Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Overseas Service Ribbon
An Overseas Service Ribbon is a decoration of the United States military which recognizes those service members who have performed military tours of duty outside the borders of the United States of America. There are different versions of the Overseas Service Ribbons for the U.S. Army, United States Navy, and U.S. Air Force. United States Marines receive the Navy version of the Overseas Service Ribbon and the U.S. Coast Guard does not issue an equivalent decoration.
The Army Overseas Service Ribbon was first issued in August of 1981. It is presented to any member of the United States Army who completes a standard overseas tour of duty. Such tours are normally for two to three years and must be served outside the continental United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Additional awards of the Army Overseas Service Ribbon are denoted by award numerals. For those Army service members performing overseas duty prior to 1981, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon may be awarded retroactively, provided that a service member was on active duty subsequent to 1981.
The Army also issues an Overseas Service Bar which is an entirely different decoration from the Overseas Service Ribbon.
The Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon is the U.S. Army Reserve version of the Overseas Service Ribbon and is awarded to drilling members of the Army Reserve and National Guard. The Army Reserve is the only branch of the reserve components which issues an overseas ribbon separate from the active duty award.
The Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon is presented to any member of the drilling reserves who completes ten or more consecutive days of active duty for training outside the continental United States. Additional awards of the decoration are denoted by award numerals.
The Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon was first created in 1980 by order of General Lew Allen, Air Force Chief of Staff. The decoration is issued in two grades, being that of "short tour" and "long tour."
The Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon is awarded for less then two years of duty; however, under certain circumstances, it may be awarded in increments for less than two years depending on special conditions and manpower needs. Normally, the Short Tour Service Ribbon is awarded for 181 consecutive days or, if stationed overseas, 300 days within an 18 month time span.
The Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon is issued for completion of a standard overseas service assignment greater than two years in length with additional awards denoted by oak leaf clusters. Long tour credit is awarded for completion of a prescribed overseas long tour (2 years) by Air Force Instructions, or to any member assigned to a United States or overseas location who is subsequently sent under temporary duty orders (to include combat tours) for 365 or more days within a 3 year time frame.
Additional awards of the Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon are denoted by oak leaf clusters and Air Force regulations permit the receipt and wear of both the short and long tour ribbons simultaneously. The "A" device is authorized only on the short tour ribbon to any service member who performs a tour of duty at an arctic based Air Force facility.
Navy and Marine Corps
The Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon was first proposed in 1968, but not officially approved until June of 1987. The decoration is awarded to any member of the Navy or Marine Corps who completes one year of consecutive or cumulative duty at an permanent overseas duty station. For members of the reserve components, the decoration is authorized upon completion of either thirty consecutive or forty five cumulative days of overseas active duty for training.
In 1999, a directive of the Chief of Naval Operations permitted those personnel stationed on overseas homeported naval vessels to receive the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon. Prior to this time, such personnel were only eligible to receive the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Current regulations now permit the receipt of both decorations for the same tour of duty.
Additional awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon are denoted by service stars.
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