The Puerto Rican Occupation Medal was established War Department Compilation of Orders (Change 15), dated February 4, 1919.
The Puerto Rican Occupation Medal was awarded for qualifying service between the inclusive dates of August 14 and December 10, 1898.
The Puerto Rican Occupation Medal was awarded for military service in Puerto Rico between August 14 and December 10, 1898.
Order of Precedence
The Puerto Rican Occupation Medal was worn after the Cuban Occupation Medal and before the Philippine Campaign Medal.
No devices were authorized for the Puerto Rican Occupation Medal.
The Puerto Rican Occupation Medal was based on the design of the Spanish Campaign Medal by Francis D. Millet (1846-1912).
Puerto Rican Occupation Medal No. 1 was issued to Colonel Charles E. Morton on October 7, 1919.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a castle with two round corner towers (bartisans) is shown; the castle is contained within a circle composed of the words ARMY OF OCCUPATION PORTO RICO in the upper half; the date 1898 centered at the bottom of the lower half, and a branch of tobacco ascending on the left and a stalk of sugar cane ascending on the right (the combination forming a wreath).
In the interest of saving time and money, the design of the Spanish Campaign Medal was used but with a different wording. The wording and dates distinguish the two medals from one another and indicate what they commemorate.
The reverse shows an eagle with wings displayed, alight upon a trophy consisting of a cannon; six rifles and four standard;, 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
At the suggestion of Colonel Robert E. Wyllie (Chief of the Equipment Branch of the Operations Division, Quartermaster Corps) the ribbon was adapted from that of the Cuban Occupation Medal with the color pattern reversed.
The Puerto Rican Occupation Medal was initially produced by the Philadelphia Mint. The first batch was numbered 1 through 200 without prefix. The second batch, also produced by the Mint, was numbered No. 201 through No. 400 and additional stocks were purchased from various commercial firms and were numbered without prefix.