The American Campaign award was first created in 1942 by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The decoration was intended to recognize those service members who had performed duty in the American Theater of Operations during the Second World War.
To be awarded the American Campaign Medal, a service member was required to either perform one year of consecutive duty within the continental borders of the United States, or perform 30 days consecutive/60 non-consecutive days of duty outside the borders of the United States but within the American Theater of Operations. The American Theater was defined as the entirety of the United States to include most of the Atlantic Ocean, a portion of Alaska, and a small portion of the Pacific bordering California and Baja California.
The eligibility dates of the American Campaign Medal were from December 7, 1941 to March 2, 1946. Service stars were authorized to any service member who was engaged in actual combat with Axis forces within the American theater. This primarily applied to those members of the military which had engaged in anti-U-Boat patrols in the Atlantic.
The American Campaign Medal was issued as a ribbon for the entirety of the Second World War, and was only made a full sized medal in 1947.
The first recipient of the American Campaign Medal was General of the Army George C. Marshall.
A similar decoration, known as the American Defense Service Medal existed for American defense service prior to the United States entry into World War II.