Marine Watching Zimmerman Trial, Catches Officer Wearing Ribbon Reserved For WWII Vets

Several fans brought this to our attention, seems the Sanford Police Department decided to use DOD medals and ribbons because they did not have any of their own.

According to the article, Jeremiah Workman, a Marine who received the nations second highest honor, the Navy Cross was watching the Zimmerman trial when, Doris Singleton, a Sanford Police Officer took the stand.

He noticed the ribbon rack she was wearing, and posted it to his facebook page.

“Am I going blind or is this police officer in the Zimmerman -Martin trial wearing ribbons that she doesn’t rate?” he wrote alongside the photo he posted to Facebook.”

Doris Singleton



Two in particular stood out, he said: the World War II Army of Occupation Medalarmyoccupationribbon  and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.



It also looks like she is wearing the Army Good Conduct Medal, which if she served three years like she said, then she would rate that one.


Workman then called the Sanford PD according to the article on a blog at Militarytimes.

Workman got a hold of them and said they told him they didn’t have their own awards system, so they went to the Army-Navy store around the corner and picked out Defense Department military ribbons to fit their own format. The WWII was selected, the police department official told Workman, because they knew there weren’t many veterans from that period alive so they didn’t think people would notice.

“At the end of his explanation I thought to myself, ‘So that makes it all better now because these guys are dead?’ ” Workman said.  ”The fact that that was their response is still pretty shameful, I think.”

Workman said police departments allowing military veterans to wear ribbons they earned while serving on their police uniform is fine with him. If they earned it, they should be able to wear it, he said.

“But what kind of professional police department would send Bob the patrolman around the corner to go pick out some ribbons for our officers to wear when they do something heroic or have good service over the years?” he asked.

Workman said the police department official told him that they’re going to change to their own ribbon system, which he was glad to hear. Now he hopes other police departments doing the same will think about their own regulations and change them too, he added.

So it does not look like the officer is at fault, seems she is only wearing what her department awarded her.

So my question to you is this, should Police Department;s and other agencies be allowed to use DOD ribbons for their own use?  In my opinion, and according to 10 USC 771-772, no they are not allowed to.

But it could also cause confusion, as it did in this situation. I mean, a police officer wearing a Silver Star ribbon may turn a few heads. Thoughts?


UPDATE: 20130702

Here is a better picture of the ribbons, as well as some others identified.



The ribbon being worn on the far left top, has been identified as the Air Force Combat Readiness Ribbon:


The Combat Readiness Medal is an award of the United States Air Force which was first created in 1964. The original Combat Readiness Medal was an award senior to the Air Force Commendation Medal and was awarded for superior and meritorious duty to the United States Air Force. The award criteria for the medal was changed in 1967 and the Combat Readiness Medal adopted the designation as an achievement/service medal.

The current Combat Readiness Medal is awarded to any member of U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, or Air Force Reserve, who have accomplished sustained individual combat mission readiness or who have undertaken the preparedness for direct weapon-system employment. A service member must have completed 24 cumulative months of sustained duty performance for the medal to be received.


Thanks to Ken B for pointing out that the lower far left ribbon is the Philippine Independence ribbon.



The Philippine Independence Medal is a military award of the Republic of the Philippines which was created by order of the Philippine Army Headquarters on July 3, 1946. The Philippine Independence Medal was created to recognize those members of the military who had participated in multiple Philippine military operations during the years of the Second World War.

To be awarded the Philippine Independence Medal, a service member must have previously received both the Philippine Defense Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal. The award criteria effectively awarded the medal to anyone who had participated in both the initial resistance against Japanese invasion and also in the campaigns to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation in 1945. A famous recipient was General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. The service member must have also served on active duty in the Philippines after July 4, 1946.

The Philippine Independence Medal was originally awarded as a ribbon, and it was not until 1968 that a full-sized medal was authorized by President Ferdinand Marcos. The Philippine Independence Medal was also authorized for award to foreign militaries, with a number of retroactive awards presented between 1945 and 1948.


Thanks to Adam for pointing out the top center ribbon is the Selective Marine Corps Reserve Medal.




Authorization. The Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal was established by a SECNAV directive of 19 February 1939.

Eligibility Requirements. Awarded to members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR) who, effective 1 January 1996, fulfilled designated service requirements within any three-year period of service in the Organized Marine Corps Reserve. For the period 1 July 1925 through 31 December 1995, inclusive, a four-year period of service is required. 



We have spoken to the Chief of the Sanford PD concerning the use of Military ribbons. He is in agreement with everyone, and is in the process of changing policies as he just recently took over. Here is his response to our inquiry:

“I have received a number of emails regarding the wearing of Military ribbons by members of the Sanford Police Department. The ribbons were allowed to be worn on the dress uniforms of the officers during special occasions to include court appearances.  The military ribbons were re-purposed for use within the Sanford Police Department. It appears that there may have been a misinterpretation of the law.  It was determined 10-15 years ago that using the ribbons in question would be appropriate by the Administration at that time. As a retired member of the Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard with 25 plus years of service, I have questioned the wearing of the ribbons.  I agree with many of you that the wearing of many of these ribbons, unless earned is inappropriate. I believe that it was an unfortunate situation which has been “corrected”.


Some have questioned the integrity, character, accountability and professionalism of the Officers because of the ribbons being worn. Please note, that many of the officers within the department are “Vets” and some of the ribbons were earned during their military service and other because of their service within the Sanford Police Department.  Again, these “were” the policies of the police department and should not reflect on the abilities of the officers who were wearing the ribbons.


As the new Police Chief, I’m sure you can imagine that there are several policies and procedures which are being reviewed including the awards and uniform guidelines. I would compare this to a new PCS, Deployment or Change of Command.  I can assure you that going forward changes are being made to the ribbon structure. The purchase of new ribbons and the reconfiguring of the commendation/awards system began yesterday. The new design and selection will fit the needs of the Sanford Police Department. I would ask that you share the above information with others.


Please note that “NO” disrespect to any member of the Armed Forces past or present was ever intended by the wearing of the ribbons. Please accept my sincere apologies for any confusion on behalf of the Sanford Police Department.


It has and will continue to our goal to pay our respect to those who have served or are serving our great country.




Cecil E. Smith

Chief of Police”


We would like to thank the Chief for his response, as well as his service to the country. And we appreciate his understanding of the situation.





© Guardian Of Valor