Soldiers may be eligible for the new "C" and "R" devices on as many as 12 military awards under a newly implemented Defense Department policy.

The new "combat" and "remote" devices join the "V" device, which stands for "valor" and is given to troops who demonstrate combat heroism for a specific act of valor in a specific situation.

The new devices are the result of a two-year Pentagon review that focused on honoring drone operators, cyber warfare specialists and others using technology that has an impact on the battlefield.

The Army was the first to announce service-specific guidance about the policy, which is detailed in the March 15 Military Personnel Message 17-095. Soldiers who received certain awards dating back to Jan. 7, 2016, can be eligible for the devices, but it doesn't include awards approved prior to that date.  

'Combat' device

The MILPER message said the "C" device "may be placed on designated individual awards to denote recognition of meritorious service or achievement under combat conditions."

This device will distinguish certain awards that were earned in combat, according to an Army news release. For example, a "C" device will not be worn with a Bronze Star because that medal recognizes service in a combat environment, but the device could be worn with something like the Army Commendation Medal, which can be awarded during combat or peacetime. The "C" device would show that the Army Commendation Medal was awarded during combat.

A soldier can receive a "C" device even if the soldier wasn't personally engaged in combat but the service or achievement being recognized was in a combat area, according to the release.

The "C" device can be worn with the:

  • Army Commendation Medal.
  • Distinguished Service Medal.
  • Legion of Merit.
  • Distinguished Flying Cross.
  • Air Medal.
  • Army Achievement Medal.

'Remote' device

The "R," or "remote," device is for when a soldier contributes to a combat operation from a remote location.

This can be "hands-on employment of a weapon system or other war fighting activities ... but from a location where the Soldier was neither personally exposed to hostile action," according to the MILPER message.

An unmanned aerial system operator, for example, could qualify for the "R" device.

It can be worn with the:

  • Army Commendation Medal.
  • Legion of Merit.
  • Meritorious Service Medal.
  • Army Achievement Medal.

How to request the devices

So far, the Awards and Decorations Branch at Army Human Resources Command has not received any formal requests for the devices, said Lt. Col. Arron Lummer, the branch's chief.

Award of either device does not constitute an upgrade, according to Army Human Resources Command. The award itself is the medal, and the devices serve to distinguish the conditions under which the soldier received the award.

The MILPER message directs the approval authority of the two devices to the chain of command for soldiers still serving. Human Resources Command, however, is the approval authority for those no longer serving in the Army, Lummer said.


A request to have the "C" device, for example, added to an Army Commendation Medal would be considered by the soldier's brigade-level commander with authority to approve the ARCOM.

Requests for devices will be made using Department of the Army Form 4187, which includes justification for the device along with the original DA Form 683, citation and/or narrative, and other applicable supporting documents, according to the MILPER message.

Both the "C" and "R" devices are the same color, size and font as the "V" device. 


Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at cpanzino@militarytimes.com.