Cutters are the backbone of the Coast Guard’s afloat operations. To ensure the operational preparedness of these vessels, the Coast Guard conducts Tailored Annual Cutter Training (TACT) exercises that test the crew’s ability to respond to a variety of mishaps or dangerous situations such as fire, flooding, or damage to the hull or other critical infrastructure.

Following completion of TACT, area commanders may award the Coast Guard “E” Ribbon to cutter personnel serving aboard vessels that earned the operational readiness “E” award. To qualify for the ribbon, personnel must have served aboard the unit more than 50 percent of the time that it carried out TACT (note that commanders may waive this requirement and recommend personnel who served less than percent of a TACT period).

The “E” Ribbon may be awarded retroactively to personnel that served aboard units that earned the “E” Ribbon award, but only those listed in an enclosure included in the Coast Guard Military Medals and Awards Manual (COMDTINST M1650.25E). This is the only official list of units that have earned the award, but it’s possible it units that earned the ribbon are not included on it. The Coast Guard encourages individual commands that are aware of such an oversight to submit documentation verifying a unit’s eligibility.

Additionally, individual personnel who served on ships not listed in the COMDTINST enclosure that earned the “E” ribbon may submit a request for the award along with supporting documentation. Acceptable forms of verification include personal award citations, any pertinent information from a member’s service record, letters of appreciation, copies of relevant portions of ship logs, or any other evidence that would conclusively show a unit achieved the operational readiness “E” award.

The “E” Ribbon is not to be confused with the Battle “E” Ribbon, which is awarded to units that excel during Tailored Ships Training Availability exercises.

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