The Coast Guard awards medals and ribbons for a variety of reasons, such as going above and beyond the call of duty. These ribbons and medals are frequently worn directly on the uniform, except in special cases like the Medal of Honor. The Coast Guard allows either large or miniature medals to be worn, depending on the uniform. You can wear miniature medals with all formal and dinner dress Coast Guard uniforms.
Arrange your medals in order of precedence from right to left and top to bottom. Make sure you get them set according to how they will be placed on your holding bar. Be sure to pay attention to the number of medals allowed on each row, based on the total number of medals you will be wearing.
Attach the first row of medals to your holding bar. Depending on what type of holding bar you are using, they should either slide on from the end or clip onto the ribbon portion of the miniature medal.
Attach your subsequent rows of medals to your holding bar, remembering the order and placement in which you arranged them. The medals on the first row should overlap the ribbon portions of the medals on the second row, and so on.
If you have one row of medals, skip this step.
Hold your holding bar up in front of you and make sure the bottoms of the medals in each row are even across. Adjust as necessary.
Place your holding bar in the proper place on the left breast of your uniform and according to the following standards:
For male and female dinner dress jackets, center the lowest holding bar on the lapel, 3 inches below the notch.
For male blue or white service coats, center the holding bar directly above the left breast pocket.
For female blue or white service coats, center the holding bar directly above the left pocket flap.
Attach your holding bar to your uniform using the attachment device on the back of the bar.
If you wear one row of medals, wear the most senior medals you have. If you have five or more medals, wear a minimum of five on a holding bar.
Never wear military medals or ribbons you did not earn. If you do, you may be subject to punishment under military law.
- coast guard on patrol image by Elmo Palmer from Fotolia.com