Military service often includes travel and duty assignments outside the continental United States of America, or overseas. Service overseas allows military service members to their service-specific overseas service ribbon in a multitude of capacities if they meet their service-specific qualifications. To this point, it’s important for service members and veterans to consult their service-specific regulations, policies and instructions to determine if they are authorized to wear the ribbon and how many.
The Army Overseas Service Ribbon (OSR) was established by the Secretary of the Army on April 10, 1981, and is awarded to active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve in an active reserve status after the completion of a successful overseas tour–if not recognized by another award or campaign medal. For subsequent awards of the Army OSR, the awardee is authorized to wear a bronze roman numeral device depicting the number of successful overseas tours.
The Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon was authorized by the order of the Secretary of the Navy on September 17, 1986. The Navy and Marine Corps OSR is awarded to active duty members of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps after 12 months of consecutive or accumulated duty at an overseas shore-based duty station, not to include Alaska and Hawaii except for specific locations. Additionally, it is awarded to members of the United States Navy Reserves and United States Marine Corps Reserves after 30 consecutive days or 45 cumulative days of service at overseas duty stations. For subsequent awards of the Navy and Marine Corps OSR, a bronze service star device is authorized for each award and if awarded more than five, a silver service star is authorized denoting five awards.
Service members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are not issued the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (SSDR) for the same period of service as they are issued the Navy and Marine Corps OSR.
The United States Air Force has two Air Force Overseas Ribbons, a long tour and short tour ribbon. The U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff authorized the Air Force Overseas Ribbon for issuance on October 12, 1980, and each has specific criteria for qualification for long or short tour ribbons as outlined by Air Force Instruction 36-2110, Personnel Assignments. The short tour ribbon is higher in precedence than the long tour ribbon and should be worn as such when both are authorized for wear on the uniform. If awarded subsequent overseas service ribbons for service overseas, a bronze oak leaf cluster is placed on the ribbon for each award.
The United States Coast Guard Overseas Service Ribbon was approved for issuance by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on October 28, 2009. Active duty members qualify after the successful completion of 12 months overseas shore-based duty station or on board a cutter permanently assigned overseas. Inactive duty members are authorized to receive the Coast Guard OSR after satisfactorily completing a minimum of 36 cumulative days of service at an overseas duty station during each 12-month period of their required tour established for active duty personnel.
The Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (ARCOTR) was established by the Secretary of the Army on July 11, 1984, and authorized for members of the Reserve Component (RC), to include the U.S. Army Reserves (USAR) and the Army National Guard (ANG). The ARCOTR is awarded for Army Reserve and National Guard training overseas, on foreign soil, during annual duty training (ADT) for not less than 10 consecutive days and not while on active duty as a member of the U.S. Army Active Component (AC).
If you need to update or replace your personal service ribbons, Medals of America is here to help get you what you need. Additionally, if you need to pull all your medals and ribbons together for display on your uniform or personal shadow box, use the Medals of America ribbon and medals rack builder to put it together and get it right.