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Prisoner of War
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a. Authorization. 10 U.S.C. S1128.

b. Prisoner of War Medal Eligibility Requirements. Awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, was declared a prisoner of war and held captive
after 5 April 1917.

(1) Civilians and Foreign Nationals. The Prisoner of War (POW) Medal will only be issued to U.S. and foreign civilians who have received credit for U.S. military service, as determined by the Department of Defense Civilian/Military Service Review Board and Advisory Panel (DoD Directive 1000.20 of 11 September 1989). The period of creditable military service must include the period of captivity from date of capture through date of release.

(2) Missing in Action. The Prisoner of War Medal (POW) Medal will only be issued to the legal next of kin of military personnel or civilians who have received credit for U.S. military service and whose status as POWs has been officially confirmed and recognized as such by the Military Departments and DoD. The next of kin of persons listed as missing, but for whom there is no evidence of having been a POW, will not be issued the medal. Return of remains, in and of itself, does not constitute evidence of POW status. The next of kin of POWs who die in captivity may be issued the medal regardless of the length of the period of captivity.

(3) Hostages, Detainees, and Internees. The Prisoner of War Medal will be issued only to those taken prisoner by an enemy during armed conflict. For the purpose of the Prisoner of War Medal, armed conflicts are defined as World Wars I and 11, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, and Operations DESERT STORM, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. Hostages of terrorists and persons detained by governments with which the United States is not actively engaged in armed conflict are not eligible for the medal.

c. Character of Service. Any person convicted by a U.S. military tribunal of misconduct or a criminal charge, or whose discharge is less than honorable based upon actions while a POW, is ineligible for the medal. Furthermore, POWs whose conduct is documented by U.S. military records as not being in accord with the Code of Conduct are ineligible for the medal. SECNAV will resolve any questionable cases.

d. Subsequent Awards. A period of captivity terminates upon return to U.S. military control. Escapees who do not return to U.S. military control, and are subsequently recaptured by an enemy, do not begin a new period of captivity for the purpose of a subsequent award of the medal.

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