Military awards and medals are something that many in the United States Marine Corps take great pride in. When Marines receive a medal or award, it is issued with an accompanying ribbon that can be worn on a ribbon rack when full-sized medals are not authorized for wear. Think of these ribbons as a sort of abbreviated medal. Like any uniform component in the Marine Corps, the manner ribbons are worn in is highly regulated. They must be mounted and displayed properly according to the Marine Corps uniform regulations in Marine Corps Order (MCO) P1020.34F.

Purchase a ribbon rack at an on-base retailer. This rack will hold the ribbons in place and can be pinned to the uniform.

Arrange all awarded ribbons in order of precedence as perscribed by MCO P1020.34F. The order of precedence for awards is topped by the Congressional Medal of Honor and is followed directly by the Navy Cross and Defense Distinguished Service Medal. Personal awards rank the highest in the order of precedence, followed by unit awards, nonmilitary awards, service awards, nonmilitary service awards and foreign awards.

Slide each ribbon on to the rack. This should be done so that the ribbon is wrapped around the bar. Awards should always be in order of precedence on the rack, with the most prestigious awards displayed on the highest row of ribbons and from right to left.

Ensure that each row of ribbons is even and neatly displayed. Each row should have three ribbons. If wearing more than one row and the ribbons do not divide evenly into three per row, only the uppermost row should have an uneven number of ribbons.

Pin the ribbon rack on to the left breast of the uniform. The rack should be centered 1/8 of an inch above and parallel to the left breast pocket. Note that no portion of the bar or pin should be visible once this process is complete.

Tip

  • Marines must wear all ribbons that they are entitled to when displaying a ribbon rack and cannot pick and choose which awards to include.

    Ribbons must be worn on service coats class 'B' dress coats. Marines also have the option of displaying their ribbons when wearing the khaki shirt, the blue dress 'C' or 'D' uniform or the service 'B' or 'C' uniform.

    Occasionally, ribbons can be worn four to a row when displaying a large number of awards. Female Marines can also display just two ribbons per row if a three-ribbon row would extend too close to the armhole seam or would not lay flat.