Skip to content
-10% off your first order by subscribing to our newsletter
-10% off your first order by subscribing to our newsletter
How do I get the military medal?

How do I get the military medal?

The Military Medal is the French Army's highest honor. To be awarded it, a soldier must have accomplished exceptional feats or demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the nation. The Military Medal is France's third highest decoration, after the Légion d'Honneur and the Ordre de la Libération. Its motto is "Valor and Discipline".

Criteria for awarding, ranks required... How do you get the Military Medal? We tell you!

Criteria for awarding the Military Medal

military medal

Often referred to as the Legion of Honor for non-commissioned officers, the Military Medal is an award that many soldiers dream of. However, it is not available to everyone, and only deserving soldiers can hope to earn it! To obtain the Military Medal in the French Army, soldiers must meet the following criteria:

  • Have served in the armed forces for at least eight years
  • Mentioned in the Army Order
  • Have been wounded in action or on official duty
  • Demonstrated courage and devotion to duty

The Military Medal may also be awarded to foreign soldiers serving the Nation, and to soldiers who die during a mission. Every year, around 30 foreign soldiers are awarded the military medal, and 2,700 soldiers of French nationality. Although more rare, women in the military can also be awarded the Military Medal: more than 10,000 have received it since its inception!

The procedure for awarding the Military Medal

military ceremony france

You don't have to apply for the Military Medal. It is awarded on the recommendation of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and by decision of the Council of the Order of the Legion of Honor. Finally, the President of the French Republic signs the awarding decrees.

The Military Medal is awarded in two annual promotions. The first takes place in April, when the military medal is awarded to active servicemen. The second takes place in November, when the military medal is awarded to reserve soldiers and veterans.

The presentation of the military medal takes place at military ceremonies, usually in the courtyard of the Invalides, in the presence of the President of the Republic. These ceremonies pay tribute not only to soldiers, but also to those killed on overseas missions.

What does the Military Medal badge look like?

Theinsignia of the military medal lives up to its distinction: magnificent! It has a diameter of 28mm and is made of silver. On the obverse, it bears the effigy of the Republic with the words "République française". On the reverse, in the center, you can see the inscription "Valeur et discipline". Finally, it is surmounted by a trophy of arms.

Military ranks required for the Military Medal

military medal france

Since its creation in 1852 by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the Military Medal has been reserved for non-commissioned officers and midshipmen. That's why it's nicknamed the Légion d'Honneur du sous-officier (Non-Commissioned Officer's Leg ion of Honor)! Of course, you won't be able to get it for your first few years of service, since eight years of service are required before you can expect to be awarded it.

Exceptionally, the military medal may be awarded to general officers and marshals of France. Some civilians may also be awarded it on the same exceptional basis. Such was the case of American President Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill!

Discover our article on the different military ranks in France!

Famous military figures awarded the Military Medal

Do you know any servicemen and women who have been awarded the Military Medal? You bet I do! Here are some famous names who have been awarded the Military Medal:

  • U.S. President Roosevelt posthumously awarded the Military Medal
  • British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
  • Le Maréchal Joffre
  • Marshal de Lattre de Tassigny
  • Resistance fighter Jean Moulin
  • The aviator Georges Guynemer
  • Le Maréchal Foch

Want to join the French Army? Read our article onjoining the French Army. If you're interested in the French Navy, find out more about its recruitment process.

Previous article Military unity: the entire organization of the French Army!
Next articles What to take on a bivouac Essential equipment not to forget!

Leave a comment

* Mandatory fields

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} items selected out of 3"}

Select the first item to be compared

Select the second item to be compared

Select the third item to be compared