During the late 1950’s, it became apparent that a medal was needed to recognize the services of the Armed Forces who participated in the increased involvement of the American military in peacekeeping activities. As a result, President Kennedy established the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, per Executive Order 10977, dated 4 December 1961, for operations on or after 1 July 1958.
In a memorandum dated 20 December 1961, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense requested that The Institute of Heraldry submit proposed designs as soon as possible. Proposed designs were submitted on 25 January 1962 and a design, created by Mr. Jay Morris, was tentatively selected. The design was submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts for comments prior to approval by the Deputy Secretary of Defense on 24 April 1962.
The selected design uses the eagle to represent the strength of our Armed Forces, and the sword, loose in its scabbard, denotes the readiness to serve wherever needed, as further suggested by the compass rose.
A bronze service star is worn to denote second and subsequent awards of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Each Service may authorize the use of campaign streamers for operations in the designated areas. The Army has authorized campaign credit and display of streamers for four areas: Grenada, Panama, Somalia and the Dominican Republic.
Order of precedence and wear policy for service medals awarded to Army personnel is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority and supply of medals is contained in AR 600-8-22. The policy for display of campaign streamers on guidons/flags and supply of streamers is contained in Chapter 9, AR 840-10.