Military Abbreviations Found on U.S. Grave Markers

Memorial Day at the Cemetery
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Many military graves are inscribed with abbreviations that denote the unit of service, ranks, medals, or other information on the military veteran. Others may also be marked with bronze or stone plaques provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration. This list includes some of the most common military abbreviations that may be seen on headstones and grave markers in American cemeteries, both in the United States and overseas.

Military Rank

BBG - Brevet Brigadier General
BGEN - Bridgadier General
BMG - Brevet Major General
COL - Colonel
CPL - Corporal
CPT - Captain
CSGT - Commissary Sergeant
GEN - General
LGEN - Lieutenant General
LT - Lieutenant
1 LT - First Lieutenant (2 LT = 2nd Lieutenant, and so on)
LTC - Lieutenant Colonel
MAJ - Major
MGEN - Major General
NCO - Noncommissioned Officer
OSGT - Ordinance Sergeant
PVT - Private
PVT 1CL - Private First Class
QM - Quartermaster
QMSGT - Quartermaster Sergeant
SGM - Sergeant Major
SGT - Sergeant
WO - Warrant Officer

Military Unit & Branch of Service

ART - Artillery
AC or USA - Army Corps; United States Army
BRIG - Brigade
BTRY - Battery
CAV - Cavalry
CSA - Confederate States of America
CT - Colored Troops; may precede the branch such as CTART for Colored Troops Artillery
CO or COM - Company
ENG or E&M - Engineer; Engineers / Miners
FA - Field Artillery
HA or HART - Heavy Artillery
INF - Infantry
LA or LART - Light Artillery
MC - Medical Corps
MAR or USMC - Marines; United States Marine Corps
MIL - Militia
NAVY or USN - Navy; United States Navy
REG - Regiment
SS - Sharpshooters (or sometimes Silver Star, see below)
SC- Signal Corps
TR - Troop
USAF - United States Air Force
VOL or USV - Volunteers; United States Volunteers
VRC - Veteran Reserve

Military Service Medals & Awards

AAM - Army Achievement Medal
ACM - Army Commendation Medal
AFAM - Air Force Achievement Medal
AFC - Air Force Cross
AM - Air Medal
AMNM - Airman's Medal
ARCOM - Army Commendation Medal
BM - Brevet Medal
BS or BSM - Bronze Star or Bronze Star Medal
CGAM - Coast Guard Achievement Medal
CGCM - Coast Guard Commendation Medal
CGM - Coast Guard Medal
CR - Commendation Ribbon
CSC - Conspicuous Service Cross (New York)
DDSM - Defense Distinguished Service Medal
DFC - Distinguished Flying Cross
DMSM - Defense Meritorious Service Medal
DSC - Distinguished Service Cross
DSM - Distinguished Service Medal
DSSM - Defense Superior Service Medal
GS - Gold Star (generally appears in conjunction with another award)
JSCM - Joint Service Commendation Medal
LM or LOM - Legion of Merit
MH or MOH - Medal of Honor
MMDSM - Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal
MMMM - Merchant Marine Mariner's Medal
MMMSM - Merchant Marine Meritorious Service Medal
MSM - Meritorious Service Medal
N&MCM - Navy & Marine Corps Medal
NAM - Navy Achievement Medal
NC - Navy Cross
NCM - Navy Commendation Medal
OLC - Oak Leaf Cluster (generally appears in conjunction with another award)
PH - Purple Heart
POWM - Prisoner of War Medal
SM - Soldiers Medal
SS or SSM - Silver Star or Silver Star Medal

These abbreviations generally follow another award to indicate superior achievement or multiple awards:

A - Achievement
V - Valor
OLC - Oak Leaf Cluster (generally follows another award to indicate multiple awards)

Military Groups & Veterans Organizations

DAR - Daughters of the American Revolution
GAR - Grand Army of the Republic
SAR - Sons of the American Revolution
SCV - Sons of Confederate Veterans
SSAWV - Sons of Spanish American War Veterans
UDC - United Daughters of the Confederacy
USD 1812 - Daughters of the War of 1812
USWV - United Spanish War Veterans
VFW - Veterans of Foreign Wars