Awards are given for two basic reasons, regardless of the organization. First, they are intended as tangible evidence of recognition for some achievement or service. Second, awards serve as a motivating factor. The SFMC awards program exists for these same reasons. Awards are indicated by ribbons, and worn on Class A uniforms. The Awards Program of the SFMC is not a static concept. Rather it evolves and changes to meet the needs of the organization as a whole. For this reason, it is important to keep in touch with the Deputy Commandant through the chain of command for the latest information on the award standards.
The Awards Procedure
To receive an award, you have to be nominated for it by someone. Usually this involves your Unit OIC, ship CO, or fellow Marines. An award nomination is sent up the chain of command to the appropriate authority (minimum Issuing Authority for each award is specified in the next section). If you have met or exceeded the standards for that award, it will be authorized and then awarded to you. All award nominations must be submitted no more than 6 months after the qualifying events. The only awards not affected by this are the Valor and Honor awards, which cover the previous 12 months.
Any person in the Chain of Command for an individual Marine may issue any award to a Marine from their level down when necessary, as long as the person up the Chain of Command has a role related to the award being issued (i.e., COTRACOM could not reasonably issue the Great Barrier Award, but COFORCECOM could as they are in the CoC and related to the role of the designated Issuing Authority). This means that a BDE OIC can issue an award which has an Issuing Authority of the BDE OIC or lower; COFORCECOM can issue any award which has an Issuing Authority listed as being COFORCECOM, BDE OIC, BN OIC, etc.; and the Commandant of the SFMC can issue any award listed in the SFMC Awards Program. Usually, it is not necessary to have an award issued by anyone other than the listed Issuing Authority, however, in the case of a member of a Marine’s Chain of Command personally witnessing a qualifying event, having the action reported on a Unit report or in successful appeals, it may become necessary to have awards issued by someone other than the Issuing Authority listed in the Award Descriptions.
Eligibility For Awards
SFMC awards may normally only be awarded to STARFLEET Marines or STARFLEET Marine units. This means that in order to receive awards, individuals must be SFI members in good standing, and units must be listed as active and reporting for a minimum of three (3) reporting periods. Award nominations must be made within six (6) months of the qualifying event to be considered. Unless otherwise indicated all awards are limited to one award, per Marine, per year. These limits are intended to reinforce and support the link between participation and communication that are essential for a successful fan organization.
Remember, although only certain persons can actually authorize each of these awards, they can be nominated by anyone in the Chain of Command. This is one reason why unit reports and good communication are so important. If the Brigade OIC never hears about the things your unit has done, he certainly can’t nominate or issue an award.
Military Service Ribbons
At no time may any member of the SFMC wear any award ribbons associated with the real-world military service, on any SFMC uniforms, of any type, regardless of whether that person has earned the right to wear that ribbon otherwise.
Wearing The Ribbons
All awards are ranked in order of precedence, from the highest to the lowest. The ribbons are worn in that order. The ribbon with the lowest precedence goes on the bottom row to the wearer’s extreme left (toward their arm), and the highest goes at the top to the wearer’s right (toward their heart). In this way, ribbons are read by an observer from left to right, top to bottom just like reading words with the most important ribbon first and the least important last.
Each row of ribbons is, at most, three ribbons wide. If the total number of ribbons necessitates a row with less than three, that row is placed at the top and centered. The exception to this rule is when the wearer has 24 or more ribbons they may choose to wear a ribbon bar with four ribbons per row. Silver stars represent each additional award of the same ribbon, small gold stars represent five additional awards of the same ribbon. Therefore, a Marine who has received three Brigade Service Commendations would wear the appropriate ribbon with two silver stars. A Marine who has received six Academic Excellence Awards would wear the appropriate ribbon and a small gold star. In the event that the Marine achieves ten of the same award a large gold star will replace any other clusters on the ribbon and no more devices will be added to the ribbon.
All SFMC awards belong to one of three categories: Achievement, Service, or Training. In order of precedence, all Achievement Ribbons are worn ahead of all Service ribbons, which are worn ahead of all Training ribbons.