Established on September 22, 1913, the First Nicaraguan Campaign Medal recognizes members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps who served in Nicaragua or in surrounding waters between the dates of July 29, 1912 and November 14 of the same year. Eligible vessels include the USS Annapolis, California, Cleveland, Colorado, Denver, Glacier, Maryland, and Tacoma.
The First Nicaraguan Campaign Medal was created to recognize those U.S. Navy personnel and U.S. Marines who had participated in amphibious actions in Nicaragua between 29 July and 14 November 1912. The following naval commands, and all embarked U.S. Marines, were eligible for the First Nicaraguan Campaign Medal:
-  USS Annapolis (gunboat)
-  USS California (armored cruiser)
-  USS Cleveland (protected cruiser)
-  USS Colorado (armored cruiser)
-  USS Denver (protected cruiser)
-  USS Glacier (stores ship)
-  USS Maryland (armored cruiser)
-  USS Tacoma (protected cruiser)
The medal features the image of the volcano Momotombo on a lake framed by palm trees. Text reading “NICARAGUAN CAMPAIGN” and “1912” encircles the medal. The reverse features the image of an eagle perched on an anchor with a draped chain upon which are inscribed the words “FOR SERVICE.” Oak and laurel decorate the lower portion of the medal, and text reads either “UNITED STATES NAVY” or “UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS” as appropriate. The ribbon is red with two vertical blue stripes toward the edge.