The Naval Reserve Sea Service Ribbon was established by SECNAV Note 5420 on May 28, 1986, issued by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, and announced by OPNAVNOTE 1650 of June 3, 1987 issued by Secretary of the Navy James H. Webb, Jr.
The Naval Reserve Sea Service Ribbon was made retroactive to August 15, 1974.
Qualifying service performed between August 15, 1974 and January 1, 1979 can only be credited toward an initial award of the ribbon. After January 1, 1979 one award is granted for each qualifying period.
Awarded for active duty, Selected Reserve, or any combination of active or Selected Reserve service after 15 August 1974 aboard a Naval Reserve Ship or its Reserve unit or an embarked active or Reserve staff, for a cumulative total of 24 months.
The Naval Reserve Sea Service Ribbon is worn after the Arctic Service Ribbon and before the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.
Subsequent awards are denoted by bronze stars three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter.