|Armed Forces Service Medal|
Armed Forces Service Medal
|Awarded by the Department of Defense|
|Eligibility||U.S. military personnel|
|Awarded for||Participating in a designated U.S. military operation that did not encounter foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action|
|Established||January 11, 1996|
|First awarded||1996(retroactive to June 1, 1992)|
|Next (higher)||Korea Defense Service Medal|
|Next (lower)||Humanitarian Service Medal|
The Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) is a military award of the United States military that was created on January 11, 1996 by President Bill Clinton under Executive Order 12985. The AFSM is a deployed service medal that is presented to those service members who engage in "significant activity" for which no other U.S. campaign or service medal is authorized.
The Armed Forces Service Medal is a round bronze medal 1 1⁄4 in (32 mm) in diameter. The obverse of the medal bears a demi-torch, as held by the Statue of Liberty, with rays radiating from behind the torch. Encircling at the top is the inscription ARMED FORCES SERVICE MEDAL. The reverse bears the eagle found on the United States Department of Defense seal. Below is a laurel wreath with the inscription IN PURSUIT OF DEMOCRACY at the top.
The suspension and ribbon of the medal are 1 3⁄8 in (35 mm) wide and consists of the following edge stripes from outside edge to the center: 1⁄16 in (1.6 mm) goldenlight, 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm) jungle green, 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm) green, 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm) mosstone green, and 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm) goldenlight. The center stripe is 1⁄4 in (6.4 mm) wide in bluebird.
The AFSM may be awarded to service members who, on or after June 1, 1992:
- Participate, or have participated, as members of U.S. military units, in a designated U.S. military operation deemed to be a significant activity.
- Encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action.
The term "significant activity" is determined by theater commanders and is normally deemed to be participation in a U.S. military operation considered to hold a high degree of scope, impact, and international significance that the operation warrants the presentation of a permanent service medal.
Service members must have been permanently assigned, attached, or detailed to a unit that deployed to participate in a designated U.S. operation within the area of eligibility for 30 consecutive days (or for the full period when an operation is less than 30 days) or for 60 non-consecutive days.
Aircrew members must have participated as a regular assigned crew member on an aircraft flying into, out of, within, or over the area of eligibility in direct support of the designated military operation for 30 consecutive days or 60 no-consecutive days. One day of service is credited for the first sortie flown on any day. Additional sorties flown on the same day receive no further credit.
The AFSM may be authorized for U.S. military operations for which no other U.S. campaign or service medal is appropriate such as:
- Peacekeeping operations
- Prolonged humanitarian operations
- U.S. military operations in direct support of the United Nations (UN) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and for operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations. The award is only appropriate if the NATO, UN, or foreign operation involves a concurrent U.S. military support operation.
The AFSM is not authorized for participation in national or international exercises. For operations in which personnel of only one military department participate, the AFSM will be awarded only if there is no other suitable award available to the department.
- Additional awards and devices
One award of the Armed Forces Service Medal is authorized for each designated military operation. Only one AFSM is awarded for multiple deployments for the same designated operation. Subsequent awards are denoted by wearing a bronze service star on the AFSM suspension and service ribbon. A silver service star is worn in lieu of five bronze service stars.
Designated U.S. military operations
|Area or Operation||Start Date||End Date|
|Operation Maritime Monitor||1 June 1992||1 December 1992|
|Operation Provide Promise||2 June 1992||15 February 1996|
|Operation Deny Flight||12 April 1993||2 December 1995|
|Operation Sharp Guard||15 June 1993||20 September 1996|
|Task Force Able Sentry in support of United Nations Preventive Deployment Force||12 July 1993||31 March 1999|
|Operation Uphold Democracy||1 April 1995||31 January 2000|
|Operation Joint Endeavor||20 November 1995||19 December 1996|
|Operation Provide Comfort||1 December 1995||31 December 1996|
|Operation Joint Guard||20 December 1996||20 June 1998|
|Operation Joint Forge||21 June 1998||2 December 2004|
|Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita relief efforts||27 August 2005||27 February 2006|
|Operation Jump Start||15 May 2006||15 July 2008|
|Operation Unified Response||14 January 2010||1 June 2010|
|Operation United Assistance||16 September 2014||30 June 2015|
|Operation Oaken Steel||12 July 2016||26 January 2017|
|Operation Faithful Patriot||7 April 2018||TBD|
As an exception to Department of Defense policy, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Armed Forces Service Medal may be awarded concurrently for Operations Joint Guard and Joint Endeavor.
- "Issuances" (PDF). www.esd.whs.mil. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
- "Army Regulation 600–8–22 Military Awards" (PDF). Army Publishing Directorate. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- "Campaign and Service Medals". The Institute of Heraldry. Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- Harkins, Gina (19 August 2019). "Troops Who Deployed to the US-Mexico Border Are Getting a Medal". Military.com. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- "Directives Division" (PDF). www.dtic.mil. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) – Authorized Operations" (PDF). Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
- "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) – Authorized Operations" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- "Public Law 105-85 Sec. 572". Government Printing Office. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
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