Colonial Defense Forces - Pertinent Notes - Myth-Weavers


Colonial Defense Forces - Pertinent Notes

Colonial Defense Forces - Pertinent Notes

The Colonial Defense Forces answer, ultimately, to the President of the Twelve Colonies, excepting only when Martial Law is declared (either by a super-majority vote of the Quorum of Twelve or implementation of Case Orange). During Martial Law, the CDF answers to the Chief of the Defense Staff, who is the senior-most officer in the CDF. To revoke Martial Law, it requires a super-majority vote of the Quorum of Twelve. In normal circumstances, the chain of command goes from the President to the Defense Minister (and his Defense Council), then from the Defense Minister to the Chief of the Defense Staff, and then to the Chief of the appropriate branch (Fleet, Marines, Planetary Defense Forces). During Martial Law, the Chief of the Defense Staff (who is ultimately the senior-most Colonial Officer left alive) wields ultimate power over the CDF. It should be noted that only the first five years of the Cylon War, seven months when pursuing Tom Zarek, and during the annual Case Reds ('live-fire' tests of the Case Orange system) have the Twelve Colonies of Kobol ever been under Martial Law. (Martial Law is repealed after 12 hours of Case Red; only about 10% of the Colonial population are even aware of or notice any difference.) The current Chief of the Defense Staff is Marshal Rico, who holds a fairly unique distinction (shared by over half of the few Marshals ever appointed) of having served in both the Marines and the Fleet.

Colonial FleetThe Colonial Fleet is headed by the Chief of Fleet Operations (currently Admiral Stark), along with the 12 Fleet Commanders; they are called 'The Admiralty'. The Chief of Marine Operations (currently General Crag) is also a member of this group, but only because his Marines, when assigned aboard Fleet Ships (such as Battlestars), are under the full authority of that vessel's CO. The few other full Admirals in the Colonial Fleet advise The Admiralty, but are not voting members of it. When people say "The Fleet" or just "Fleet", they are talking about the Colonial Fleet as a whole (or at least its nearest representatives). The Fleet is split into several Commands, each with its own subdivisions; the Combat Command has priority over all of the others, although Fleet Intelligence manages to come close thanks to dirty tricks and effectively employing "information is power". In practice, that means that between officers of equal ranks (regardless of seniority), any assigned to a Combat Command automatically have authority; when a ship is attached (not assigned) from one Command to another, they remain affiliated with their original Command.

