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
Last update: December 12, 2011