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Campaign Stars Honor Service in Afghanistan, Iraq

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2008 – New campaign stars authorized for wear on the Afghanistan and Iraq campaign medals represent tangible recognition and honor for the sacrifices and contributions servicemembers have made in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, a senior defense official said today.

The Defense Department announced the campaign stars yesterday to recognize participation in specific campaigns in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Servicemembers who quality for the Afghanistan Campaign Medal or Iraq Campaign Medal may now display a bronze campaign star on their medals for each designated campaign phase in which they participated.

In keeping with military tradition, the Defense Department established designated campaign phases and inclusive dates, explained Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary for military personnel policy.

The Afghanistan medal is divided into three distinct campaign phases. The “Liberation of Afghanistan” ranfrom Sept. 11 to Nov. 30, 2001. The “Consolidation 1” phase ran from Dec. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2006. The “Consolidation II” phase began Oct. 1, 2006, and continues through a yet-undesignated end date.

The Iraq medal has four campaign phases. The “Liberation of Iraq” extended from March 19 to May 1, 2003. The “Transition of Iraq” ran from May 2, 2003, to June 28, 2004. The “Iraq Governance” phase went from June 29, 2004, to Dec. 15, 2005. The “National Resolution” phase begans Dec. 16, 2005, and continues to a date to be determined.

To qualify for a star, a servicemember must have served 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days in the area, Carr said.

Troops who served the required days during more than one phase, or in both Iraq and Afghanistan, qualify for two stars, he said. However, a servicemember who served two tours during one designated campaign phase qualifies for just one star.

Servicemembers who qualified for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal based on service in direct support of operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom between Sept. 11, 2001, and April 30, 2005, remain qualified for that medal, Carr explained. However, no servicemember is entitled to both the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and either an Afghanistan or Iraq campaign medal for the same act, achievement or service period.

On the uniform, the ACM, then the ICM, follow the Kosovo Campaign Medal in precedence.

“The presence of a campaign medal on a uniform represents that the member participated long and well in multiple stages of the operation,” Carr said. “They take pride in having invested that much of themselves and their families in those phases.

“And that should be reflected on their uniform so we can all recognize and honor it.”

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