The United States Government, State Governments, Veterans Organizations, private mints and individuals have a long tradition of striking commemorative medals to recognize and honor specific military victories, historical events and military service to our great Republic. Until the 20th Century the United States did not issue military service medals recognizing service by veterans in the different wars, battles, campaigns or other significant military events. Commemorative medals reflect typical American ingenuity and spirit, where local government, veterans associations and private leadership step forward to facilitate honoring service and deeds the federal government fails to recognize. Although unofficial in nature and usually struck by private mints or associations, commemorative medals provide a very tangible memento to honor all veterans and families for their service and sacrifice. Instituted: 2004: Qualifying Dates: All Periods. Criteria: To honor Navy, USMC, USCG, USMM personnel who served at sea for at least 30 days of continuous service.