The American Campaign Medal was established by Executive Order 9265 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on November 6, 1942, and implemented by War Department Bulletin 56 (1942) and Navy Department General Orders Number 253 (1942).
The American Campaign Medal was awarded for qualifying service between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946.
The American Campaign Medal was awarded for For thirty days service outside the Continental United States but within the American Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946; or, an aggregate service of one year within the Continental United States during the same period under the following circumstances:
The American Campaign Medal was worn after the American Defense Service Medal and before the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. For members of the Women's Army Corps, it was worn after the Women's Army Corps Service Medal and before the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.
Bronze service stars are authorized by both the Army and Navy and represent participation in engagements with the enemy.
The obverse of the American Campaign Medal was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones (1892-1969). The reverse was designed by Adolph A. Weinman (1870-1952).
The first person to receive the American Campaign Medal was General George C. Marshall, whose medal was presented on December 17, 1947.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a Navy cruiser is shown beneath a B-24 airplane flying overhead and sinking an enemy submarine in the foreground; in the background, there is a group of buildings. Above this scene (following the upper contour of the medal) are the words AMERICAN CAMPAIGN.
The ship and airplane represent military might in defense of the United States; the sinking ship is a German submarine. This scene represents the successful interdiction of the submarine threat to the coast of the United States. The buildings in the background are the "arsenal of democracy," which provided military supplies and equipment to the United Nations in support of the war effort. The words identify the geographic area covered by this campaign medal.
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, an American bald eagle alight on a rock. To the eagle's left, the dates 1941-1945 (in two lines); to the eagle's right, the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (in three lines).
The bald eagle is the national symbol and thereby represents the American people. It is perched on a solid rock which represents the firmness of resolve and strength of America in prosecuting the war, as indicated by the dates.
The ribbon to the American Campaign medal consists of a background of light blue bisected in the center by pinstripes of blue, white and red. Inside the outer edges of the ribbon are another set of slightly wider pinstripes, these being in order (from the outside inward) white, black, red, and white. The Secretary of War directed that ribbons for the area campaign medals were to employ separate colors to denote the theaters they represented. The theater color was to predominate in each ribbon and the common relationship among all of them was to be achieved by using colored stripes put in the same place on each of the ribbons.
Blue was selected as the predominate color for the American Campaign Medal because blue represents the United States and has been the official color of the United States since 1821. The pinstripes of blue, white, and red in the center are taken from the American Defense Service Medal and represent the national colors. The white, black, red, and white stripes inside each edge are the composite colors of the enemy (black and white for Germany, and red and white for Japan). Their position on the ribbon also alludes to the German threat to the east coast of the United States while the red and white represents the Japanese threat to the west coast. The outer edges of blue stand for the oceans which protect our shores.