Iraq Campaign Medal - What does it symbolize?
The Iraq Campaign Medal is a U.S. Military award, which was created by Executive Order 13363 of U.S. President George W. Bush on November 29th, 2004.
The Iraq Campaign Medal/Ribbon was awarded to U.S. service members who performed duty within the borders of Iraq or on its territorial waters for the period of 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days.
However, service members 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, service members that were “regularly assigned air crew-members” established a single day of eligibility when participating in an aerial mission, into, out of, within or over Iraq in support of military operations. When these personnel reached the required minimum days of eligibility the medal was awarded.
The medal was awarded retroactively back to March 19, 2003 until the end of Operation New Dawn on December 31, 2011.
There are a total of 7 campaign phases for which the Iraq Campaign Medal will be awarded, they are:
Phase 1: Liberation of Iraq - March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003,
Phase 2: Transition of Iraq - May 2, 2003 to June 28, 2004,
Phase 3: Iraqi Governance – June 29, 2004 to December 15, 2005,
Phase 4: National Resolution – December 16, 2005 to January 9, 2007,
Phase 5: Iraqi Surge – January 10, 2007 to December 31, 2008,
Phase 6: Iraqi Sovereignty – January 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010,
Phase 7: New Dawn – September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011.
Service stars’ are used to identify each phase the service member has participated; a single bronze service star on the ribbon is indicative of one phase.
A sliver service star is worn on the ribbon in lieu of five bronze stars. If the service member wore one sliver and two bronze service stars this would depict all seven phases.
Service members participating in the 2014 Iraq conflict are awarded the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and not the Iraq Campaign Medal because at this time it is not designated a Military Campaign.
The Iraq Campaign Medal and Ribbon are very recognizable. They can be seen on bumper stickers, t-shirts, mugs, posters, lapel pins, tie designs and now pocket squares. See our version here.
The Iraq Campaign Medal was designed by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry.
- The medal is bronze colored.
- The front depicts a relief of the map of Iraq identifying the area of operations,
- The map of Iraq has two lines inscribed representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Iraq is the land of two rivers,
- The map sits over a palm wreath that represents peace and honor,
- Above the inscription reads "IRAQ CAMPAIGN."
- On the back of the medal is the Statue of Freedom which represents the ideals and goals of the United States Army to bring stability and improve the way of life for Iraq,
- The State of Freedom rest on a sunburst which symbolizes hope and success,
- Encircled by two scimitars pointing down with blades crossing recall the swords erected by Sadam Hussein during his reign;
- Pointing down is to symbolize the goal for freedom of the Iraqi people, after the fall of Hussein,
- Below this reads the inscription "FOR SERVICE IN IRAQ."
- The ribbon reflects the colors of the Iraq flag.
- Green is the traditional color for Islam.
- Red honors the fighting courage for the pursuit of freedom.
- White denotes generosity and;
- Black exemplifies Islam’s success.
- Chamois (tan color) is believed to recognize the terrain.
Check out our version of the Iraq Campaign Medal & other Veteran Pocket Square Heroes™ designs, by clicking on the below image.
- PS Heroes