I tossed this together to explain how I handle awards. While everyone might not agree on my interpretation of certain specific medals, they serve as examples. The list is not considered all inclusive.
Commendations are usually awarded for either being some place or accomplishing some laudable goal. Among them are included academic awards, theater ribbons, awards of merit, and special awards. These awards are a public diary record of the crewman's career.
These are given out to commemorate laudable events in which the crewman participated, such as first contacts, Peace missions, major diplomatic events and so forth. Commendations of this kind number in the hundreds if not thousands, and relatively few people are ever present to qualify for any given commendation.
- Bonadventure Deep Space Ribbon: Awarded to Starfleet personnel that have taken a mission beyond the Federation borders that lasts more than a year. Named for the United Earth ship USS Bonadventure that took the first two successful deep space missions.
- Butterfly Citation: Given to Starfleet personnel that resort to cold sleep to survive a crisis. This "award" is shared by spacers in the civilian sector who will often get a tattoo of a butterfly to indicate they have survived a cold sleep period under emergency situations. Two of these can get you talked about. The current record holder for duration is the crew of the USS Ulysses S. Grant (NCC-107) at 237 years, although their subjective duration was only 11.7 years due to relativistic effects. Free trader Fannya May holds the subjective duration record at 127 years.
- Palm Leaf of the Anaxar Peace Mission: Awarded to all personnel that were present during the Anaxar Peace mission. A rare award to see anymore.
- Palm Leaf of the Kitomer Peace Conference: Awarded to all personnel that were present during the Kitomer Peace Conference. Another one that is getting rare.
- Star of the Betazed Contact: Awarded to the personnel of Starbase 130, and ships currently docked, when the first Betazed starship docked there initiating a first contact.
- Star of the Fresian Contact: Awarded to the crew of the USS Gunther Bork which encountered the Fresian Starship in deep space. They continued on to planetfall at Fresia.
- Star of the Sixliss Contact: Awarded to the Crew of the USS Kongo for the First Contact with the Sixliss.
These medals are less laudable, but no less an important record. They record that the crewman was in active duty in a war zone in time of combat.
- Cardassian War Ribbon: Currently all to common.
- The Four Years War Ribbon: "The Klingon conflict. A few old Vulcan officers is about it. All but extinct
- Romulan War ribbon: Only seen on the Butterflys of the "Grant" anymore.
- Maakan Conflict Ribbon: Awarded to Starbase 600 and ships that participated or were drawn into the stealth conflict with the crazy spiders.
These indicate the person has excelled in the study, and application of a given subject. Starfleet considers that all personnel are under constant schooling, and one's time at the Academy is only the beginning of one's formal learning in Starfleet, not the conclusion of it.
- Grankite Order of Tactics: Named for Admiral Grankite, the Director of Tactics at Starfleet Academy and Fleet commander in the Romulan War. It is awarded for placement in the 0.1th percentile on the tactical simulators at Starfleet Academy. Class of Excellence: Awarded for placing in the 0.05th percentile.
- Sulu Legion of Merit: Awarded for earning an academic degree outside of your primary field of study or expertise. Sometimes called the cross trainer's medal.
- Vulcan Scientific Legion of Honor: Awarded to Starfleet officers who advance the cause of knowledge within the parameters of their duty. Specifically awarded for the publication of original research and discovery.
Merit awards are given for minor, but laudable or notable events. A descendant of the US armed forces Good Conduct medal. People look askance if you don't have certain awards.
- Battle Ribbons: Awarded for participation in a major battle not part of a declared war. No one smart looks for these.
- Deep Space Ribbon: Given to everyone that has completed a deep space tour. Very common.
- Hashes: These have gone in and out of fashion over the years. Hashes, or service pins are a visible indication of one's time in Starfleet. Usually in three flavors a ten year pin, a five year pin, and a one year pin. The current fashion is to display them only on the dress uniform. The placement being on the left sleeve.
- Marksmanship Medal: More common among the Marines than Starfleet it notes that one is an expert with hand held phasers.
- Pentares Ribbon of Commendation: Awarded for conduct becoming an officer. Second Class: Presented to Lieutenant Junior Grade on promotion if they have a clear record from their time as Ensigns. First Class: Presented to Lieutenant on promotion if they have a clear record from their time as Lieutenant JG.
