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Armed Forces Service Medal
The Armed Forces Service
Medal was created by Executive Order 12985, signed into law Jan. 11,
1996, by President Bill Clinton.
The medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who, as a unit,
participate in a United States military operation deemed to be a significant
activity and who encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile
action. In many respects, this provision makes the award a non-combat parallel
of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
The medal shall be awarded only for operations for which no other United
States service medal is approved. For operations in which only personnel
of the Navy or Marine Corps participate, the medal shall be awarded only
if the Navy or Marine Corps expeditionary medals are deemed inappropriate. No more than one medal shall
be awarded to any one person, but for each succeeding operation justifying
such award, a bronze service star shall be added to the suspension ribbon
and ribbon bar.
Regulations place the Armed Forces Service Medal in an order of precedence
immediately before the Humanitarian Service Medal. The medal may be awarded posthumously.
These are representative operations approved to date for award of the
Armed Forces Service Medal:
- Operation Provide Promise
- Operation Joint Endeavor
- Operation Joint Guard (successor to Joint Endeavor)
- Operation Able Sentry
- Operation Deny Flight
- Operation Maritime Monitor
- Operation Sharp Guard
(The above operations must be within the total land area and air space
of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Italy, and Hungary and the air space
above that portion of the Adriatic Sea that lies north of 40 degrees north
latitude from 1 June 1992 to a date to be determined.)
- Also, service with the United Nations Mission
in Haiti, U.S. Forces Haiti and U.S. Support Group Haiti is qualifying
service for the Armed Forces Service Medal.
To qualify for the medal, service
members must be bonafide members of a unit participating for one or more
days in the operation within the designated areas of eligibility, or meet
one or more of the following criteria:
(1) Be engaged in direct support for 30 consecutive
days in the area of eligibility or for 60 non-consecutive days provided
this support involves entering the area of eligibility.
(2) participate as a regularly assigned crew member of an aircraft flying
into, out of, within, or over the area of eligibility in support of the
At right in the photograph
is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Medal, an award
frequently seen alongside the Armed Forces Service Medal.
The NATO Medal, created by the international organization in 1994 is
awarded exclusively by the Secretary General of NATO. On Nov. 24, 1995,
the U.S. Secretary of Defense accepted the offer of the NATO Medal made
by the NATO Secretary General for operations relating to the former Republic
Service time for the former Yugoslavian operation includes dates between
July 1, 1992, and a termination date to be announced later.
The qualifying periods of service are 30 days (continuous or accumulated)
in the territory or air space of the former Yugoslavia and the Adriatic
Sea, or 90 days (continuous or accumulated) in direct support of NATO operations
in areas adjacent to the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Retroactive to July
1, 1992, NATO has expanded the area of eligibility for the NATO Medal to
include the countries of Italy, Greece, Hungary and Austria.
The basic criteria for the NATO Medal is that one must serve under the
command and control of NATO for this medal. The Navy has no authority to
approve exceptions to the criteria for the NATO Medal.
The NATO Medal is categorized as a foreign/international service and
has the same precedence as the United Nations Medal, but will rank immediately
after the United Nations Medal when the wearer has earned both awards.
The NATO Medal presentation set may include a clasp denoting the specific
operation for which the award was made (for this operation the clasp bears
the words "Former Yugoslavia"). U.S. service members are authorized
to retain the clasp if presented; however, its wearing with the NATO Medal
or service ribbon is not authorized. They may wear only the basic medal
and service ribbon as shown here.
To recognize subsequent awards for service in a different NATO operation,
U.S. service members will place a bronze service star on the medal's suspension
ribbon and service ribbon.
17 August 1998