Marksmanship Ribbon

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Marksmanship Ribbon
U.S. Marksmanship Ribbons
Awarded by
United States Navy
United States Air Force
United States Coast Guard
Type Ribbon
Eligibility All ranks
Status Current

A Marksmanship Ribbon is an award of the United States Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard that is issued to service members who pass a weapons qualification course and achieve an above-average score. Additionally, there are select State National Guard organizations that award marksmanship ribbons for high placement in state-level marksmanship competitions.


Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.svg
Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon.svg

The U.S. Navy has issued two marksmanship ribbons: the Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon and Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, since 1920. The pistol ribbon is currently awarded for qualification on the Beretta M9 9mm pistol, while the rifle ribbon is currently awarded for qualification on the M14 and M16 assault rifle variants.[1]

The Navy issues the marksmanship ribbon in three levels — that of Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert. The basic ribbon is awarded for the Marksman level while the specific Marksmanship Device is awarded for qualification as a Sharpshooter or Expert. Those receiving an Expert qualification receive the Marksmanship Medal, in addition to the Marksmanship Ribbon.[1]

Between 1942 and 1960, the Navy also issued ribbons known as the Distinguished Marksmanship Ribbons.[2] These awards were declared obsolete by 1965.

Air Force

USAF Marksmanship ribbon.svg

The United States Air Force awards a single ribbon, known as the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, for an expert qualification on either the M16 rifle, M4 carbine or the individuals AFSC's (duty) designated pistol. The ribbon is issued in only one degree; however, a bronze service star may be worn on the ribbon for those who have qualified expert on both the service rifle and pistol.[3] The ribbon was authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force on Aug. 28, 1962 and was awarded to all Air Force service members who qualified after Jan. 1, 1963. Prior to the conception of a ribbon, Air Force members were awarded with the United States Air Force Small Arms Marksmanship Certificate of Achievement (AF Form 1193 Jan 1961).

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.svg
Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon.svg

The Coast Guard Marksmanship Ribbons are issued under the same criteria as the U.S. Navy, but Coast Guardsmen use a .40 cal SIG Sauer P229R DAK pistol instead of the Navy's M9 pistol. The Coast Guard issues two ribbons, known as the Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon and the Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon. The Marksmanship Device is awarded for qualification at the higher levels of sharpshooter and expert. Like the Navy, for those who receive an expert qualification, the Marksmanship Medal is awarded instead of the Marksmanship Ribbon.[4]

National Guard

Missouri National Guard Governor's Twelve Ribbon

Once a year, thousands of Army and Air National Guard shooters (champion marksmanship teams from each state) compete against each other at the Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships. In the Missouri National Guard, the top twelve guardsmen selected to represent their state at the Winston P. Wilson matches are awarded the Governor's Twelve Ribbon which is worn on dress uniforms; any guardsman who earns the award more than once wear Hawthorn Cluster Device(s) on top of the ribbon. In addition, these guardsman are awarded the Governor's Twelve Tab for wear on the combat uniform.[5][6]

Missouri National Guard Adjutant General's Twenty Ribbon

Similarly, the Adjutant General of Missouri awards the Adjutant General's Twenty Ribbon to soldiers and airmen who qualify among the top twenty competitors at the Missouri State Combat Matches conducted each year; specifically the top eight combat rifle shooters, the top eight pistol shooters, the top two light machine gun teams, and the top two scout/sniper teams. In addition to this ribbon, these guardsman are also awarded the Adjutant General's Twenty Combat Badge for wear on the combat uniform.[5]

Guardsmen are authorized to wear these ribbons as a permanent decoration on service dress uniforms, to the left of federal awards, when operating under Title 32 (state control) status. When federalized (Title 10), guardsman cannot wear these ribbons until they return to Title 32 status.[5][7]

Additional Information

The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps provide Weapons Qualification Badges instead of a Marksmanship Ribbon. For the services that award the Marksmanship Ribbon, re-qualification is not necessary once a service member has obtained the award and the ribbon may be worn throughout an individual's career. In the Navy and Coast Guard, the Marksmanship Ribbon may be upgraded with a Marksmanship Device if a higher qualification is achieved.[7][8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 OPNAVINST 3591.1F, Small Arms Training and Qualification, Department of the Navy, dated 12 August 2009, last accessed 18 February 2013
  2. A Short History of the Distinguished Shooter Program, by Hap Rocketto, dated 28 September 2010, last accessed 18 February 2013
  3. "Factsheets : Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. United States Coast Guard (May 2008). "COMDTINST M1650.25D Medals and Awards Manual" (PDF). Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 19 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Tabs and Badges a Measure of Marksmanship, Missouri National Guard, dated 14 December 2010, last accessed 18 May 2014
  6. National Guard Devices, by Eric Bush, last accessed 18 May 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 U.S. Army Pamphlet 670–1: Uniform and Insignia, Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, Department of the Army Publications and Forms, dated 31 March 2014, last accessed 23 June 2014
  8. U.S. Marine Corps Order P1020.34: Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, Chapter 5, Awards, Permanent Marine Corps Uniform Board, dated 29 Oct 09, last accessed 4 Oct 11