The Mexican Service Medal was established by War Department General Orders Number 155 dated December 12, 1917.


The Army's Mexican Service Medal was awarded for qualifying service between the inclusive dates of April 12, 1911, and June 16, 1919.


The Mexican Service Medal was awarded for military service in any of the following expeditions or engagements:

  • Vera Cruz Expedition: April 24 to November 26, 1914.

  • Punitive Expedition into Mexico: March 14, 1916, to February 7, 1917.

  • Buena Vista, Mexico: December 1, 1917.

  • San Bernardino Canon, Mexico: December 26, 1917.

  • LeGrulla, Texas: January 8-9, 1918.
  • Pilares, Mexico: March 28, 1918.

  • Nogales, Arizona: November 1-5, 1915, or on August 27, 1918.

  • El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico: June 15-16, 1919.

  • Any action against hostile Mexican forces in which U.S. troops were killed or wounded between April 12, 1911, and February 7, 1917.


The Mexican Service Medal was worn after the Army of Cuban Pacification Medal and before the World War I Victory Medal.


The only device authorized for the Mexican Service Medal was the Silver Citation Star, a five-pointed star three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. When authorized for gallantry in action for service on the Mexican Border, the Silver Citation Star could be worn on the ribbon of the Mexican Service Medal. A total of 43 Silver Citation Stars were retroactively awarded to 38 recipients for gallantry in action during the campaign on the Mexican border.


The Mexican Service Medal was designed by Colonel John R.M. Taylor and sculpted by John R. Sinnock of the U.S. Mint.


Mexican Service Medal No. 1 was issued to General John J. Pershing.



In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a Yucca plant is shown in full bloom, with mountains in the background. Above the plant appear the words MEXICAN SERVICE and beneath it, the dates 1911-1914.

The Yucca plant symbolizes the geographic area of the campaign, and its thorny, spear-like leaves also allude to the nature of the raids carried out by Mexican bandits. The mountains in the background represent the type of terrain on which engagements were fought and the elusive, mysterious nature of the enemy. The wording and dates denote the campaign and the period during which it was conducted.


The reverse shows an eagle with wings displayed, alight upon a trophy consisting of a cannon; six rifles and four standards; an Indian shield; a quiver of arrows and three spears; a Cuban machete, and a Sulu kris. The whole is enclosed by a circle composed of the words, UNITED STATES ARMY in the upper half, and thirteen stars in the lower half.

The standards represent the five great wars of the United States as of 1905: the Revolution; the War of 1812; the Mexican War; the Spanish-American War; and the Philippine Insurrection. The weapons suggest the armed resistance offered by the defeated opponents in those wars. The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States, and the thirteen stars allude the original colonies and symbolize unity. The six rifles, four standards, and three spears total thirteen, which is consistent with the thirteen stars at the bottom of the medal


The ribbon to the Mexican Service Medal has a central stripe of blue flanked on either side by a stripe of equal width in gold, and the ribbon is edged in green. The blue and green represent the United States and Mexico, respectively, and the gold represents the predominant color of the Mexican border area.


The Mexican Service Medal was serially numbered on the rim at the six o'clock position.

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