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What does "decorated" mean?

Pusser

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I was originally going to post this on another thread about a specific individual, but figured my comments would somehow be construed as denigrating that man's service, which was far from what I'm trying to do.  I just want to clear up some common misconceptions.

News articles often seem to refer to members or veterans as "decorated;" however, that's often not the case.  Being "decorated" does not mean the same thing as having a bunch of medals.  It means having a decoration, which comes from a short (yet distinguished) list.  I suppose one could technically claim to be "decorated" if one has been awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD); however, that's a bit of a stretch.  Although technically a decoration because King George VI made it so, it actually fits the definition of a medal (in a nutshell, everyone gets it simply for being around long enough) and is treated as a medal in the Order of Precedence.  In order to be "decorated" (in the Canadian Honours System), one really needs to be a recipient of at least one of:

Victoria Cross (VC)
Cross of Valour (CV)
Star or Military Valour (SMV)
Star of Courage (SC)
Meritorious Service Cross (MSC)
Medal of Military Valour (MMV)
Medal of Bravery (MB)
Meritorious Service Medal (MSM)
Royal Victorian Medal (RVM)

These are the only "decorations" in the Canadian Honours System.

Another point worth noting is that ONLY orders and decorations (including the CD) carry "post-nominal letters" (i.e. the letters you write after your name in formal signature blocks).  Not every honour we wear on our uniforms has a post-nominal to go with it.  I've seen folks put "QSJM" (Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal), "CDSC" (Chief of Defence Staff Commendation), etc. after their names (even in official programs!) and of course, none of this is correct.  Only orders (Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, etc.) and decorations (including the CD) carry post-nominals.

Another common error is the use of "CD1," "CD2," etc. (I've even seen it on tombstones).  This is incorrect.  The post-nominal is "CD," regardless of how many bars you have.  The same goes for all post-nominals.  Don't confuse a code used on an MPRR (which is no doubt where, "CD#" comes from) with correct post-nominal.

 

mariomike

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Pusser said:
Another point worth noting is that ONLY orders and decorations (including the CD) carry "post-nominal letters" (i.e. the letters you write after your name in formal signature blocks).  Not every honour we wear on our uniforms has a post-nominal to go with it.  I've seen folks put "QSJM" (Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal), "CDSC" (Chief of Defence Staff Commendation), etc. after their names (even in official programs!) and of course, none of this is correct.  Only orders (Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, etc.) and decorations (including the CD) carry post-nominals.

Another common error is the use of "CD1," "CD2," etc. (I've even seen it on tombstones).  This is incorrect.  The post-nominal is "CD," regardless of how many bars you have.  The same goes for all post-nominals.  Don't confuse a code used on an MPRR (which is no doubt where, "CD#" comes from) with correct post-nominal.

See also,

Proper Use of Post-Nominals 
https://army.ca/forums/threads/113923.0
 

brihard

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Totally thought this was gonna be about glitter. Not about glitter at all. I'm deeply disappointed.
 

Remius

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Brihard said:
Totally thought this was gonna be about glitter. Not about glitter at all. I'm deeply disappointed.

https://glitterhaven.com.au/product-category/types-of-glitter/

Fill your boots.
 

Blackadder1916

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Pusser said:
I was originally going to post this on another thread  . . .

News articles often seem to refer to members or veterans as "decorated;"  . . .

I probably had the same fleeting thought when I read, what I assume, is the same thread.  However, the one award that you didn't mention (and no pun intended) is "Mention in Dispatches".  It falls outside the standard descriptions of orders, decorations and medals though it "recognizes valiant conduct, devotion to duty or other distinguished service in combat or near-combat conditions".  I specifically bring it to your attention because (according to a search of the GG's list of honours) the subject of the other thread was so cited.

But , again probably like you, it pains me when the proper use of language is not followed - especially by the media.  Pedantic to the end.
 

Jarnhamar

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Why would considering the Canadian Forces Decoration be a stretch when it comes to decorations?
 

medicineman

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Jarnhamar said:
Why would considering the Canadian Forces Decoration be a stretch when it comes to decorations?

Other than not being all that decorative compared to some of our other gongs?  :stirpot:

MM
 

medicineman

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Jarnhamar said:
But decoration is in the name  ;D

True. but, as I said, I have far more decorative gongs on my rack...including another that allows me to use post nominals (that many people who have said Order use inappropriately) and can double as a weapon if need be  ;D.

MM
 

Good2Golf

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...and CDs result in a post-nominal. :nod:

I’d consider Pusser’s list, add CD and MID.
 

