How to Build an Army Ribbon Rack

Written by desdemona delacroix
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How to Build an Army Ribbon Rack
Army medals must be displayed according to regulation. (medals image by agno_agnus from

The ribbon rack is one of the most complicated aspects of putting together the Army Class A uniform. This is because the ribbon rack is not only arranged according to strict Army regulations, but it is also specific to the owner. Each ribbon must have been earned by the soldier wearing the ribbon rack, and the ribbons must be placed in a certain order according to Army Regulation 670-1. Placing ribbons incorrectly on the Army Class A uniform is a serious mistake, particularly during a uniform inspection.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Figure out how many ribbons you have, because ribbon holders are specifically sized to the number of ribbons you need to display. If you are a soldier and you do not know how many ribbons you have, look on your ERB (Enlisted Record Brief) or your ORB (Officer Record Brief). If you are not a soldier, then reference a website such as EZ Rack Builder for a byname list of ribbons.

  2. 2

    Purchase your ribbons and a ribbon holder corresponding to the number of ribbons you have from any Army "clothing and sales" outlet (located on base). A variety of holders are available that differ in what material they are made of and how much space they leave between ribbons. The material your rack is made of does not matter as long as it cannot be seen behind the ribbons once they are attached to it. By regulation, you may have no more than 1/8 of an inch between rows on your ribbon rack, so make sure not to buy a rack with more space than that.

  3. 3

    Buy any appurtenances you need for your ribbons, such as oak leaves (representing multiple awards of the same kind), "V" devices (representing an award for valour) or numbers (representing, for example, different levels of service schools). Appurtenances can be attached by pressing the long wires in the back of them through the centre of the ribbon they belong on, and then laying the wires down along the back of the ribbon. If you are unsure of which appurtenances you require, check your ERB/ORB or reference Army Regulation 670-1.

  4. 4

    Begin with the lower left corner of the rack. Place ribbons from left to right, no more than four ribbons per row, and move from bottom to top. Arrange all ribbons that pertain to your rack in the following order, with no breaks in between them:

    1. military decorations;
    2. unit awards;
    3. nonmilitary decorations;
    4. service (campaign) medals, and service and training ribbons;
    5. Merchant Marine awards;
    6. nonmilitary unit awards;
    7. foreign military decorations;
    8. foreign unit awards;
    9. non-U.S. service awards; and
    10. National Guard state awards.
  5. 5

    Ask another soldier to check your rack once it has been put together. If you are preparing for a uniform inspection, have several superiors check your uniform to ensure your rack is in the proper order and adheres strictly to Army Regulation 670-1.

Tips and warnings

  • While the Class A uniform is the most common place you will need to build your ribbon rack, Army ribbons are also worn on the dress blues, whites and Class B uniforms. Ribbons are arranged in exactly the same order on every uniform.
  • Use a reference to avoid making mistakes while building your ribbon rack. There are several guides available in the "clothing and sales" outlets, or you can go straight to Army Regulation 670-1 (the official regulation for Army uniforms). An excellent alternative is to use one of the many free online websites, such as EZ Rack Builder, that are set up so you can simply select your ribbons from a menu, and the website to show you what order they belong in.

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