Service members who participated in Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome in 2021 are eligible for the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM), as confirmed by a memo from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday. Eligible troops are those who worked on either mission from August 31, 2021, to April 1, 2022.
The AFSM recognizes service members who participate in a U.S. military operation of “significant activity” that did not involve foreign armed opposition or imminent threat. Exceptions apply to service members who were not directly deployed to Afghanistan. Any service member stationed at a qualifying location for over 30 days and who provided “direct support, such as those physically receiving, housing, sustaining, or providing medical support, to evacuees, provided the member was reassigned from their primary duties to provide full-time support” is eligible for the AFSM.
Eligible locations where service members participated in the two operations are as follows:
- Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base, Camp As Sayliyah and Camp Doha
- Kuwait: Camp Buehring and Ali Al Salem Air Base
- Bahrain: Shaikh Isa Air Base
- United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi and Al Dhafra
- Saudi Arabia: Prince Sultan Air Base
- Kosovo: Ferizaj and Camp Bondsteel
- Germany: Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern, Ramstein Air Base, Rhine Ordnance Barracks and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
- Spain: Rota
- Italy: Sigonella
- Colorado: Peterson Space Force Base
- Florida: Tampa
- Indiana: Camp Atterbury
- New Jersey: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
- New Mexico: Holloman Air Force Base
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia International Airport
- Texas: Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston
- Virginia: Dulles International Airport, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett
- Wisconsin: Fort McCoy
Commanders at the O-6 level — or the civilian equivalent — must confirm individual participation for service members still serving by verifying orders, evaluations and other official documentation, according to the directive.
This recognition is an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of service members involved in the two operations, which helped evacuate and resettle refugees from Afghanistan. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and honoring the contributions of service members in achieving the goals of U.S. military operations.
The AFSM is a symbol of the sacrifices made by service members in non-combat situations, and its recognition brings a sense of pride and accomplishment to those who receive it. The eligibility criteria for the AFSM are clear and concise, allowing service members who met the requirements to be recognized for their service. Overall, this recognition highlights the efforts of service members involved in Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome and their contribution to the U.S. military’s mission.