The Arctic Service Medal was established by Admiral Owen W. Siler, Commandant of the Coast Guard, on May 20, 1976.
The Arctic Service Medal has been retroactively awarded for qualifying service since January 1, 1946.
The Arctic Service Medal may be awarded to any member of the Coast Guard who has served twenty-one consecutive days subsequent to January 1, 1946, under any of the following conditions:
The Arctic Service Medal is worn after the Antarctica Service Medal and before the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
No attachments have been authorized for this medal.
The first recipient of the Arctic Service Medal is not known.
The Arctic Service Medal was designed by Arnold P. Simmons of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a polar bear is shown in profile with its head to the left. Above the bear and following the contour of the upper quarter of the medal, the words ARCTIC SERVICE. An eight pointed star is above the bear's back (and beneath the inscription).
The bear stands on a sheet of ice represented by a straight line; below the line are two undulating lines. The polar bear, whose sole habitat is the Arctic region, alludes to the polar region and to the Coast Guard Cutter Bear. The star represents the Stella Polaris, prominent in the northern sky.
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, the Seal of the United States Coast Guard, under whose authority the medal is awarded is displayed.
The ribbon is the reverse of the Antarctic service Medal, thus indicating service at its opposite (North) pole.