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Armed Forces Reserve Medal

Armed Forces Reserve Medal-Reverse.png
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Awarded by United States Armed Forces
Type Service Medal
Eligibility Officers and enlisted personnel of the US Armed Forces reserve components
Status Active
Established EO 10163, September 25, 1950, as amended[1]
Next (higher) Army: Army Sea Duty Ribbon[2]
Navy: Navy Ceremonial Guard Ribbon[3]
Air Force: Air Force Recruiter Ribbon[4]
Marine Corps: Marine Corps Security Guard Ribbon[5]
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Recruiting Service Ribbon[6]
Next (lower) Army: NCO Professional Development Ribbon[2]
Navy & Coast Guard: Naval Reserve Medal[3][6]
Air Force: NCO PME Graduate Ribbon[4]
Marine Corps: Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon[5]

Armed Forces Reserve Medal service ribbon

The Armed Forces Reserve Medal is a service medal of the United States Armed Forces that has existed since 1950. The medal recognizes service performed by members of the reserve components and is awarded to both officers and enlisted personnel. The medal is considered a successor award to the Naval Reserve Medal and the Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon, which were discontinued in 1958 and 1967 respectively.

If the medal is awarded for periods of service, it is accompanied by an hourglass device. Depending on the length of service, a bronze, silver, gold, or bronze and gold hourglass are worn on the suspension ribbon and service ribbon, indicating 10, 20, 30, or 40 years of service respectively.

If the medal is awarded in connection with a mobilization, it is accompanied by an "M" device. Subsequent mobilizations under an unrelated presidential call-up order result in a numeral device being worn to indicate the number of mobilizations.

For service – the Hourglass device

In the Army Reserve and National Guard, a service member qualifies for the medal after completing a total of ten years service in the active reserve. This service may be cumulative, provided that the combined ten years of service was performed over a period of twelve consecutive years. Voluntary recalls to active duty are not counted within the ten years of service. In addition, unlike the Reserve Good Conduct Medal, a service member’s disciplinary history is not a factor when awarding the Armed Forces Reserve Medal. In the Naval Reserve, members of the Individual Ready Reserve are eligible for the medal after 10 years of service.[7] Periods of service for the Armed Forces Reserve Medal are denoted through the use of the hourglass device. The length of the period for which the Armed Forces Reserve Medal is awarded is indicated using a bronze hourglass, silver hourglass, gold hourglass, or bronze and gold hourglasses together.[6][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] The initial presentation of the Armed Forces Reserve Medal is authorized with the bronze hourglass device denoting ten years of reserve service. At twenty years of service, the hourglass is upgraded to silver and at thirty years the hourglass becomes gold. For those who complete forty years of reserve service, a gold and bronze hourglass device are worn simultaneously. This is the only case where hourglasses are worn together; in all other cases the hourglass device is upgraded to the next higher award degree and is worn as a single device.

Hourglass Device Years of Service Example
Bronze 10 Bronze Hourglass Device
Silver 20 Silver Hourglass Device
Gold 30 Gold Hourglass Device
Gold and Bronze 40

Prior to Executive Order 13013 issued on August 6, 1996, a bronze hourglass device was presented only upon the second and subsequent awards of the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, as in a bronze hourglass for twenty years of service, two bronze hourglasses for thirty, and three bronze hourglasses for forty. Executive Order 13013 provided awarding a bronze hour glass after 10 years service, a silver hourglass after 20 years of service and a gold hourglass after 30 years of service. Personnel discharged or retired, prior to the change of the Hourglass Device award criteria, are not eligible for a correction of records or an upgrade of the Hourglass Device, as the Hourglass Device would have originally been presented under the original award specifications.

For mobilization – the "M" device

Armed Forces Reserve Medal ribbon with bronze Hourglass Device with 3 awards of the "M" device

The Armed Forces Reserve Medal is also awarded to any member of the Reserve or National Guard who is involuntarily mobilized for a contingency operation under Title 10 USC or Title 14 USC, or volunteers for federal active duty during any such mobilization. In such cases, the medal with an "M" device, or mobilization device, are both awarded together without regard to the period or length of service.[15] The "M" device is a bronze "M" 1/4 inch in height.

Subsequent mobilizations for a different executive order call-up authorize a numeral device ("2", "3", etc.), sometimes called an award numeral, to be worn with the initial "M" device on the service ribbon and suspension ribbon of the medal.[15] However, multiple deployments for different operations during a call-up for the same executive order only qualify for a single award of the "M" device.[14] For example, if a soldier mobilized multiple times under Executive Order 13223, once for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and twice for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, the soldier would still only be awarded one "M" device despite having been mobilized three times.[16]

If no "M" device is authorized, the appropriate hourglass shall be positioned in the center of the ribbon. If no hourglass is authorized, the "M" device shall be positioned in the center of the ribbon, followed by Arabic numerals indicating the number of times the device has been awarded (e.g., 2 to 99 — no number is worn for the first award). If both the hourglass and the "M" device are awarded, the hourglass(es) shall be positioned in first position on the ribbon (at the wearer's right), the "M" device in middle position, and the number of times the "M" device has been awarded in the remaining position (at the wearer's left).[14]

Contingency Operation Groupings[14] Location
Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM[17] Persian Gulf
Operation RESTORE HOPE Somalia
Operation ALLIED FORCE Kosovo
Operations NOBLE EAGLE, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and NEW DAWN (grouped together as the Global War on Terrorism) U.S., Afghanistan, and Iraq


  1. Amended by EO 10439, March 19, 1953, and EO 13013, August 6, 1996. Additional details and descriptions at 32 CFR 578.43.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Decorations and Medals > Ribbons – Order of Precedence". The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Navy Awards Precedence Chart". Navy Personnel Center. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Library > Awards and Decorations". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "5102. PRECEDENCE". MCO P1020.34F MARINE CORPS UNIFORM REGULATIONS. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "COMDTINST M1650.25D Medals and Awards Manual". United States Coast Guard. May 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  7. "United States Navy Personnel Command". Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  8. Navy Personnel Command, U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, Chapter 5, 5301–5319 Awards, last updated 27 July 2011, accessed 1 April 2012
  9. Permanent Marine Corps Uniform Board, Chapert 5, Awards, last updated 29 October 2009, accessed 1 April 2012
  10. U.S. Army Regulation 600-8-22, Military Awards, dated 11 December 2006, revised 15 September 2011, last accessed 1 April 2012
  11. The Institute of Heraldry, Uniformed Services ~ Army > Service Ribbons Accoutrements, accessed 1 April 2012
  12. U.S. Air Force Instruction 36-2803, The Air Force Awards and Decorations Program, published 15 June 2001, last accessed 3 May 2012
  13. Air Force Personnel Center, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, posted 23 August 2010, last accessed 3 May 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Manual of Military Decorations and Awards: DoD Service Awards – Campaign, Expeditionary, and Service Medals". DoD Manual 1348.33, Vol. 2. Department of Defense. Retrieved 23 November 2010.  See paragraph 6i(2)(c) which establishes that multiple periods of service during one designated contingency under paragraph 6c(1)(a)3 counts as one "M" device award.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Manual of Military Decorations and Awards: DoD-Wide Performance and Valor Awards; Foreign Awards; Military Awards to Foreign Personnel and U.S. Public Health Service Officers; and Miscellaneous Information". Department of Defense. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  16. "United States Army Human Resources Command". Retrieved 3 January 2012.  (See example given.)
  17. Executive Order 13013

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