Combat Command This includes all auxiliary vessels--such as repair ships and troop transports--attached to a given fleet. Each numbered fleet has 10 Battlestars, several Gunstars per Battlestar, numerous Escortstars per Battlestar, a single dedicated Tiamat-class Scout Gunstar, and 70 to 80 Auxiliaries assigned to it at the time of Galactica's retirement. Note that Gunstars and Escortstars--especially in groups of themselves or with each other--supported by appropriate Auxiliaries can be assigned detached missions. Only jobs requiring serious offensive and defensive power, durability, or long range are assigned to Battlestars (or even full Battlestar Groups). At any given time, between 10 to 20 percent of each numbered fleet is in refit; there are usually five to six BSGs actually providing security to their assigned planet; the other BSGs and vessels not in refit or on security are patrolling, training, conducting survey missions, et cetera. Only very rarely are there less than five BSGs actually securing the sky of any given Colony of Kobol. BSGs are given a two- or three-digit number; the first two digits (although the '0' before a number is dropped) denotes fleet, and the last digit (ranging from '0' upwards, normally not exceeding '9') denotes seniority of that group's assigned Battlestar in that Fleet. (The closer to '0' the last digit is, the more senior.)
First Fleet: First Fleet's area of responsibility is Leonis, Helios Beta Subsystem. They are considered 'average', and their BSGs all start with '1'. Commanded by Admiral Nagala.
Second Fleet: Second Fleet guards Virgon, Helios Beta Subsystem. They are considered 'average', and their BSGs all start with '2'. Commanded by Admiral Theodis.
Third Fleet: Third Fleet covers Canceron, Helios Delta Subsystem. They are considered to be a 'veteran' formation, and have a proud history from the Cylon War. Their BSGs all start with '3'. Commanded by Admiral Yorick.
Fourth Fleet: Fourth Fleet is stationed around Aerilon, Helios Delta Subsystem. It is considered a secondary dumping ground for untrusted ships and unwanted (or politically unlucky) personnel. Both of the Morrigan-class Battlestars are with this fleet; their BSGs all start with '4'. Commanded by Admiral Zorba.
Fifth Fleet: Fifth Fleet is responsible for the defense of Aquaria, Helios Delta Subsystem. It is the primary dumping ground for untrusted or older ships, unwanted or barely-competent personnel, and anyone who has fallen victim to politics. It can barely perform required Fleet operations to minimum standards. All eight of the Arvak-class Battlestars and both of the older Minerva-class Battlestars are in this fleet; all of its BSGs start with '5'. Commanded by Admiral Odell.
Sixth Fleet: The defenders of Picon, Helios Alpha Subsystem. This is an 'elite' formation, with a storied history both in and since the Cylon war. This fleet possesses four Mercury-class Battlestars, and is also home to the famously-hardassed (yet very effective) Rear Admiral Helena Cain. Their BSGs start with '6'; they also watch over Picon Fleet HQ. Commanded by Admiral Foster.
Seventh Fleet: The guardians of Caprica, Helios Alpha Subsystem. They are the other 'elite' formation, and the history of this fleet is overflowing with 'legendary' feats and battles. Home to Battlestar Galactica, the first of the true 'Colonial Battlestars' and the first flagship of the Colonial Fleet, this is a proud--but extremely hardworking--fleet housing nearly endless competence. Its number is '7'; currently has 11 battlestars assigned, three of which are Mercury-class. Commanded by Admiral Constantine.
Eighth Fleet: The very busy gatekeepers of Gemenon, Helios Alpha Subsystem. They are a solid but 'average' formation, assigned the numeral '8'. Commanded by Admiral Lucas.
Ninth Fleet: Thoroughly 'average' sentinels of Tauron, Helios Alpha Subsystem. All of their BSGs fall under '9'. Commanded by Admiral Saunders.
Tenth Fleet: The 'expert' formation overseeing Scorpia, Helios Gamma Subsystem. They usually test any new designs to their limits; their BSGs are denoted by a '10'. They have three Mercury-class Battlestars assigned (one of which is serving as a test-bed for new technologies). Commanded by Admiral Korban.
Eleventh Fleet: Sagittaron, Helios Gamma Subsystem, keeps the Marines of this fleet in shape and their personnel relatively sharp; they are 'veteran'. Tom Zarek and his allies learned to both hate and (notably more) fear any BSGs with an '11' coming first. Commanded by Admiral Angelo.
Twelfth Fleet: Designated by '12', Libran, Helios Gamma Subsystem is a thoroughly calm place, and thus the Twelfth Fleet is 'average'. Commanded by Admiral Dennis.

