As indicated in DODM 1348.33-V2 of November 23, 2010, campaign medals are used to recognize active participation in a war or significant military combat operation of long duration and significant scope. Award is limited to those who have physically participated in the campaign from within the actual area of operations. Historically, all of the following factors are present before a campaign medal is created: (1) a declared war, state of emergency, or legislative resolution; (2) the presence of sustained hostilities by an opposing force within a defined geographic area; and (3) the assumption of significant risk (proximity to the enemy), personal hardship, or extended family separation by the Service member.
Service medals denote (1) participation in military operations that do not involve conflict with an armed enemy, or (2) military service meeting specific criteria (e.g., honorable service while a prisoner of war). Prolonged military presence, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief are examples of military actions that warrant consideration for a service medal.
General organization of the list of awards below is chronological by date of service or campaign for which award was issued. This categorization by period, while imperfect (see noted exceptions), is intended to aid navigation. Please note that the list is not exhaustive. Additional information on awards, including precedence of awards, may be found on the U.S. Navy Awards website.
The following awards are earned for certain types and/or locations of service; applicable dates span a broader timeframe:
Navy Good Conduct Medal
Expeditionary Medal (Navy or Marine Corps)
Antarctica Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal