The Iraq Campaign Medal was established by Executive Order 13363, signed by President George W. Bush on November 29, 2004. This Executive Order was promulgated in response to Public Law 108-234 (signed into law on May 28, 2004), which recommended the establishment of campaign medals for both Afghanistan and Iraq. The Department of Defense originally established the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, which was intended for use in Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as other locations where troops were deployed against terrorists). However, a large number of veterans of Iraq wanted a campaign medal specific to that operation. When the Defense Department refused to establish an Iraq Campaign Medal, in a highly unuusal move Congress essentially overrode the DoD and with legislation recommending establishment of this medal.
The Iraq Campaign Medal may be awarded to members of the Uniformed Services of the United States who serve, or who have served in Iraq or its contiguous waters and air space, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 19, 2003 through December 31, 2011.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Iraq Campaign Medal is worn after the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and before the War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Originally, service stars are not authorized for the Iraq Campaign Medal; however, in February of 2008 the following service stars (with their respective dates) were announced:
The basic design of the obverse of the Iraq Campaign Medal was executed by The Institute of Heraldry; the design of the reverse was suggested by the Awards and Decorations Branch of the US Marine Corps.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion, a relief of Iraq surmounted by two lines throughout, surmounting a palm wreath. Above is the inscription, IRAQ CAMPAIGN. The relief of Iraq indicates the geographic area of operations, and the two lines represent the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, recalling Iraq's title, "the land of two rivers." The palm wreath denotes durability and strength of the efforts to establish the mission of Iraqi Freedom.
In the center of a bronze medallion, the statue of Freedom surmounting a sunburst, enclosed by a laurel wreath over the inscription, FOR SERVICE IN IRAQ.
The ribbon consists of a khaki stripe in the center, which represents the desert. The khaki is bordered by black, which represents the success of Islam in the region. The black stripe is bordered on either side by a white stripe (denoting generosity), which is bisected by a pinstripe of green (the traditional color of Islam). The ribbon has red edge stripes, which honors courage in fighting for freedom in Iraq. These are also the collective colors of the Iraqi Flag.