Established on January 19, 1977, the Humanitarian Service Medal honors United States Armed Forces members who carry out service in direct support of humanitarian operations or initiatives, such as natural disaster relief or efforts to mitigate the effects of epidemics. It may be awarded for service dating back to April 1, 1975.
The medal is bronze and features the image of a hand, palm up. The reverse features an oak branch and inscriptions reading “FOR HUMANITARIAN SERVICE” and “UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.” The ribbon is bisected by a thin vertical black stripe flanked on either side by a blue stripe, a thinner white stripe, and a thin purple stripe proceeding outward.
Additional awards may be indicated by service stars.