December 09, 2005
Storm-relief medals authorized
By Jim Tice
Times staff writer

The Joint Staff has authorized the award of the Humanitarian Service Medal and Armed Forces Service Medal to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and members of the Coast Guard — active, Guard and Reserve — who participated in relief operations for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Humanitarian Service Medal is authorized for those who supported immediate relief operations in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — east of 96 degree west longitude — from Aug. 29 to Oct. 13, 2005.

The Armed Forces Service Medal is authorized for those who provided, or are providing, direct support to relief efforts for 30 consecutive days, or 60 nonconsecutive days anywhere in the United States from Aug. 27, 2005, to Feb. 27, 2006.

Service members who are awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal may also qualify for the Armed Forces Service Medal, provided their direct support occurred after the qualifying dates for the HSM.

The military has categorized disaster relief operations for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as one operation.

Army commanders in the grade of colonel and above are authorized to determine award eligibility. Permanent orders are not required to award the medals, but commanders should notify supporting personnel divisions or companies so that soldier personnel qualification records can be updated.