The Army has issued guidelines for the awarding and wearing of the newly established “C” and “R” devices. Both are intended to acknowledge “meritorious service or achievement performed under combat conditions or remotely impacting combat operations,” according to the guidelines, as issued by the Military Personnel Center. Here are some details:
The “C” device is authorized for service and achievement under combat conditions only. Soldiers must be engaged in action against enemies of the United States, in conflicts involving an opposing foreign force, or serving with a friendly force that is engaging the enemy. Or, the soldier must be personally exposed to hostile action in an area where other U.S. soldiers are fighting the enemy as well. Soldiers who qualify for the combat zone tax exclusion, Hazardous duty pay, hostile fire pay, or imminent danger pay do not automatically qualify for the “C” device. Likewise, soldiers in staging areas, headquarters locations, or other sites not necessarily in the line of fire may not qualify automatically. It can be worn on the Distinguished Service, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air, Army Commendation, and Army Achievement medals.
The “R” device recognizes “exceptional achievements involving hands-on employment of a weapon system,” or other war-fighting activities that have a direct impact on a combat operation, when a soldier is not directly exposed or at risk of exposure to hostile action. As with the “C” device, a soldier can earn the “R” device while engaged in operations against an enemy of the United States, in military operations against an opposing force, or serving with friendly forces who are fighting against enemies of the U.S. It can be affixed to four awards: the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.