Sailors and Marines serving in two missions may now receive the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. was upgraded this past year from the Department of Defense, authorizing more operations under the eligibility list for the award and refining policy for multiple awards.

Operation Freedom's Sentinel, as the Afghanistan mission is now known, as well as Operation Inherent Resolve, the missions against the brutal so-called Islamic State group, are now approved for the GWOT-E Medal, according to ALNAV 062/15, signed July 31 by the Navy secretary. The changes were approved February 9 by Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright in a DoD memorandum. But it wasn’t until July 31, when Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed ALNAV 062/15 that the changes became effective for the Navy and the Marine Corps. 

Here’s What you need to know about the new award details:

1. The medal. The GWOT-E Medal was created by President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13289 on March 12, 2003, to recognize troops military service members who have deployed overseas in operations directly supporting the global war on terror from September 11, 2001 out to a date to be determined in the future

2. War service. Prior to April 30, 2005, the GWOT-E Medal was awarded only for service within Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone who served inside those countries after that date now are awarded Iraq or Afghanistan Campaign Medal instead. Today, the award is given mostly to recognize those who have deployed overseas during the GWOT in locations other than Iraq and Afghanistan. No one qualifies for the medal by servingsupporting those operations inside the continental United States — or on waters within 200 miles of the U.S. coast — the rates the medal

To qualify, a sailor or Marine must deploy in direct support of the Global War on Terrorism in one of six operations in designated "ares of eligibility" for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days starting September 11, 2001. Because some of these operations are still ongoing, the end eligibility date has yet to be determined. 
For aircrew members flying sorties into, out of, within, or over the AOE in direct support of the designated operations may also qualify for the medal. Each day that one or more sorties are flown counts as one day towards the 30-day consecutive or 60-day non-consecutive requirement.
The exception to the 30/60 day rule is made for sailors and Marines engaged in actual combat against the enemy where they faced grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action. In addition, those killed, or wounded or who have sustaineding injuries that require  or injuries that in injuries. requiring  medical evacuation out of the area of eligibility also qualify.

3. Qualifying Operations. Sailors and Marines must deploy to the AOE in direct support of a qualifying operation. The approved operations and their effective dates: se are: must not only deploy in direct support of a qualifying operation, that deployment must take them to a qualifying area of eligibility for that operation, too. 

  • Operation Enduring Freedom: Sept. 11, 2001 — to a date to be determined.
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom: between March 19, 2003 — Aug. 31, 2010.
  • Operation New Dawn: Sept.ember 1, 2010 — Dec.ember 31, 2011.
  • Operation Nomad Shadow: from Nov.ember 5, 2007 — TBD a date to be determined.
  • Operation Inherent Resolve from June 15, 2014 — TBD.
  • Operation Freedom's Sentinel from Jan.uary 1, 2015 to TBDa date to be determined.

Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentineal were added in this latest update. 

DoD maintains a list of locations that are qualifying areas. To check on regions that qTo find out of you served in a qualifying area within those operations, go to to find a complete list  of operations and eligible areas. 

4. Multiple awards. Because many troops service members have now served in multiple operations, DoD has created a policy for multiple awards. Only one GWOT-E Medal can be awarded for an approved operation, even if the sailor or Marine has deployed multiple times to it. However, they may earn a single bronze service star for service in other approved operations. For five operations, they earn a silver service star. awarded for each approved operation, regardless if the member deployed their multiple times. But service in another qualifying operation and eligible area now qualifies a member to wear a single bronze service star for each additional operation. If the member qualifies for five operations, they use a silver service star. 

For example, a service member who was awarded the medal for an Operation Enduring Freedom deployment and then deploys in support of Operation Inherent Resolve can now wear a single service star with the medal to signify both awards.

5. What's next.  What you need to do — Commanding officers of qualified units are authorized to issue medals and service stars for the GWOT-E Medal to sailors and Marines. They must ensure the awards are noted in It’s up to CO’s to ensure the awards are denoted in a sailor’s Electronic Service Record or a Marine’s Marine Corps Total Force System.

Sailors who are discharged or retired can have their awards updated through a written request, Sailors now discharged or or retired can have their awards updated in their official records by submitting a written request, indicating unit and dates assigned to and a copy of their DD-214 to: 

Navy Personnel Command (PERS-312)
5720 Integrity Drive 
Millington, TN 38055-3120.

Discharged or retired Marines must submit their requests to:

Manpower Management Division
Military Awards Branch (MMMA)
2008 Elliot Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5030.

Reserve and IRR Marines submit their requests to:

Marine Corps Mobilization Command
15303 Andrews Road
Kansas City, MO 64147-1207.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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