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2 armed forces service medal

2 Armed Forces Service Medal

The 2 Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) is an award that honors U.S. armed forces personnel who have participated directly in a significant military operation which resulted in a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission. It was established on April 9, 1996 by Executive Order 12944 signed by President Bill Clinton. The 2 AFSM stands alongside the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) as one of the foremost medals that recognizes bravery and heroic service in the U.S. military.

Requirements for Authorization

When a military engagement has been either declared or approved by the President of the United States, forces may be authorized to receive the AFSM. The conditions for eligibility include the personnel in question were:

  • Participate in a deployment through an “imminent danger,” hazardous duty area, or an area subject to hostile fire;
  • Participate in a significant military operation in a designated foreign territory;
  • Participate in a peacekeeping operation; or
  • Participate in a humanitarian operation.

The service must have not been the same as those that had already been recognized by existing decorations and awards. The AFSM is only awarded for either extensive area service or service in specified support of recognized entities thanks to a variety of missions.

Design of Medal and Criteria for Award

The design of the 2 AFSM is circular and composed of gold and laurel branches, surrounded by a silver and gold border. In the center of the medal, a red, white and blue shield is featured with a blue six pointed star and two crossed swords with a banner in the lower portion depicting the name of the recipient. This gold medal can only be awarded for either commendable service or combat duty in foreign countries that meet the approval criteria.
The 2 AFSM must be approved by the Commander/Commander-in-Chief and include a brief citation of the person’s actions or service for the mission. The citation should explain why the person was eligible for the award, including the specifics of the assignment or deployment that was required for the mission. Upon completion of the mission, approved personnel will receive the AFSM in recognition of the service rendered.


The Armed Forces Service Medal is an award given to U.S. armed forces personnel who have participated in a significant operation of a humanitarian or peacekeeping nature. All deployments must have either been declared or approved by the President of the United States, as well as adhere to the criteria established for the AFSM. This includes participating in an imminent danger, hazardous area, a foreign nation, a peacekeeping mission, or a humanitarian operation. Upon approval of the mission and subsequent service, personnel are eligible for the AFSM, a medal composed of a circular border of gold and laurel branches with a red, white, and blue shield featuring a six-pointed star, two crossed swords, and a banner reading the personnel’s name.

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