Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

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Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
ARMEDFORCESEXPEDITIONARYMEDAL.JPG
Awarded by the United States Department of Defense
Type Single-grade Medal
Eligibility

Served in the armed forces who, after July 1, 1958:

  • participated in one of the following categories of operations: U.S. military operations; U.S. military operations in direct support of the United Nations; and U.S. operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations.
Status Currently awarded
Statistics
Established Executive Order 10977, Dec. 4, 1961
Precedence
Next (higher) Antarctica Service Medal
Next (lower) Vietnam Service Medal
AFEMRib.svg

Streamer AFE.PNG

The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) is a military award of the United States military, which was first created in 1961 by Executive Order of President John Kennedy. The medal is awarded for participation in "any military campaign of the United States for which no other service medal is authorized." [1]

Criteria[edit]

The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal may be authorized for three categories of operations: U.S. military operations; U.S. military operations in direct support of the United Nations; and U.S. operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations. The medal shall be awarded only for operations for which no other U.S. campaign medal is approved.[1]

Since its original conception in 1961, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal has been awarded for United States participation in over forty five designated military campaigns. The first campaign of the AFEM was the Cuban Missile Crisis and the award was issued for military service between October 1962 and June 1963. Following this original issuance, the AFEM was made retroactive to 1958 and issued for actions in Lebanon, Taiwan, Republic of the Congo, Quemoy and Matsu, and for duty in Berlin between 1961 and 1963.[2]

During the early years of the Vietnam War, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued for initial operations in South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was intended to replace the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal and Navy Expeditionary Medal.[3] In 1965, with the creation of the Vietnam Service Medal, the AFEM was discontinued for Vietnam War service. As the Vietnam Service Medal was retroactively authorized, those personnel who had previously received the AFEM were granted the option to exchange the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the Vietnam Service Medal. In 1968, the AFEM was awarded for Naval operations in defense of the USS Pueblo, which was seized by North Korea, as well as for Korean Service, and awarded for Thailand and Cambodia operations in 1973. Because of these awards during the Vietnam war period, some military personnel have been awarded both the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal & the Vietnam Service Medal. In 2003, with the creation of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the AFEM was discontinued for Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. After 18 March 2003, some personnel became eligible for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, as well as the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Only one medal may be awarded, however, and individuals or units that deployed to the Gulf for Operation Southern Watch, and then immediately transitioned to Operation Iraqi Freedom, are not eligible for both medals.

Beginning in 1992 an effort was begun to phase out the AFEM in favor of campaign specific medals and the newly created Armed Forces Service Medal. To date, however, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is still listed on official precedence charts and the award is still considered an active service medal.

Appearance[edit]

The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is issued as a bronze medal, 1-1/4 inches in diameter. The obverse side consists of an eagle, with wings addorsed and inverted (representing the strength of the United States Armed Forces), standing on a sword loosened in its scabbard, and super- imposed on a radiant compass rose of eight points, (representing the readiness to serve wherever needed) all within the circumscription "ARMED FORCES" above and "EXPEDITIONARY SERVICE" below with a sprig of laurel on each side. On the reverse is the shield from the United States Coat of Arms above two laurel branches separated by a bullet, all within the circumscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".[1] The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/32 inch Green; 3/32 inch Golden Yellow ; 3/32 inch Spicebrown ; 3/32 inch Black ; 7/32 inch Bluebird ; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue ; 1/16 inch White ; 1/16 inch Scarlet; 7/32 inch Bluebird; 3/32 inch Black; 3/32 inch Spicebrown; 3/32 inch Golden Yellow; and 3/32 inch Green. Additional awards of the medal are denoted by service stars, with the arrowhead device also authorized for United States Army personnel who are awarded the medal through participation in an airborne or amphibious assault. The Fleet Marine Force combat operation insignia is also authorized for certain sailors.[1]

Approved operations[edit]

U.S. military operations[edit]

After the close of the Vietnam War, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued for various military operations in Panama, Grenada, and Libya Operation El Dorado Canyon.[1]

Approved U.S. Military Operations for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Area or Operation Start Date End Date
Quemoy and Matsu Islands 23 August 1956 1 June 1963
Lebanon 1 July 1958 1 November 1958
Taiwan Straits 23 August 1958 1 January 1959
Berlin 14 August 1961 1 June 1963
Cuba 24 October 1962 1 June 1963
Congo 23 November 1964 27 November 1964
Dominican Republic 28 April 1965 21 September 1966
Korea [a] 1 October 1966 30 June 1974
Cambodia (Evacuation-Operation Eagle Pull) 11 April 1975 13 April 1975
Vietnam (Evacuation Operation Frequent Wind)[b] 29 April 1975 30 April 1975
Mayagüez Operation 15 May 1975
Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury) 23 October 1983 21 November 1983
Libya (Operation El Dorado Canyon) 12 April 1986 17 April 1986
Persian Gulf (Iran AirBus 655 incident) 3 July 1988 23 July 1988
Panama (Operation Just Cause) 20 December 1989 31 January 1990
Haiti (Operation Uphold Democracy) 16 September 1994 31 March 1995
Kuwait (Operation Southern Watch) December 1995 Present
Haiti (Operation Secure Tomorrow) 29 February 2004 15 June 2004
Former Republic of Yugoslavia [c] 1 January 2014 to a date to be determined

