The War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal was established by Executive Order 13289 signed by President George W. Bush on March 12, 2003 and implemented by Charles S. Abell, Principal Deputy Secretary of Defense, in a memorandum dated Ocotber 28, 2003, subject: "Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals," as amended on February 13, 2004, to identify the qualifying areas of eligibility.
The War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is awarded for qualifying service on or after September 11, 2001.
Individuals authorized the award of this medal must have been deployed abroad for service in the Global War on Terrorism operations on or after September 11, 2001, and to a future date to be determined.
The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a case-by-case basis when requested by the Combatant Commanders, will designate approved operations.
Initial approved operations for the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal were for Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, effective April 30, 2005, the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is no longer authorized for service in Afghanistan and/or Iraq.
Service members who qualified for this medal by reason of service in Afghanistan between October 24, 2001 and April 30, 2005 remain qualified for the medal. However, any Service member may be awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal in lieu of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for that service. In addition, any Army soldier who was authorized the arrowhead device may be awarded the Afghanistan Canpaign Medal with the arrowhead device. No Service member shall be entitled to both medals for the same act, achievement, or period of service.
Service members who qualified for the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal by reason of service in Iraq between March 19, 2003 and April 30, 2005 shall remain qualified for that medal. However, they may be awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal in lieu of the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for that service. In addition, any Army soldier authorized the arrowhead device may be awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal with arrowhead device in lieu of the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with arrowhead device. However, no soldier shall be entitled to both medals for the same act, achievement, or period of service.
The general area of eligibility encompasses all foreign land, water, and air spaces outside the fifty states of the Untied States and outside 200 nautical miles of the shores of the United States. The Secretary of Defense, when recommended by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shall designate the specific area of eligibility per qualifying operation. At the present time, the areas of eligibility include the following specific locations:
- Afghanistan (October 24, 2001 to April 30, 2005)
- Diego Garcia
- Iraq (October 24, 2001 to April 30, 2005)
- Kosovo (only specific GWOT operations not associated with operations qualifying for the Kosovo Campaign Medal)
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- That portion of the Arabian Sea north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees longitude
- Bab El Mandeb
- The Gulf of Aden
- The Gulf of Aqaba
- The Gulf of Oman
- The Gulf of Suez
- That portion of the Mediterranean Sea east of 28 degrees east longitude
- The Persian Gulf
- The Red Sea
- The Strait of Hormuz
- The Suez Canal
It is also awarded for personnel serving in the Mediterranean Sea on boarding and searching vessel operations.
Because counter-terrorism operations are global in nature, the area of eligibility for an approved operation may be deemed to be non-contiguous. The Combatant Commander has the authority to approve award of the medal for units and personnel deployed within his theater. Under no condition will units or personnel within the United States, the general region excluded above, be deemed eligible for this medal.
Service members must be assigned, attached, or mobilized to a unit participating in designated operations for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days in the area of eligibility, or meet one of the following criteria:
- Be engaged in actual combat against the enemy and under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action, regardless of time in the area of responsibility;
- While participating in the designated operation, regardless of time, is killed, wounded, or injured requiring medical evacuation from the area of eligibility;
- Service members participating as a regularly assigned air crew member flying sorites into, out of, within, or over the area of eligibility in direct support of Operations Enduring Freedom and/or Iraqi Freedom are eligible to qualify for the medal. Each day that one or more sorties are flown in accordance with these criteria shall count as one day twoard the 30 or 60 day requirement are eligible.
The War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal may be awarded posthumously.
Personnel may receive both the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the War on Terrorism Service Medal if they meet the requirements of both awards; however, the qualifying period of service used to establish eligibility for one award cannot be used to justify eligibility for the other. Under no conditions shall Service members receive more than one of the following for the same act, time period, or service: the Armed Forces Expeditonary Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, or the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Each Military Department will prescribe the appropriate regulations for processing, awarding, and wearing the medal and its appurtenances.
Order of Precedence
The War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal will be worn after the the War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Only one award of this medal may be authorized for any individual; therefore, no service stars are prescribed.
Battle Stars may be applicable for personnel who were engaged in actual combat against the enemy and under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action. Only a Combatant Commander can initiate a request for a Battle Star. This request will contain the specific units or individuals engaged in actual combat, the duration for which actual combat was sustained, and a detailed description of the actions against the enemy.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the approving authority for Battle Stars.
The War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal was designed by John Sproston of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.
Description and Symbolism
In the center of a bronze disc, a shield adapted from the Great Seal of the United States is shown superimposed over two swords, points up, saltirewise (crossed). The shield is in turn superimposed by an eagle with its wings displayed. In its talons the eagle is grasping a serpent. This central theme is enclosed within a wreath of laurel tied at its base.
The shield and eagle represent the United States. The swords denote readiness and resolve to fight international terrorism, which is symbolized by the serpent. The laurel wreath denotes honor and achievement.
In the center of the medal the eagle, serpent, and swords from the obverse are encircled by the words, WAR ON TERRORISM EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL.
The ribbon is a field of light blue bisected in the center by a stripe of scarlet. To either side of the scarlet (and separated from it by light blue) are pinstripes of gold. A stripe of light blue separates each stripe of gold from pinstripes of dark blue, white, and dark blue (each of equal width). The scarlet, white, and blue represent the United States. The light blue refers to worldwide cooperation against terrorism, and the gold denotes excellence.