Most airmen deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve likely will not be eligible for the campaign’s new medal, and will instead receive the Global War on Terrorism service medal, according to the criteria for the award. The Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, announced March 30, was created by executive order to highlight the service of those fighting ISIS. However, the medal’s criteria only cover those who have served inside Iraq, Syria, or within contiguous airspace or waters, extending out to 12 nautical miles. The criteria state that a service members are eligible if they were permanently assigned, attached, or detailed for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days to a unit in the area of eligibility, or were engaged in combat during an armed engagement or was killed or wounded and medically evacuated from the area of eligibility. Aircrew members accrue one day of eligibility for each day they fly into or out of the area. This means a pilot or aircrew deployed to a base such as Incirlik AB, Turkey, or Al Udeid AB, Qatar, who flies into the airspace would be eligible for the medal. However, maintenance airmen deployed to the same base and working on the same aircraft would not be eligible, because they did not enter Iraqi or Syrian airspace. These airmen would instead receive the Global War on Terrorism medal. (DOD release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.