Support Command Support Command--which runs everything that is not concerned with delivering ordinance to the enemy, finding the enemy, or training Colonial Fleet to perform their duties--has the second-most number of internal departments.
Picon Fleet Headquarters: Runs Picon Fleet Headquarters around Picon, along with the numerous defense stations, armed satellites, and communications relays that support it.
Valhalla Station: Oversees Valhalla Station--located at the barycenter of the Cyrannus System between all four Helios Subsystems--and its supporting structures.
Scorpia Shipyard: Runs the Fleet's prime shipyard in orbit around Scorpia.
Cayuze Reserve Anchorage: Runs both Cayuze Reserve Anchorage, as well as performs maintenance on Ragnar Anchorage (formerly the Daidolos Mobile Shipyard) and all of the Reserve Ammunition Depots/Stations scattered around the Cyrannus System. This mission keeps this department extremely busy. The Battlestar Warden has been kept ready for mobilization since shortly after the Cylon War.
Station Command: Runs all of the other stations, both in space and on the ground, that belong to the Colonial Fleet.
Logistics Command: Oversees all of the auxiliaries not assigned to another branch, as well as all of the Troopstars. This includes the Hospital Ships unless attached to a BSG.
Communications Command: Takes care of the extensive communications relays spread throughout the Cyrannus System, as well as any system surveys the Fleet undertakes.
Colonial Fleet Special Projects: Designs new vessels and equipment, as well as improves upon existing vessels and equipment. Frequently borrows from other Commands for the expertise of specific personnel. Also responsible for the Fleet's nuclear weapons stockpiles...and has a few 'legacy' Special Operations/Missions Units hidden in its rather labythine structure. The nuclear stockpile stewardship--overseen from Complex Flashburn on Picon--functions semi-independently of the rest of Special Projects.

Training Command Is exactly that. Oversees all training (outside of that between BSGs) conducted by the Colonial Fleet.
Fleet Training Facilities: This is the organization that trains every enlisted person in the Colonial Fleet how to be in the military, as well as perform their duties. Has numerous units and facilities across the entire Cyrannus system.
Colonial War College: Trains every Commissioned Officer of the Colonial Fleet over four years. Most of that four years is spent on either the Caprica or Scorpia Campus; once Officers finish the basic part of their education, they are passed onto to a specialty-training facility...or Flight School, on Picon, for Basic Flight.
Viper Training Squadrons: After passing Basic Flight, 'nuggets' are passed on to one of the seven currently-active Viper Training Squadrons. Of note, the 20th Viper Training Squadron is assigned the ancient (and pre-Cylon War) Battlestar Hercules as one of their two support vessels; the pre-Cylon War Battlestar Olympia is assigned to the 22nd Viper Training Squadron.
Colonial Viper Weapons School: Located on Valhalla Station, the CVWS--normally just called 'The Weapons School'--is where the best--and most insane--Viper Pilots are brought to be taught. The course's requirements are so stringent that--usually--only 10% of an attending class earn the device that indicates that they graduated. Viper jocks can keep going back to earn the device as long as they can meet the requirements. Being 'Honor Graduate' of the Weapons School is a rare honor; very few classes have an Honor Graduate...likely having to do with the fact that it has been proven within the Fleet that a person has to been actually, legally insane (although not necessarily in a bad way) to be able to perform to the standards required to earn Honor Graduate. The only Honor Graduate of the Colonial Viper Weapons School currently on active duty in the Colonial Fleet is Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace.
Raptor Training Squadrons: There are three currently-active Raptor Training Squadrons, and numerous Raptor Training 'Groups' (best translated as "Hey, you need more Raptors...?" crossed with "On-the-Job-Training") all over the Colonial Fleet.

Fleet Intelligence: The 'spooks'. Managed to wrest away control of Special Operations from Combat Command after the debacle that was the recovery of the three Argus-class Battlestars. They oversee Joint Investigation Bureau, Colonial Fleet Office of Special Investigations, and Joint Legal Service as well as the Cyberwarfare Corps; due to everything being organized in wartime, the realities of having the 'spooks' in control all of the lawyers was not realized until several years after the end of the Cylon War. Unfortunately, Fleet Intelligence had throughly embedded JLS in itself, and it proved impossible to separate them. Despite the sinister reputation, Fleet Intelligence does its job well and delivers on its promises, so The Admiralty just winces and lets them have their requested budget. Fleet Intelligence uses all disciplines of intelligence gathering, although they are notably infamous for employing the premier group of cyberwarfare and computer science experts in the Colonies. Fleet Intelligence refuses to work with Doctor Gaius Baltar, however, and attempted to veto the CNP (for reasons "unknown" but rumored to be driven by personality conflicts).

