Antarctica Service Medal

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The Antarctica Service Medal was established by the United States Congress in 1960. The decoration was intended as a military award to replace several commemorative decorations which had been issued for previous Antarctica expeditions from 1928 to 1941. The following commemorative medals were declared obsolete, following the creation of the Antarctica Service Medal.


The Antarctica Service Medal is considered a decoration of the United States military, issued in the name of the Department of Defense, and is authorized for wear on active duty uniforms. The medal may also be awarded to U.S. civilians, but after the initial award, the civilian may only wear the miniature or the lapel pin depending on the occasion.

To qualify for the Antarctica Service Medal, personnel must serve between fifteen to thirty days stationed on the Antarctic continent, defined as south of 60 degrees latitude. Flight crews performing transport missions to Antarctica qualify for one day of service for each flight mission performed within a twenty four hour time period.

For those personnel performing extended winter service in Antarctica, a Wintered Over Device is authorized. The Arctic equivalents of the Antarctica Service Medal are the Arctic Service Ribbon, issued by the United States Navy, and the Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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