An Overseas Service Bar is an accoutrement on United States Army dress uniforms that indicates a soldier has served six months of service in a combat zone. They are displayed as an embroidered gold bar worn horizontally on the right sleeve of the Class A uniform and the Army Service Uniform. Overseas Service Bars are cumulative, in that each bar worn indicates another six-month period. Time spent overseas is also cumulative, meaning one bar could be earned for two separate deployments totaling six months.
The original concept of an Overseas Bar began in the First World War with what was known as an Overseas Chevron. An Overseas Chevron was an inverted chevron patch worn on the lower left sleeve on the standard Army dress uniform. The chevron was identical to the Wound Chevron which was worn on the opposite right sleeve. During World War II, the chevron was redesignated as the Overseas Bar and the patch adopted its current design of a horizontal bar. For those who had performed overseas service in both the First and Second World Wars, the Overseas Bar and Chevron were worn simultaneously. By the time of the Vietnam War, the Overseas Service Bar had adopted its current name and the patch was now worn on the lower right sleeve, instead of the left.
The Overseas Service Bar is a separate decoration from the Overseas Service Ribbon, which recognizes overseas service in any location without regard to whether or not the area has been designated a combat zone. Regulations permit receiving both awards for the same qualifying period of service.
- Department of the Army. Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia Washington, DC: 2005. Chapter 28, Paragraph 28.
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