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An award star is a decoration issued by the United Federation of Planets military to denote multiple military awards issued to personnel of the Federation Starfleet, Federation Marine Corps, and Federation Starfighter Corps. Award stars are sometimes referred to as Gold Stars and Silver Stars (not to be confused with the Silver Star Medal).
Award stars are issued in two degrees, gold and silver, with silver considered the higher degree as is the tradition in the Federation military. An award star is issued in lieu of multiple awards of the same decoration with the first award star issued for the second award of the decoration.
Silver award stars are issued in lieu of five gold, meaning that a silver star is provided for the 6th, 11th, 16th and so on, for subsequent awards of a decoration. There are no higher degrees of award stars authorized in lieu of five silver award stars.
Award stars are only issued for individual medals which are awarded for combat or meritorious actions. They are not issued for service medals, which receive service stars. It is also a common misunderstanding to mistake the silver award star for the Silver Star, which is an entirely different decoration.