Blackadder1916

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I suppose the argument (for some) hinges on how they define "decoration".  In Pusser's OP the list he provides are those that are listed and identified as "decorations" on the GG's honours site.  None other are so identified as such.  It then becomes easy to equate "decorated" solely with "received a decoration".  But it is not so simple.  Language changes and sometimes that includes the meaning.  Prior to a unique Canadian honours system, would not someone who received, for example, the Military Medal (MM) for actions in either of the world wars or Korea not have been considered to have been "decorated"?  Yet in the terminology of that time the MM was not a decoration but rather a "MEDAL FOR GALLANTRY AND DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT".  The "decorations" in the order of wear which preceded the medals for similar actions were:
Royal Red Cross (Class I).
Distinguished Service Cross.
Military Cross.
Distinguished Flying Cross.
Air Force Cross.
Royal Red Cross (Class II).

If one was to restrict the discussion to those awards applicable solely to the military and naval services, in the good old days of class hierarchy (sarcasm intended), officers received decorations, lesser mortals received medals (of course, the VC and GC, though both being decorations were however treated differently).  So it was whether for gallantry and distinguished actions or long service and good conduct.

As to the CD being a decoration or a medal, that argument has been here before.  While it might be a stretch to say that Pusser has changed his tune, he did once think it was in a different category.

Pusser said:
Sometimes the CD doesn't get the respect it deserves.  Twelve years of one's life is no small accomplishment and for some, behaving oneself for 12 years is a HUGE accomplishment. ;D  Despite the fact that one doesn't really have to do anything to receive a CD (other than behave - or at least not get caught for 12 years), it does represent a level of commitment that should be lauded.  Just because someone was never called to task doesn't mean they couldn't have been.

It's also worth noting that the CD is not a medal, it's a decoration, which means you get a postnominal letters and the right to put it on your personal coat of arms, should you so choose.  No other Canadian long service medal has this distinction.  It really is a step above the others.

And of course, my response to his complaint that the CD did not get the respect it deserved was a repeat of a post that I had made more than a decade ago.

Blackadder1916 said:
One of my lasting memories of someone talking about the decorations and medals that he was wearing occurred in 1994.  I had the good luck of having a COS date out of Lahr that permitted me to arrange my passage home on the Queen Elizabeth 2 sailing out of Southampton on 8 June.  I was able therefore to drive to Normandy and spend 6 June 94 (50th Anniversary of D-Day) visiting some of the memorials and events there; take the ferry across to England; turn my car over to Cunard for loading onto the ship and then relax for several days on the North Atlantic.  The voyage was billed as a “D-Day Memorial” cruise.  Many of the passengers were WW II veterans, mostly American, some Brits, and at least one Canadian.

One of the events that occurred on the ship was the Captain’s Welcome Party.  Dressed in finest bib and tucker, you go through the receiving line, have your photo taken and then proceed to the most important part of the soiree… getting a drink.  Some of the other passengers were wearing medals, ribbons or devices that showed that they had served.  I was in mess kit as were a few of the other passengers including a Van Doo LCol and a husband & wife who were both pilots in the USAF.  It was particularly easy for the Van Doo and me to be noticed in the scarlet monkey jackets. 

A few people had approached me with the inevitable questions about who we were and what were we doing.  I was chatting with a lady when we were approached by a gentleman in a maroon jacket that included Cdn para wings and several medals.  He introduced himself and joined in the conversation which naturally turned to where had you been.  He had served with the 1 Cdn Para Bn as a private during the war and had made the jump into Normandy and over the Rhine. 

The lady with whom we were chatting asked about the medals and wings he and I were wearing.  I probably would have answered in my typically flippant manner about 12 years undetected crime (C.D.), 6 months getting a suntan and not getting a venereal disease (UNEFME) and 4 years wine and beer tasting (SSM with NATO bar), but he replied first by drawing her attention to the one medal we had in common, the Canadian Forces Decoration.  I was surprised when he told her it was the one that he was most proud to wear.  The lady asked why.  His reply impressed me and later that evening I wrote an account of what he said, maybe not verbatim, because we had imbibed several beverages, but close enough for government work.

He said.  “ It’s easy to be a soldier when everyone is or wants to be a soldier; when being in uniform is the normal thing to do.  The true measure of a man is his commitment to serving his country when there is little chance of excitement, or glory or getting medals.  This medal (he indicated his CD) shows people that we pledged a significant portion of our lives to serving our country when few others would, doing things that we didn't necessarily want to do and that were not very glamorous.  These (he indicated his 4 or 5 wartime medals) I got for spending 3 years in uniform doing what most guys my age were doing. Was it hard work and dangerous? Yes. But mostly I had a lot of fun doing it.”

