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Award: An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. When the token is a medal, ribbon or other item designed for wearing, it is known as a decoration.
Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces: The United States Armed Forces awards and decorations are primarily the medals, service ribbons, and specific badges which recognize military service and personal accomplishments while a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career.
Awards and decorations of the United States government: Awards and decorations of the United States government are civilian awards of the U.S. federal government which are typically issued for sustained meritorious service, in a civilian capacity, while serving in the U.S. federal government. Certain U.S. government awards may also be issued to military personnel of the United States Armed Forces and be worn in conjunction with awards and decorations of the United States military.
Awards and decorations of the Civil Air Patrol: The awards and decorations of the Civil Air Patrol are "designed to recognize heroism, service, and program achievements" of members of the Civil Air Patrol of the United States of America. The CAP is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and these awards are made to improve the esprit de corps of members.
Awards and decorations of the State Defense Forces: Awards and decorations of the state defense forces are presented to members of the state defense forces in addition to regular United States military decorations and state National Guard military decorations. Each of the state governments of the United States maintains a series of decorations for issuance to members of the state defense forces, with such awards presented under the authority of the various state adjutants general and/or respective state defense force commanders.