a. Authorization. E.O. 10977 of 4 December 1961.
b. Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Eligibility Requirements
Personnel. Awarded to personnel of the U. S. Armed
Forces who, after 1 July 1958:
(a) Participate as members of U.S. military units in
a U.S. military operation in which personnel of any military
department participate in significant numbers, in the opinion of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
Encounter, during such participation, foreign
armed opposition, or are otherwise placed in such position that
hostile action by foreign armed forces was imminent, in the
opinion of the JCS, even though such hostile action did not
(2) Categories of Operations. The Armed Forces
Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) may be authorized for three
categories of operations:
(a) U.S. military operations.
(b) U.S. operations in direct support of the United
(c) U.S. operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations.
(a) The "Area of Operations" is defined as:
1 The foreign territory upon which U.S. Armed
Forces have actually landed, or are present, and specifically
deployed for the direct support of the designated military
2 Adjacent water areas in which U.S. ships are
operating, or providing direct support of operations.
3 The airspace above and adjacent to the area in
which operationsare being conducted. Ships and units present
in an area solely for training purposes are not eligible for
award of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
(b) 'Direct Support" is defined as furnishing fire,
patrol, guard, reconnaissance or other military support, and the
supply by ground units, ships and aircraft, of services and/or
supplies and equipment to combat forces in the area of
operations, provided such support involves actually entering the
(4) Degree of Participation. Personnel must be bona
fide members of a unit engaged in the operation, or meet one or
more of the following criteria:
(a) Serve not less than 30 consecutive days in the
area of operations.
(b) Engage in direct support of the operation for 30
consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days, provided such
support involves entering the area of operations.
(c) Serve for the full period when an operation is
less than 30 days.
(d) Engage in actual combat or duty equally as
hazardous as combat duty, during an operation against armed
opposition, regardless of time in the area.
(e) Participate as a regularly assigned crewmember of
an aircraft flying into, out of, within or over the area in
support of the military operation.
(f) Be recommended or attached to a unit recommended
for the award by the appropriate Combatant Commander, although
the criteria above may not have been fulfilled.
(g) Personnel are entitled to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal award if they were
attached to or served onboard a ship or unit for at least one
day during the period(s) for which that ship or unit is listed
as eligible. This includes personnel attached to a squadron or
unit embarked in a ship during the period(s) for which that ship
is listed as eligible. Members of rear echelons, transients,
observers and personnel assigned for short periods of TAD and
training duty are normally not eligible for the award; however,
consideration will be given in those instances where the
cognizant commander certifies a particular and significant
contribution by an individual. Such certification should be
submitted to CNO/CMC, via the fleet commander who exercised
operational control in the area involved.
(5) Eligible Operations. Appendix A to this chapter
contains the operations designated by JCS as qualifying for the
(6) Eligible Ships and Units. Ships and units present in
an area solely for training purposes, or transiting the area are
not eligible for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal award. Squadrons or units embarked in a
ship during the period for which that ship is listed as eligible
are automatically eligible for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
(7) Limitations. The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) shall be awarded only for
operations for which no other U.S. campaign medal is approved.
However, this does not preclude Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) eligibility for subsequent
on-going operations if the associated campaign medal has been
terminated. No individual shall be eligible for both the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM)
and a campaign medal during a single tour or deployment in the
designated operation. For operations in which personnel of only
one military department participate, the medal shall be awarded
only if there is no other suitable award available to that
department. In the case of an operation in which Navy and
Marine Corps units were the sole participants and another
campaign medal has not been authorized, the Navy Expeditionary
Medal and Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal shall be considered
the more appropriate awards for the Naval personnel assigned or
attached to the participating units.
(8) Election of Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) or Vietnam Service Medal. The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM)
shall not be issued for service in Vietnam,after 3 July 1965.
Personnel who earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for service in Vietnam during the
period 1 July 1958 to 3 July 1965, inclusive, may elect to receive the Vietnam Service Medal in lieu of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM). No
individual may be issued both medals for service in Vietnam
during the period 1 July 1958 to 28 March 1973.
