Today marks the 75th anniversary of “V-E Day,” representing the allied victory in Europe during World War II. To commemorate the occasion, we wanted to talk about the history of the campaign medal awarded to service members in the European theater of World War II.
The European-African-Middle Eastern (EAME) 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 one of those regions between 7 December 1941 and 8 November 1945. The European-African-Middle Eastern Theater included service in the countries of Europe, European Russia, Greenland, Iceland, the countries of Africa, and in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. The service criteria included that a service member had:
- Served with a unit during a period in which it participated in combat, under orders to the combat zone and was awarded a combat award.
- Served under orders to the combat zone and in receipt of a certificate stipulating combat participation from a corps command equivalent or higher.
- Served under orders to the combat zone and served at a normal post of duty, aboard a ship in other than passenger status and certified by the home port commander as having served in the combat one, or as an evadee, escapee, or recovered prisoner of war in the combat zone.
The EAME ribbon design was approved by the Secretary of War in December 1942; wherein the brown was to represent the sands of Africa and the Middle East and the green was to represent the fields of Europe. The green, white, and red stripes on the left represented Italy. 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 white and black stripes on the right represented Germany.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower requested that the medal depict an invasion scene, and the design was submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts in September 1946. The obverse of the EAME medal was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones. It showed an LST landing craft and airplane in the background with troops landing under fire in the foreground and the words “European African Middle Eastern Campaign” across the top. The reverse of the medal was designed by A. A. Weinman and was the same design as used on the Asiatic-Pacific and American Campaign Medals which depicted a bald eagle in the center, the dates of American’s 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 official campaign. An arrowhead device was affixed for participation in a combat parachute jump, helicopter assault landing, combat glider landing, or amphibious assault landing.
Army Campaigns of the EAME:
|Egypt-Libya||11 June 1942 – 12 February 1943|
|Air Offensive||4 July 1942 – 5 June 1944|
|Algeria-French Morocco||8 – 11 November 1942|
|Tunisia||12 November 1942 – 13 May 1943|
|Sicily||14 May 1943 – 17 August 1943|
|Naples-Foggia||9 September 1943 – 21 January 1944|
|Anzio||22 January 1944 – 24 May 1944|
|Rome-Arno||22 January 1944 – 9 September 1944|
|Normandy||6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944|
|Northern France||25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944|
|Southern France||15 August 1944 – 14 September 1944|
|Northern Apennines||10 September 1944 – 4 April 1945|
|Rhineland||15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945|
|Ardennes-Alsace||16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945|
|Central Europe||22 March 1945 – 11 May 1945|
|Po Valley||5 April 1945 – 8 May 1945|
|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 EAME:
|North African Occupation||8 November 1942 – 9 July 1943|
|Sicilian Occupation||9-15 July 1943 & 28 July – 17 August 1943|
|Salerno Landings||9-21 September 1943|
|West Coast of Italy Operations (1944)||22 January – 17 June 1944|
|Invasion of Normandy||6-25 June 1944|
|Northeast Greenland Operation||10 July – 17 November 1944|
|Invasion of Southern France||15 August – 25 September 1944|
|Reinforcement of Malta||14-21 April 1942 & 3-16 May 1942|
|Escort, Anti-Submarine, Armed Guard, and Special Operations||1941 – 1944|
We have provided a downloadable resource PDF of the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal for personal use.
- American Battle Monuments Commission, American Battle Monuments Commission, “European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.”
- Naval History and Heritage Command, Naval History and Heritage Command, “World War II – European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaign.”
- 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 Army Center of Military History, Center of Military History, “World War II – European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaigns.”
- United States Navy, “Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual,” NavPers 15,790 (Rev. 1953).