Council Medal of Honor

Medals are new upgrades that can be given to soldiers in XCOM: Enemy Within.

XCOM Database[]

As XCOM fights against the alien invasion, medals will periodically become available. These can be awarded to soldiers entirely at the Commander's discretion. Before awarding a medal, the Commander must choose which ability that medal type will confer upon its recipient.

– XCOM Database, XCOM: Enemy Within


Medals are unlocked by completing certain criteria[1]. In general, unlocking a medal requires successfully completing a certain type of mission. 

Once a given medal type is unlocked, additional medals are awarded by completing a specific number of missions after unlock - all mission types count toward the number for additional medals, regardless of what type of mission was required to unlock the medal.

Additionally, if a decorated soldier dies, their medals will become available again after two[2] missions. This number is the same, regardless of the type of medal. Dismissing a soldier results in the permanent loss of their medal(s), therefore it may be preferable to have a decorated soldier die in action rather than dismissing them.

Medals can be renamed, have their particular bonuses chosen (a permanent choice between one of two potential powers for each medal type), and be awarded to individual soldiers from the Barracks. Awarding a soldier a medal initiates a brief cutscene showing them in dress uniform with the medal and saluting. Each soldier can only receive one of each medal type.

Medal Types[]

There are five different types of Medals, each with specific conditions for unlocking, and a maximum number available. 

Urban Combat Badge[]

Urban Combat Badge.png

Unlocked by: Completing 2 Alien Abduction missions.
Additional: 2, 5, and 8 missions after unlock (ie, 2 more, 3 more, 3 more).
Maximum: 4
Combat Bonus:

XComEW Medals - Urban Combat Badge icon 1 defense.png +5 Defense when in cover.
XComEW Medals - Urban Combat Badge icon 2 aim.png +5 Aim against enemies in full cover.

Defender's Medal[]

Defender's Medal.png

Unlocked by: Having a soldier die or be critically wounded during a mission. (Tutorial unlocks this).[3] S.H.I.V. units and units under mind-control count for this. Note that critically wounded soldiers and mind-controlled units only grant this medal if it has been previously acquired with a soldier death or S.H.I.V. destruction.
Additional: 2 and 5 missions after unlock (ie, 2 more, 3 more).
Maximum: 3
Combat Bonus:

XComEW Medals - Defender's Medal icon 1 panic.png Never panic as a result of allies getting wounded or killed.
XComEW Medals - Defender's Medal icon 2 heal.png Medikits and Restorative Mist heal 2 HP more when used on the soldier.

International Service Cross[]

XComEW Medals - International Service Cross.png

Unlocked by: Completing missions on three different continents.[2]
Additional: 6 missions after unlock.
Maximum: 2
Combat Bonus:

XComEW Medals - International Service Cross icon 1 will.png +2 Will per different nationality in the squad.
XComEW Medals - International Service Cross icon 2 aim.png +2 Aim per continent bonus XCOM has earned.

Council Medal of Honor[]

XComEW Medals - Council Medal of Honor.png

Unlocked by: Completing three Council MissionsTerror Sites or Covert Operations.[2]
Additional: 9 missions after unlock.
Maximum: 2
Combat Bonus:

XComEW Medals - Council Medal of Honor icon 1 will.png +1 Aim and Will for each mission completed with no soldier deaths, up to a maximum of +10.
XComEW Medals - Council Medal of Honor icon 2 crit.png +10 Aim and Critical Chance if not within 7 tiles of an allied unit.

Star of Terra[]

Star of Terra.png

Awarded for: Completing the XCOM Base Defense mission.
Additional: None.
Maximum: 1
Combat Bonus:

XComEW Medals - Star of Terra icon 1 will.png Entire squad receives +5 Will and +5 Defense in battle. Robotic units receive only the Defense bonus.
XComEW Medals - Star of Terra icon 2 xp.png All soldiers in the squad at Lieutenant rank or lower gain +25% XP for completing missions.


  • The criteria for Defender's Medals has not been completely confirmed. Please review and/or contribute to the article's talk page.
  • Designating a Psionic soldier with all five medals as The Volunteer grants the "Guardian of Earth" achievement.
  • The Council Medal of Honor's requirement regarding "no soldier deaths" includes the sacrifice of enemy units under active XCOM control – whether this is via Mind Control or Drone Hack.
  • Unlike other medals, the will bonus from the International Service Cross does not apply to the Lead By Example upgrade from the Officer Training School. For example, if a squad leader has 132 will (120 will + 12 from the medal), nearby squadmates will only have their will boosted up to 120.


  • The Star of Terra is also an award that a Commander Shepard with the 'War Hero' background received in Mass Effect.
  • The Defender's Medal is in its appearance and awarding criteria a reference to the Purple Heart, which is awarded by the United States for dying or getting injured in combat.



  1. Medal acquisition logic from XGFacility_Barracks class, in XComStrategyGame.upk Game file. XCOM: Enemy Within. 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Number value from DefaultGameData.ini. Game file. XCOM: Enemy Within. 2013.
  3. According to the logic in XGFacility_Barracks, being critically injured was intended to unlock this medal, but it appears to be bugged. See the article's talk page for details.