Several other awards, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, are also ranked higher than the Silver Star, but are not awarded for combat.
In addition to veterans' concerns, there is a practical side to the rankings for currently serving troops. There are grades of medals — commendation, merit, distinguished — that affect promotions for those still in uniform. Each grade gives troops a certain number of points needed for promotions.
Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
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