Not surprisingly, the World War I Victory Medal is the oldest service medal or ribbon still issued or replaced by the United States Army, at least according to the most recent version of AR 600-8-22. And that medal might be added to the list other bygone decorations no longer available from the Army: the last surviving U.S. veteran of The Great War died in 2012.
The World War I Victory Medal was established through a War Department General Order in 1919. It of course is awarded for service between April 6, 1917—the date the United States declared war on Germany—and November 11, 1918, the day the Armistice went into effect. But this medal is also awarded to American Servicemembers who served in two lesser-known expeditions that came on the heels of First World War.
Although the American Expeditionary Force Russian—also called the American North Russia Expeditionary Force or, more informally, the Polar Bear Expedition—arrived in Archangel, Russia on September 4, 1918, the World War I Victory Medal is awarded for actions between November 12 of that year and August 5, 1919 waged against the Soviet Union’s fledgling Red Army. The award is also given to soldiers who were a part of the American Expeditionary Forces Serbia between November 23, 1918 and April 1, 1920.