Policy on medals hasn't been finalized yet
Don’t believe everything you read, even if it’s on a Department of Defense Web site.
Servicemembers doing Internet searches about the new Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary medals could find Air Force and Navy Web sites listing what seems like official DOD policy on the medals.
But DOD public affairs officials in Washington, D.C., say that guidance hasn’t been released yet.
The Navy’s Center for Career Development “Stay Navy” Web site listed guidelines, as did the Air Force Air Reserve Personnel Center’s Web site. The Air Force’s center bimonthly newsletter even ran a full-page article that lists the unofficial criteria.
DOD spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell said that the services have been contacted to remove the information.
But Navy and Air Force personnel aren’t the only ones who seem to have been taken in by GWOT medal rumors.
Some soldiers state in their official online biographies that they’ve been authorized to wear the expeditionary medal, including a colonel serving as the staff judge advocate for a major Department of Defense command and a lieutenant colonel serving as the commander of a Georgia-based medical unit. A battalion sergeant major listed both of the awards in his online biography.
“That’s pretty bold of them,” Campbell said.
It’s especially bold since the Army’s Personnel Command Web site specifically states that the medals “are not authorized for wear and cannot be posted to soldiers’ records.”
Some soldiers may have been misled by their commands.
The Army Reserve’s 115th Field Hospital Web site states that “personnel that deployed with the 115th Field Hospital to Operations Enduring/Iraqi Freedom are authorized the [Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal].”
The unit could not be contacted for additional information on who gave that authorization.
DOD itself may also be the cause for the confusion.
Nothing in President Bush’s March 12 executive order states any specific criteria for the awarding of the medals, but a March 13 DOD news release states that “Operation Enduring Freedom is the prime operation the [Expeditionary] medal may be awarded for. Personnel assigned to operations in Afghanistan and the Philippines are examples of servicemembers who will receive the award.”
The release also states that “the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal will be awarded to servicemembers who serve in military operations to combat terrorism on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Operation Noble Eagle is an example of the type of operation the medal may be awarded for.”