Award for Heroism
Awarded for"Acts of courage or outstanding performance under unusually difficult or dangerous circumstances"
Presented byUnited States Department of State
EligibilityForeign Service, Civil Service, US Military
StatusCurrently awarded
Next (higher)Secretary’s Award
Next (lower)Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service
Award for Valor (obsolete)

The Award for Heroism is an award of the United States Department of State. It is presented to employees of State, USAID and Marine guards assigned to diplomatic and consular facilities in recognition of acts of courage or outstanding performance under unusually difficult or dangerous circumstances, whether or not in connection with the performance of assigned duties.[1]

The award consists of a silver medal set and a certificate signed by an assistant secretary, an official of equivalent rank or the Chief of Mission. Due to the location and dangerous nature of their work, the majority of the recipients have been Foreign Service Special Agents of the Diplomatic Security Service.

The Award for Heroism is a replacement for the former Award for Valor. The basic difference between the two medals is that the Valor Award was issued in 10K gold whereas the Heroism Award is issued in sterling silver. The ribbon reflects this; the designs are almost identical, but the color scheme indicates the precious metal issued with the respective awards.


The following criteria are applicable to granting an Award for Heroism:

Nominating and approval procedures

Nominations for State and USAID employees are submitted on Form JF-66, Nomination for Award, through supervisory channels to the Joint Country Awards Committee for review and recommendation to the Chief of Mission for final action.

Nominations initiated in Washington are submitted to the appropriate area awards committee for final action. For USAID, nominations initiated in Washington are reviewed by the USAID bureau/office with final approval by the appropriate assistant administrator or office head.

Military use

Upon authorization, members of the U.S. military may wear the medal and ribbon in the appropriate order of precedence as a U.S. non-military personal decoration.


Secretary Hillary Clinton presents the Department of State Award for Heroism to Matthew T. Sherman, November 18, 2009

Secretary Clinton pins Award for Heroism on Principal Officer Lynne Tracy

• Diplomatic Security Contractors who responded to a coordinated attack on Camp Sullivan in December 2016, protected a 150 foot gap in the perimeter of the US Embassy Support Center and rescued American's trapped in one of many collapsed buildings.

See also


  1. ^ "3 FAM 4824 Award For Heroism". US Department of State. January 31, 2003. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "Meet and Greet at Embassy Kabul with Employees and Their Families". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  3. ^ Biography for Lynne Tracy State Department Website
  4. ^ United States Department of State
  5. ^ "Diplomatic Courier Honored for Heroism". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "U.S. Department of State". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  7. ^ "Nolan, Stephen J." Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "U.S. Department of State". Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  9. ^ United States Department of State
  10. ^ United States Department of State