The history of decorations in the United States can be traced back to the American Revolution. The very first American medal was one struck to honor George Washington. These medals were large plaques, very unlike the medals we know today. In 1780, the Andre Medal was presented by the Congress. This was a first medal to be worn around the neck. But in August 1782, the Badge of Military Merit was established by George Washington, which was the first real medal to be awarded to all enlisted service men that would applicate for it. This Badge would become the model for the Purple Heart, established on February 22nd 1932.
The 80 year’s that followed, did not see the establishment of any new decoration, although the United States were part of two major conflicts, the War of 1812 and the War with Mexico. A certificate of Merit was established in 1847, but was not accompanied with a medal. In 1861 the Navy Medal of Honor was established, followed in 1862 by the Army Medal of Honor.
Nearly twenty following years, this was all that remained. Although in 1880 the Navy and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals were established, now other medals were installed during the Spanish-American War....