Global War on Terrorism

Veterans of America’s War on Terrorism should be proud of their service. Originally created to recognize service in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, it now covers a multitude of other overseas stations. To be eligible, GIs must have been deployed overseas on or after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


Iraq Campaign

The war in Iraq has created a new generation of veterans. Along with those Americans who served in Afghanistan and other countries tied to the campaign against terrorism, they have performed a duty for which relatively few citizens are willing to volunteer.

To be eligible for the Iraq Campaign Medal, GIs must have served in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on or after March 19, 2003. The area includes Iraq, 12 miles offshore and the air space above both.



Though not nearly as often publicized as Iraq, the fighting in Afghanistan remains intense for those involved.

To receive the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, U.S. troops must have served in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom on or after Oct. 24, 2001. The area eligibility encompasses all of Afghanistan and its air space.


Navy & Marine Expeditionary Medals

Members of the seafaring services often intervene in distant corners of the world. Those who perform this dangerous duty seldom gain notoriety. The Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Medals are the nation’s method of recognizing their sacrifices. 65 operations in 29 different countries have been recognized.


Southwest Asia Service Medal

Persian Gulf War Veterans should be proud of their service, which earned them the Southwest Asia Service Medal. The medal recognizes one of the swiftest victories in American military history.

As long as service members were permanently assigned to ground, shore, sea or aerial units located in the areas specified, they are eligible for the SASM.


Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Vets of the military actions recognized by the prestigious Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal can take pride. They form a long line of American veterans who have served oversaesa in times of crisis and actual combat.

Since the medal’s inception, 31 distinct military operations have been conducted that rated award of the AFEM. Dating back to Lebanon and Vietnam, and ranging through Bosnia and Iraq-related missions in the Persian Gulf, recipients of the AFEM have had profound impact on the outcome of U.S. foreign policy.


Kosovo Campaign Medal


Kosovo Vets have specific recognition of their service in the Balkans. It comes in the form of the Kosovo Campaign Medal. It covers both the air campaign waged over Serbia and the subsequent U.S. ground role in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

All U.S. troops who directly participated in the air campaign are eligible for the medal.


Vietnam Service Medal


Vietnam Veterans can take pride in being recipients of the Vietnam Service Medal, an award symbolizing honorable service and great sacrifice.

VFW has welcomed Vietnam vets into its ranks since 1962, shortly after the AFEM was announced. Sixteen Vietnam vets have led the organization as commander-in-chief. Today, the directors in Kansas City, Mo., and Washington D.C., are almost exclusively made up of Vietnam vets.


Korea Service Medal

The Korean Service Medal covers the period of June 27, 1950 through July 27, 1954—a full year after the armistice was signed. It includes service within the Far East Command—Korea, combat flight crew based on Japan and Okinawa, and ships in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. It also recognizes 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days of temporary duty in the theater.

Often call the “forgotten war”, it has been anything but that to VFW. Instrumental in promoting the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the organization also donated $600,000 toward its construction. VFW has welcomed Korean War vets into its ranks since 1950, shortly after the KSM was created.


Korea Defense
Service Medal

Since 1945, the U.S. troops have occupied the southern part of the peninsula, fought a full-fledged war, waged a “hot” campaign on the DMZ during the Cold War and stood guard along a hostile border.

The Korean Defense Service Medal is open to all GIs who have served at least 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days in South Korea since July 28, 1954. The area of eligibility includes the contiguous water out to 12 nautical miles and all air spaces above the land and water areas.



Service Medal

After WWII, GIs occupied countries on two continents. In Asia, the Army’s 6th, 7th, and 40th Infantry divisions, as part of the 24th Corps, were stationed in Korea. Troop strength reached 45,000 in 1946-47. Japan was occupied by the 11th Airborne Division and elements of the 1st Marine Division on Aug. 30, 1945.

During the 10-year occupation period in Europe, more than a million GIs rotated through Germany, while thousands more served in Italy and Austria.