Established on May 8, 1919, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal honors Marine Corps members who participated in a foreign landing, engaged in combat against an enemy force, or carried out service in qualifying operations for which there is no other corresponding award. It was originally presented as a ribbon, with the medal being approved on March 1, 1921.
The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal may also be granted for classified proceedings, in which case the confidential details are not included in the relevant public documentation.
The medal is bronze and features a marine armed and in gear, crossing from water onto land; an inscription reading “EXPEDITIONS” appears on the upper portion of the medal. The reverse features an eagle atop an anchor and gripping laurel branches, encircled by the text “UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS” and “FOR SERVICE.” The ribbon is gold and is bisected by a vertical red stripe; it also features red edging.
Additional awards may be indicated by service stars, though numerals were originally used. The award may also be issued with the Wake Island Device for individuals receiving it for their service on Wake Island in World War II.