Colonial Fleet Vessels: The Fleet is composed of many vessels, but most are of a few distinct types, roles, and classes. The following are the major categories that they are normally broken into.

Battlestars: A Battlestar is a massive vessel, requiring the capabilities to mete out and withstand staggering amounts of damage while still hosting a sizable small craft complement, be able to sustain itself for years (absent major damage), possess significant range, provide basic logistic support to a Battlestar Group, have a decent "turn of speed", and be Jump-Capable. These are the vessels that Colonial Defense Policy is built around. Two-thirds of the Battlestars in the Fleet are either an Aesir-class or one of the variants of that class; almost all numbered fleets possess a pair of the mighty Mercury-class ships; there are also an few Arvak-class, a pair of Minerva-class, and a pair of Morrigan-class Battlestars floating around. Battlestar Atlantia is the Colonial Fleet Flagship and spends most of her time docked to Picon Fleet Headquarters; its Group Number is BSG 0. Battlestar Talos is based out of Sigurd Station (in orbit around Ragnar's moon Sigurd), but it and its accompanying BSG 01 are normally found conducting 'force on force' exercises against other BSGs...and throughly trouncing them. Battlestar Galactica retains BSG 75 (having been designated and fought as such in the war for counter-intelligence purposes) due to its history; its replacement, the only-awaiting-commisioning 'heavy battlestar' Galactica fully completed in Scorpia Shipyards, will become BSG 751 as the original will keep BSG 75 (and also always be carried as 'Active' on the Fleet List). There are also several other Battlestars either assigned to Training Commands or in the Reserve.

Gunstars: Gunstars are relatively quick vessels specialized in ship-to-ship combat and good speed; their small craft complement can vary widely. Roughly one-third of the Fleet's Gunstars are Berzerker-class, another third are Gladius-class, and the last third are Theseus-class. Every Fleet also has a single Tiamat-class vessel assigned as a scout. The Gunstar Artemis is a one-off, and is paired with the equally-uniqe Battlestar Talos.

Escortstars: Escortstars are vessels that "fill in the blanks"; they can be anything from Viper "taxis" to vessels too slow to qualify as "Gunstars" to actual escorts. Their capabilities vary widely. Almost a third of the Colonial Fleet's Escortstars are Mentor III-class, another third are Cygnus III-class, and the last third are Alicta-class. There are still various older vessels still in use in the Fleet (mainly in Training Command), but the only two unique Escortstars of note are the Chiron and the Centare, both assigned to BSG 01.

Auxiliaries: 'Auxiliaries' are defined as everything that performs a 'support' function to the combat vessels, no matter its armament. This includes all the supply, repair, and replenishment vessels, as well as the Troopstars. These vessels vary the most in capability and mission.

Small Craft: The Colonial Fleet has deployed many small craft over the fifty-plus years since the Articles of Colonization were first signed. The current generation includes the Mark VII (Fleet Multi-Role Aerospace Fighter), the Raptor Mark II variants (Fleet Support Craft), Python Mark III (Aerospace Bomber) and Viper Mark VIII (Planetary Defense Aerospace Fighter), Stealthstar and Raptor Mark III 'Spooky' (Special Operations Craft), Kamar Mark IV/K4 (Marine Dropship), Tamar Mark II/T2 (Marine Gunship), and the LST 111/119 (Marine Landing Craft). This is just a brief overview; there are dozens of various other small craft the Colonial Defense Forces make use of.

