While veterans are honored in many ways, receiving an official medal–like the GWOT Expeditionary Medal–signifies an unparalleled degree of respect and honor. Reserved only for a select number of service members, this medal represents incredible sacrifice and a remarkable commitment to fighting the Global War on Terror.
The Global War on Terror
The Global War on Terrorism is sometimes referred to as the War on Terrorism, the War Against Al-Quaeda or the Long War. Although this military campaign was designated and initiated by the United States, nations all over the world recognize its importance. Additionally, troops who fight in operations related to this war hail from dozens of countries, most notably the UK, Poland, France, and Japan. Focusing on extremist terrorist groups, including Al-Quaeda and the Taliban, this campaign seeks to disarm and end terrorist networks all over the globe.
The Creation of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal
September 11, 2001, altered the United States’ collective conscience. It marked the official beginning of the War on Terror. Two years later, President George W. Bush passed an Executive Order recognizing those in the U.S. Armed Forces who are deployed in the War on Terror. The GWOT Expeditionary Medal is a high honor reserved only for select men and women.
John A. Sproston, a graphic and heraldic artist for the Department of Defense, designed the GWOT Expeditionary Medal. The medal is made of bronze and features the esteemed eagle insignia.
Qualifying for the GWOT Expeditionary Medal
This Department of Defense medal is not just reserved for those who actively fight in the War on Terror. Recipients must meet specific additional qualifications as well. Beneficiaries must have done the following:
- Deployed outside of the United States
- Served in a counter-terrorism location approved by the United States Department of Defense
- Fought in an anti-terrorism operation
- Participated in anti-terrorism combat for at least 30 consecutive days, 60 non-consecutive days or been wounded as a result of counter-terrorism
Further details regarding eligibility for this medal are specified by the Department of Defense 1348.33 Vol 2.
Military Operations Honored with the GWOT Expeditionary Medal
The following anti-terrorism combat Operations are among those included in consideration for the GWOT medal:
- Operation Enduring Freedom, which took place primarily in Afghanistan between September 11, 2001, and December 28, 2014
- Operation Iraqi Freedom, which took place between March 19, 2003, and August 31, 2010
- Operation Nomad Shadow, a classified Operation which began in November 2007
- Operation New Dawn, which occurred in Iraq between September 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011
- Operation Inherent Resolve, which occurred in Iraq and Syria from June 15, 2014, to March 30, 2016
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which was initiated on January 1, 2015
- Operation Odyssey Lightning, which took place in Libya between August 1, 2016, and December 19, 2016
Recipients of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal can be approved for operations in various other nations, including Israel, Kuwait, Algeria, Egypt, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Furthermore, service members who participated in combat on specific bodies of water are also eligible for consideration of this medal. These include areas within the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal and the Arabian Sea.
Prior to May 2005, the medal was awarded only for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the War on Terror has expanded significantly. Furthermore, Iraq and Afghanistan now have campaigns outside the War on Terror. Therefore, the GWOT-E has been replaced with the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal for eligible forces who serve in these two countries, specifically.
When qualifications permit, the GWOT Expeditionary Medal may also be awarded with the Arrowhead Device, the Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia or service stars.
The Difference Between the GWOT-E and GWOT-S
The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal is sometimes confused with the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, but they are different awards. The GWOT Service Medal honors those who actively supported combat in anti-terrorism operations, but did not necessarily participate on foreign soil. One serviceman or woman can receive both the GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the GWOT Service Medal if they served in separate operations, each of which qualifies them for the individual medal. However, it is impossible to be awarded both medals for a single operation.
Veterans merit great esteem and respect. At Medals of America, we honor our nation’s great servicemen and women with a large selection of official military medals and ribbons. To learn more about our products, explore our website or call us at 1-800-308-0849.