U.S. Military Award and Medal Abbreviations

When you research United States wars, you sometimes discover that a soldier, sailor or aviator was awarded medals, and often they are listed as an abbreviation.

—*ABBREVIATIONS & ACRONYMS of U.S. Military Awards—*

2 MEDALS OF HONOR – 2 MEDALS OF HONOR
AAM – ARMY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
AFAM – AIR FORCE ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
AFC – AIR FORCE CROSS
AFC & OLC – AIR FORCE CROSS & OAK LEAF CLUSTER
AFCM – AIR FORCE COMMENDATION MEDAL
AM – AIR MEDAL
AMNM – AIRMAN’S MEDAL
ARCOM – ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL
BM – BREVET MEDAL
BSM – BRONZE STAR MEDAL
CGAM – COAST GUARD ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
CGCM – COAST GUARD COMMENDATION MEDAL
CGM – COAST GUARD MEDAL
CR – COMMENDATION RIBBON
DDSM – DEFENSE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL
DFC – DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
DMSM – DEFENSE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL
DSC – DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
DSC & GS – DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS & GOLD STAR
DSC & OLC – DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS & OAK LEAF CLUSTER
DSM – DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL
DSSM – DEFENSE SUPERIOR SERVICE MEDAL
EX-POW – EX-PRISONER OF WAR
JSCM – JOINT SERVICE COMMENDATION MEDAL
KIA – KILLED IN ACTION
LM – LEGION OF MERIT
MH – MEDAL OF HONOR
MIA – MISSING IN ACTION
MMDSM – MERCHANT MARINE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL
MMMM – MERCHANT MARINE MARINER’S MEDAL
MMMSM – MERCHANT MARINE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL
MSM – MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL
N&MCM – NAVY & MARINE CORPS MEDAL
NAM – NAVY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
NC – NAVY CROSS
NC & GS – NAVY CROSS & GOLD STAR
NCM – NAVY COMMENDATION MEDAL
PH – PURPLE HEART
PH & 2 GS – PURPLE HEART & 2 GOLD STARS
PH & 2 OLC – PURPLE HEART & 2 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS
PH & 3 GS – PURPLE HEART & 3 GOLD STARS
PH & 3 OLC – PURPLE HEART & 3 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS
PH & 4 GS – PURPLE HEART & 4 GOLD STARS
PH & 4 OLC – PURPLE HEART & 4 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS
PH & 5 GS – PURPLE HEART & 5 GOLD STARS
PH & 5 OLC – PURPLE HEART & 5 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS
PH & GS – PURPLE HEART & GOLD STAR
PH & OLC – PURPLE HEART & OAK LEAF CLUSTER
POW – PRISONER OF WAR
POWM – PRISONER OF WAR MEDAL
SILVER STAR – SILVER STAR
SILVER STAR & 2 GS – SILVER STAR & 2 GOLD STARS
SILVER STAR & 2 OLC – SILVER STAR & 2 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS
SILVER STAR & 3 GS – SILVER STAR & 3 GOLD STARS
SILVER STAR & 3 OLC – SILVER STAR & 3 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS
SILVER STAR & GS – SILVER STAR & GOLD STAR
SILVER STAR & OLC – SILVER STAR & OAK LEAF CLUSTER
SM – SOLDIERS MEDAL
SMM – SPECIALLY MERITORIOUS MEDAL

World War I Abbreviations Quick List

A Quick List of Abbreviations used during World War I in the United States of America

A.A., A.A.A. – antiaircraft artillery
A.B.M.C. – American Battle Monuments Commission
A.C. – Army Corps
A.E.F. – American Expeditionary Forces
aero – aeronautical
A.F.S. – American Field Service
A.G.D. – Adjutant General’s Department
alt – altitude
A.P.O – Army Post Office
A.R.C. – American Red Cross
A.S. – Air Service
A.S.A. – Air Service Aeronautics
A.S.A. P. – Air Service, Aircraft Production.
A.S.M.A. – Air Service Military Aeronatics
A.S.S.C. – Air Service, Signal Corps
Adj. – Adjutant
Art., Arty. – Artillery
Asst. – Assistant Continue reading

A Quick Guide To Researching United States WWI Military Genealogy

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. Members of the 369th Infantry serving in the trenches in France during World War I, 1918 Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c0532ca7-41a0-88cb-e040-e00a18064619

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. Members of the 369th Infantry serving in the trenches in France during World War I, 1918.

Researching the WW1 military involvement of your ancestor in the United States has unique challenges. A 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed about 16-18 million official military personnel files (OMPF). The official National Archives web site states that 80% of the records showing personnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 were destroyed, and no duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained.

I recently purchased a series of WW1 newspaper pages showing faces of men who had been killed in action, or died of disease, or airplane accidents. I wanted to share these photographs and to add information on their life. Who were they? Who did they leave behind for family? What role did they have in their branch of the service? Where specifically did they die, and in what manner? Where are they buried?

Researching these WWI heroes was not easy, I admit. Persistence is your greatest tool. I will share with you where I looked for their records. Caveat: be aware that some of these records are at paid sites, though the majority are absolutely free. I would be remiss if I did not mention that interviewing your own family, even extended cousins, is of utmost importance as you may find a great deal of information within your personal circle. Continue reading