Oddities: With Adar's term in office and his drive to make the Colonial Fleet "efficient" (cheap as possible to build/operate) and "modern" (networked to use the minimum of crew), several odd vessels that do not fit into the Colonial Fleet's usual ship classification categories. One is the Nova-class Cruiser (called the NovaSTARS by Adar's Administration: Nova-class Support, Tactical Asset, and Reconnaissance Ship, meant to be a cheap and flexible Battlestar replacement) Omega; three more are the Genesis-class Carriers (an attempt at a cut-rate Escortstar and strikecraft platform by Adar's Administration) Genesis, Sovereign, and Sceptre; and the last (publicly-known) is the Delphi-class Deep Space Explorer Delphi (meant to both be a long-range exploration vessel and replace Battlestars with a ship following the design ideals the Galactica-class were originally planned to fill).

While prototypes of all three were built (Delphi by a very wealthy business genius, philanthropist, and utopian-leaning philosopher), the Colonial Fleet disliked them all to varying degrees and tried to stifle and kill all three (although they have found Delphi to be potentially quite useful, and Omega an excellent recon-in-force and long-range exploration platform). Adar fought back, so the Fleet was forced to crew and commission all five; once they started getting experience with them, they found a place for Omega, and started seeing great uses for Delphi; the Genesis-class, however, they could not forgive Adar for...especially since if he had not forced them to be built, the Fleet would have had another Nova-class and another Delphi-class to use with their funding.'

The Nova-class Cruiser Omega is assigned to BSG 01 as its Scouting/Reconnaissance/Special Operations Platform, while Delphi is currently with the Pilgrim Fleet.

Colonial Marines The Colonial Marines, needing less manpower and facing far fewer operational and logistic challenges than the Fleet, has a noticeably more simple organization. The Marines are divided into Maneuver Command (responsible for defending the Twelve Colonies in concert with the Planetary Defense Forces), Expeditionary Forces (responsible for attacking Cylon bases and planets or re-taking captured Colonies), and Fleet Marines (overseeing all of the platoon to battalion-sized--usually--Marine units stationed aboard a Fleet ship and directly under a Fleet CO's control). The Marines also serve as the Colonies' law-enforcement of last resort; they are trained in brutal (if thoroughly effective) anti-insurgency and counter-riot operations, as well as disaster relief. Their Training personnel are overseen directly by Marine HQ; all Colonial Marines fall under the authority of General Cassius Krag, Chief of Marine Operations.

Doctrine: Unlike the Planetary Defense Forces (who function as a 'traditional army' for the Twelve Colonies, being large standing bodies of well-trained, heavily-equipped soldiers), the Colonial Marine Corps is very well-adapted to being stationed onboard Fleet ships. Cross-trained in a wide number of subjects, Marines are functional in most any soldiers' role found in Ground and Boarding Combat, but are experts at Boarding, Counter-Boarding, Anti-Boarding, Planetary Spearhead, and Space-based Law Enforcement Operations...including being experts at combat in zero gravity and death pressure.

The equipment lockers of Marine Ready Rooms (and, to a fair degree, Marines' individual lockers by their bunks) contain a wide assortment of equipment, and most of their gear--outside of equipment specialized for specific hostile environments--delivers the same multi-role capabilities and solid dependability when used in any mission. Marines' gear may not be the best for any specific role (besides their equipment for EVA combat), but its quite good...and Marines make up the difference with intensive training, exhaustive practice, and a tradition of excellence that leads to a high espirit de corps (and notable arrogance in many Marines). They are a long-service organization, with a minimum tour of 6 years for Enlisted and 10 years for Commissioned compared to the Fleet's 3 and 7, respectively.

Their TO&Es reflect this 'ship-based multi-role' mindset; until you get to the echelon of units normally fielded to establish the initial spaceheads in a planetary invasion, Marine units are centered around giving Fleet COs a multi-role unit capable of performing as many different missions as possible, with many small, flexible maneuver elements to allow Marine COs to tailor their deployed forces to their Fleet CO's needs.

The basic maneuver unit is the four-member Squad, led by a Corporal (or even Sergeant, usually carrying a Carbine), with a Grenadier (using an Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher; usually a Private First Class or Corporal), Automatic Rifleman (using a Light Support Weapon-version of the current Marine-issue Assault Rifle, or even an outright Light Machine Gun; usually a Private First Class), and a Rifleman (usually a Private, and normally also the newest member of the squad).

