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The NATO Medal is an international military decoration which is awarded to various militaries of the world under the authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There are currently two versions of the NATO Medal in existence, one for service in Yugoslavia and the other for duty performed in Kosovo.
The NATO Medal for Yugoslavia service was created in June 1992 and awarded to any military member of a NATO peacekeeping force who performed service in the former Republic of Yugoslavia for at least thirty days. For those performing support missions to Yugoslavia, such as from European bases or ships in the Adriatic Sea, a total of ninety days of duty in direct support of Yugoslavia NATO missions is required from the NATO Medal to be awarded.
The termination date for the NATO Medal for Yugoslavia service is October 12, 1998.
The NATO Medal for Kosovo service was created in October 1998 and was awarded to any service member who participated in NATO sponsored campaigns as a member of a NATO peacekeeping force to the Serbian Province of Kosovo. To date, the following military campaigns have been authorized by NATO for the presentation of the NATO Medal for Kosovo service.
- Operation Allied Force (24 Mar 99 - 10 Jun 99)
- Operation Joint Guardian (11 Jun 99 - TBD)
- Operation Allied Harbour (4 Apr 99 - 1 Sep 99)
- Operation Sustain Hope (4 Apr 99 - 10 Jul 99)
- Operation Noble Anvil (24 Mar 99 - 20 Jul 99)
The NATO Medal for Kosovo is also authorized for membership in the following NATO controlled Kosovo Task Forces
- Task Force Hawk (5 Apr 99 - 24 Jun 99)
- Task Force Saber (31 Mar 99 - 8 Jul 99)
- Task Force Falcon (11 Jun 99 – TBD
- Task Force Hunter (1 Apr 99 - 1 Nov 99)
The NATO Medal for Kosovo is considered an open tour service medal, meaning that an end date has yet to be established. A very similar decoration, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, was issued by the United States armed forces for participation in the same operations. United States military regulations at present do permit service members to receive both the NATO Medal and Kosovo Campaign Medal for the same tour of service.
To differentiate between the two versions of the NATO Medal, a different ribbon pattern scheme is used for each of the two decorations. The NATO Medal for Yugoslavia service consists of a blue ribbon with two white stripes, very similar in appearance to the United Nations Medal. The NATO Medal for Kosovo service appears as a mixed blue and white stripped ribbon. Both medals are authorized campaign clasps, however some militaries (such as the United States) prohibit the wearing of the medal with a clasp and instead authorize service stars. In cases where a service member has received both NATO Medals, most military services will allow both decorations to be worn simultaneously as they are considered separate awards.
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