Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal is a military award
Awards and decorations of the United States military
Awards and decorations of the United States Military are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the United States armed forces...

 of the United States military which was created by Executive Order 13289 of President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 on March 12, 2003. The award recognizes those military service members who have performed service in the War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 from September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined.


To receive the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a military service member must perform duty in a designated anti-terrorism operation for a period of either 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days of duty. For those who were engaged in combat, killed, or wounded in the line of duty the time requirement is waived.

The initial authorized operation for the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal was the so called "Airport Security Operation" which occurred between September 27, 2001 and May 31, 2002. Additional operations, for which the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal is authorized, include the active military campaigns of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle
Operation Noble Eagle
Operation Noble Eagle is the name given to military operations related to homelandsecurity and support to federal, state, and local agencies...

, and Operation Iraqi Freedom
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. Future operations are at the discretion of United States component commanders upon approval from the United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...


Support Duty

In 2004, Defense Department and military service branches began publishing directives, messages, and orders, that specified that the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal would be awarded not only for direct participation in specific operations, for also to any personnel who performed support duty of an anti-terrorism operation but do not directly participate.
The phrase "support" was further defined as any administrative, logistics, planning, operational, technical, or readiness activity, which provides support to an operation of the Global War on Terror. As a result of this blanket term, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal became an eligible award for most personnel of the United States armed forces who performed service after September 11, 2001 through March 2004.

With the orders granting the GWOTSM for "support duty", the medal has essentially become almost the same type of award as the National Defense Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
The National Defense Service Medal is a military service medal of the United States military originally commissioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower...

 and graduates of training schools, ROTC, and service academies are typically presented both awards at the same time. The primary difference between the NDSM and the GWOTSM is that the NDSM is automatic as soon as a person joins the military whereas the GWOTSM may only be presented after thirty days of duty (or three months in the case of the reserves). The regulations for reservists are also not as well defined for the GWOTSM as they are for the NDSM, since the presentation of the NDSM to reservists has codified and clarified as far back as the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...


Award to Reservists

Between 2006 and 2007, regulations began to be published by the various military services which clarified the award of the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal to reservists. Some branches, such as the Navy, took a very broad interpretation of the award of the GWOTSM to the reserves while others, such as the Army, enforced very strict criteria for which only a small number of reservists qualified.


Army Regulation 600-8-22 (11 Dec 2006 revision) Paragraph 2-19-c-2, states, "All Soldiers on active duty, including Reserve Component Soldiers mobilized, or National Guard Soldiers activated on or after 11 September 2001 to a date to be determined having served 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days are authorized the GWOTSM." The "date to be determined" was established by senior military leaders as March 2004.

Army Soldiers serving on active duty primarily in a training status (basic training, advanced individual training, officer training courses, etc…) are not authorized award of the GWOTSM for the active duty time they are in training.
The criteria for the awards specifically states that a Soldier has to serve on active duty in support of a designated GWOT operation (ONE, OEF and OIF) for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days. Soldiers in a training status are “not” supporting these designated operations

Navy & Marine Corps

Reservists in the Navy receive the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal after performing three months of reserve duty in good standing which implies attendance at weekend drills and participation in a two week annual training period. Inactive reservists (IRR) are ineligible for the decoration.

As the Marine Corps Reserve is under the same awards regulation manual as the Navy, procedures for awarding the GWOTSM to Marine Corps Reservists is essentially the same as that of the Navy.

Air Force

Air Force service members were first awarded the GWOTSM for airport security operations in the fall and winter of 2001. Since that time, the Air Force provides the decoration as an automatic award to nearly all active duty personnel. Reserve and Air National Guard presentations fall under different award criteria.

Coast Guard

From the Medals and Awards Program manual, CIM 1650.25D:

"From 11 September 2001 to 30 January 2005: Awarded to all Coast Guard active duty and reserve member on active duty during the eligibility period. To qualify, members must have served on active duty for a period of not less than 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days following initial accession point training. Service while assigned to training duty as a student, cadet, officer candidate, and DUINS, does not count toward eligibility. This includes both training and summer cruises for the Coast Guard Academy and Officer Candidate School. For reservists, “active duty” includes ADT and IDT service in an
operational vice classroom setting.

From 31 January 2005 to a date to be determined: Eligible service members must be or have been assigned, attached, or mobilized to a unit participating in or serving in direct support of specified Global War on Terrorism operations (e.g., NOBLE EAGLE, LIBERTY SHIELD, NEPTUNE SHIELD, PORT SHIELD, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, or Area Commander-designated GWOT operations) for 30 consecutive or 60 cumulative days, or meet one of the following criteria:
(a) Be engaged in actual combat regardless of time served in the operation; or
(b) While participating in the operation, regardless of time, be killed, wounded, or injured requiring medical evacuation."

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

A similar award, known as the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is a United States armed forces military award created by George W. Bush on March 12, 2003 by Executive Order 13289. It recognizes those military service members who have deployed overseas in direct service to the War on Terror from September 11,...

, also was created under the same Presidential Order that authorized the GWOT Service Medal. The primary difference between the two awards is that the service medal is intended for those who performed duty within the United States while the expeditionary medal recognizes those who were deployed to foreign countries.

Service members may receive both the GWOTEM and the GWOTSM if they meet the criteria for both awards; however, the qualifying period used to establish eligibility for one award cannot be used to justify eligibility for the other award.

Service and battle stars

Only one award of this medal may be authorized for any individual, therefore, no service star
Service star
A service star, also referred to as a battle star, campaign star, or engagement star, is an attachment to a United States military decoration which denotes participation in military campaigns or multiple bestowals of the same award. Service stars are typically issued for campaign medals, service...

s are prescribed.

Although qualifying circumstances would be extremely rare, battle stars may be applicable for personnel who were engaged in actual combat against the enemy involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury. Only a Combatant Command
Unified Combatant Command
A Unified Combatant Command is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of...

 can initiate a request for a battle star. This request will contain the specific unit(s) or individual(s) engaged in actual combat, the duration for which combat was sustained, and a detailed description of the actions against the enemy.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, and is the principal military adviser to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and the Secretary of Defense...

is the approving authority for the specific battle stars. To date (as of 2010) there have been no service or battle stars authorized for the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

External links

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