The Silver Star Medal is derived from the Army’s “Citation Star”, a 3/16" dia. silver star device which was worn on the ribbon bar and suspension ribbon of the “appropriate Army campaign medal” by any soldier cited in orders for gallantry in action. Although most applicable to the World War I Victory Medal, it was retroactive to all Army campaign military medals dating back to the Civil War.
It is the third highest award for valor and the highest awarded medal for valor that is not unique to any specific branch of the military.
Silver Star Medal (US Army, US Air Force)
The Silver Star Medal is worn after the Distinguished Service Medal and before the Defense Superior Service Medal.