a. Public Law 99-145, Department of Defense Authorization Act, dated 8 November 1985, amended Chapter 57 of Title 10, USC, 1128, to require under certain circumstances the issuance of a Prisoner of War Medal to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, was taken prisoner and held captive after 5 April 1917.
b. As a result of the above law, DOD solicited designs from all sources, and on 29 November 1985, designated The Institute of Heraldry (TIOH) as the Executive Agency for designing and procuring the medal. Over 300 designs were received and referred to a committee, comprised of representatives of the Armed Services, for advising the Secretary of Defense on a selection.
c. The design selected was created by Mr. Jay C. Morris of The Institute of Heraldry. The symbolism of the design is as follows: The eagle, a symbol of the United States and the American spirit, though surrounded by barbed wire and bayonet points, stands with pride and dignity, continually on the alert for the opportunity to seize hold of beloved freedom, thus symbolizing the hope that upholds the spirit of the prisoner of war. The ribbon colors red, white, and blue are symbolic of our National colors while determination to survive in or to escape from a hostile environment.
d. Order of precedence and wear policy for medals awarded to Army personnel is contained in AR 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority and supply of medals is contained in AR 600-8-22.