UNITED STATES NAVY

Establishing Legislation

The United States Antarctic Expedition Medal (1939-1941) was created by Act of Congress (Public Law 185, 79th Congress) on September 24, 1945.

Events Commemorated

The United States Antarctic Expedition Medal (1939-1941) commemorates Antarctic exploration; more specifically, it was awarded to members of the United States Antarctic Expedition of 1939-1941 to recognize their contributions to the Nation in the field of Polar exploration and science.

Order of Precedence

The United States Antarctic Expedition Medal (1939-1941) is worn after the World War II Victory Medal and before the Navy Occupation Service Medal.

Devices

No devices were authorized for this medal.

Designer

The United States Antarctic Expedition Medal (1939-1941) was designed by John R. Sinnock, Chief Engraver of the Philadelphia Mint.

First Recipient

The first award of the United States Antarctic Expedition Medal was made to Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd.

Description and Symbolism

Obverse

In the center of a gold, silver, or bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a design representative of the globe as viewed from below. At the top of the globe is a three-tiered scroll bearing the words, SCIENCE, PIONEERING, EXPLORATION. Below the scroll is the outline of the polar region, with the names SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN, ANTARCTICA, SOUTH POLE, PALMERLAND, LITTLE AMERICA in very small letters. Forming a circle around this design, the words THE UNITED STATES ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION and the dates 1939 - 1941 at the base.

Reverse

The reverse is plain except for the following inscription: BY ACT OF / THE CONGRESS OF THE / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / TO [blank space for engraving the recipient's name] / IN RECOGNITION OF INVALUABLE / SERVICE TO THE NATION BY / COURAGEOUS PIONEERING IN POLAR / EXPLORATION WHICH RESULTED / IN IMPORTANT GEOGRAPHICAL / AND SCIENTIFIC / DISCOVERIES.