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Navy Expeditionary Medal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Navy Expeditionary Medal
Navexpmed front.jpg
Awarded forLanded on foreign territory and engaged in operations against armed opposition, or operated under circumstances which, after full consideration, shall be deemed to merit special recognition and for which service no campaign medal has been awarded.
Presented bythe Department of the Navy[1]
EligibilityUS Navy officers and enlisted
ClaspsWake Island
StatusCurrently Awarded
EstablishedAugust 5, 1936
First awarded12 Feb 1874 (Retroactive) (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands)
Last awarded15 Dec 2002[2]
Navy Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg
Next (higher)U.S. Navy - Fleet Marine Force Ribbon
U.S. Marine Corps - Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal
EquivalentU.S. Marine Corps - Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Next (lower)China Service Medal
RelatedArmed Forces Expeditionary Medal

The Navy Expeditionary Medal is a military award of the United States Navy which was established in August 1936.

Award criteria

The General Orders of the Department of the Navy which established the medal states, "The medal will be awarded, to the officers and enlisted men of the Navy who shall have actually landed on foreign territory and engaged in operations against armed opposition, or operated under circumstances which, after full consideration, shall be deemed to merit special recognition and for which service no campaign medal has been awarded. The Navy Expeditionary Medal is retroactively authorized to February 12, 1874."


The medal was designed by A. A. Weinman and features a sailor beaching a craft carrying Marines, an officer, and a US flag with the word "Expeditions" above. On the reverse of both the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal and Navy Expeditionary Medal, in the center of the bronze medallion an eagle is shown alight upon an anchor; the eagle is facing to the left and the flukes of the anchor are to the right. The eagle is grasping sprigs of laurel, which extend beyond the anchor in both directions. Above the eagle are the words UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS or UNITED STATES NAVY presented as an arch. Above the laurel are the words FOR SERVICE presented horizontally. The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States, the anchor alludes to Marine Corps or Navy service, and the laurel is symbolic of victory and achievement.

Marine Corps eligibility

The medal is one of the few Navy awards which is not concurrently bestowed to the United States Marine Corps, as Marine Corps personnel are eligible for the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal as an equivalent award. In addition, since 1961, some Navy commands have permitted service members to choose between the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for participation in certain operations. Both awards may not be bestowed simultaneously for the same action.[3][4]

Additional awards

Additional awards of the Navy Expeditionary Medal are denoted by service stars.

Wake Island Device

The Wake Island Device is authorized for those service members who were awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal through the defense of Wake Island.[5] As the vast majority of the defenders of Wake Island were U.S. Marines, the Navy Expeditionary Medal with the Wake Island device is one of the rarest awards in the U.S. military history, with only 68 eligible recipients.

Classified operations

Under the “deemed to merit special recognition and for which service no campaign medal has been awarded“ clause, both the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal (MCEM) and Navy Expeditionary Medal (NEM) have been awarded for classified operations with proper adjudication by the Secretary of the Navy Special Awards Board. The MCEM and NEM "can be authorized and awarded to individuals or units who have participated in classified operations not necessarily in connection with larger operations in which the public is aware.” The SECNAV INSTRUCTION 1650.1H - NAVY AND MARINE CORPS AWARDS MANUAL details the process via the Special Awards Board for issuing classified awards. Anecdotal reports from former service members cite a wide variety of classified operations for which the MCEM and NEM have reportedly been awarded, ranging from Marine Corps units clandestinely deployed in Africa, to helicopter gun-crews or force protection units assisting SEAL-DEVGRU or Delta Force teams worldwide, and even classified submarine operations during the Cold War. In cases where the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal or Navy Expeditionary Medal has been awarded for classified operations, the name of the operation is omitted from public documentation including from the individual service member’s DD214 personnel record with only the name of the award and issue date provided.

Stolen Valor

Both the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal (MCEM) and Navy Expeditionary Medal (NEM) have been fraudulently worn by military service members convicted under the UCMJ and civilians fraudulently claiming to have been awarded the MCEM or NEM along with other medals such as the Purple Heart (see Stolen Valor Act for applicable criminal legislation). It has been widely reported that L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, fraudulently claimed being awarded the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.[citation needed]

The issuance of military awards is available via a public records search and from lists of authorized recipients available online. In recent years, a number of television news crews have confronted people fraudulently wearing military awards and “Stolen Valor” websites publicly shame those who fraudulently wear or claim military awards and will notify federal law enforcement when they believe the activity rises to the level of a crime such as fraud for profit-or-gain, falsely receiving veterans services, falsifying a federal document such as the DD214, or violation of the Stolen Valor Act.


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2018-01-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ End date for Operation Determined Response (for forces involved in the response to the USS Cole bombing and subsequent investigation in Yemen). This is the most recent public awarding. The dates of awardings for any classified operations are not public knowledge
  3. ^ "HISTORY OF COMBAT SERVICE INSIGNIAS" (PDF). AIR FORCE ENLISTED HERITAGE RESEARCH INSTITUTE. 29 August 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  4. ^ Navy and marine corps awards manual, secnavinst 1650.1 series
  5. ^ "Service Medals and Campaign Credit of the United States Navy, Navy Expeditionary Medal". Retrieved 28 September 2018.
This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 02:25
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