U.S. operations in direct support of the United Nations[edit]

The medal is also authorized for several United Nations actions, such as peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Somalia.[1]

Approved U.S. Operations in Direct Support of the United Nations for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Area or Operation Start Date End Date
Democratic Republic of the Congo 14 July 1960 1 September 1962
Somalia (Operation Restore Hope, Operation United Shield) 5 December 1992 31 March 1995
Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Operations Joint Endeavor & Joint Guard) [c] [d] 1 June 1992 20 June 1998
Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Operation Joint Forge) 21 Jun 1998 2 December 2004

U.S. operations of assistance for a friendly foreign nation[edit]

The AFEM has been issued for numerous operations in the Persian Gulf, most notably Operation Earnest Will, which began in 1987 and lasted until the eve of Operation Desert Shield.[4] Following the close of Desert Storm,[5] and the engagement in peacekeeping and sanction missions against Iraq, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued again for several operations such as Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, and Operation Vigilant Sentinel.[1]

Approved U.S. Operations of Assistance for a Friendly Foreign Nation for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Area or Operation Start Date End Date
Vietnam (General Service) 1 July 1958 3 July 1965
Laos 19 April 1961 7 October 1962
Cambodia (Vietnam Support Operations) 29 March 1973 15 August 1973
Thailand (Cambodia Support Operations) 29 March 1973 15 August 1973
El Salvador 1 January 1981 1 February 1992
Lebanon 1 June 1983 1 December 1987
Persian Gulf (Operation Earnest Will) 24 July 1987 1 August 1990
Southwest Asia (Operation Southern Watch) 1 December 1995 18 March 2003
Southwest Asia (Maritime Intercept Operation) 1 December 1995 18 March 2003
Southwest Asia (Operation Vigilant Sentinel) 1 December 1995 15 February 1997
Southwest Asia (Operation Northern Watch) 1 January 1997 18 March 2003
Southwest Asia (Operation Desert Thunder) 11 November 1988 22 December 1998
Southwest Asia (Operation Desert Fox) 16 December 1998 22 December 1998
Southwest Asia (Operation Desert Spring) 31 December 1998 18 March 2003

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ >Also eligible for the Korean Defense Service Medal for same timeframe as a DOD exception to policy, Code of Federal Regulations Title 32 National Defense Volume 3, dated 7 July 2008
  2. ^ >May exchange AFEM for Vietnam Service Medal, Code of Federal Regulations Title 32 National Defense Volume 3, dated 7 July 2008
  3. ^ a b >The Kosovo Campaign Medal transitioned to the AFEM effective 1 Jan 2014; hence, start date for award of the AFEM does not coincide with the start date of Operation JOINT GUARDIAN
  4. ^ >Only for participants deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, The Institute of Heraldry: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Similar awards[edit]

The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is similar in nature to the AFEM, it is still awarded for deploying abroad, on or after Sept. 11, 2001 and a future date to be determined, for service in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is no longer currently issued for operations in the Middle East, but may be reactivated for future campaigns which may not qualify for either the GWOTEM, the Iraq Campaign Medal or Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

The United States Navy and Marine Corps issue two similar awards, the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal. In the modern age, service members authorized one of these medals are occasionally permitted to choose between receipt of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the service specific expeditionary medal. The AFEM and the Navy/Marine Expeditionary Medal cannot be bestowed simultaneously for the same action.

The United States Air Force also maintains an award known as the Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon. Despite the similarity in names, however, this award is unrelated to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and rather is presented for duty performed on Air Force deployments.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal". The Institute of Heraldry: Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the ARMY. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  2. ^ Air Force Personnel Center Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  3. ^ Service Medals and Campaign Credit of the United States Navy,Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  4. ^ Army Regulations 600-8-27 p. 26 paragraph 9-14
  5. ^ Army Regulations 600-8-27 p. 26 & 28
  • Foster, Frank C. (2002). A complete guide to all United States military medals, 1939 to present. Fountain Inn, S.C.: MOA Press. ISBN 1-884-45218-3. OCLC 54755134. 
  • Robles, Philip K. (1971). United States military medals and ribbons. Rutland, VT: C. E. Tuttle. ISBN 0-804-80048-0. OCLC 199721. 
  • (US) Army Regulation 600-8-22 Chapter 2-12, Tables 2-2, 2-3 and 2-4, dated 11 December 2006.

External links[edit]