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Air Force Medals and Ribbons


Southwest Asia Service Medal


This award, authorized by Executive Order 12754, 12 March 1991, is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD or DESERT STORM between 2 August 1990 and 30 November 1995 in one or more of the following areas: Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, that portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees N latitude and west of 68 degrees E longitude, and the land areas of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates; or individuals serving in Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan (including territorial airspace and waters) directly supporting combat operations between 17 January 1991 and 30 November 1995. Refer to DoD 1348.33-M for specific individual eligibility requirements.

This award came with three distinct campaign periods: Defense of Saudi Arabia, 2 August 1990 - 16 January 1991; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait, 17 January 1991 - 11 April 1991; Southwest Asia Cease Fire Campaign, 12 April 1991 to 30 November 1995. A bronze service star is worn for participation in each respective campaign period.

Service members who earned the SWASM during their initial tour in Southwest Asia and later become eligible for the AFEM for Operation SOUTHERN WATCH on a subsequent tour (1 Dec 95 until a date TBD) are entitled to wear both awards. EXCEPTION: Service members are not entitled to both awards for a single tour in Southwest Asia. Service members who become eligible for both awards during their initial tour in Southwest Asia must elect to receive either the SWASM or AFEM. Individuals who become eligible for both awards during their initial tour in Southwest Asia and elect to receive the SWASM may later be awarded the AFEM for participation in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH during a second tour.

Graphics & Information Courtesy of United States Air Force

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