United States Antarctic Expedition Medal
The United States Antarctic Expedition Medal is a combined military-civilian award that was authorized by the United States Congress on September 24, 1945 under Public Law 185 of the 79th Congress (59 Stat. 536). The award recognizes members of the United States Antarctic Expedition of 1939–1941. There were gold, silver, and bronze versions. It is unclear if the gold version is considered a Congressional Gold Medal, as was the case with the 1st Byrd expedition.
|United States Antarctic Expedition Medal|
Gold United States Antarctic Expedition Medal
|Awarded by Department of the Navy|
|Type||Medal in Gold, Silver, and Bronze|
|Eligibility||Members of U.S. Antarctic Expedition (1939–1941)|
|Awarded for||Valuable services to the Nation in the field of polar exploration and science|
|Status||Obsolete; replaced by Antarctica Service Medal|
|Established||September 24, 1945|
|Next (higher)||World War II Victory Medal|
|Next (lower)||Navy Occupation Service Medal|
|Related||Byrd Antarctic Expedition Medal|
Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition Medal
Antarctica Service Medal
Ribbon bar of the medal
The statute awarding the medal reads as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Navy is authorized and directed to cause to be made at the United States mint such number of gold, silver, and bronze medals of appropriate design as he may deem appropriate and necessary, to be presented to members of the United States Antarctic Expedition of 1939–1941, in recognition of their valuable services to the Nation in the field of polar exploration and science.
In 1935 Congress passed a law (Pub.L. 74–43) allowing the Secretary of the Navy to authorize—at his discretion—the wearing of commemorative or other special awards on Navy or Marine Corps uniforms, in military sized form.
As the 1st and 2nd Byrd Expedition medals, and the United States Antarctic Expedition medal were only authorized to be awarded to a select number of people, in 1960 the Antarctica Service Medal was created, which can be awarded generally.
Precedence and wear
As recently as 1998 the Antarctic Expedition Medal still appeared in U.S. Navy uniform regulations precedence charts, after the WW II Victory Medal, and before the Navy Occupation Service Medal. In the 1953 Navy Awards Manual the Antarctic Expedition Medal was classified as a commemorative medal and ranked above all campaign service medals but below decorations, unit awards and all other commemorative medals.
- "Medals and Awards Manual COMDTINST M1650.25D" (PDF). Directives and Publications Division website. May 2008. pp. 22–3. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- United States Antarctic Expedition Medal (1939-1941)
- "Congressional Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals awarded to the members of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd's first Antarctic expedition". artandhistory.house.gov. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- United States Statutes at Large. 49. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. 1936. p. 162 – via Wikisource. [scan
- "United States Navy Uniform Regulations, NAVPERS 15665I Chapt. 5, Sect. 3, Article 5308" (PDF). United States Navy. January 1998. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- "Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual, NavPers 15,790" (PDF). United States Navy. 1953. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Office of the Historian. "Congressional Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals Awarded to Byrd's First Antarctic Expedition". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 6 September 2016.