Next larger echelon is a Section, led by a Sergeant with an attached Medic (any rank up to Sergeant themselves) and composed of 3 Squads.

The smallest unit the Marines usually intentionally field on a combat vessel (Auxiliaries and vessels in a Training Squadron are another matter entirely) is a Line Platoon, commanded by a Ensign or Lieutenant (Junior Grade or full Lieutenant), assisted by a Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant First Class or Gunnery Sergeant), with a Medic and MCO Wireless-Telephone Operator (either a Corporal or Sergeant), composed of 4 Sections. A fully up-to-organization Platoon has 60 Marines in it, and is self-contained and multi-role.

The next-higher echelon (and usually seen on the largest Escortstars and most Gunstars) is the Line Company. Commanded by a Captain, assisted by a Company Sergeant (a Gunnery Sergeant or Sergeant Major), a Line Company is composed of 3 Line Platoons with a Headquarters & Support Platoon composed of numerous Specialty Detachments and a Headquarters Detachment (for the Captain) and a full-time Staff Detachment (for the Company Sergeant). It contains 240 Marines (the 180 Marines of 3 Line Platoons, plus a full 60 Marines in the Headquarters & Support Platoon), and is a fully self-supporting unit with all necessary organic support.

A Battalion (the unit carried aboard Battlestars) is commanded by a Major (or--rarely--even a Colonel), assisted by a Battalion Sergeant (a Sergeant Major), and organized as 3 Line Companies with a varying number and type of attached specialists. Normally composed of 720 Marines, but policy states that a 'Battalion' is however many Marines fit into a given Battlestar, not to be less than 500. (There have been Battalions with more Line Platoons and a full company of Specialty Marines, especially during the first round of The War.)

Above that, you have the Marine Regiment, Commanded by a Colonel, with a Major XO, and assisted by a Sergeant Major, a Staff Gunnery Sergeant, and a Training Gunnery Sergeant (all with their own Command/Staff Sections), and composed of 4 Battalions, a Support Company, a Headquarters Company, and however many specialty Platoons & Companies are felt necessary. Marine Regiments field a variable number of Marines, and exist primarily to establish a Planetary Spacehead...a role in which they excel. It is also the largest deployable and deployed unit in times of peace, with larger formations existing primarily for administrative or training purposes.

The last formal echelon before the Commandant of the Corps (the Colonial Marine Corps' only full General) is the Brigade/Division, commanded by a Brigadier General. Actually takes the field only during the most critical or desperate operations in wartime; it's otherwise a fairly boring--if prestigious--Desk Job. The three Commands (which are outside the usual echelon chain, being directly subordinate to the Commandant and above everyone else, but otherwise not defined except by responsibility) usually directly oversee units under their purview, skipping Brigades and Divisions entirely. The largest unit the Commands handle outside of war is the Marine Regiment; each Command is overseen by one of the Marines' three senior Brigadier Generals (who have Desk Jobs, period).

Planetary Defense Forces and Reserves Planetary Defense Forces are whatever military forces an individual Colony raises--from its own funding--to defend itself, along with a limited number of CDF-funded units. They range in quality from the cutting-edge gear and training (stuff even the Fleet and Marines haven't yet seen) of Caprica, Picon, and Tauron to the very obsolete equipment and barely-trained units of Aerilon, Gemenon, and Sagittaron. The PDFs, however, do have a powerful advantage in their motivation to defend their homes and their expert knowledge of the terrain. These units can include anything from a unit of infantry skirmishers with Cylon War sniper rifles to naval cruisers to wings of trans-atmospheric jump-capable nuke-bearing aerospace fighters to the multitudes of patrol cutters and missile sloops that swarm around every planet. No PDF has serious interplanetary force projection capability against a defended target; all assets capable of forcing their way onto a defended planet are under either Fleet or Marine control.