(9) Election of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) or the Navy Expeditionary
Medal/Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal. Members of the Naval
service may elect one expeditionary medal for the following
Lebanon 25 Aug 82
Libya 20 Jan 86 to 27 Jun 96
Persian Gulf 24 Jul 87 to 01Aug 90
Panama 20 Dec 89 to 31 Jan 90
c. Approval of Operations. The JCS shall designate
operations that qualify for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM). Recommendations for
military operations to be designated shall be submitted through
joint channels to the JCS.
d. Subsequent Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Awards. Service stars are authorized for
participation in each subsequent operation. Participation in
two or more engagements within the same operation does -
entitle the individual to wear a service star on the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM).
ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) have designated the following
operations as eligible for award of the Armed Forces
Expeditionary Medal (AFEM)
1. U.S. Military Operations
a. Lebanon: 1 Jul to 1 Nov 58. The area is composed of
the adjacent water area defined as that portion of the
Mediterranean Sea east of 31E longitude.
b. Quemoy and Matsu Islands: 23 Aug 58 to 1 Jun 63. The
area is composed of the water area 21N to 26N and 116E to 121E.
c. Taiwan Straits: 23 Aug 58 to 1 Jan 59. The area is
composed of the water area from 19N to 28N between 117E and
d. Berlin: 14 Aug 61 to 1 Jun 63, including the city of
e. Cuba: 24 Oct 62 to 1 Jun 63. Although JCS
established the terminal date of Cuban operations as 1 Jun 63,
no Navy/Marine Corps units are considered eligible after 31 Dec
62. The area of eligibility includes the water area between 12N
and 28N latitudes and 66W and 84W longitudes.
f. Congo: 23 to 27 Nov 64. The area is composed of the
land and water area of the Congo.
g. Dominican Republic: 28 Apr 65 to 21 Sep 66. The area
is composed of the contiguous water and airspace within the
following boundaries: from the point 17N, 75W eastward to 17N,
67-45W; thence northward to 20-25N, 73-35W; thence southwestward
to 18-40N, 75W; thence south to the initial point at 17N, 75W.
h. Korea: 1 Oct 66 to 30 Jun 74. This area includes the
entire land mass of the Republic of Korea and the waters and air
space enclosed by the following boundaries: from a point
located at 32N on the coast of China, east to 32N by 129-203;
thence northeastward to 36N by 134E; thence north to the coast
of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); thence
along the coastline of the USSR, Korea, and China to the initial
i. Cambodia Evacuation (Operation EAGLE PULL):
11 to 13 Apr 75.
j. Vietnam Evacuation (Operation FREQUENT WIND):
29 to 30 Apr 75.
k. Mayaguez Operation: 15 May 75.
1. Grenada Operation: 23 Oct to 21 Nov 83. The area
includes the island nation of Grenada, including Grenada,
Carriacou, Green, Hog, Calivigny, other outlying islands and the
territorial seas of Grenada; waters adjacent to Grenada in which
Atlantic Fleet ships operated in direct support of operations in
Grenada; the airspace above Grenada and the adjacent sea areas
where the operations were conducted; and the Grantley Adams
International Airport, Barbados.
m. Libya (Operation ELDORADO CANYON): 12 to 17 Apr 86.
The area bounded by the following coordinates: 37N, 11E to 37N,
21E to 34N, 25E to 23N, 25E to 23N, 11E to 37N, 11E.
n. Panama (Operation JUST CAUSE): 20 Dec 89 to 31 Jan
90. The total land area of Panama, including internal waters,
territorial seas, and airspace thereover.
o. Haiti (Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY): 16 Sep 94 to 31
Mar 95. The area of operations consists of the total land area,
sea, and air space defined by the following coordinates:
16-30N, 71-40W; 18-OON, 71-45W; along the Haitian-Dominican
Republic Border to 20-OON, 71-44W; 21-OON, 71-40W; 21-25N/73-
OOW; 21-25N, 74-00W; 20-OON, 74-00W; 19-45N, 75-00W; 19-OON, 76-
OOW; 16-30N, 76-00W; to 16-30N, 71-40W.
p. Haiti (Operation SECURE TOMORROW): 27 Feb to 15 Jun 04
2. U.S. Operations in direct support of the United Nations
a. Congo: 14 Jul 60 to 1 Sep 62. Water area from 3s to
9s between 9E and the mainland of Africa.
b. Somalia (Operations RESTORE HOPE and UNITED SHIELD):
5 Dec 92 to 31 Mar 95. The area of operations is from 20N
northward to 30-30E and from 46-363 eastward to 63E.