Since then I’ve had a different perspective on those little pieces of ribbon that we wear.

 

RocketRichard

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Blackadder1916 said:
I suppose the argument (for some) hinges on how they define "decoration".  In Pusser's OP the list he provides are those that are listed and identified as "decorations" on the GG's honours site.  None other are so identified as such.  It then becomes easy to equate "decorated" solely with "received a decoration".  But it is not so simple.  Language changes and sometimes that includes the meaning.  Prior to a unique Canadian honours system, would not someone who received, for example, the Military Medal (MM) for actions in either of the world wars or Korea not have been considered to have been "decorated"?  Yet in the terminology of that time the MM was not a decoration but rather a "MEDAL FOR GALLANTRY AND DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT".  The "decorations" in the order of wear which preceded the medals for similar actions were:
Royal Red Cross (Class I).
Distinguished Service Cross.
Military Cross.
Distinguished Flying Cross.
Air Force Cross.
Royal Red Cross (Class II).

If one was to restrict the discussion to those awards applicable solely to the military and naval services, in the good old days of class hierarchy (sarcasm intended), officers received decorations, lesser mortals received medals (of course, the VC and GC, though both being decorations were however treated differently).  So it was whether for gallantry and distinguished actions or long service and good conduct.

As to the CD being a decoration or a medal, that argument has been here before.  While it might be a stretch to say that Pusser has changed his tune, he did once think it was in a different category.

And of course, my response to his complaint that the CD did not get the respect it deserved was a repeat of a post that I had made more than a decade ago.
Blackadder: misread that at first and thought you participated in D-Day;)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Furniture

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Blackadder1916 said:
And of course, my response to his complaint that the CD did not get the respect it deserved was a repeat of a post that I had made more than a decade ago.

I read that post way back and it helped change my opinion of the CD, not that I'll admit that in front on anyone when they ask about mine. It's still for 12 years of undetected crime when anyone askes me about it!
 

Eye In The Sky

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Pusser said:
Another point worth noting is that ONLY orders and decorations (including the CD) carry "post-nominal letters" (i.e. the letters you write after your name in formal signature blocks).  Not every honour we wear on our uniforms has a post-nominal to go with it.  I've seen folks put "QSJM" (Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal), "CDSC" (Chief of Defence Staff Commendation), etc. after their names (even in official programs!) and of course, none of this is correct.  Only orders (Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, etc.) and decorations (including the CD) carry post-nominals.

Another common error is the use of "CD1," "CD2," etc. (I've even seen it on tombstones).  This is incorrect.  The post-nominal is "CD," regardless of how many bars you have.  The same goes for all post-nominals.  Don't confuse a code used on an MPRR (which is no doubt where, "CD#" comes from) with correct post-nominal.

Someone seriously put QSJM on their signature block?  I don't know whether to  :rofl: or  ::).

Some folks have put some time into making the Canadian Honours Chart that makes this really easy;  click the applic order/decoration/medal and voila!  There is the info you need.

http://forces.gc.ca/en/honours-history-medals-chart/medal-silverjubilee.page  Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal

Postnominals

The use of a post-nominal is not authorized for this medal.


Not...not sure how much easier it could be?  People are lazy and lack good old fashioned military bearing and attention to detail in this day and age it seems.

 

Furniture

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dapaterson said:
Undetected, or unconvicted?

Unconvicted  ;) I also tell people my GCS is a gold star for attendance.

EITS,
Likely has far more to do with wanting to feel special/more special than with an actual lack of understanding the rules. Though I've never seen the QDJM or anything of the like, I have seen many CD1's floating around on outlook. 

 

PuckChaser

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Furniture said:
I also tell people my GCS is a gold star for attendance.

To be fair, for some people it was.
 

da1root

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Blackadder1916 said:
And of course, my response to his complaint that the CD did not get the respect it deserved was a repeat of a post that I had made more than a decade ago.

I wasn't active the first time you posted that, so I'm glad you posted it again.
I've been Class B since 2003; and the majority of that time was as a Naval Reservist, so the only medal I have is the CD - I've always called it the "12 years of not getting caught" medal, so I appreciate seeing that man's take on the CD.  Glad you took those notes!
 

Pusser

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Eye In The Sky said:
Not...not sure how much easier it could be?  People are lazy and lack good old fashioned military bearing and attention to detail in this day and age it seems.

BINGO!

When I was in a job where I had to review (and correct) honours files, I was amazed at what some folks came up with...
 

Pusser

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Jarnhamar said:
But decoration is in the name  ;D

And the MEDAL of Military Valour is not a medal, but rather a decoration.  Names can be deceiving.
 
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