Photo from the Abel Collection
The 13-month tour was an important element of troop morale as evidenced by the humorous inscription on the helmet of the Marine: "Stop! U Don't Shoot, I'm Short." The Marines are from Company Al. 3a Battaliun. 5th Marines
informed his fellow generals that the Marine Corps presented proportionally far fewer decorations to its members than the other services. For instance, while the Marine Corps awarded l Bronze Star for every 20 Purple Hearts, the Army gave out equal numbers of each medal.
General Van Stockum felt that the Marine Corps needed to liberalize its standards. He argued that "a cwiihiit Marine . . . should return from Vietnam wearing some personal award."'" He also advocated recognizing career officers and reserve officers likely to stay in the Marine Corps, and greater use of unit awards. General Van Stockum's views were in keeping with the trend towards the creation of new awards in this period, including the Meritorious Unit Citation, Navy Achievement Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon."'"
-The Navy Achievement Medal, intended to recognize meritorious performance by junior officers and enlisted Marines, was authorized on 17 July 1967. This award could be used to recognize meritorious service in combat (for which a "V" attachment was authorized), ^ivin^ the Marine Corps an award junior to both the Bronze Star and the Navy Commendation Medal to award exceptional combat performance. This award replaced the Secretary of the Navy's Commendation tor Achievement; persons awarded this commendation after l May 1961 were authorized to wear the Navy Achievement medal. The Meritorious Unit Citation was created on 17 July 1967, and was intended to recognize units \w exceptional performance not involving direct combat. The Combat Action Ribbon was introduced on l7 February 1969, and was awarded to individuals who participated in direct combat with the enemy. This award was also retroactively awarded to Marines who had served in direct combat since l March 1961.