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GWOT Expeditionary Medal: Who Is Eligible?



GWOT Expeditionary Medal Background
The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal was established by Executive Order 13289 on March 12, 2003 to recognize service members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have deployed abroad for service in the Global War on Terrorism on or after September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined. The GWOT Expeditionary Medal is only awarded once per named operation, regardless of the number of deployments and periods of service supporting that operation. Effective February 9, 2015 (retroactive to September 11, 2001), separate deployments and periods of service in support of different named operations are recognized by bronze service stars. 

Eligible operations for award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal include Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Nomad Shadow, New Dawn, Observant Compass, Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, Odyssey Lightning, and Pacific Eagle Philippines. Service members should check their service branch human resources office for specific qualifying dates.

The military department is the award approval authority. For designated military operations and associated areas approved for award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal, each military department will prescribe appropriate regulations for administrative processing, awarding, and wearing of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal, ribbon, and appurtenances, which comply with pertinent laws, executive orders, federal regulations, and the policies and procedures outlined by the Department of Defense.

According to the Defense Department, presence in the area of operations alone is not sufficient to justify award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal; service members must meet the following criteria:

Award Criteria and Eligibility
Service members must have been permanently assigned, attached, or detailed to a unit that participated, on or after September 11, 2001 in a designated GWOT Expeditionary Medal operation in the specified area of operations, for that operation, for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days, or meet one of the following criteria, regardless of time spent in the area of operations:

a. Was engaged in actual combat against the enemy and under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action.
b. While participating in the designated operation was killed, or was wounded or injured and medically evacuated from the area of operations.
c. Service members participating as a regularly assigned aircrew member flying sorties into, out of, within, or over the area of operations in direct support of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal designated operation are eligible for the GWOT Expeditionary Medal. Each day that one or more sorties are flown in accordance with these criteria will count as 1 day toward the 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive day requirement.

Service members must have deployed abroad for a designated GWOT Expeditionary Medal approved operation to a designated area of operation, for that operation.

The military service of the service member on which qualification for the award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal is based must have been honorable.

Service members will only be awarded one GWOT Expeditionary Medal for each designated military operation, regardless of the number of deployments and periods of service supporting the operation. Service members may receive a subsequent award for each designated operation provided award criteria for each operation was achieved on separate deployments and periods of service.

Under no condition will units or personnel within the United States be deemed eligible for the GWOT Expeditionary Medal.

Subsequent Awards
Individuals are only presented a GWOT Expeditionary Medal upon initial award. Subsequent awards are denoted by wearing a bronze service star on the GWOT Expeditionary Medal. A silver service star is worn in lieu of five bronze service stars.

Authorized Devices
The following devices are authorized for wear:
1. A service star, bronze or silver five-pointed star, 3/16 inch in diameter.
2. Arrowhead device, bronze replica of an arrowhead, 1/4 inch high, that may be
authorized for wear by the Secretary of the Army or the Secretary of the Air Force.
3. FMF Combat Operations Insignia, a miniature bronze Marine Corps emblem that may be authorized by the Secretary of the Navy for U.S. Navy members assigned to Marine Corps units that participate in combat during the assignment.

GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Service members awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for an operation to combat terrorism between September 11, 2001, and October 28, 2003, in an area for which the GWOT Expeditionary Medal was authorized subsequently remain qualified for the AFEM. Such members, upon application, may be awarded the GWOT Expeditionary Medal in lieu of that AFEM. Such election is irrevocable.

No Service member will be entitled to both medals for the same act, achievement, or period of service (i.e., deployment or tour in the designated operation area).

GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (ACM)/Iraq Campaign Medal (ICM)
Service members awarded the GWOT Expeditionary Medal for ACM qualifying service between September 11, 2001, and April 30, 2005, in an area for which the ACM was authorized subsequently remain qualified for that medal. Such members, upon application, may be awarded the ACM in lieu of that GWOT Expeditionary Medal. Such election is irrevocable. No service member will be entitled to both medals for the same act, achievement, or period of service (i.e., deployment or tour in the designated operation area).

Service members awarded the GWOT Expeditionary Medal for ICM qualifying service between March 19, 2003, and April 30, 2005, in an area for which the ICM was authorized subsequently remain qualified for that medal. Such members, upon application, may be awarded the ICM in lieu of that GWOT Expeditionary Medal. Such election is irrevocable. No service member will be entitled to both medals for the same act, achievement, or period of service (i.e., deployment or tour in the designated operation area).

GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal (IRCM)
Service members awarded the GWOT Expeditionary Medal for IRCM qualifying service between June 15, 2014 and March 30, 2016, in an area for which the IRCM was authorized subsequently remain qualified for that medal. Such members, upon application, may be awarded the IRCM in lieu of that GWOT Expeditionary Medal. Such election is irrevocable. No service member will be entitled to both medals for the same act, achievement, or period of service (i.e., deployment or tour in the designated operation area).

GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the GWOT Service Medal (GWOT-SM)
Service members may receive both the GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the
GWOT-SM if they meet the eligibility requirements of both awards. However, the qualifying period of service used to establish eligibility for one award cannot be used to justify eligibility for the other.

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