3. U.S. Operations assisting friendly foreign nations
a. Vietnam: 1 Jul 58 to 3 Jul 65. Water areas from a
point on the east coast of Vietnam at the border of Vietnam with
China southeastward to 21N, 108-15E; thence southward to 18N,
108-15E; thence southeastward to 17-30N, 111E; thence southward
to 11N, 111E; thence southwestward to 7N, 105E; thence westward
to 7N, 103E; thence northward to 9-30N, 103E; thence
northeastward to 10-15N, 104-273; thence northward to a point on
the west coast of Vietnam at the border of Vietnam with
Cambodia. In addition, the land area of Thailand is included.
b. Laos: 19 Apr 61 to 7 Oct 62.
c. Cambodia (land only): 29 Mar to 15 Aug 73.
d. Thailand: 29 Mar to 15 Aug 73 (only those in direct
support of Cambodia operations).
e. El Salvador: 1 Jan 81 to 1 Feb 92. The total land
area of El Salvador, as approved by Section 525 of the FY96
Defense Appropriations Act.
f. Lebanon: 1 Jun 83 to 1 Dec 87. JCS established the
terminal date of Lebanon operations as 1 Dec 87; however, no
Navy ships/units are considered to be eligible after 1 Aug 84.
Marine Security Guard personnel or other personnel serving in
Lebanon may be awarded medal for the entire period.
g. Operation ERNEST WILL (Persian Gulf): 24 Jul 87 to
1 Aug 90.
h. Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR (Croatia,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, 20 Nov 95 to
19 Dec 96.
i. Operations SOUTHERN WATCH - 1 Dec 95 to 18 Mar 03;
MARITIME INTERCEPT - 1 Dec 95 to 18 Mar 03; VIGILANT SENTINEL -
1 Dec 95 to 15 Feb 97; DESERT THUNDER - 11 Nov to 22 Dec 98;
DESERT FOX - 16 to 22 Dec 98; DESERT SPRING - 31 Dec 98 to 18
Mar 03; and NORTHERN WATCH - 1 Jan 97 to 18 Mar 03 (Persian
one AFEM may be earned for participation in
one or all of these operations. The area consists of the land
area and airspace of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq and the
waters of and airspace above the Arabian Gulf west of 56E
longitude. Individuals serving aboard vessels in the Red Sea in
direct support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH are also eligible for the AFEM. Service members who earned the Southwest Asia Service
Medal (SWASM) and then became eligible for the AFEM in a
subsequent tour are eligible for both medals. For example, an
individual who earned the SWASM in 1991 and subsequently
returned to the area after 1 Dec 95 may earn both awards.
However, an individual who serves a single tour that spanned the
transition date of 1 Dec 95 may not earn both awards. In this
case, the individual may elect the AFEM or the SWASM, but may
not earn both awards for a single tour. Also see paragraph m.
below regarding the transition from Operation SOUTHERN WATCH to
j. Operation JOINT GUARD (Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, and the airspace above the Adriatic
Sea north of 40 degrees north latitude): 20 Dec 96 to 20 Jun
k. Operation JOINT FORGE (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
: 21 Jun 98
to TBD. For service in the Federation of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, the Adriatic Sea, and all related air
1. Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: 19 Mar 03 to 30 Apr 05.
Personnel who deployed in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH
and subsequently transitioned into IRAQI FREEDOM on or after
19 March 2003 must elect to receive either the AFEM, the Global
War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOTEM), or the Iraq
Campaign Medal (ICM). Personnel who earned the AFEM for service
in support of SOUTHERN WATCH on a previous tour and then became
eligible for the GWOTEM or ICM in a subsequent tour may retain
the AFEM and are eligible for the GWOTEM or ICM. However, an
individual who served a single tour that spanned the transition
date of 19 Mar 03 may -
not earn both the AFEM and the GWOTEM or
ICM. In this case, the individual may elect the AFEM, GWOTEM,
or ICM, but may not earn more than one award for a single tour.
Authorized Devices: Bronze Star, Silver Star,
Bronze Marine Corps Device(Navy),
Bronze Arrowhead (Army)