Awards of ValorEdit
Awards of valor are never given as a matter of course as are commendations. Each of these ribbons signifies a meritorious departure from the usual, even the expected. Those awarded these small indicators of merit are marked as examples of the courage, fortitude, and sacrifice that sentient beings are capable of in the service and protection of other beings.
Combat is not the producer of all these awards. Indeed, some are given only if nonviolent means are found to end a crisis or situation of danger to life and limb. The purpose of Starfleet is not to fight, but to serve. Valor and sacrifice can be found in places other than the battlefield.
These are never considered as a reward for the service given, but are simple and humble recognition that one among us has risen above the ordinary, and shown their fellow beings a better and more enlightened path.
Awards can be given to individuals or entire units. Cluster: A second award of the same medal, an additional cluster is given for each award.
- The Dannon Peace Medal: In honor of Abraham Tacitus Dannon of Kentauri, The Sighted Man of Peace. Awarded for Starfleet personnel that end a war the Federation is involved in by negotiations, or who so prevent a war from occurring by the same means.
- The Federation Medal of Honor: The Federation's Highest award for valor, bar none. For valor above and beyond the call of duty. It can only be presented by an Act of the Federation Council.
- Fox Diplomatic Citation: Named in Honor of Ambassador Robert Fox, the Federation Ambassador that brokered the peace between Eminiar and Vendikar, ending their 500 year conflict. Awarded to Starfleet personnel that have played a significant part in the third party negotiations that end a war or other armed conflict between parties other than the Federation It can be awarded as a unit citation as well.
- Gold Palm: Awarded for conspicuous heroism under fire. Not quite the Medal of Honor, but the highest award that can be given by a superior officer.
- Izar Unit Citation of Valor in Defense: Named for the planet Izor an Earth colony from the first Diaspora. Izar is known for the number of tactical experts that hail form its warrior culture. Fleet Captain Garth of Izar being the most famous. The Unit Citation for Valor is an almost routine award given to any Starfleet ship that manages its duty of preserving life against greater odds. Failure to be awarded this unit citation after a rough action defending anything will get your talked about. Things such as fighting like Hell, but loosing the colony, that will not get your the Citation.
- Karagite Order of Heroism: Named for Gortha Karagite, a Tellerite Ensign that took over command of the USS Thunder Bay after the bridge was destroyed in the Four Years War. He led the lower deck to a successful repulsion of the Klingon boarding attack and captured the Klingon War Dragon in the rally. Their ship damaged beyond repair the Thunder Bay crew sailed the War Dragon back to base. The Karagite Order of Heroism is awarded to junior officers that successfully assume command of their ship in time of peril.
- Kallfaix Victory Medal: In honor of Andonian General Veseppi Kallfalx. Awarded to Starfleet personnel that successfully end an openly hostile encounter without causing loss of life. Another rare one.
- Legion of Merit: The general "doing the right thing in the middle of a crisis" medal. Generally awarded for non-combat actions that result in the saving of lives that would otherwise be lost.
- President's Unit Citation for Valor: Awarded to a ship by the Federation President for conspicuous valor in the face of the enemy as a unit. A step up from the Izar Citation. This is seldom awarded outside of times of war. It was posthumously awarded to the Enterprise C for her defense of the Klingon Colony at Narendra III.
- Red Cross Unit Citation: Named for the ancient Terran humanitarian organization that helped regardless of allegiance or ideology. The Red Cross is awarded to ships that have placed themselves as risk to be instrumental in a disaster relief, evacuation, or rescue of life.
- Silver Palm: Awarded for heroism under fire. The most common valor award.
- Solin Peace Medal: Named for the Vulcan diplomat and Federation founder. The Solin Peace Medal is awarded for action beyond the logical for the nonviolent preservation of life.
- Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry: Awarded for heroism in a nonviolent encounter. For the creative resolution of a possible violent situation by nonviolent means. They like to give this one out, it doesn't happen often enough.
- Terran Heart: A direct descendant of the Purple Heart awarded by he United States armed forces. The name was changed when the award was adopted by the Federation. It is to be awarded to any member of the Federation armed forces, or member armed forces under direct Federation command, wounded in a hostile encounter that results from duty.