Arctic Service Medal
Service: All Services
Instituted: 1976 (retro-active to 1946)
Dates: 1946 to Present
Criteria: Established in 1976 by Admiral Owen W. Siler, USCG and is
awarded to any member of the U.S. Coast Guard who performs twenty one
days of cumulative duty in the polar waters of the Arctic Circle.
Authorized for personnel who serve on remote radio stations in certain
areas of Alaska, Greenland, and Norway. For flight personnel, the
decoration is authorized for twenty one flight days above the Arctic
Circle. It may also be awarded, on a case by case basis, to non-Coast
Guard personnel who perform significant duties in support of Coast
Guard missions within the Arctic region.
Devices: For all deployments after 1 January 1989: Bronze, Silver Star
The Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal was authorized by the Coast Guard Commandant on May 20, 1976 and made retroactive to Jan 1, 1946. It is awarded for 21 days consecutive service aboard a Coast Guard vessel in Polar waters north of the Arctic Circle from May 1 through October 31 or 21 days consecutive service north of latitude 60 degrees N from November 1 through April 30. Personnel who serve at any of the following Coast Guard Stations for the required 21 days also qualify for the medal:
• Loran Station, Cape Atholl, Greenland
• Loran Station, Cape Christian, Baffin Island, Canada
• Loran Station, Port Clarence, Alaska
• Radio Station, Barrow, Alaska
• Loran Station, Bo, Norway
• Loran Station, Jan Mayen Island, Norway
The front of the medal depicts a polar bear on the Arctic tundra beneath a stylized Polar star. Above this, on the medal’s edge is the curved inscription, “ARCTIC SERVICE.” The reverse contains the Coast Guard Shield in the center of an otherwise unadorned planchet. Although no devices were initially authorized, the regulations now specify three-sixteenths inch diameter bronze and silver stars to denote additional awards for all deployments subsequent to January 1, 1989.