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Eligible Marines will receive a medal for COVID-19 related duties

Marines who deployed or were assigned for at least 30-days on COVID-19 relief missions will be eligible for the Armed Forces Service Medal, according to a Marine Corps administrative message released Monday.

The 30 days of COVID-19 relief could be consecutive or nonconsecutive, but to be eligible, Marines must have participated in activities outside their normal duties to be eligible, according to the MARADMIN.

The Corps does yet have an estimate on how many Marines actually will be eligible for the award, Maj. Jordan Cochran told Marine Corps Times in a Tuesday phone call.

The MARADMIN gave several examples of actions that qualify for the medal, including a deployment to an area impacted by COVID-19 to provide logistical support and reassignment to a COVID-19 task force conducting operations in support of nonmilitary communities affected by the potentially deadly disease.

Seven Marines who shipped to New York to provide security on the Navy hospital ship Comfort already have received awards for their lifesaving actions during the domestic deployment.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Hebner, the Lima Company gunnery sergeant, received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his part in the operation, while six Marines received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Times previously reported.

Marines and sailors serving in Marine units can have the Armed Forces Service Medal approved by the first colonel in their chain of command, the MARADMIN said.

“The AFSM recognizes Marines and Sailors who deploy or are reassigned to assist in qualifying operations and activities,” the MARADMIN said.

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