Iraq Campaign Medal

The Iraq Campaign Medal (ICM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces which was created by Executive Order 13363 of U.S. President George W. Bush on 29 November 2004,[2] and became available for general distribution in June 2005.[4] The medal was designed by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry and was awarded during the Iraq War, from 19 March 2003 to 31 December 2011.[5]

Iraq Campaign Medal
The Iraq Campaign Medal, front (left), and back (right).
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense
TypeCampaign medal
EligibilityU.S. military personnel
Awarded forService in Iraq during the Iraq War from 19 March 2003 to 31 December 2011
Established29 November 2004[2]
First awarded2005 (retroactive to 19 March 2003)
Next (higher)Afghanistan Campaign Medal[3]
Next (lower)Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal[3]
RelatedGlobal War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Service ribbon (top)
Campaign streamer (middle)
USMC campaign streamer (bottom)


The medal is bronze in appearance, 1 14 inches (32mm) in diameter. The obverse depicts a north-oriented relief of the map of Iraq, surmounted by two lines representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers throughout, superimposed over a palm wreath. Above is the inscription "IRAQ CAMPAIGN." On the reverse, the Statue of Freedom surmounts a sunburst, encircled by two scimitars pointing down with the blades crossing at the tips. Below is the inscription "FOR SERVICE IN IRAQ." The medal is suspended from a ribbon 1 38 inches (34.9 mm) wide. The stripes of the ribbon invoke the colors of the Iraqi flag and are: 532 inch scarlet at the edges, followed by 116 inch white, 132 inch green, and 116 inch white. The white is separated by a 532 inch black with a 716 inch stripe in chamois in the center.[5]


The Iraq Campaign Medal was awarded to any member of the U.S. military who performed duty within the borders of Iraq (or its territorial waters) for a period of thirty consecutive days or sixty non-consecutive days. The medal was awarded retroactively from 19 March 2003 until the end of Operation New Dawn on 31 December 2011.[6]

Personnel who engaged in combat with an enemy force, or personnel wounded in combat or wounded as a result of a terrorist attack within Iraq received the Iraq Campaign Medal regardless of the number of days spent within the country.

In addition, each day participating in aerial missions as a "regularly assigned air crewmember of an aircraft flying sorties into, out of, within or over Iraq and in direct support of the military operations" established a single day of eligibility. When the required minimum days of eligibility were accrued, the medal was then awarded.[7]

The medal was also awarded posthumously to any service member who died in the line of duty within Iraq, including from non-combat injuries such as accidents and mishaps.[8][9]

On 23 April 2012, an order terminating the award of the Iraq Campaign Medal was issued by the Department of Defense. The order is effective to 31 December 2011, the day Operation New Dawn ended.[1] U.S. military personnel serving inside the borders of Iraq after December 2011 will not be eligible to receive the ICM.[10]

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

The Iraq Campaign Medal replaced the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOT-EM) for service in Iraq from 19 March 2003, through 30 April 2005.[11] Personnel who previously received the GWOT-EM for Iraq service were given the option to exchange the medal for the Iraq Campaign Medal. The medals were not authorized for the same period of service in Iraq, and any Iraq service which followed the Iraq Campaign Medal's creation was recognized only with the ICM.[1]

Operation Inherent Resolve

U.S. military personnel serving post-2014 in the Iraq conflict were originally awarded the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOT-EM) and not the Iraq Campaign Medal as the latter conflict had ended and the former conflict was nameless at the time and the U.S. government did not designate the fighting to be a military campaign.[12] However, the U.S. government dubbed their operations in Iraq post-2014 as "Operation Inherent Resolve", and in March 2016, the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal (IRCM) was created. The IRCM is now awarded to those who have served in missions in Iraq against ISIL from 15 June 2014 to the present.[11] Those who were awarded the GWOT-EM for serving in Iraq from 15 June 2014 to 30 March 2016, can put in a request for the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal instead.[13][14][15][16]

Campaign phases

The following are the established campaign phases for the Iraq Campaign Medal:[17][18]

Phase From To
Phase 1: Liberation of Iraq 19 March 2003 1 May 2003
Phase 2: Transition of Iraq 2 May 2003 28 June 2004
Phase 3: Iraqi Governance 29 June 2004 15 December 2005
Phase 4: National Resolution 16 December 2005 9 January 2007
Phase 5: Iraqi Surge 10 January 2007 31 December 2008
Phase 6: Iraqi Sovereignty 1 January 2009 31 August 2010
Phase 7: Operation New Dawn 1 September 2010 15 December 2011


The Iraq Campaign Medal is authorized the following devices:[11][10][19][20][21][22][23]

  • Arrowhead device - For qualified Army and Air Force service members.
  • Campaign stars - For each campaign phase that a service member participates in, a 316 inch bronze campaign star is worn on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal, with a 316 inch silver star being worn in lieu of five bronze stars.
  • Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia (FMFCOI) - The ICM may also be awarded with the Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia for qualified Navy service members such as hospital corpsmen and religious program specialists assigned to Marine Corps units that participate in combat during the assignment. The FMFCOI is not a substitute for campaign stars, but is rather worn alongside any campaign stars.

Examples of campaign stars worn on the ICM service ribbon:

Any one of the seven phases
Two of the seven phases
Three of the seven phases
Four of the seven phases
Five of the seven phases
Six of the seven phases
All seven phases

See also


  1. "DoD terminates Iraq Campaign Medal – Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq". Army Times. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  2. "Executive Order: Establishing the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals". Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  3. "Army Regulation 600–8–22 Military Awards" (PDF). Army Publishing Directorate. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  4. "Iraq Campaign Medal". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  5. "Iraq Campaign Medal". Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  6. "MILPER Message 12-148". U.S. Army. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  7. "Federal Register, Volume 70 Issue 211 (Wednesday, November 2, 2005)". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  8. "DoD Announces Criteria for Two New Campaign Medals" Archived 30 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine United States Department of Defense 07 April 2005
  9. Campaign Stars to Adorn Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals Archived 30 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine United States Department of Defense 07 April 2005
  10. "Afghanistan Campaign Medal or Iraq Campaign Medal". Awards and Decorations Branch Article. Army Human Resource Command. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  11. "Department of Defense Manual 1348.33, Volume 3" (PDF). Defense Technical Information Center. 21 December 2016. pp. 43–45. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  12. Evans, Garrett (1 October 2014). "Troops not eligible for campaign medal in fight against ISIS". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  13. Garamone, Jim (30 March 2016). "Carter Announces Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal". DoD News. Washington, D.C.: Defense Media Activity. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  14. Gilkes, Paul (8 April 2016). "Inherent Resolve Campaign medal available to military service personnel". Coin World. p. 2. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  15. "The New Anti-ISIS Medal: A Bit Too Crusadery?". The Atlantic. March 2016.
  16. "Navy Awards Precedence Chart". Navy Personnel Command. United States Department of the Navy. 2016. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  17. "Additional Phases Identified for Iraq Campaign Medal". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  18. "News Release: Additional Phases Identified for Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals". Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  19. Army Regulation 600-8-22 Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  20. Air Force Instruction 36-2803 Archived 16 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  21. "NAVADMIN 141/08". Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  22. Two Bulls, Richard. "Campaign Stars Established to Recognize Multiple Deployments". Naval Media Center Public Affairs. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  23. Coast Guard Commandant Instruction 1650.25D

Further reading

  • Emering, Edward John (2012). The Decorations and Medals of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Claymont, DE: Orders and Medals Society of America. ISBN 978-1-890974-34-3.
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