Criteria: Landings on foreign territory and operations against armed opposition for which no specific campaign medal has been authorized
Devices: Silver letter “W” (denotes bar below), Bronze, Silver Star
Bars: “Wake Island”
The Navy Expeditionary Medal was authorized on August 5, 1936. The medal is awarded to members of the Navy who have engaged in operations against armed opposition in foreign territory or have served in situations warranting special recognition where no other campaign medal was awarded. Many operations have qualified for the award, beginning (retroactively) with operations by Navy and Marine Corps personnel in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1874 and culminating in the operations involving the attack on the USS Cole between 2000 and 2002.
The Navy Expeditionary Medal is a circular bronze disc depicting a sailor beaching a boat containing an officer and Marines with a flag of the United States and the word, “EXPEDITIONS.” The reverse of the medal shows an American eagle perched atop an anchor and laurel branches. On either side of the eagle are the words, “FOR SERVICE.” Above, in a semicircle is a raised inscription, “UNITED STATES NAVY.” The ribbon contains the official colors of the Navy with a wide blue center stripe flanked by gold with narrow blue edges. Additional awards are denoted by three-sixteenth inch diameter bronze stars. For those who served in the defense of Wake Island in December, 1941, a one-quarter inch silver “W” is worn on the ribbon bar and a bronze clasp bearing the inscription, “WAKE ISLAND” is affixed to the suspension ribbon of the medal. This represents the last time in the 20th century that a named bar has been issued by any Service to commemorate a specific battle or engagement. The Navy Expeditionary Medal is worn after the Navy Fleet Marine Force Ribbon and before all other service and campaign awards.
Cuban Military Operation, Jan. 3, 1961 - Oct. 23, 1962
Thailand Military Operation, May 16, 1962 - Aug. 10, 1962
Iranian, Yemen & Indian Ocean Operation, Dec. 8, 1978 -
Jun. 6, 1979, Nov. 21, 1979 - Oct. 20, 1981
Lebanon, Aug. 20, 1982 - May 31, 1983
Libyan Expedition, Jan. 20, 1986 - Jun. 27, 1986
Persian Gulf, Feb. 1, 1987 - Jul. 23, 1987
Panama, Apr. 1, 1988 - Dec. 19, 1989.
(Pre and post invasion) Feb. 1, 1990 - Jun. 13, 1990
Operation Sharp Edge - Liberia, Aug. 5, 1990 - Feb. 21, 1991
Operation Distant Runner - Rwanda, Apr. 7-18, 1994
(11th Marine Exped. Unit USS Peleliu)
Operation Safe Departure - Eritrea, Jun. 6-25, 1998
Operation Determined Response - USS Cole, Oct. 12, 2000-Dec. 15, 2002