The Mexican Border Service Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 873: Chapter 143, 40 Stat. 873, 65th Congress) on July 9, 1918.


The Mexican Border Service Medal commemorates military service on the Mexican border between May 9, 1916, and March 24, 1917, or with the Mexican Border Patrol between January 1, 1916, and April 6, 1917. Like the Spanish War Service Medal, this award was primarily intended to reward service in the National Guard (service members eligible for the Mexican Service Medal were not eligible for the Mexican Border Service Medal).


The Mexican Border Service Medal takes precedence after the Mexican Service Medal and before the World War I Victory Medal.


No devices were authorized for this medal.


The obverse of the Spanish War Service Medal was designed by Colonel John R. M. Taylor, and the reverse was designed by Rudolf Freund of Bailey, Banks & Biddle. The medal was sculpted by John R. Sinnock of the Philadelphia Mint.


Mexican Border Service Medal #1 issued to Major General Charles M. Clement on July 16, 1919



In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a sheathed Roman sword is shown hanging on a tablet upon which is inscribed, FOR SERVICE ON THE MEXICAN BORDER. The tablet is surrounded by a laurel wreath contained within the raised edge of the medal.

The tablet symbolizes the kind of tablet used for the discharge certificates of Roman Legionairies, which were of bronze and were nailed up in the houses of their recipients. The Roman sword symbolizes war or military strength; its being sheathed indicates National Guard service within the United States, rather than in actual combat. The wreath represents achievement.


In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, the Coat of Arms of the United States with a scroll below, surrounded by a wreath displaying crossed rifles (on the left); crossed sabers (on the right), and crossed cannon (beneath). The Arms of the United States denote service to the United States government (as opposed to purely state service). The crossed rifles, sabers, and cannon allude to the combat arms (infantry, cavalry and artillery). The laurel wreath represents achievement and alludes to the distinction with which the National Guard members served during this period.


The ribbon to the Mexican Border Service Medal consists of a field of green bisected in the center by a gold stripe. The colors have the same symbolism as those of the Spanish War Service Medal: green is symbolic of freedom while gold alludes to virtue. The colors of this ribbon refer to civic virtue by serving the government in the cause of freedom. The proportions were altered to avoid confusing it with the Spanish War Service Medal.


This medal was serially numbered (without prefix) at the six o'clock position on its rim.


Return to top of page
Commemorative Medals (Index Page)
Quick Reference: Commemorative Medals
Home Page