The China Service Medal was established on August 23, 1940, by Navy Department General Orders Number 135 as amended on January 22, 1947, by ALNAV 25 (further amended on January 28, 1948, by Navy Department General Orders Number 255).
The China Service Medal was awarded for qualifying service between the inclusive dates of July 7, 1937, and September 7, 1939; and was was subsequently extended to include service rendered between September 2, 1945, to April 1, 1957.
The China Service Medal was awarded to Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel who:
The China Service Medal was worn after the Yangtze Service Medal and before the American Defense Service Medal.
Individuals who received the China Service Medal for service during both periods of eligibility were authorized to wear a bronze star on the ribbon.
The first recipient of the China Service Medal is not known.
The China Service Medal was designed by George H. Snowden.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a Chinese junk in full sail is shown upon scroll waves; the junk is encircled by the words CHINA SERVICE in stylized lettering.
The Chinese junk was used because it is a common sight in Chinese inland and coastal waters and thereby symbolizes the geographic area of operations for which the medal was awarded.
In the center of a bronze medallion, an eagle is shown alight upon an anchor; the eagle is facing to the left, and the flukes of the anchor are to the right side of the medallion. The eagle is grasping sprigs of laurel, which extend beyond the anchor in both directions. Above the eagle are the words UNITED STATES NAVY (or) UNITED STATES MARINE COPRS. Above the laurel on the left is the word FOR, and over the laurel on the right, SERVICE.
The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States; the anchor alludes to naval service. The laurel is symbolic of victory and achievement.
The ribbon to the China Service Medal consists of a gold background with a red stripe inside each edge. These colors were selected because they are popular Asian colors and represent the geographic area of operations for which this medal was awarded.
The Navy version of the China Service Medal was not numbered; however, the Marine Corps version was numbered without prefix from 1 to 1000 and from 3000 to 4000.