Military Awards and Decorations
Czech Defence Distinctions
Since 1997, citizens of the Czech Republic and foreign nationals can be awarded not only Czech state orders and medals, but they can also receive Defence distinctions in recognition of meritorious deeds and activities of a military nature in the areas of security, humanitarian activities, and other projects of international or domestic scope that have been performed in support of democracy and peace.
Defence distinctions are awarded to recipients by the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, who presents them on the national holidays of 8 May and 28 October, though in justified cases distinctions can be awarded by the Minister on other occasions.
The highest Defence award is the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic. This Cross is awarded to active soldiers and civilian employees of the military in recognition of their heroism, for successful leadership during battle, and for meritorious service in combat activities. The Cross is, moreover, awarded for outstanding performance in the command of troops during peacetime, for meritorious performance of service or work duties, for excellent representation of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, and for other significant acts of merit performed in support of the Defence department.
The Minister can award the Cross to any citizen of the Czech Republic as well as to foreign nationals for significant cooperation with the Defence department, for efforts in supporting the war-fighting capacity and readiness of the Czech military, and for the accomplishment of tasks performed in support of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.
The Cross of Merit has three grades: the highest, Grade I, is made of metal gold in colour; Grade II is made of metal silver in colour; and Grade III is made of metal bronze in colour. Ribbons for the miniatures of the Cross of Merit differ in accordance with the grade awarded, as well as the specific colour of the metal itself.
Other Defence distinctions are Medals.
The Medal For Injury is awarded by the Minister of Defence to active service soldiers, who suffered serious injury while performing service duties. The Medal can be also awarded to civilian employees of the military under the same conditions in case they suffered injury while performing especially significant work duties. The Medal is coined in bronze.
The Medal For Service Abroad is awarded by the Minister of Defence to active service soldiers and civilian employees of the military for outstanding performance of duty with UN peacekeeping forces and other international military bodies, or during peace and humanitarian missions with the international community, or for significant contributions in support of Czech military deployments abroad. The Medal can also be awarded to foreign nationals, both military and civilian, for outstanding cooperation and work in support of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. The Medal is coined in bronze.
The Medal of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic is awarded by the Minister of Defence to active service soldiers for outstanding performance of duty over specified periods of service.
The Medal has three grades: the highest, Grade I, is awarded for 15 years of service and is coined of metal gold in colour; Grade II is awarded for 10 years of service and is coined of metal silver in colour; Grade III is awarded for 5 years of service and is coined of metal bronze in colour. The ribbon of the Medal is decorated with the Roman numerals "XV", "X", or "V", depending upon the period of outstanding service being honoured. The numeric symbols are made of metal of appropriate colour.
The presentation of a Defence distinction is accompanied by a written certificate. During the award ceremony the distinction is worn "In natura" on the left side of the uniform blouse. Otherwise, distinctions are worn as a ribbon on uniforms. Defence distinctions are not considered to be state awards as stipulated by the Czech Law No. 157/1994 Coll., regarding state awards of the Czech Republic.
Source: Military Awards, Medals and Badges; published by the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic - Military Information and Service Agency (AVIS); Prague 2004
As of 28 October 2008, the following three Czech MoD decorations complement the set that can be awarded by Minister of Defence.
The establishment of the State Defence Cross and the Golden Linden Decoration the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic renews the tradition of similar ministerial decorations awarded in this country before World War II.
STATE DEFENCE CROSS OF MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic awards the decoration only rarely and especially to soldiers and other citizens of the Czech Republic and foreign nationals for heroism in combat, excellent command role in combat or to those who made their best in defence of the Czech Republic and its constitutional order escpecially when putting their health or lives at risk, who saved human lives or high values of Czech Republic´s property, regardless if done on the Czech territory or outside. The State Defence Cross has a one grade and it can be awarded repeatedly.
The decoration is awarded together with a certificate with rank, title, first and family name of awarded person and a serial number. The certificate is signed by the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic.
GOLDEN LINDEN DECORATION OF MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Minister of Defence awards this decoration only in rare cases to citizens of the Czech Republic and foreign nationals, who highly contributed to defence of human rights and freedoms, especially to those, who saved human life, health and property, to people, who exceptionally contributed to protection of basic principles of democratic state and the state of law or contributed to development of defence and security of the Czech Republic, including scientific and professional work. The decoration has a one grade and can be awarded repeatedly.
The Golden Linden Decoration is awarded together with a certificate with rank, title, first and family name of awarded person and a serial number. The certificate is signed by the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic.
HONORARY REMEMBRANCE MEDAL TO THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The Honorary Remembrance Medal to the 90th Anniversary of the Czech Republic is awarded to soldiers, members of security corps and other citizens of the Czech Republic and foreign nationals, who have made outstanding contributions to development of the Czech Republic or who have long-term merits in this field.
The above mentioned decorations and a honorary remembrance medal were introduced by Minister of Defence Vlasta Parkanova by her order dated 30 September 2008 to complement the set of the Czech military decorations and awards.
- The 90th anniversary of the Czech Republic was on 28 October 2008.