Civilian Service Medal Announced
By Maj. Donna Miles, USAR
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 19, 1998 DoD civilian employees supporting peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia are the first to qualify for the new Armed Forces Civilian Service Medal.
The medal, established by President Bill Clinton in January, recognizes the contributions of the civilian work force in supporting long-term humanitarian or peacekeeping missions. The award is the civilian equivalent of the Armed Forces Service Medal, and the qualification criteria are similar.
"The department believes very strongly that when civilians and military are in the same sets of circumstances, they should both be recognized in the same sets of ways," Diane Disney, deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, said in an interview with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.
Disney pointed out that civilians are playing increasingly vital roles in military operations, often working side-by-side with their military counterparts in difficult or dangerous situations. "This medal is a way of recognizing the important contributions civilians make to that partnership," she said.
Designed and produced by the Army's Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, Va., the new civilian service medal measures 1.75 inches in diameter and bears a torch on a burst of rays and the inscription, "Supporting Freedom." The medal is suspended from a ribbon with four colors: medium blue, gold and two shades of green. Disney said the colors symbolize the Department of Defense, honor, and life and growth, respectively.
DoD delegated award authority -- each service and DoD agency decides how to award the medal and can obtain them through channels now.
Employees generally qualify for the medal if they have participated in direct support of a military operation where military members received the Armed Forces Service Medal. The civilian support must have lasted for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days, or the full duration of any operation shorter than 30 days.
Managers can nominate DoD civilian employees for the Armed Forces Civilian Service Medal only for their involvement in operations after June 1, 1992. The first eligible recipients, then, are employees who were or are involved in Balkan operations. Miniature bronze stars will denote subsequent awards.
Check with your personnel specialist or personnel office for more details.