The Navy Expeditionary Medal was established by Navy Department General Orders No. 84 on August 15, 1936.


The Navy Expeditionary Medal has been awarded for qualifying service from February 12, 1874, to the present. The earliest qualifying service was in the Hawaiian Islands from February 12 to 20, 1874.


The Navy Expeditionary Medal is awarded to Navy personnel who have landed on foreign territory and engaged in operations against armed opposition or who have operated under circumstances deemed to merit special recognition and for which no campaign medal has been awarded.

This medal is only awarded to personnel attached to one of the ships or units listed in the notice or instruction at some time during the respective periods shown, and who actually participated in the operation. This includes personnel attached to a squadron or unit embarked in a ship during the eligible period for that ship. Members of rear echelons, transients, observers, and personnel assigned for short periods of Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) or Training Duty (TD) are not normally eligible. However, consideration will be given in those instances when the local commander certifies a particular and significant contribution by an individual. For additional clarification, see Paragraph 6a of SECNAVINST 1650.1G, pages 4-17 and 4-18.


The Navy Expeditionary Medal is worn after the Fleet Marine Force Ribbon and before the Navy Occupation Service Medal.

  • A bar with the words WAKE ISLAND is authorized for wear on the medal for personnel who served in the defense of Wake Island between and December 7 and 22, 1941.

  • A silver W is worn on the service ribbon to denote the Individual is entitled to the WAKE ISLAND bar.

  • A bronze star three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter is authorized for each subsequent entitlement to the medal.

The first recipient of the Navy Expeditionary Medal is not known.


The Navy Expeditionary Medal was designed by Vincent Glinsky (1895-1975), under the Treasury Relief Art Project, and was sculpted by Adolph A. Weinman (1870-1952).



In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a sailor is shown beaching a boat containing three men in uniform, one of whom is carrying a rifle. At the rear of the boat there is an American flag. In the upper quarter of the medal, and following the contour of its rim, is the word EXPEDITIONS.

The sailor beaching the boat symbolizes the Navy's role in such expeditions and illustrates the "opposed landing" on a foreign shore. The people in the boat are an officer and two Marines preparing to land. The United States flag represents the authority under which these expeditions are conducted and the ideals of the United States carried to foreign shores during these expeditions.


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. 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 Navy Expeditionary Medal consists of a blue background with a wide yellow stripe inside each edge. These colors were selected because they are the colors of the United States Navy.


The Navy Expeditionary Medal was not numbered.

Authorized Expeditions: Click here for a listing of qualifying expeditions

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