Humanitarian Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

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Service: All Services
Instituted: 1977
Dates: 1975 to Present
Criteria: Direct participation in specific operations of a humanitarian nature.
Devices: Bronze, Silver Star, Bronze Numeral

Humanitarian Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

The Humanitarian Service Medal was authorized on January 19, 1977 and awarded to Armed Forces personnel (including Reserve components) who, subsequent to April 1, 1975, distinguish themselves by meritorious direct participation in a DOD-approved significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature. According to regulations, the participation must be “hands-on” at the site of the operation; personnel assigned to staff functions geographically separated from the operation are not eligible for this medal. Service members must be assigned and/or attached to participating units for specific operations by official orders. Members who were present for duty at specific qualifying locations for the medal but who did not make a direct contribution to the action or operation are specifically excluded from eligibility. It should be noted that some of the earliest recipients of the Humanitarian Service Medal, e.g., for the evacuations of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, would more likely be awarded the Armed Forces Service Medal in today’s environment.

Humanitarian Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

The medal was designed by the Institute of Heraldry. The front of the medal depicts a human right hand with open palm within a raised circle. At the top of the medal’s reverse is the raised inscription, “FOR HUMANITARIAN SERVICE” set in three lines. In the center is an oak branch with three acorns and leaves and, below this, is the raised circular inscription, “UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES” around the lower edge of the medal. The ribbon is medium blue with a wide center stripe of navy blue. It is edged by a wide stripe of purple which is separated from the light blue field by a narrow white stripe. Bronze and silver stars are authorized for additional awards.

Awarded for participation in the immediate humanitarian relief operations for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and portions of Texas from 29 Aug through 13 Oct 2005.

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