Continuing our series of World War II campaign medals, this month’s feature is the American Campaign Medal.
History & Service Requirements
The American Campaign Medal was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9265 dated 6 November 1942, and subsequently amended by President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9706 dated 15 March 1946, to be awarded to members of the Armed Forces who served in the American Theater between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946.
The American Theater included North America (except Alaska which was part of the Pacific Theater) and South America. Service criteria for the American Campaign Medal included that the service member qualified under any of the following conditions:
- Service within the continental limits of the United States for an aggregate period of one year.
- Permanent assignment outside the continental limits of the United States.
- Permanent assignment as a member of a crew or vessel sailing ocean waters for a period of 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days.
- Permanent assignment as a member of an airplane operations crew making regular or frequent flights over ocean waters for a period of 30 days.
- Service outside the continental United States in a passenger status or temporary duty for 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days.
- Active combat against the enemy and was awarded a combat decoration or certificate.
The ribbon design was approved by the Secretary of War in November 1942. The background of the ribbons was blue to represent the Americas. The black and white stripes represented Germany and the red and white stripes represented Japan. The center blue, white, and red stripes were taken from the American Defense Service Medal to represent the continued defense of the United States after Pearl Harbor.
The obverse of the medal was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones. In the foreground it showed a sinking enemy submarine, with a B-24 airplane, a Navy cruiser, and buildings representing the “arsenal of democracy” in the background and the words “American Campaign” across the top. The reverse of the medal was designed by A. A. Weinman and was the same design as used on the European-African-Middle Eastern and Asiatic-Pacific Medals which depicted a bald eagle in the center, the dates of American participation in the war, “1941-1945,” to the left of the eagle, and “United States of America” to the right. One bronze service star was affixed for participation in each constituent official campaign.
Army Campaigns of the American Theater
|Anti-Submarine||7 December 1941 – 2 September 1945|
|Ground Combat||7 December 1941 – 2 September 1945|
|Air Combat||7 December 1941 – 2 September 1945|
Navy Campaigns of the American Theater
|Escort, Anti-Submarine, Armed Guard and Special Operations|
Specifically: Convoy ON-67, Convoy SC-107, Task Groups 21.13, 21.14, 21.15, Convoy TAG-18, USS Frederick C. Davis, USS Atik, USS Asterion
|February 1942 – April 1945|
We have provided a downloadable resource PDF of the American Campaign Medal for personal use.
- Naval History and Heritage Command, Naval History and Heritage Command, “World War II – American Theater, 1941-1946.”
- United States, Executive Office of the President [Franklin D. Roosevelt]. Executive Order 9265: American, European-African-Middle Eastern and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medals. 6 November 1942. Federal Register, vol. 7, no. 9106.
- United States, Executive Office of the President [Harry S. Truman]. Executive Order 9706: Amending Executive Order 9265 of November 6, 1942, Establishing the American, European-African-Middle Eastern and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medals, 15 March 1946. Federal Register, vol. 11, no. 2811.
- United States Army, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, “U. S. Army Service, Campaign Medals and Foreign Awards Information.”
- United States Navy, “Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual,” NavPers 15,790 (Rev. 1953).