| An oak leaf
cluster is a common device which is placed on military
awards and decorations to denote those who have received more
than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of
oak leaf clusters typically indicates the second and
subsequent award of the decoration.
Most military awards use bronze, silver, and gold oak leaf
clusters. The higher ranking oak leaf clusters are issued "in
lieu" of a lesser number, allowing a large number of award
annotations to fit on a single ribbon. For instance, five
bronze oak leaf clusters would be denoted by one silver and
five silver by one gold.
The United States military only
issues bronze and silver oak leaf clusters. Gold oak leaf
clusters were briefly considered as a device for the Air
Medal, but this was not adopted by any of the services.
The bronze oak leaf cluster represents second and subsequent
entitlements of awards. The silver oak leaf cluster represents
sixth, 11th, etc., entitlements or in lieu of five bronze oak
leaf clusters. Silver oak leaf clusters are worn to the
wearer's right of the bronze oak leaf clusters on the same
The bronze Oak Leaf
Cluster is awarded to and worn by Army and Air Force personnel
on all US decorations, except the Air Medal, to denote the
second and subsequent awards. A silver Oak Leaf Cluster is
worn in lieu of five bronze. OLC's are also worn on unit
citations, The Prisoner of War Medal, and the Army Reserve
Components Achievement Medal for the same purpose.