(Index Page)

  Arctic Service Medal (Coast Guard)
 Armed Forces Service Medal
 Army of Cuban Occuption Medal
 Army of Cuban Pacification Medal
 Army of Occupation Medal (World War II)
 Cuban Pacification Medal (Navy and Marine Corps)
 Korea Defense Service Medal
 Navy Occupation Service Medal (World War II)
 Puerto Rican Occupation Medal

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  Background Information

War is extremely disruptive: the areas of combat operations typically experience servere damage to economic and agricultural resources as well as the collapse of economic and educational institutions. Indeed, the very fabric of society almost always suffers from severe damage and social disruption. This is why is not enough to win the war; the victors must also win the peace. This can require the establishment of a military occupation to provide the full range of social, economic, and infrastructure services until the defeated country can rise from its ashes and re-establish its basic institutions.

Adding to the difficulty of a post-war environment is actual or potential resistance from the defeated. Following the Second World War the United States spent large sums of money to rebuild Europe under the Marshall Plan. At the same time, war crimes were investigated and their authors prosecuted. The defeated armies were demobilized and their soldiers re-integrated into civilian society.
  • Occupation Medals
Military service during these periods is difficult and demanding, and those who serve in these areas are normally recognized by a special medal. These have typically been referred to as "occupation medals" and denote non-combat service in a specific area following combat operations.

In the period following the Second World War the United States has been confronted by a much different situation. We did not defeat North Korea (and its allies) militarily; nor did we defeat North Vietnam (and the Viet Cong). We did not defeat the Iraqi government during the First Gulf War (we elected to simply leave after restoring Kuwait, thereby setting the stage for the current war in Iraq). Following the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq we did not compel the enemy to surrender; indeed, we pushed too quickly for the establishment of a civilian government and sent far too few troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to establish security and separate religious factions who still compete for control. It is virtually certain that there will not be an occupation medals for the War on Terrorism. This is especially so in light of the fact that the fighting seems to be less involved with national governments than with religious and ethnic zealots.
  • Harsh Climate Service
An entirely different kind of service is acknowledged by medals given for serving in harsh climates. This section only lists one such medal, the Coast Guard's Arctic Service Medal. The other medals for service in the Antarctic are listed under Commemorative medals because they were created by Congress.

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