Southwest Asia Service Medal

Southwest Asia Service Medal

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Service: All Services
Instituted: 1992
Dates: 1991-1995

Criteria: Active participation in, or support of, Opera­tions Desert Shield, Desert Storm and/or subsequent follow-on operations in southwest Asia.
Devices: All Services: Bronze Star; Navy: Bronze Marine Corps device.
Notes: Recipients of this medal are usually entitled to the Saudi Arabian Medal for the Liberation of Kuwait and the Emirate of Kuwait Medal for the Liberation of Kuwait.

Southwest Asia Service Medal – History

The Southwest Asia Service Medal is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who participated in, or directly supported, military operations in Southwest Asia or in surrounding areas between August 2, 1990 and November 30, 1995 (Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and follow-up). The medal was established by an executive order signed by President George Bush on March 15, 1991.

Look and Design

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Southwest Asia Service Medal

The front of the military medals depict the tools of modern desert warfare, i.e., aircraft, helicopter, tank, armored personnel carrier, tent and troops, battleship, in both desert and sea settings along with the inscription, “SOUTHWEST ASIA SERVICE” in the center. The reverse of the medal contains a sword entwined with a palm leaf representing military preparedness and the maintenance of peace and the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around the periphery. These military ribbons are predominately tan, symbolizing the sands of the desert and contains thin stripes of the U.S. national colors towards each edge. The green and black center stripes and the black edges, along with the red and white, suggest the flag colors of most Arab nations in the region of Southwest Asia.

Approved campaigns for the Southwest Asia Service Medal, each being represented by a bronze star:
• Operation Desert Shield, August 2, 1990 – January 16, 1991
• Operation Desert Storm, January 17, 1991 – April 11, 1991
• Southwest Asia Cease-fire Campaign, April 12, 1991- November 30, 1995
• Operation Provide Comfort, June 1, 1992 – November 30, 1995

There are a maximum 3 campaign stars authorized for this award.

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There are 1 comments for this article
  1. Donald Bons at 11:16 am
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    Here is a question about order of precedence. I Was in the Army and was awarded the AAM with one Oak Leaf, GCM, NDM, NCO development 2, Rainbow Ribbon, and Overseas. I was ETS on October 3, 1990 and immediately went to work for DoD doing the same job I did in the Army. I was sent to Saudi Arabia in December 1990 in support of Desert Shield. I was feet ground on Dec, 22. I served there until July 10, 1991, through all three campaigns. I was later awarded the Southwest Asia Civilian Service Medal. At the time, I was told that it should have Campaign stars just like the one the Army got. I never thought much about it, and went on with life.

    I eventually joined the Legion, got active in Vets stuff, etc. I have always been proud of my Desert Shield/Storm service. But have felt awkward including that medal with my active duty ones. I did not have a ribbon, lost it years ago, so that was not an issue. I recently found the ribbons, and would like to wear them with my other ribbons, on the legion honor guard uniform, of course.

    My two questions are, does the ribbon need campaign stars, and where in the order of precedence should I wear it. I also wear a Cold War ribbon, as the lowest in the Order, because I support that issue and proudly served in the CW.

    I tried to find the regs on the the Civilian SW Asia, but could not. There were only a few awarded, we always called it he Bob Hope Medal. I have seen some that states wear in same order as military medal, and some that say wear as lowest precedent. I can find nothing on campaign stars, except the general, for every award, wear a star stuff that is on every campaign medal. By the dates that I was there, I would qualify for all three campaign stars.

    Any help would be great.

    Donals L Bons,

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