International military decoration authorized by the US military

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An international decoration is a military award which is not bestowed by a particular country, but rather by an international organization such as the United Nations or NATO. Such awards are normally issued as service medals, for participation in various international military operations, and not for specific acts of heroism or bravery. The first medal from an international organization accepted for wear by the United States Military was the United Nations Korea Medal in 1951. Subsequent acceptance of other United Nations Medals did not come until 1964 with Executive Order 11139. Acceptance of the medals of other international multilateral organizations finally came with Executive Order 11446 in 1969. Acceptance of these international decorations must be approved by not only the Secretary of Defense, but also the Secretary of State.

The following is a list of the most commonly recognized international military decorations that has been or is currently awarded to members of the United States military. Such awards are always worn after all United States decorations, but before all Foreign decorations.

United Nations[edit]

Main article: United Nations Medal

The Assistant Secretary of Defense approved a change to the policy of the wear of United Nations Medals. Effective 13 October 1995, any US military personnel who is awarded a United Nations Medal may wear the ribbon of the first UN medal for which they qualify. Subsequent awards of the United Nations Medal for service in a different mission is noted by adding a bronze service star to the current ribbon. No more than one UN medal or ribbon may be worn at a time. Operations in which United States military personnel were awarded the United Nations Medal and authorized by the Department of Defense to accept and wear the medal are as follows:[1][2]

United Nations Medal.svg United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in Palestine/United Nations Observation Group in Lebanon
UNMOGIP Medal bar.gif United Nations Observer Group in India and Pakistan
United Nations Service Medal for Korea Ribbon.svg United Nations Korea Medal
UNSF UNTEA Medal bar.svg United Nations Temporary Executive Authority/UN Security Force in West New Guinea
ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNIKOM BAR.svg United Nations Iraq–Kuwait Observation Mission
UN Medal MINURSO ribbon bar.svg United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara
UNAMIC Medal bar.gif United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia
UNPROFOR Medal bar.gif United Nations Protection Force in Yugoslavia
UNTAC Medal bar.gif United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
UNOSOM.png United Nations Operation in Somalia II
ONUMOZ Medal bar.gif United Nations Operation in Mozambique
UNOMIG Medal bar.gif United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia
UNMIH.svg United Nations Mission in Haiti/United Nations Support Mission in Haiti
UNPREDEP Medal bar.gif United Nations Preventive Deployment Force
UNTAES.png United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium
MINUGUA Medal bar.gif United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala
UNSSM.svg United Nations Special Service Medal/United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq
Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo Medal ribbon.png United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
UNAMET Medal bar.gif United Nations Mission in East Timor/United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor/United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor
MONUC Medal bar.gif United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo/United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea Medal ribbon.png United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
UNMIL ribbon USA sized.png United Nations Mission in Liberia
MINUSTAH Ribbon bar.svg United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti
UNAMID.png United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur
UN Medal MINURCAT ribbon bar.svg United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad

North Atlantic Traty Organization[edit]

Main article: NATO Medal

United States military personnel may accept and wear NATO medals authorized by the Secretary General of NATO and offered to the US Representative to NATO to recognize US service members who meet the eligibility criteria specified by NATO, so long as acceptance is approved by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. NATO Medals may be awarded with a clasp that designates the operation for which the medal is awarded. United States military personnel may accept, but not wear the clasp.[3] To date the following medals are the only NATO Medals authorized for acceptance and wear by US military personnel:[4][5]

NATO Meritorious Service Medal bar.svg NATO Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg Yugoslavia service medal
NATO Medal w Służbie Pokoju i Wolności BAR.svg Kosovo service
NATO Medal Eagle Assist ribbon bar.svg NATO Article 5 medal for Operation Eagle Assist
NATO Medal Active Endeavour ribbon bar.svg NATO Article 5 medal for Operation Active Endeavour
NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar.svg Non-article 5 medal for ISAF
NATO Medal non-article-5 Balkans ribbon bar.svg NATO Non-Article 5 medal for the Balkans
NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar.svg Non-Article 5 medal for NATO Training Mission – Iraq
NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar.svg Non-Article 5 medal for Africa
NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar.svg NATO Non-Article 5 medal for Operation Unified Protector

Multinational Force and Observers[edit]

MFO Medal ribbon.png Multinational Force and Observers Medal

Inter-American Defense Board[edit]

Inter-american defense board medal ribbon.svg Inter-American Defense Board Medal [6]


The System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces awards the following decorations:

SICOFAA Legion of Merit Gentleman.png SICOFAA Legion of Merit Gentleman
SICOFAA Legion of Merit.jpg SICOFAA Legion of Merit Officer
SICOFAA Legion of Merit Grand Cross.png SICOFAA Legion of Merit Grand Cross


Common Security and Defence Policy

ESDP Medal ALTHEA ribbon bar.png CSDP ALTHEA Operations medal ribbon bar
CSDP support ribbon ALTHEA.svg CSDP ALTHEA Staff medal ribbon bar


  1. ^ "United Nations Medals". The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "DoD Approved U.N. Mission And Actions for Acceptance and Wear of the U.N. Medal" (PDF). Office of the Under Secretary of For Personnel and Readiness. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  3. ^ AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 36-2803 THE AIR FORCE MILITARY AWARDS AND DECORATIONS PROGRAM (PDF). United States Air Force. 18 December 2013. p. 192. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "NATO Meritorious Service Medal". Air Force Personnel Center. 2003-09-09. 
  5. ^ Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness. "DoD Approved NATO Medals for Acceptance and Wear" (PDF). Department of Defense. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Inter-American Defense Board Medal" (PDF). IADB Regulations. 2003-09-11. 

See also[edit]

Awards and decorations of the United States military