The Reserves are all of the forces--ships, vessels, craft, equipment, and personnel--that are not currently active, but are kept in a (theoretically) 'high' state of readiness for activation in the event of a significant threat or disaster. The rapid mobilization of their Reserves, along with their strong standing 'career' forces and in-depth planetary forces are the three sides of the Colonial 'strategic triangle' that their defense policies rest upon. There are approximately three times as many Fleet Reservists as Active personnel, five times as many Reserve Marines as Active, ten times as many personnel in the Reserve Planetary Defense Forces, and estimated to be between twelve and fifteen times as much equipment in the Reserve stockpiles.

Colonial Defense Forces - Awards and Decorations

(In Descending Order of Precedence)
Medal of Valor: Known informally among Fleet and Marines simply as "The Valor", the Medal of Valor is the highest award any member of the CDF may earn. It is awarded for gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of ones life above and beyond the call of duty while in engaged in an action against an enemy of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Just over two-fifths of its recipients are awarded the The Valor posthumously, while another fifth are permanently medically retired by the action(s) earning them the Medal of Valor. A full 40% of the recipients are medical personnel serving in combat.

Its recipients are legally entitled to be saluted first by anyone who has not been awarded the Medal of Valor (when dealing with two or more Medal of Valor recipients, rank applies normally). They also have other perks, including free government travel for the rest of their lives, a guaranteed full retirement from the CDF regardless of time served unless found guilty of treason, espionage, murder, or rape, the guaranteed right to wear their CDF uniform with rank, awarads, and decorations as of time of retirement/discharge from the CDF, a guaranteed commissioning as an Officer (unless the CDF member turns this down, then its being promoted two Enlisted grades unless they are already a Master Chief Petty Officer/Sergeant Major, in which case they get no promotion, or Chief Petty Officer/Gunnery Sergeant, in which case they get promoted one grade; Officers are promoted one grade unless they are a Commander, at which point they are immediately reviewed by a promotion board for Flag Rank, even if they are being medically retired), a guaranteed slot at the Fleet or Marine War Colleges for not only themselves, but their children (should they so choose), and a sizeable guaranteed monthly stipend (regardless of any other factors, and, yes, there have been three Medal of Valor recipients who collected on this stipend from a prison cell).

It is one of only two CDF decorations with a actual medal awarded, the other being the Medal of Distinction.

Recipients of the Medal of Valor need Renowned (d8), as well as recieve 3,000 cubits a month from the Federal government regardless of their status (so long as they still live), and also need to possess Rank and Privilege (d2). This reflects the prestige, perks, pay, and slack in the legal system that comes with being awarded such a Medal. If you want a PC to have it, you need to pay for those (d10) worth of Assets and have a really good background to cover it. PCs that are recipients of this Medal may start two grades higher than normally allowed in rank (i.e., their maximum theoretical rank is Ensign/Lieutenant Junior Grade--depending on how long ago they got the Medal of Valor--for a slot normally accepting Chief Petty Officers, and Colonel for a slot normally accepting Captains).

Medal of Distinction: Awarded for any number of reasons, including both extremely distinguished long service and actions which do not quite meet the criteria of being awards the Medal of Valor, the Medal of Distinction is the other CDF award that is an actual medal. It is highly regarded, and usually the highest medal seen, albeit on Marines, Raptor Pilots/ECOs, Viper Pilots, and First Cylon War veterans (and that last in fairly large numbers) since the First Cylon War, with those awarded it receiving a number of benefits. These benefits include free government travel for the rest of their lives, a promotion of one grade and an offer to attend Fleet or Marine War College and become a Fleet or Marine commissioned Officer (or a promotion to the next Officer grade unless they are a Colonel, at which point it just looks really good at their next Promotion Board), and a guaranteed monthly stipend (not as large as the Medal of Valor's stipend, regardless of other factors, and, yes, there have been Medal of Distinction recipients who collected their stipends from a prison cell).

