1. Description: A bronze medal, 1 ¼ inches in diameter, surmounted by an open hand, palm up, extending to the upper left. On the reverse is a sprig of oak in a left oblique slant between the inscription "FOR HUMANITARIAN SERVICE" in three horizontal lines, and "UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES" in an arc around the base.

2. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/16 inch Imperial Purple 67161; 1/16 inch White 67101; 5/16 inch Bluebird 67117; 1/4 inch Flag Blue 67124; 5/16 inch Bluebird; 1/16 inch White; and 3/16 inch Imperial Purple.

3. Criteria:

    a. The Humanitarian Service Medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by meritorious direct participation in any significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature approved by the Department of Defense. The medal is not awarded for participation in domestic disturbances involving law enforcement, equal rights to citizens, or protection of properties.

    b. Service members must be on active duty at the time for direct participation. It also includes service as a cadet at the US Military Academy. Members of the National Guard are eligible provided, that use of active forces has been authorized in the act or operation.

    c. Service members must have directly participated in the humanitarian act or operation within the designated geographical area of operation and within specified time limits. Specifically excluded from eligibility for this medal are personnel or elements remaining at geographically separated military headquarters.

4. Components: The following are authorized components of the Humanitarian Service Medal:

    a. Medal (regular size): MIL-DTL-3943/240. NSN 8455-01-063-4674 for set containing full size medal and ribbon bar.

    b. Medal (miniature size): MIL-DTL-3943/240. Available commercially.

    c. Ribbon: MIL-DTL-11589/233. Available commercially.

    d. Lapel Button: MIL-DTL-11484/122. Available commercially.

5. Background:

    a. The Humanitarian Service Medal was established by President Ford per Executive Order 11965, dated 19 January 1977. The order provided for award for participation in a military operation of a humanitarian nature subsequent to 1 April 1975. The policy and award criteria for the Humanitarian Service Medal was established by Department of Defense Directive 1348.25, dated 23 June 1977.

    b. Proposed medals were submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) for approval 18 April 1977 and the selected design was approved by OSD on 10 May 1977. The design by Mr. Jay Morris, The Institute of Heraldry, uses the outstretched hand with palm up as the international symbol for aid and assistance. On the reverse, the oak sprig is symbolic of strength imparted through a selfless mission to aid mankind. The color purple in the ribbon stands for self-sacrifice, white for regeneration and blue for universal friendship. In addition, the two shades of blue are the colors used in the flags of OSD.

    c. A bronze star is worn on the ribbon to indicate subsequent awards of the Humanitarian Service Medal.

    d. Designated operations for which the Humanitarian Service Medal may be awarded are listed in DOD Manual 1348.33 (M).