Retroactive Army CAB Process

Guest Blogger – Arturo Murguia

Mr. John R. Campbell, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy is often asked by Soldiers about the status of their combat badges and awards.  This is a particular concern for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers who are hospitalized and not located with their units as they prepare to separate from military service.

Army Combat Action BadgeFor Soldiers still on Active, Reserve or National Guard Duty, the first step is to inquire with their current chains of command.  Even if they are in a different chain of command than when the action occurred, they can still be awarded a Combat Action Badge (CAB) retroactively.  Army Human Resources Command lists their criteria for retroactive award of the CAB in AR 600-8-22.

Army veterans often have similar issues.  On May 2, 2005, the Chief of Staff of the Army approved the creation of the CAB.  Although Soldiers could be eligible for actions as far back as Sept. 18, 2001, the first guidance for awarding the CAB did not come until Dec. 11, 2006.  From the first combat operations in September of 2001 until the criteria was published, many veterans had already retired or separated from the Army without the opportunity to have been awarded this badge.

According to the Army Human Resources Command’s Awards and Decorations Branch guidance for the retroactive award process:

Reconstructed Award Recommendation

Recreate the award using Department of the Army Form 638 (DA Form 638, Recommendation for Award).

  • The recommendations should contain:
    • All information pertaining to the soldier and his unit of assignment during the period for which the soldier is being recognized and clearly identify what award is being recommended i.e. Deployment Orders, DD214, Officer or Enlisted Record Brief, etc. 
    • A narrative of the action(s) for which the soldier is being recognized.
    • Eyewitness statements attesting to the act(s) of valor or service performed, sworn affidavits, certificates, and any other related documentation.
    • Corroborating evidence is best provided by former commanders, leaders, and fellow comrades who had personal knowledge of the circumstances and events relative to the recommendation.

Under the provisions of this law, Awards and Decorations requests must be referred to the Secretary of the Army via a Member of Congress. The tasks and costs for researching and assembling documentation to support the award recommendations rest with the requester. Once received, a determination will be made as to the merit of approving the award or decoration or any other determination necessary to comply with the provisions of the statute.

Contacts:

If you have any questions reference submission, please contact the Military Awards Branch

Phone: (502) 613-9126
Email: Awards and Decorations

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