Criteria The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat theater, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding ac... The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat theater, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service not involving aerial flight. MoreHide
Criteria The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, kill... The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may die of wounds received in armed combat or as a result of an act of international terrorism. MoreHide
Criteria The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service... The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service during the current War on Terrorism. In addition, all members of the National Guard and Reserve who were part of the Selected Reserve in good standing between August 2, 1990, to November 30, 1995, are eligible for the National Defense Service Medal. In the case of Navy personnel, Midshipment attending the Naval Academy during the qualifying periods are eligible for this award, and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Midshipmen ae only eligible if they participated in a summer cruise that was in an area which qualified for a campaign medal. MoreHide
Criteria The area of eligibility encompasses all land area of the country of Iraq and the contiguous water area out to 12 nautical miles, and all air spaces above the land area of Iraq and above the contiguous... The area of eligibility encompasses all land area of the country of Iraq and the contiguous water area out to 12 nautical miles, and all air spaces above the land area of Iraq and above the contiguous water area out to 12 nautical miles. To be eligible for the Iraq Campaign Medal, a Service member must be assigned or attahced to a unit participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq for 30 consecutive days or for 60 nonconsecutive days or meet one of the following criteria: Be engaged in actual combat against the enemy under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action, regardless of the amount of time the individual has served in Iraq; While participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom or on official duties (regardless of the time spent in Iraq) is killed, wounded or injured to the extent that he or she requires medical evacuation from Iraq; or, While participating as a regularly assigned aircrew member flying sorties into, out of, within, or over Iraq in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; each day that one or more sorties are flown in accordance with these criteria shall count as one day towards the 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive day requirement. Service members who qualified for the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal by reason of service between March 19, 2003 and April 30, 2005 shall remain qualified for that medal. However, any such person may be awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal in lieu of the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for that service, at his or her request. In addition, any Army soldier who was authorized the arrowhead device may be awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal with arrowhead device in lieu of the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with arrowhead device. No service member shall be entitled to both the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal for the same act, achievement, or period of service. Only one award of the Iraq Campaign Medal may be authorized for any individual. The Iraq Campaign Medal may be awarded posthumously to any Service members who loses his or her life while, as a direct result of participating in qualifying operations, without regard to the length of time in the area of eligibility, if otherwise applicable. MoreHide
Criteria Individuals authorized the award of this medal must have participated in or served in support of Global War on Terrorism operations on or after September 11, 2001 and to a future date to be determined... Individuals authorized the award of this medal must have participated in or served in support of Global War on Terrorism operations on or after September 11, 2001 and to a future date to be determined. MoreHide
Criteria The Army Service Ribbon is awarded to members of the Regular Army, National Guard, or Army Reserve for successful completion of initial entry training. In the case of personnel who receive a Military ... The Army Service Ribbon is awarded to members of the Regular Army, National Guard, or Army Reserve for successful completion of initial entry training. In the case of personnel who receive a Military Occupational Specialty identifier based on civilian or other-service acquired skills, the ribbon is awarded upon honorable completion of four months active service. Only one award of this ribbon is authorized, even if an individual completes both officer and enlisted initial entry training. MoreHide
Criteria The Overseas Service Ribbon is awarded to all active members of the Army, the Army National Guard, and to Army Reservists who are credited with a normal overseas tour completed since August 1, 1981 (p... The Overseas Service Ribbon is awarded to all active members of the Army, the Army National Guard, and to Army Reservists who are credited with a normal overseas tour completed since August 1, 1981 (provided they have an active Army status on or after August 1, 1981). This ribbon may not be awarded for overseas service recognized by another United States service medal. MoreHide
Description The Iraq War was an armed conflict in Iraq that consisted of two phases. The first was an invasion of Iraq starting on March 20, 2003 by an invasion force led by the United States, United Kingdom, AusThe Iraq War was an armed conflict in Iraq that consisted of two phases. The first was an invasion of Iraq starting on March 20, 2003 by an invasion force led by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland which resulted in the end of Ba'athist Iraq and the establishment of a democratic constitution. It was followed by a longer phase of fighting, in which an insurgency emerged opposing the occupying forces and the newly elected Federal government of Iraq. Roughly 96.5 percent of the casualties suffered by coalition forces were suffered during the second phase, rather than the initial invasion. The U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel in December 2011, during the ninth year of the war. However, the insurgency is ongoing and continues to cause thousands of fatalities.
Prior to the war, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom claimed that Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed a threat to their security and that of their allies. In 2002, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which called for Iraq to completely cooperate with UN weapon inspectors to verify that Iraq was not in possession of WMD and cruise missiles. Prior to the attack, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) found no evidence of WMD, but could not yet verify the accuracy of Iraq's declarations regarding what weapons it possessed, as their work was still unfinished. The leader of the inspectors, Hans Blix, estimated the time remaining for disarmament being verified through inspections to be "months".
