Department Bulletin No. 43 dated 1918. It was retroactive to
include those cited for gallantry in action in previous campaigns back to
the Spanish-American War. Per letter from General Jervey, Office of the
Chief of Staff, dated February 26, 1926, is quoted in part: The Secretary
of War directs as follows - The following is the amended version of
paragraph 187 of Army Regulation: "No more than one Medal of Honor or
one Distinguished Service Cross or one Distinguished Service Medal shall
be issued to any one person, but for each succeeding or act sufficient to
justify the award of a Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross or
Distinguished Service Medal, respectively, a bronze oak leaf cluster,
shall be issued in lieu thereof.
On July 19, 1932, the Secretary of War approved the Silver Star medal to replace the Citation Star. This design placed the Citation Star on a bronze pendant suspended from the ribbon design. The star was no longer attached to a service or campaign ribbon.
Authorization for the Silver Star was placed into law by an Act of Congress for the Navy on August 7, 1942 and an Act of Congress for the Army on December 15, 1942. The primary reason for congressional authorization was the desire to award the medal to civilians as well as the Armed Forces. The current statutory authorization for the Silver Star Medal is Title 10, United States Code, Section 3746.