After 6 years of searching, and with the help of Graeme Hardiman (ex Australian military), the mystery of Brumby's two ribbon racks has been solved! Below is the trail of detective work that we did.
Mick Brumby (Trevor Goddard)
Brumby, arrived at JAG in Nov 1998, season 4 (People v Mac), with an open ended TAD assignment. The story claimed that he had served in Iran previously; but, no info about when he joined the service and/or got his law degree. I'm told that it is possible to obtain a law degree in Australia while serving. Therefore, assuming he joined around 18 years of age, and assuming he was between 25 and 30 in the series; he could have joined the service between 1980 - 90 or thereabouts.
The characters first rack had four rows (see photo's). Then, without explanation, in season 5 episode 1 ("king of the greenie board") he began wearing only two rows on his uniform. The quality of screen captured images was so poor that it took us until Feb 2009, to delineate their names (see the cast ribbon page).
The theory, although no one from the show has acknowledged it, is that in the first rack his ribbons were hap-hazardly thrown together without an understanding of Australian military awards. The show, by then, had developed a huge and loyal following who were very vocal in pointing out plot inconsistencies. Brumby had been brought on by the producers as a "nemesis," of sorts, for Harm; and I'm sure someone theorized that "how can Harm be threatened by a character without equal 'hair' on his chest?"
By the next season, however, they had probably been made aware that the Australian honors system used time-in-service to a much greater extent than does the US system - hence, many fewer ribbons. Again theory, they probably realized that it was better to have a character with fewer ribbons than one who viewers didn't like because he arrogantly wore ribbons that he couldn't possibly have earned. [Also, Mr. Goddard's carriage "sold" him as a more than effective nemesis]
Correspondence from consultants: (Newest first)
"When Brumby first appeared, season 4 in JAG "people v Mac" (airing 11/17/98), he had the bogus rack. He kept it until season 5 episode 1 "King of the greenie board" when he had the new rack with the CSC. (This was) genuine navy. He had this rack until he resigned at the end of season 5, in the "Surface Warfare" episode (airing 5/23/2000). It appears to me that when he started someone gave him a mish/mash of medals without knowing what they were doing. At the start of production of series 5, the two row rack that I identified, was most certainly produced by someone who really knew Australian medals. Bob, The rack I sent you is as spot on as we can get."
This, I believe, puts the issue to rest - a convoluted trail to be sure - but there you are, Bob's your uncle.
"Brumby arrived at JAG in Nov 98. Goddard was aged 36 at this time so unless Brumbys age was stated we could add 4 years and this would make Brumby 40 (which he looked like) and his naval career could be a period of 18 years, enlisting at 18 and obtaining his degree whilst serving. This would qualify him for the DFSM (rosette). Timewise he is within the qualification range. Purely Australian medals were created from 1982.
The only minor problems are the UNTAC "Cambodia" 1992-93 medal. The UN does not state anywhere who served or from where. Secondly the RAN Principal Warfare Officers Badge that he is wearing. I cannot find the criteria for issue of this, whether a Legal Officer is entitled to it.
I don't understand the loss of Brum's CSC. The only thing that would result in the removal would be a serious felony perpetrated and that didn,t happen. I don't think the punch up with Harm would count. The CSC is given for "Outstanding devotion to achievement in the application of skills, judgement or dedication in non-warlike situations. I am sure we have a rack that is accurate and credible."
I have to agree with Graeme's work - however, what is still uncertain is whether the rack is even remotely realistic with the characters age and possible time in service. Additionally, this is only one of the racks Brumby wore, and was replaced with a much more extensive rack. Of special note was the incredible loss of the CSC! [ed note: this, my assumption, was later proved to be incorrect. The two rows WAS the second rack]
"Attached completed Brumby rack"
"Looking at your site I see I a suggestion for Brumbys rack sent you which was pretty accurate with the exception of the UN medal attached is a decent copy you may be able to take out the existing one an replace to with the attached accurate one."
"Attached find the rack of Brumby.
(top) - CSC established October 89 - 65 issued to Navy.
AASM 1975 - 937 issued to Navy
(bottom) - Kuwait 1990 - 2315 issued to Navy
DFSM Defence Force Service Medal - Established 1982 for 15 years service
A Rosette on the ribbon denotes an extra 5 years
UNTAC - Cambodia 1992-93, secure transition observation.
I think this is credible, ie. the UN medal there is no information on who served."
