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Three New Medals Recognizing Veterans' Service

Thursday, May 8, 2003
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
Kay Coles James, Director
Three New Medals Recognizing Veterans' Service

I am pleased to inform you that both the President and the Congress have recently authorized new medals to recognize members of the Armed Forces who have served so valiantly in support of freedom around the globe.

These authorizations establish a new hiring eligibility for the brave men and women who earned them. We, as Federal employers, should be honored to provide opportunities which allow these individuals to utilize their entitlements and allow us to avail ourselves of the unique skills and experiences veterans can bring to our workplaces. In doing so, we venerate their sacrifice beyond the battlefield.

By Executive order (see attached), the President authorized two new medals to recognize those serving in the global war on terrorism.

  • The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal will recognize servicemembers who deployed overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Receipt of this medal is qualifying for veterans' preference, provided the individual is otherwise eligible.
  • The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal will recognize those who served in support of Operation Noble Eagle. A service medal is not qualifying for veterans' preference, but it would be qualifying for a Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA) under the newly-revised VRA authority.

The Department of Defense is working out the details for the award of these two medals and we will provide you with additional information when available.

In a separate action, Congress has taken action to recognize the members of the Armed Forces who have served in the Republic of Korea since the signing of the 1953 cease-fire agreement that ended the Korean conflict. Section 543 of the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, Public Law 107-314, was signed into law by President Bush on December 2, 2002. It requires the Secretaries of the military departments to issue a campaign medal, to be known as the Korea Defense Service Medal, to servicemembers who served in the Republic of Korea or the waters adjacent thereto, during the period beginning on July 28, 1954, and ending on a date yet to be determined. Each service Secretary will prescribe the requirements to qualify for the new medal. Recipients of the new Korea Defense Service Medal will be entitled to veterans' preference provided they are otherwise eligible.

Employees who wish to claim veterans' preference or service credit based on their service in Korea or in Operations Enduring Freedom or Noble Eagle should submit official documentation showing the award of the appropriate medal to their Human Resources Office.

cc: Human Resources Directors