Southwest Asia Service Medal

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Southwest Asia Service Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal.png
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility August 2, 1990 – November 30, 1995
Status Not currently awarded
Established EO 12754, March 12, 1991, as amended
First awarded 1991 (retroactive to January 17, 1991)
Last awarded November 30, 1995; 22 years ago (1995-11-30)
Next (higher) Vietnam Service Medal
Next (lower) Kosovo Campaign Medal
Related National Defense Service Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Southwest Asia Service Medal ribbon (1991–2016).svg
Service ribbon: 1991 to 2016
Southwest Asia Service Medal ribbon.svg
Service ribbon: 2016 to present
Streamer SAS.PNG
Southwest Asia Service Medal campaign streamer

The Southwest Asia Service Medal (SASM or SWASM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces which was created by order of President George H.W. Bush on March 12, 1991. The award is intended to recognize those military service members who performed duty during the years of the Persian Gulf War. The medal was designed by Nadine Russell of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.[1][2] The colors of the ribbon are tan, representing sand, with the black, white, red, blue, and green colors symbolizing the colors of coalition countries' national flags.


Southwest Asia Service Medal, in its 1991 to 2016 specification.

Individuals awarded the Southwest Asia Service Medal must have participated in or supported military operations in Southwest Asia between August 2, 1990, and November 30, 1995. That period of inclusion includes participation in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm:[3]

Individuals serving in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Jordan (including the airspace and territorial waters) directly supporting combat operations between January 17, 1991, and April 11, 1991, are also eligible for this award. [4]

To receive the award, a service member must be: attached to or regularly serving for one or more days with an organization participating in ground/shore military operations; attached to or regularly serving for one or more days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations; actually participating as a crew member in one or more aerial flights directly supporting military operations in the areas designated; or serving on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days, except, if a waiver is authorized for personnel participating in actual combat.[4]

For those service members who performed "home service" during the Persian Gulf War, such as support personnel in the United States, the Southwest Asia Service Medal is not authorized. The award is also not authorized for those who performed support of the Persian Gulf War from European or Pacific bases.[4]

Ribbon devices
  • Bronze service star: for participation in each designated campaign. Each recipient of the medal should wear at least one campaign star.
  • Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia: for naval personnel on duty with and attached to a Marine Corps unit that participated in combat.

Designated campaigns are as follows:[4]

Campaign From To
Defense of Saudi Arabia August 2, 1990 January 16, 1991
Liberation and Defense of Kuwait January 17, 1991 April 11, 1991
Southwest Asia Cease-Fire April 12, 1991 November 30, 1995
One Campaign: service ribbon with one ​316-inch bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Two Campaigns: service ribbon with two ​316-inch bronze stars
Three Campaigns: service ribbon with three ​316-inch bronze stars

While several operations occurred in the geographical areas described above between April 12, 1991, and November 30, 1995, including Operation Provide Comfort (June 1, 1992 – November 30, 1995), Operation Southern Watch (August 27, 1992 – April 29, 2003) and Operation Vigilant Warrior (October 14, 1994 – December 21, 1994), these operations were covered under the third campaign, Southwest Asia Cease-Fire. Service in Operations that extended beyond the final campaign date of November 30, 1995, were recognized by awards of either the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Armed Forces Service Medal.[5][6] Thus, the maximum number of bronze service stars that are authorized to be worn for the Southwest Asia Service Medal's ribbon or streamer is three.[4]

2016 redesign[edit]

In April 2016, the appearance of the suspension and service ribbon of the SASM was slightly modified by the United States Department of Defense through its Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The DLA made the two vertical green bars and one vertical black bar in the middle wider than in the original 1991 version.[7][8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Southwest Asia Service Medal". The Institute of Heraldry. Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Air Force Personnel Center Southwest Asia Service Medal
  3. ^ "Southwest Asia Service Medal". Service Medals and Campaign Credits of the United States Navy. Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Section 578.27 - Southwest Asia Service Medal". Code of Federal Regulations. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) - Authorized Operations" (PDF). Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) - Authorized Operations" (PDF). Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Defense Logistics Agency (April 11, 2016). "Detail Specification Sheet: Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal" (PDF). MIL-DTL-11589/356C. Fort Belvoir, Virginia: Defense Logistics Agency. Archived from the original on March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 
  8. ^ Defense Logistics Agency (September 15, 1995). "Detail Specification Sheet: Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal" (PDF). MIL-DTL-11589/356B. Fort Belvoir, Virginia: Defense Logistics Agency. Retrieved March 1, 2017. [dead link]
  9. ^ Defense Logistics Agency (April 11, 2016). "MIL-DTL-11589". Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal. Fort Belvoir, Virginia: Defense Logistics Agency. Retrieved March 1, 2017.