The Bronze Star Medal is a military honor bestowed by the United States Armed Forces for a may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service in combat. It was first authorized, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in February 1944.
The Star (Bronze, Silver or Gold) can be awarded for valor (one time incident) or for long term meritorious service in combat. A "v" on the emblime signifies a Star of Valor.
John McCain, Colin Powell and General David Howell Petraeus all have Bronze stars. Senator John Kerry was also awarded with a Bronze Star, but the extent to which his service in the armed forces was honorable was cast into serious doubt during the 2004 US Presidential Election.