Military Medals History – GWOT, Liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq

The cruel and cowardly terrorist hijacking and attack on the World Trade Center led to a vigorous series of counter attacks on terrorists and their supporters. To recognize these efforts, the National Defense Service Medal was reauthorized in 2001 and two new awards, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medals were authorized. A White House spokesman said the military medals recognize the “sacrifices and contributions” military members make in the global war on terror.

Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Military Medals

Following the start of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal was created on November 29, 2004 retroactive to October 24, 2001 to acknowledge service  there. A similar medal, known as the Iraq Campaign Medal was authorized for service during the same period within the borders of Iraq and is retroactive to March 19, 2003. The two military medals may be awarded with the Army’s Arrowhead device for assault/parachute landings and with the Marine combat operation insignia for qualified sailors assigned to Marine Corps units. These medals replace the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for service in Afghanistan and Iraq and military personnel can not receive both for the same period of service.

Military Medals and Awards Meaning

All these decorations, service medals and ribbons not only provide a unique and handsome way for the nation to honor her veterans for valor and faithful service but have another important purpose. The display on a serviceman’s chest can tell a commander, fellow members of the Armed Forces and veterans the level of experience and performance of  the wearer. When a commander reviews his officers and non-commissioned officers, it only takes a minute to recognize their backgrounds and performance from their military ribbons. From the individual service members viewpoint, military medals and awards recognize devotion to duty, performance, valor and service in a way no other manner can accomplish. These medals and ribbons reflect how our country recognizes hundreds of years of unbroken dedicated service and valor by members of our Armed Forces going back to the birth of the Republic.