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Navy & Marine Corps Awards and Decorations
Armed Forces Service Medal
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Authorization. E.O. 12985 of 11 January 1996.

Eligibility Requirements

(1) Participate, or have participated, as members of United States military units, in a United States military operation that is deemed to be significant activity; and

(2) Encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent threat of hostile action.

Specific. Service members must be members of a unit participating for the delineated time period in the operation within the designated area of eligibility, or meet one or more of the following criteria:

(1) Be engaged in direct support for 30 consecutive days in the area of eligibility (or for the full period when an operation is of less than 30 days duration) or for 60 non- consecutive days provided this support involves entering the area of eligibility.

(2) Participate as a regularly assigned crew member of an aircraft flying into, out of, within, or over the area of eligibility in support of the operation.

Qualifying Operations

(1) The AFSM may be authorized for significant United States military activities for which no other United States campaign or service medal is appropriate, such as:

(a) Peacekeeping operations.

(b) Prolonged humanitarian operations.

(2) The AFSM may be awarded for United States military operations in direct support of the United Nations (UN) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and for operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations.


(1) The AFSM provides recognition to participants who deploy to the designated area of eligibility for the qualifying operation. Outstanding or meritorious performance of nondeployed or remotely located support units and individuals is not justification for award of the AFSM. Such performance may be recognized by appropriate unit and/or individual decorations.

(2) Because the AFSM may be awarded for a prolonged humanitarian operation, distinction between the AFSM and Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM) must be maintained.

(a) The HSM is an individual award, presented to individuals who are physically present at the site of immediate relief and who directly contribute to and influence the humanitarian action. The HSM is only awarded for service during the identified period of immediate relief; eligibility for the HSM terminates once (if) the humanitarian action evolves into an established ongoing operation beyond the initial emergency condition.

(b) The AFSM is a theater award, authorized for presentation to all participants who meet eligibility requirements established for a designated operation.

(c) For operations in which all deployed participants are awarded the HSM and for which the period of immediate relief coincides with the duration of significant deployed operations, award of the AFSM is not authorized.

(d) Humanitarian operations for which some (or all) participants are awarded the HSM, which continued beyond the period of immediate relief.


(1) Significant activity is defined as a United States military operation considered to be of such a high degree of scope, impact, and international significance as to warrant the permanent commemoration and recognition afforded by award of a campaign or service medal.

(2) Area of eligibility is defined as follows:

(a) The foreign territory on which troops have actually landed or are present and specifically deployed for the operation.

(b) Adjacent water areas in which ships are operating, patrolling, or providing direct support of the operation.

(c) The air space above and adjacent to the area in which operations are being conducted.

(3) Direct support is defined as services being supplied to participating forces in the area of eligibility by ground unit, ships, and aircraft provided it involves actually entering the designated area of eligibility. This includes units, ships, and aircraft providing logistic, patrol, guard, reconnaissance, or other military support within the designated area of eligibility.

Limitations on Awarding Medals

(1) AFSM shall be awarded only for operations for which no other United States campaign or service medal is approved.

(2) For operations in which personnel of only one Military Department participate, the AFSM shall be awarded only if there is no other suitable award available to that Department.

(3) The military service of the Service member on which qualification for the award of the AFSM is based shall have been honorable.

(4) Award of the AFSM is not authorized for participation in national or international exercises.

(5) The AFSM shall not be awarded for NATO or UN operations not involving significant, concurrent United States military support operations.

Approval and Designation of Area of Eligibility. The JCS shall designated United States military operations subsequent to 1 June 1992 that qualify for the AFSM.

Subsequent Awards. No more than one medal shall be awarded to any one Service member. Second and subsequent awards will be denoted by 3/16-inch bronze service stars. A 3/16-inch silver star will be worn lieu of 5 bronze stars.

Posthumous Awards. The AFSM may be awarded posthumously and, when so awarded, may be presented to such representative of the deceased as may be deemed appropriate by the Secretary concerned.

Operations. The following operations have been designated by the JCS as qualifying for the AFSM:

  • Bosnia (Former Republic of Yugoslavia) 1 Jul 1992 - To Be Determined (TBD). Total land area and airspace of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and total land area and airspace of the country of Italy, including Sicily.
  • Haiti 1 Apr 95 – 31 Jan 00. Total land area and airspace defined by the following coordinates: 16-30N/71-40W; 18-00N/71-45W; along the Haitian-Dominican Republic border to 20N/71-44W; 21N/71W; 21-25N/73W; 21-25N/74W; 20N/74W; 19- 45N/75W; 19N/76W; 16-30N/76W to 16-30N/71-40W.
  • Provide Comfort. 01 Dec 95 to 31 Dec 96.
  • Joint Endeavor. 20 Nov 95 to 19 Dec 96.
  • Joint Guard. 20 Dec 96 to 20 Jun 98.
  • Joint Forge. 21 Jun 98 to TBD (may elect to receive the AFEM vice AFSM).

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