The Kosovo Campaign Medal was established by President William J. Clinton on May 3, 2000, to recognize the participation of Servicemembers from the United States Armed Forces in two Campaigns: the Kosovo Air Campaign, which lasted from 25 March 1999 to 10 June 1999, and the Kosovo Defense Campaign, which started at the end of the Air Campaign (11 June 1999) and continued for more than fourteen years until December 31, 2013.

Because the actions in the Kosovo Air Campaign involved U.S. and NATO aircraft based at a variety of countries in the region, the area of eligibility for the medal is quite expansive: it includes all of the land area and the airspace of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia, as well as the water and airspace of the Adriatic and Ionian seas (north the 39th latitude).

The reduced mission goals of the Kosovo Defense Campaign reduced the area of operations for U.S. Armed Forces Servicemembers, covering the land and airspace of just four countries and substantially smaller nautical areas.

To qualify for the Campaign Medal, Servicemembers must have been assigned to a unit participating in a qualifying operation or serving in direct support of an operation for a period of 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days. Alternatively, the time restrictions are made moot if the candidate was engaged in combat with armed opposition (or served in a duty role that as just as hazardous as combat) during one of either Campaigns’ many eligible operations. Time of service requirements are also waived if a Servicemember was wounded or injured during an operation and required medical evacuation. Finally, the Secretary of Defense made exceptions to the 30-consecutive day rule during the Kosovo Campaign and its Area of Engagement for a half-dozen U.S. vessels (all USS): the Albuquerque, Boise, Gonzalez, Miami, Nicholson, and Philippine Sea.

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