After investigation following the invasion, the U.S. led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion, but that they intended to resume production if the Iraq sanctions were lifted. Although no active chemical weapons program was found, at least 17 U.S. troops, with 600 other U.S. troops reporting symptoms of exposure, and 7 Iraqi police officers were burned or wounded while in close proximity with the remains of degraded chemical artillery rounds left over from Iraq's pre-1991 chemical weapons program. Paul R. Pillar, the CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East from 2000 to 2005, said "If prewar intelligence assessments had said the same things as the Duelfer report, the administration would have had to change a few lines in its rhetoric and maybe would have lost a few member's votes in Congress, but otherwise the sales campaign—which was much more about Saddam's intentions and what he "could" do than about extant weapons systems—would have been unchanged. The administration still would have gotten its war. Even Dick Cheney later cited the actual Duelfer report as support for the administration's pro-war case."
However, George J. Tenet, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, stated Vice President Cheney and other George W. Bush administration officials pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.
Some U.S. officials also accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, but no evidence of a meaningful connection was ever found. Other stated reasons for the invasion included Iraq's financial support for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Iraqi government human rights abuses, and an effort to spread democracy to the country.
On 16 March 2003, the U.S. government advised the U.N. inspectors to leave their unfinished work and exit from Iraq. On 20 March the US-led coalition conducted a surprise military invasion of Iraq without declaring war. The invasion led to an occupation and the eventual capture of Saddam, who was later tried in an Iraqi court of law and executed by the new Iraqi government. Violence against coalition forces and among various sectarian groups soon led to the Iraqi insurgency, strife between many Sunni and Shia Iraqi groups, and the emergence of a new faction of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
In June 2008, US Department of Defense officials claimed security and economic indicators began to show signs of improvement in what they hailed as significant and fragile gains. Iraq was fifth on the 2008 Failed States Index, and sixth on the 2009 list. As public opinion favoring troop withdrawals increased and as Iraqi forces began to take responsibility for security, member nations of the Coalition withdrew their forces. In late 2008, the American and Iraqi governments approved a Status of Forces Agreement effective through 1 January 2012. The Iraqi Parliament also ratified a Strategic Framework Agreement with the United States, aimed at ensuring cooperation in constitutional rights, threat deterrence, education, energy development, and other areas.
In late February 2009, newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for combat forces, with approximately 50,000 troops remaining in the country "to advise and train Iraqi security forces and to provide intelligence and surveillance". UK forces ended combat operations on 30 April 2009. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki said he supported the accelerated pullout of U.S. forces. In a speech at the Oval Office on 31 August 2010 Obama declared "the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country."... More
Description "Operation Enduring Freedom" (OEF) is the current official name used by the U.S. government for the War in Afghanistan, together with a number of smaller military actions, under the umbrella of the Gl"Operation Enduring Freedom" (OEF) is the current official name used by the U.S. government for the War in Afghanistan, together with a number of smaller military actions, under the umbrella of the Global "War on Terror" (GWOT).
The operation was originally called "Operation Infinite Justice", but as similar phrases have been used by adherents of several religions as an exclusive description of God, it is believed to have been changed to avoid offense to Muslims, who are the majority religion in Afghanistan. U.S. President George W. Bush's remark that "this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while", which prompted widespread criticism from the Islamic world, may also have contributed to the renaming of the operation.
The Operation comprises several subordinate operations:
Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (OEF-)
Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (OEF-P, formerly Operation Freedom Eagle)
Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA)
Operation Enduring Freedom – Pankisi Gorge (completed in 2004)
Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS; see also Insurgency in the Maghreb)
Operation Enduring Freedom – Caribbean and Central America (OEF-CCA)
The term "OEF" typically refers to the war in Afghanistan. Other operations, such as the Georgia Train and Equip Program, are only loosely or nominally connected to OEF, such as through government funding vehicles. All the operations, however, have a focus on counterterrorism activities.
Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan, which is a joint U.S., U.K. and Afghan operation, is separate from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is an operation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations including the U.S. and U.K. The two operations run in parallel, and although it has been intended that they merge for some time, this has not yet happened.
In response to the attacks of 11 September, the early combat operations that took place on 7 October 2001 to include a mix of strikes from land-based B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, carrier-based F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet fighters, and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from both U.S. and British ships and submarines signaled the start of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (OEF-A).
The initial military objectives of OEF-A, as articulated by President George W. Bush in his 20 September Address to a Joint Session of Congress and his 7 October address to the country, included the destruction of terrorist training camps and infrastructure within Afghanistan, the capture of al-Qaeda leaders, and the cessation of terrorist activities in Afghanistan."
In January 2002, over 1,200 soldiers from the United States Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) deployed to the Philippines to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in their push to uproot terrorist forces on the island of Basilan. Of those groups included are Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah. The operation consisted of training the AFP in counter-terrorist operations as well as supporting the local people with humanitarian aid in Operation Smiles.
In October 2002, the Combined Task Force 150 and United States military Special Forces established themselves in Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier. The stated goals of the operation were to provide humanitarian aid and patrol the Horn of Africa to reduce the abilities of terrorist organizations in the region. Similar to OEF-P, the goal of humanitarian aid was emphasised, ostensibly to prevent militant organizations from being able to take hold amongst the population as well as reemerge after being removed.
The military aspect involves coalition forces searching and boarding ships entering the region for illegal cargo as well as providing training and equipment to the armed forces in the region. The humanitarian aspect involves building schools, clinics and water wells to enforce the confidence of the local people.
Since 2001, the cumulative expenditure by the U.S. government on Operation Enduring Freedom has exceeded $150 billion.
The operation continues, with military direction mostly coming from United States Central Command.... More