The Silver Star, officially the Silver Star Medal, is the United States' third highest military decoration for valor that can be awarded to any person serving in any capacity with the United States Armed Forces. The medal is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
John Cale was awarded a Silver Star.
The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry not justifying the award of one of the next higher valor awards – the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Air Force Cross. The gallantry displayed must have taken place while in action against an enemy of the United States, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
Air Force pilots, combat systems officers, Navy and Marine Corps Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers flying fighter aircraft are often considered eligible to receive the Silver Star upon becoming an ace (i.e., having five or more confirmed aerial kills), which entails the pilot and, in multi-seat fighters, the weapons system officer or radar intercept officer, intentionally and successfully risking his life multiple times under combat conditions and emerging victorious. However, during the Vietnam War, the last conflict to produce U.S. fighter aces, the one USAF pilot, the two USAF navigators/weapon systems officers (who were later retrained as USAF pilots), the one USN Naval Aviator and the one USN Naval Flight Officer/radar intercept officer to achieve this distinction were eventually awarded the Air Force Cross and Navy Cross, respectively, in addition to Silver Stars previously awarded for earlier aerial kills.