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Air Force Medals and Ribbons

Antarctica Service Medal

Established by an Act of Congress on July 7, 1960. The ribbon was authorized in 1961, and the design of the medal (pictured below) received final approval in 1963. It is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States, U.S. citizen, or resident alien of the United States, who after Jan. 1, 1946 to a date to be announced, served on the Antarctic continent or in support of U.S. operations there. The first recipients of this award were members of the U.S Navy operation "High Jump" under the late Admiral R.E. Byrd in 1946 and 1947. Deserving civilians including scientists and polar experts can also be awarded this medal.

The medal, designed by the United States Mint, is a greengold disc. On the obverse is a heroic figure of a man in Antarctica clothing, with hood thrown back, arms extended, hands closed, and legs spread to symbolize stability, determination, courage and devotion. The figure stands on broken ground, with clouds in the background and mountains in the far distance. The reverse shows a polar projection map of the Antarctic Continent, across with the words "Courage Sacrifice Devotion" set in three centered lines, ,all within a symbolic circular border of penguins and marine life.

The ribbon has a white center stripe flanked by progressively darker shades of blue, with black at the edges.

Graphics & Information Courtesy of United States Air Force


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