It can be awarded for non-combat reasons.

Recipients of the Medal of Distinction need Renowned (d6), as well as receive 1,500 cubits a month from the Federal government (regardless of their status) so long as they still live. If you want a PC to have it it, you need to buy those (d6) of Assets as well as have a good backstory. PCs that are recipients of this Medal may start one grade higher than normally allowed in rank (i.e., their maximum theoretical rank is Master Chief Petty Officer for a slot normally accepting Chief Petty Officers, and Major for a slot normally accepting Captains).

Arrow of Apollo: Awarded for distinguishing themselves by extraordinary heroism. The act must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, duties, experience, and position of responsibility. This is a combat-only award. It is highly-regarded within the CDF, and sometimes looked upon with more respect than the Medal of Distinction (since that one can be awarded for non-combat reasons). Frequently earns the recipient an invitation to War College and the offer of being a commissioned Officer.

Distinguished Service Order: Awarded to those Enlisted personnel who have distinguished themselves against overwhelming odds in ground combat. Greatly respected by Marines, as it says one has not only seen ground combat, but kicked ass against way too many hostiles and survived to tell the tale. It frequently accompanies an offer of attending War College for a shot at being a commissioned Officer.

Hero of Kobol: Awarded for heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. Typically, it is awarded for actions involving the risk of one’s own life. It is a respected award, as it says you have cojones out of combat.

Weapons School Graduate: Says that one graduated in the top 10% of their class at Colonial Viper Weapons School, thus earning you respect from every Viper jock out there (unless they are either frakked in the brain pan or earned the same or greater accolades from the Weapons School. A laurel wreath in the center indicates a Colonial Viper Weapons School Honor Graduate (which is a very rare thing indeed; the only current one in active Fleet service is Lieutenant Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace), who is universally given respect and a healthy distance by Viper jocks, both as the biggest badass in a Viper cockpit around and the most insane person in a Viper cockpit around.

Colonial Gold Star: Awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, it is almost a dime-a-dozen among any First Cylon War combat veteran (and there were damn few non-combat veterans that war). It is still fairly common among Marines and plane crews (Viper jocks and Raptor Pilots/ECOs), thanks to all the pirates and terrorists in Colonial space. It is considered a reliable indicator if someone has actually seen combat and was worth their weight in a firefight/dogfight.

Senior Pilot Wings: Awarded to graduates of the Fleet Command Pilots' Course...which means they know how to fully utilize a capital ship, from Escortstar to Gunstar to Battlestar, in combat.

Star(s) of Kobol: Indicates how many years of service a CDF member has, in five year increments. Can be mixed and matched. A bronze Star of Kobol indicates 5 complete years of service, silver indicates 10 complete years of service, and gold indicates 20 complete years of service. Thus, Commander William 'Husker' Adama has two Gold Stars of Kobol indicating his 40 years of service, while Petty Officer First Class James 'Morpheus' Mundy has two Gold Stars of Kobol and one Silver Star of Kobol to indicate his 52 years of service (he was credited the time he was in cryostasis drifting through space in an escape vehicle).

Junior Pilot Wings: Awarded to graduates of Flight School, both Viper and/or Raptor. They are qualified to operate a Viper and/or Raptor in combat.

Colonial Achievement Medal: Awarded for any number of things, usually non-combat (it's only granted in combat situations as a "They served in combat but earned nothing greater" award). Most people rack up several of them over a career, although there are a fair number of combat troops who were never granted one (one of its requirements is a clean disciplinary record for the last three years) but earned higher awards...sometimes much higher ones. One award of this decoration is denoted by a bronze Colonial Achievement Medal, 2 to 4 awards is denoted by a silver decoration, and 5+ is denoted by a gold decoration.

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