Realizing the importance of recognizing and rewarding exemplary conduct among members of the U.S. Army’s Reserve Components, the Commanding General of U.S. Continental Army Command (USCONARC) recommended in August, 1969 that the Army should adopt a Reserve Components-specific medal that would be analogous to the Good Conduct Medal award for Active Army Soldiers. The Institute of Heraldry submitted designs for the new medal in May, 1970, and in March 3, 1971, Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor approved the award, named the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (ARCAM).

Awarded to members of Army National Guard units, U.S. Army Reserve Troop Program Units, or to those serving as an Individual Mobilization Augmentees (IMAs) who have displayed exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity, the ARCAM is authorized for enlisted personnel and for junior and field-grade officers (Colonel and below). Active Guard Reserve Soldiers and officers are not eligible for the ARCAM.

While Soldiers in Reserve Components are eligible for the ARCAM during peacetime and wartime, the length of qualifying service is subject to change by the Secretary of the Army to reflect wartime necessities and exigencies. Between 1972 and 1995, completion of four consecutive years of qualifying service with a Reserve Components unit was required for eligibility for the ARCAM. After March 28, 1995, the qualifying period was reduced to three years, retroactively dated so that qualifying time before that date was calculated in the computation.

But the length of qualifying service changes radically when Soldiers in RC units are ordered to active duty or are mobilized in support of ongoing Reserve Component operations or as an IMA. If they spend more than 365 non-training days under those circumstances, the qualifying service period drops to two years, and their eligibility for the Army Good Conduct Medal begins on the first day of active duty.

Various other factors affect ARCAM eligibility. To learn more about these parameters and the rules for processing ARCAM nominations, please refer to Section III, "Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal,” in AR 600-8-22, Military Awards.

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