army service ribbon

Army Service Ribbon (ASR): 5 Things To Know

The Army ribbon serves a much larger purpose than simply providing a means to display the medal.

In fact, the Army ribbon actually presides over many service branch medals in terms of origins.

The history and purpose of the Army Service Ribbon (ASR) are quite interesting.

Discover 5 interesting things about the ASR ribbon, below.

Related ArticleArmy Achievement Medal (AAM): 6 Things To Know

Army Service Ribbon: 5 Things to Know

rainbow ribbon army

Military service is, in itself, a heroic and honorable achievement.

Be that as it may, the U.S. Armed Forces has several methods for recognizing exceptional or outstanding service.

As a result, military service includes special recognition often awarded through various medals and ribbons.

The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) is one of those noteworthy distinctions.

It’s a military award that is assigned to various members of the service branch.

The ASR ribbon features an interesting purpose, design, and placement on the uniform.

For this reason, there are several important things to know about the Army ribbon, including:

  • Purpose
  • History
  • Eligibility / Requirements
  • Design
  • Uniform Placement

The ASR ribbon is designed to serve as an alternative if it’s not feasible to display the medal on the uniform.

Discover more about the Army Service Ribbon (ASR), below:

#1. Purpose

The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) has a specific purpose.

It’s the most basic service ribbon a member of the military branch can earn.

The military achievement was established by the Secretary of the Army in 1981 (see: Army Ribbon History).

In general, the service award is presented to recruits that complete basic training.

However, enlisted personnel has a different way of receiving it compared to those that finish officer training school (more information, below).

The multicolored design of the Army ribbon (more details, below) garners the nickname “Rainbow Ribbon”.

However, the term is rarely uttered during service for the fear of stumbling across an NCO that doesn’t approve of the word in the military.

Everything in military service is ranked in seniority or hierarchy; the same is true with service ribbons.

Consequently, the Army Service Ribbon (ASR) ranks above the Army Overseas Service Ribbon.

On the other hand, it ranks below the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon.

The ASR award is classified as a “Training Award” of the “Professional Development Ribbon” type.

It’s typically worn as a replacement for the service medal on the uniform (more details, below).

#2. History

The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) was established by the Secretary of the Army in 1981.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 1990 that the service award became official when recognized in an Army General Order.

Despite it, service members can still apply for the service honor retroactively (more information, below).

The Army Service Ribbon was created for active duty personnel along with members of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

It’s traditionally awarded to new recruits that successfully complete boot camp.

For this reason, the ASR ribbon is usually among the first honors a service member receives.

The service branch established that both enlisted personnel and Army officers are eligible for the award (more details, below).

It’s only plausible for a service member to earn the distinction once in military service.

The U.S. Air Force has a similar ribbon that it awards new airmen.

Notwithstanding, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps do not have an equivalent to the award.

The Navy does, however, acknowledge the top 3% of each graduating class with a service ribbon.

#3. Eligibility / Qualifications

The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) is reserved for recent graduates of Basic Combat Training (BCT).

Moreover, the recruit must satisfy the requirements of their MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) for eligibility.

The ASR ribbon is available to enlisted service members and Army officers.

Army officers receive the distinction after completing basic orientation and higher-level requirements.

Regardless of military rank, Army personnel qualify after 4 months of honorable service.

Thus, you probably will not earn the Army award until approximately a half year into service.

The Army ribbon did not exist until 1990, as previously noted.

Despite it, those that wish to earn the service ribbon may apply for its retroactively.

The retroactive option is available to service members that were in the Army before 1981.

Additionally, service members of the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard qualify for the military award.

Regardless of the service branch, Army personnel can only earn the ribbon once in a military career.

Family members of deceased Army veterans that seek an award posthumously may also qualify, under certain conditions.

#4. Army Ribbon Design

The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) features a multi-color design of red, green, blue, yellow, and orange.

The various colors reflect the multiple occupational specialties and roles within the U.S. Army.

Consequently, the colorful appearance has led to some military personnel referring to it as the “Rainbow Ribbon”.

Be that as it may, service members generally do not refer to it by this title in official channels.

It’s more of an amusing way for military personnel to poke fun at the “fruity” looking ribbon.

Often, the Army ribbon replaces a medal on the uniform since displaying the full award is impractical.

The ASR ribbon is placed on the ribbon rack (more details, below) like all other military acknowledgments.

All in all, the colorful appearance of the ribbon is designed to separate it from other military accomplishments, like the ribbon associated with Army ARCOM.

Regardless, unlike many other service ribbons, no other device is displayed on the award.

#5. Army Ribbon Uniform Placement

The military is very structured, including the uniform.

The United States Army not only has guidelines on how to wear a uniform properly but also how to present military awards.

As such, the ribbon rack (left chest) is the designated place for service honors and accomplishments.

In many circumstances, the service ribbon replaces an actual medal because dawning the full award is unnecessary.

For this reason, the ASR ribbon is often presented on a uniform.

The Order of Precedence of the Army Service Ribbon is 127.

Thus, it’s after the Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon regarding placement.

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes it a federal crime to impersonate a service member, including wearing a uniform and medals not earned.

Accordingly, knowing the proper placement of military medals and ribbons helps everyday citizens spot frauds.

Related ArticleBronze Star Meaning: 7 Things To Know About This Military Medal


The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) is an important achievement of the service branch.

The military award was created in 1981 to acknowledge recruits that successfully complete basic training and spend 4 months of honorable service.

The service award is available to enlisted personnel along with Army officers.

Furthermore, those that seek to receive the Army ribbon retroactively or posthumously may also apply.

Rob V.
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The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) is an important military award that is presented to service members that recently completed basic training.

Originally posted on February 26, 2023 @ 9:13 pm

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