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Prisoner of War Medal

Instituted: 1985
Dates: All
Devices
: (Silver Star, Bronze Star)
Notes: Gold and Silver Star attachments apply only to USN, USMC and USCG. Bronze and Silver Oak Leaf attachments apply only to Army and USAF.
Eligibility: The POW Medal is authorized by Public Law 99-145, section 1128, title 10, United States Code (10 USC 1128), 8 November 1985, and is authorized for any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Armed Forces, was taken prisoner and held captive after 5 April 1917. The POW Medal is to be issued only to those U.S. military personnel and other personnel granted credible U.S. military service who were taken prisoner and held captive:

(1) While engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.
 
(2) While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.
 
(3) While serving with friendly forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.


The following text is from the original army directive. Please verify current edition with your respective military service: [Paragraph 2-9, Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards) 25 February 1995]

a. The POW Medal is authorized by Public Law 99-145, section 1128, title 10, United States Code (10 USC 1128), 8 November 1985, and is authorized for any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Armed Forces, was taken prisoner and held captive after 5 April 1917.

b. The POW Medal is to be issued only to those U.S. military personnel and other personnel granted creditable U.S. military service who were taken prisoner and held captive.

(1) While engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

(2) While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.

(3) While serving with friendly forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

c. U.S. and foreign civilians who have been credited with U.S. military service which encompasses the period of captivity are also eligible for the medal. The Secretary of Defense authorized on January 27, 1990, the POW Medal for the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Recognized Guerrilla Unit Veterans who were held captive between December 7, 1941, and September 26, 1945. DD Form 2510-1 (Prisoner of War Medal Application/Information-Philippine commonwealth Army and Recognized Guerrilla Veterans) was developed as the application for Filipino Veterans who fit this category.

d. For purposes of this medal, past armed conflicts are defined as World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam Conflict, and Persian Gulf War. Hostages of terrorists and persons detained by governments with which the United States is not engaged actively in armed conflict are not eligible for the medal.

e. Any person convicted of misconduct or a criminal charge by a U.S. military tribunal, or who receives a less than honorable discharge based upon actions while a prisoner of war, or whose conduct was not in accord with the Code of Conduct, and whose actions are documented by U.S. military records is ineligible for the medal. The Secretary of the Army is the authority for deciding eligibility in such cases.

f. No more than one POW Medal will be awarded. For subsequent award of the medal, service stars will be awarded and worn on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal. A period of captivity terminates on return to U.S. military control. Escapees who do not return to U.S. military control and are recaptured by an enemy do not begin a new period of captivity for subsequent award of the POW Medal. (Service stars are described in chap 6.)

g. The POW Medal may be awarded posthumously.

h. The primary next of kin of eligible prisoners of war who die in captivity may be issued the POW Medal regardless of the length of stay in captivity.

i. Personnel officially classified as MIA are not eligible for award of the POW Medal. The POW Medal will only be awarded when the individuals prisoner of war status has been officially confirmed and recognized as such by the Department of the Army. Likewise, the return of remains, in and of itself, does not constitute evidence of confirmed prisoner of war status.

 

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