Frequently Asked Questions About The “C” and “R” Devices
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Frequently Asked Questions About The “C” and “R” Devices
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Frequently asked questions about the C and R Device

Q1:  Are the “C” and “R” devices retroactive?

A1: Yes, they are retroactive to 7 January 2016, which is the date when the Secretary
of Defense (SECDEF) signed the directive approving the “C” and “R” devices. Awards
approved 6 January 2016 or earlier are NOT authorized for reconsideration for award
of the "C" or "R" device. SECDEF did not direct any other guidance regarding the
retroactive status of the new devices (meaning NO SECDEF guidance was issued to
make them retroactive to e.g. the start of GWOT). There is no current initiative, nor is
one expected, to reconsider changing the retroactive date.

Q2:  Where did this idea come from?

A2: The creation of the “C” and “R” devices is the result of the Department of Defense
(DoD) Military Decorations and Awards Review (MDAR). This year-long, formal review
involved the DoD, Joint Staff, Military Departments, the Combatant Commands, and
several other stakeholders, to ensure the Department’s military decorations and awards
program continues to appropriately recognize the service, sacrifices, and actions of our
service members. The MDAR found that some medals are inherently for combat service
or achievement (such as the BSM), while many other awards are not so distinct (such as
the ARCOM). The MDAR determined Soldiers should receive appropriate, distinct
recognition for qualifying meritorious service or achievement performed under combat
conditions or for impacting combat operations from a remote location. The creation of
the “C” and “R” devices establishes a way to distinguish such multi-purpose awards as
having been earned in combat or for directly contributing to combat. The Secretary of
Defense (SECDEF) approved the MDAR on 7 January 2016.

Q3:  Are the “C” and “R” devices worth any promotion points?

A3:  No.  Paragraph 11 of MILPER Message 17-095 states ‘For promotion point
purposes, no additional points are awarded for the “C” and “R” devices.’

Q4:  Can the “C” device be awarded with the BSM?

A4:  No. Paragraph 4f of the MILPER Message states “Additionally, on or after 7 January
2016, the BSM should only be awarded to recognize achievement(s) or service rendered
under combat conditions (the Soldier was exposed to hostile action or was at significant
risk of exposure to hostile action during the award period)”.

The Commander has the responsibility to determine eligibility for the BSM by evaluating
the Soldier’s circumstances to confirm the Soldier meets the criteria in the MILPER
Message. For example there were times recently in OFS where things were pretty "quiet",
but some Soldiers still were awarded BSM's for being in the OFS area of operations even
though they were never engaged or near areas that were engaged by enemy direct fire,
IDF, IED's, etc. In such cases, after 7 January 2016, the Commander would not be
justified in awarding a Soldier a BSM.

Q5: Can the MSM now be awarded for service under combat conditions?

A5: No. The MSM is for service or achievement under non-combat conditions. Paragraph
4g(2) of the MILPER message clarifies ’The MSM may still be awarded for outstanding
achievement or service in a CZ or areas designated for CZTE, HFP, IDP, or HDP,
but only if the service or achievement was rendered under other than combat conditions
(the Soldier was not exposed to hostile action or at significant risk of exposure to hostile
action during the award period). For this reason, the MSM may not be awarded with
the “C” device.’ The MSM may be awarded with the “R” device if the Commander
determines the criteria of paragraph 5 of the MILPER Message have been met.

Q6:  Can the AAM now be awarded for service or achievement under combat
conditions?

A6:  Yes.  Effective 7 January 2016 and later, the AAM can be awarded with the “C”
device to denote recognition of meritorious service or achievement under combat
conditions if the Commander determines the criteria of paragraph 4 of the MILPER
Message have been met. However, the AAM can NOT be awarded with “V” device for
valor; the lowest valor-related award remains the ARCOM.

Q7:  Can Soldiers qualify for award of the "C" Device while not qualifying for a
combat badge (e.g. the CAB)?

A7:  Yes.  Para 4b(2) and (3) of MILPER Message 17-095 addresses this. The
Commander has the responsibility to determine eligibility for the "C" device by
evaluating the Soldier’s circumstances to confirm the Soldier meets the criteria in
the MILPER Message.

For example there were times recently in OFS where things were pretty "quiet", but some
Soldiers still were awarded BSM's for being in the OFS area of operations even though
they were never engaged or near areas that were engaged by enemy direct fire, IDF,
IED's, etc. In such cases, the Commander would not be justified in awarding a Soldier an
award with "C" device. Conversely, this "should" benefit many junior NCO's and enlisted
Soldiers who were engaged or near others who were engaged, but did not themselves
qualify for e.g. a BSM or an ARCOM with "V" device, as the Commander in such cases
could be justified in awarding such a Soldier an ARCOM or AAM with "C" device.

Q8:  How do I annotate the new devices on the DA Form 638?

A8:  HRC is working with Army Publishing Directorate to update the DA Form 638 with
all of the new award and device combinations. In the interim, units should do the
following: If the dropdown award and device IS listed in block 10 (i.e. BSMV, AMV,
ARCOMV) then the recommender would select the dropdown award and device and
add the # OLC to the right.

If the dropdown award and device is NOT listed in block 10 (i.e. DSM with “C” device,
LM with “C” or “R” device, DFC with “V” or “C” device, MSM with “R” device, AM with
“C” device, ARCOM with “C” or “R” device, AAM with “C” or “R” device) then the
recommender would click the left dropdown in block 10, manually type in the abbreviated
award and device (e.g. ‘DFC w/V’, ‘AM w/C’, ‘ARCOM w/R’, etc.), hit “enter”, and then
add the # OLC to the right.  

To approve and document the award on page 2 of the DA Form 638, if the dropdown
award and device IS listed in block 29 (i.e. BSMV, AMV, ARCOMV) then the G-1/S-1
would select the dropdown award and device and add the # OLC to the right.  

If the dropdown award and device is NOT listed in block 29 (i.e. DSM with “C” device,
LM with “C” or “R” device, DFC with “V” or “C” device, MSM with “R” device, AM with
“C” device, ARCOM with “C” or “R” device, AAM with “C” or “R” device) then the G-1/S-1
would click the left dropdown, manually type in the abbreviated award and device
(e.g. ‘DFC w/V’, ‘AM w/C’, ‘ARCOM w/R’, and so forth), hit “enter”, and then add the
# OLC to the right.

Read the complete MILPER Message to learn more about the C and R Devices
------- Download
MILPER Message 17-095 for more information ------- DA 4187 Example
DOD Guidance for the Newly Established C and R Devices