"I have seen a better photo of Brumby's ribbons The medals are: (from the left top) Conspicuous Service Cross; 1975 AASM (Aust. Active Service Medal) 1975; ASM (Aust Service Medal); Iran/Iraq 22 March 1989. (Left Lower) Defence Force Service Medal; 1982 United Nations Observers Medal Group (UNIMOG); Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia).
All medals are genuine and OK."
"My last effort and I think your best bet.
A ASM 75(Kuwait 937 issued to Navy)
Defence Force Service Medal 1982
UNIFET East Timor.
(from a Picture of Mic and Mac in Australia, "Boomerang")"
"In addition to my previous e-mail I have researched Australian Medal references in particular to the Navy. I have compiled what I believe to be the maximum possible medals that Mic Brumby could have possibly earned. Our period after the Vietnam War was restricted to East Timor, Iraq (liberation of Kuwait and the Current Iraq and Afghanistan. The medals I have included are the CGC (Striped yellow and brown) Established 1989 (65 issued to Naval personnel. Active Service medal 1975 with bar for Kuwait (937 issued to Navy). Jan - Feb 1991. Timor interfet UN medal and the both Vietnam medals. Lastly the Defense Force Long Service award from 1982 to current Blue and yellow stripes. Note. I am sure that the medals presented by the Producer /Director are of a strange vintage and will be much less accurate that the ones I have included."
Thoroughly enjoyed your site as I am a JAG fan and wanted to identify the actors medals. I consider myself as an expert on medals and in my opinion the only Australian medal I could identify was the General Service Medal 1962. In this case Brumby was too young to get it. Although the photos are not clear it indicates that they could be a number of later medals UN an so on. I really consider that anything was substituted. Australian Medals prior to 1991 were British, after this date they were purely Australian: Bravery medals and Campaign medals. The striped, yellow and black medal would be the CSG, conspicuous Service Cross. For information my sources are several; but, the best one is "Medals to Australia from 1858 - 1999 by R.D Williams and published by Downies, Email: info @ downies.com.au. It is the 4th Edition but is an earlier one."
"Just looking at Brumby's age. Lets say he enlisted at about the minimum age which is 18 in 1998 that would make his year of birth 1980, now lets say he was 25 by 1998 that would equate to a birth year of 1973. If memory serves, to get a Law degree takes, as you say, 4 years, then one would start for that after finishing college at 17 so he would be earning his degree from age 18 to 21 inclusive. If he was born on 1973, then add 21 for the end of his University years would equate to 1994 so his enlistment would be in 1995. Here in New Zealand the promotion rate has a prerequisite of years of service that are served at each rank. Take a look at http://www.navy.gov.au/general/ranks.html as this is a listing of the Australian Naval ranks, note that Brumby holds the rank of Lt Cdr, which by general reckoning he would have to have served at least 15 or more years to hold that rank which would mean he would have to have enlisted before 1983. I tend to feel that the programme has operated on no knowledge of Australian awards.
Just one extra point in that I see that on the RIGHT side of the blue uniform he is not wearing any badges. Theoretically, if he has returned from Active Service then he should have the "Returned from Active Service Badge"
* (disappeared) Conspicuous Service Cross - Definately disappeared
* (possible) Australian Active Service Medal (45-75) I doubt it as he is too young to have earned this before 1975
* (possible) INTERFET medal (Timor) Maybe but it seems out of order somehow but then it also appears to be the US Air Force Long Tour Ribbon
* (possible) General Service Medal 1962, however the Rosette does not seem normal. I agree, as there are no attachments for the ribbon except the Mention in Despatches and the image is far too small
* (possible - need ribbon and criteria source) Australian Gulf War medal 1991 Australia issued the Active Service Medal 1975 and the Service Medal 1975 for those who went to the Gulf
* (unknown - need identification) Strangely this looks like the ribbon of the US Occupation medal WW2
* (possible - need ribbon and criteria source) Multinational Forces Medal (MFO) Yes this is
* (most likely) Liberation of Kuwait (Saudi Arabia) Definately NOT
* (unknown - need identification)
* (most likely - need criteria source) Papua New Guinea Independence Medal Strange that this would be there as this was for an event from 1975
* (could this be?) Meritorius Unit Commendation (US) Possibly
* (unknown - need identification) Looks like the ribbon of the US Meritorious Service Medal
I've used all three of them and these also: