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Order of Ouissam Alaouite

The Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Arabic: الوسام العلوي الشريف‎) or the Sharifian Order of Al-Alaoui[1] is a military decoration of Morocco which is bestowed by the King of Morocco upon those civilians and military officers who have displayed heroism in combat or have contributed meritorious service to the Moroccan state. The decoration was established on 11 January 1913 in replacement of the Order of Ouissam Hafidien. It is awarded in five classes: Grand Cordon (Grand cordon), Grand Officer (Grand Officier), Commander (Commandeur), Officer (Officier) and Knight (Chevalier).[2]

Order of Ouissam Alaouite
Order of Ouissam Alaouite Grand Cross.jpg
Grand Cordon set of the Order
Awarded by Royal standard of Morocco.svg The King of Morocco
Established11 January 1913
Royal houseAlaouite
Religious affiliationIslam
Awarded forDisplaying heroism in combat or contributing meritorious service to the Moroccan state
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignKing Mohammed VI
GradesGrand Cordon
Grand Officer
Commander
Officer
Knight
Precedence
Next (higher)Order of Muhammad
Next (lower)Order of Fidelity
Ordre de l'Ouissam Alaouite Chevalier ribbon (Maroc).svg
Ribbon bar of the Order

The Order of Ouissam Alaouite is similar to the Legion of Merit, awarded by the United States military.

HistoryEdit

 
The 1913 to 1934 Knight of the Order of Ouissan Alaouite Medal.

The order of Ouissam Alaouite was created during the colonial period. The French authorities in Morocco considered it necessary to have the power to bestow an official honour or decoration in response to loyal service; and they wanted to avoid over-burdening the bureaucracy of the order of the Légion d'Honneur in Paris.[3] The ribbon of the order during this period was a shade of orange[4] or pumpkin-coloured.[5] In 1934, a white stripe was added on each side of the ribbon.

During the Second World War, the Order of Ouissam Alaouite was bestowed frequently on United States military personnel who had participated in the planning and execution of Operation Torch, the invasion of French Morocco. Morocco was a protectorate of France from 1912 to 1956, and the decoration was bestowed frequently on French military officers during that period.

After Moroccan independence in 1956, the Alawid Order became a prerogative of the Alawid King and his heirs. The Order continues through the present day, the original medal and the 1934's ribbon unchanged.

Ribbons (1913–1934)
Knight Officer Commander Grand Officer Grand Cordon
Ribbons (1934–present)
Knight Officer Commander Grand Officer Grand Cordon

Selected recipientsEdit

 
Moroccan decree (dahir) which proclaims and confirms that the Order of Oissam Alaouite is conferred on Ernesto Burzagli in 1922.

1943 ceremonyEdit

In the opening scene of the film Patton, George C. Scott, portraying then-Major General Patton, is shown receiving the Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite. This was no mere Hollywood contrivance. Under Patton's command, Allied forces took Casablanca after only four days of fighting. So impressed was the Sultan of Morocco that he presented Patton with the special Order of Ouissam Alaouite, with the citation: "Les Lions dans leurs tanières tremblent en le voyant approcher" (The lions in their dens tremble at his approach).[7] Patton wryly described the ceremony as a "non-military activity,"[9] but in his memoirs, he does not fail to note the Operation Torch staff officers who were similarly honored on that occasion.[5]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Royal Ark
  2. ^ Emering, Edward. "Morocco". The Medal Hound. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  3. ^ Bidwell, Robin Leonard. Morocco Under Colonial Rule, p. 89.
  4. ^ Wyllie, Robert E. (1921). Orders, Decorations and Insignia, Military and Civil: With the History and Romance of Their Origin and a Full Description of Each, p. 135.
  5. ^ a b Patton, George. (1995), The War as I Knew It, p. 34.
  6. ^ Cunningham, Andrew Browne. (1951). A Sailor's Odyssey: The Autobiography of Admiral of the Fleet, Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, p. 541.
  7. ^ a b "Man Under a Star," Time. 29 March 1943.
  8. ^ "Bertrand Piccard Biography" (PDF). Solar Impulse. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2013.
  9. ^ Blumenson, Martin. (1996). The Patton Papers, p. 156.

ReferencesEdit