Description: The Bronze medal is 1 ¼ inches in width. On the obverse is a female Grecian figure symbolic of defense, holding in her sinister hand an ancient war shield in reverse and her dexter hand brandishing a sword above her head, and standing upon a conventionalized oak branch with four leaves. Around the top is the lettering "AMERICAN DEFENSE". On the reverse is the wording "FOR SERVICE DURING THE LIMITED EMERGENCY PROCLAIMED BY THE PRESIDENT ON SEPTEMBER 8,1939 OR DURING THE UNLIMITED EMERGENCY PROCLAIMED BY THE PRESIDENT ON MAY 27,1941" above a seven-leafed spray of laurel. The foreign service clasp is a Bronze bar 1/8 inch in width and 1-1/2 inches in length with the words "FOREIGN SERVICE", with a star at each end of the inscription. The foreign service clasp is placed on the suspension ribbon of the medal.
Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/16 inch Golden Yellow 67104; 1/8 inch triparted Old Glory Blue 67178; White 67101; and Scarlet 67111; center ¾ inch Golden Yellow; 1/8 inch triparted Scarlet; White; and Old Glory Blue 67178; and 3/16 inch Golden yellow.
The American Defense Service Medal was awarded to personnel for active duty service from 8 September 1939 to 7 December 1941 for a period of twelve months or longer.
Components: The following are authorized components:
a. Medal (regular size): MIL-DTL-3943/228. Medal set with full size medal and ribbon bar. NSN: 8455-00-269-5780.
b. Medal (miniature): MIL-DTL-3943/228. Available commercially.
c. Ribbon: MIL-DTL-11589/10. NSN: 8455-00-257-0513. Available commercially.
d. Foreign Service Clasp: MIL-R-41819/9. NSN: 8455-00-249-0187.
a. The American Defense Service Medal was established per Executive Order 8808, dated 28 June 1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and announced in War Department Bulletin 17, 1941. The criteria was announced in Department of the Army Circular 44, dated 13 February 1942.
b. The ribbon design was approved by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Navy on January 7, 1942. The golden yellow color was symbolic of the golden opportunity of the youth of the United States to serve the National colors, represented by the blue, white and red pin stripes on each side.
c. The medal was designed by Mr. Lee Lawrie, a civilian sculptor from Easton, Maryland. The model was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts on May 5, 1942.
d. The foreign service clasp is worn on the suspension ribbon to indicate service outside the Continental United States. A bronze star is worn on the service ribbon in lieu of the foreign service clasp.