The Imperial system recognises individuals and made no provision to recognise gallant or distinguished service by entire units. The Australian Defence Force has however recieved a number of unit awards from foreign nations. Recognising the value of unit awards, two Australian unit awards were introduced in 1991 – the Unit Citation for Gallantry and the Meritorious Unit Citation.
The Unit Citation for Gallantry is awarded to a unit for extraordinary gallantry in action. The Meritorious Unit Citation is awarded to a unit for sustained outstanding service in warlike operations.
The actual citation is a warrant presented to the unit.
Insignia are worn by individuals to denote their membership to the unit that has been awarded a citation. Personnel cannot be issued with the insignia until the authorised unit representitive, normally the CO, has been formally invested with the citation.
The insignia of a Unit Citation for Gallantry is a gift rectangular frame surrounding a deep green ribbon. The frame has a design of flames emanating from the outer edges of the frame to the centre.
The insignia of a Meritorious Unit Citation is a rhodium-plated rectangular frame of the same dimentions and design surrounding a ribbon of old-gold.
Personnel who were members of the unit when an award was made wear a Federation Star in the centre of the ribbon and continue to wear the insignia after leaving the unit. Personnel who are subsequently posted to the unit wear the insignia without the Federation Star and only while actually posted to the unit.
Further awards of the Unit Citation for Gallantry or the Meritorious Unit Citation are recognised by the presentation of a further Certificate of Citation to the unit signed by the Governor-General. Only one insignia of each citation may be worn by a member of the unit. Only one Federation Star device is worn, irrespective of the number of awards made to units to which a member may be posted.