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a. Authorization. E.O. 11965 of 19 January 1977.

b. Humanitarian Service Medal Eligibility Requirements

(1) The Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM) is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, subsequent to 1 April 1975, distinguish themselves as individuals or as members of U.S. military units by meritorious, direct, non- routine participation in a significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature.

(2) In general, an act or operation must be a direct humanitarian performance by the individuals or unit, at the ' designated location. The following types of military acts or operations may qualify for award of the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM):

(a) Significant assistance in the event of national or international disasters, natural or man-made, such as (but not limited to) earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, or conflagrations.

(b) Relief to a starvation area.

(c) Evacuation of personnel from an area threatened by a hostile force.

(d) Support or resettlement of refugees or evacuees.

(e) Acts or operations of a similar nature, as determined by the awarding authority.

(f) Other significant military activities directly related to humanitarian service, as designated in military regulations. These must be above and beyond routine actions.

(3) Services rendered in the act or operation being considered must meet each of the following criteria:

(a) Be above and beyond normal duties, and of major significance.

(b) Provide immediate relief, relieve human suffering, and should save lives; property may be a factor.

(c) Must affect the outcome of the situation (inaction would have produced definite negative consequences).

(d) Specific dates must be defined, and must be restricted to the period of "immediate relief." Periods beyond immediate relief are considered to be established, ongoing operations beyond the initial emergency conditions, and these periods are no longer eligible for the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM), but may be considered for award of the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM).

(4) The emergency assistance must be either:

(a) Requested by the President of the United States for assistance within the United States (such as Presidential Emergency Declaration or established contingency plans issued under Presidential authority); or

(b) Requested by the Department of State for overseas areas.

c. Definitions

(1) Direct participation is defined as being physically present at the designated location, and directly influencing and contributing to the action.

(2) Designated location is the immediate site(s) of the humanitarian operations, as defined by the Presidential or Department of State request for assistance. When appropriate, the local commander may recommend specific clarification of designated boundaries based on the intent of the Presidential or Department of State request.

d. Limitations

(1) Service members or elements who remain at geographically separate locations, or who were assigned to the designated location, but did directly influence or contribute to the action, are ineligible for the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM).

(2) The Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM) shall not be awarded for services rendered in domestic disturbances involving law enforcement, demonstrations, or protection of property.

(3) The Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM) shall not be awarded for military acts or operations of a routine, day-to-day nature. For example, normal Search and Rescue (SAR) operations conducted by specially trained SAR units are not eligible for the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM). Other routine operations such as helicopter or destroyer plane guard duty, or emergency transportation of civilian or military medical patients are also ineligible. Similarly, in accordance with the laws and traditions of the seas, the rescue of stricken vessels by naval units would not normally be an eligible action unless there was extreme danger to those being rescued and those performing the rescue.

(4) No service member shall be entitled to more than one award of the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM) for participation in the same military act or operation.

(5) Except for the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM), as discussed in the previous article, award of the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM) does not preclude receipt of other awards based on unit achievement or individual valor, achievement, or meritorious service.

e. Awarding Authorities. The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff is the awarding authority for all operations under the auspices of a Combatant Commander. Effective 14 June 1993, SECNAV was delegated awarding authority for other operations involving Naval personnel.

f. Preparation of Recommendations. Recommendations must be entered administratively into command channels within two years of the act or operation to be recognized. Recommendation packages must include the following:

(1) A written justification specifically addressing the eligibility requirements, and fully explaining and attesting to the humanitarian aspects of the services rendered by personnel in the act or operation being recommended. It should be noted the HSM is an individual award.

(2) A listing of ships or units that participated directly in the act or operation, including dates of involvement and locations. This is to facilitate the processing and documentation of awards only, and does not imply unit-wide approval of the Humanitarian Service Medal (HSM).

(3) For Navy units, an electronic alphabetical listing service members (preferably in Excel), detailing full name, rank/rate, social security number, branch of Service, and permanent unit at the time of the act or operation. This listing shall be marked "Privacy Sensitiven and include only those service members who meet the eligibility criteria and guidelines in this section. Listings of eligible of Marine Corps personnel shall be submitted using the format delineated at

(4) Concurrence by the Military Departments concerned when multi-Service participation is involved. The originating activity shall, prior to submission of the recommendation to SECNAV, obtain the concurrence of the Services concerned, including the Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard when members of the U.S. Coast Guard are involved. Such concurrence shall include verification of their service members' participation, and a specific recommendation for approval or disapproval.

(5) Forwarding endorsements that make specific recommendations for approval or disapproval to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff or SECNAV, as appropriate.

(6) Endorsement of the Combatant Commander who has authority and/or responsibility for the affected area outside the Continental United States.

(7) Documentation of the Presidential or the Department of State request for assistance.

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