The Spanish War Service Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 873: Chapter 143, 40 Stat. 873, 65th Congress) on July 9, 1918.
The Spanish War Service Medal commemorates certain service during the Spanish-American War. It was awarded for military service of not less than ninety days between April 20, 1898, and April 11, 1899, to servicemen who were not eligible for the Spanish Campaign Medal. The Spanish War Service Medal was originally intended for members of the National Guard mobilized during the Spanish-American War but who were not eligible for the Spanish Campaign Medal.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Spanish War Service Medal takes precedence after the Spanish Campaign Medal and before the Cuban Occupation 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.
Spanish War Service Medal #1 was presented to Major General Charles M. Clement on July 16, 1919.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
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 IN THE SPANISH WAR. 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 Spanish War Service Medal consists of a field of green with a gold stripe inside each edge. Green is symbolic of freedom while gold alludes to virtue; thus the colors of this ribbon refer to civic virtue by serving the government in the cause of freedom.
This medal was serially numbered (without prefix) at the six o'clock position on its rim.