DOD Guidance for the Newly Established “C” and “R” Devices
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DOD Guidance for the Newly Established “C” and “R” Devices
1. This message will expire on 15 March 2018.

2. References A through C were published on 21 December 2016 and implemented
the recommendations from the comprehensive Military Decorations and Awards
Review (MDAR) approved by the Secretary of Defense in Reference D.

This message announces the implementation guidance pertaining to the newly
established “C” and “R” devices found in applicable portions of References A, B,
and C that have an immediate and significant impact on the Army Awards Program.
The guidance below and other changes approved in reference D are being
incorporated into the next version of reference E.

The “C” device:
a. The “C” device is an appurtenance which may be placed on designated individual
awards to denote recognition of meritorious service or achievement under combat
conditions. The “C” device is only authorized if the service or achievement was
performed under combat conditions (while the Soldier was personally exposed to
hostile action or in an area where other Soldiers were actively engaged), while:

(1) Engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;

(2) Engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force

(3) Serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an
opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

b. Award of the “C” device is based on the specific circumstances under which the
service or achievement was performed.

The award is not determined solely on geographic location or unit of assignment,
and the award may recognize specific achievements and/or extended periods of
service, under the following circumstances:

(1) The unit is operating in a location with delegated wartime awards authority.

(2) The Soldier was personally exposed to hostile action or in an area where other
Soldiers were actively engaged. This is not to say the Soldier must qualify for a
combat badge as defined in reference E. The commander with awards approval
authority must consider the totality of the situation and determine if the Soldier
performed the service or action(s) under combat conditions, or if it was rendered
under relatively safe, non-hostile conditions.

(3) The fact alone that the service was performed in a designated combat zone
(CZ) or similarly defined location (areas designated for combat zone tax exclusion
(CZTE), imminent danger pay (IDP), hazardous duty pay (HDP), or hostile fire pay
(HFP)) does not justify award of the “C” device. Because these locations are
typically very large and defined by known geographic features and boundaries, not
all Soldiers in that designated area operate under combat conditions. Moreover,
not all Soldiers in a CZ or similar area serve in roles or perform functions under
combat conditions. For example, Soldiers serving in staging areas, some higher
headquarters locations, or locations outside the joint operational area may not
necessarily be at risk of experiencing hostile action. Such determinations should
be made on a case-by-case basis by the awards approval authority.

c. Grade must not be a factor in determining whether the “C” device is warranted,
nor will any quotas, official or unofficial, be established limiting the number of “C”
devices authorized for a given combat engagement, a given operation, or
cumulatively within a given expanse of area or time.

d. The “C” device may be awarded with the following Army awards to recognize
exceptionally meritorious service or achievement performed under combat
conditions on or after 7 January 2016:

(1) Distinguished Service Medal (DSM)

(2) Legion of Merit (LOM)

(3) Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

(4) Air Medal (AM)

(5) Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM)

(6) Army Achievement Medal (AAM)

Read the complete MILPER Message to learn more about the C and R Devices
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MILPER Message 17-095 for more information ------- FAQs
DOD Guidance for the Newly Established C and R Devices