The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was established by Executive Order 10977 signed by President John F. Kennedy on 4 December 1961 after it had become noted of the necessity to recognize the services of the military personnel for participation and increased involvement in peacekeeping activities.
On 20 December 1961 the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense called for the Institute of Heraldry to submit designs for the medal. The designs were submitted on 25 January 1962 and the design of Mr. Jay Morris was tentatively chosen and submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts for their opinion before final approval by the Deputy Secretary of Defense on 24 April 1962.
Currently there are 22 designated operation in which the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal may be awarded. Second and subsequent awards are denoted by a bronze service star. Each branch of the service may approve the use of campaign streamers for operation in designated areas. The areas authorized by the Army are: Grenada, Panama and the Dominican Republic. The Air Force has authorized display of streamers for all 22 operations. The Navy authorizes display of three silver stars and four bronze stars on the streamer representing 19 operations.