Ross Munro made the heartbreaking discovery on Friday night when he returned to his house in Fairmilehead after an evening out.
The thieves grabbed the medals from their display shelf, where they took pride of place beside the military eagle he was presented by his regiment when he retired three years ago.
The stolen military decorations include Long Service and Good Conduct, Kosovo and Telic medals.
Mr Munro, 39, said: “It’s upsetting that they’ve been in my house and been through everything, and especially because of the fact they took my medals because they have real sentimental value.
“It was a part of my life that I’m never going to forget. The medals are memories.
“Not everyone gets the Long Service and Good Conduct medal so it was an achievement in itself just to get that. It was a proud day for me when I received it.
“It’s a horrible thing to happen, but you can only just keep going and get on with your life.”
Mr Munro, who served in the army for 20 years and was a sergeant and pipe major in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, last wore his medals on Remembrance Day last year during an event at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.
He said: “You feel a sense of pride when you wear them.”
The thieves smashed their way in to Ross’s home through the patio door at the back of the house.
As well as the irreplaceable medals, they stole his wife’s grandmother’s engagement ring, valued at around £1000.
They also made off with a laptop, mobile phone, two pairs of expensive earrings and a cash box containing just £2.50.
But Mr Munro, who is now employed by the Ministry of Defence to run cadet piping and drumming courses, said they bypassed other expensive items in the house.
He is appealing for the return of his beloved medals, with his plea on Facebook having been shared more than 3400 times.
He added: “I’ve seen it before where people have had their medals stolen and have been appealing for their safe return and I always thought it would never happen to me. Now it has, and I just hope I get them back.
“All the medals are inscribed so whoever stole them would struggle to sell them. There’s no real value in them as such – just sentimental value.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigating following a housebreaking and theft on Friday, January 8.
“Several items including a laptop, mobile phone and five army medals were stolen from within and inquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible and recover these goods.
“Anyone who can assist officers with their investigation is asked to come forward.”