Oct 4, 2001
MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARIES OF THE MILITARY SERVICES
CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
UNDER SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE
DIRECTOR, DEFENSE RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING
ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE
GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
DIRECTOR, OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION
DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
DIRECTORS OF THE DEFENSE AGENCIES
DIRECTORS OF THE DOD FIELD ACTIVITIES
SUBJECT: Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom
I am pleased to announce that the Secretary of Defense has approved a new medal
for civilian employees of the Department. The Defense of Freedom medal, created to
recognize and honor our employees who were killed or wounded during the terrorist
attacks of September 11, 2001, is the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart medal
awarded to our military personnel. The award of this medal acknowledges the fidelity
and essential service of the Department's civilian workforce killed or wounded and will
be used to recognize future sacrifices of Department employees supporting and
maintaining the security of the nation.
Authority is delegated to the Heads of the DoD Components to approve and
administer the medal for their respective employees. The attached administrative
instructions establish the criteria and outline the conditions of eligibility.
Questions concerning this matter may be directed to Ms. Patricia Miles.
She can be contacted at (703) 696-1211.
//original signed //
Charles S. Abell
"SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
MEDAL FOR THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM"
Civilian Employees of the Department of Defense
Killed or Injured in the Line of Duty
Purpose: The "DEFENSE OF FREEDOM" medal is established to acknowledge
civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DoD), who are killed or wounded in
the line of duty. The meda1 symbolizes the extraordinary fidelity and essential service of
the Department's civilian workforce who are an integral part of DoD and who contribute
to preservation of national security.
MEDAL: The eagle and shield exemplify the principles of freedom and the defense of
the freedoms on which our country is founded. The laurel is emblematic of honor and
RIBBON: Red, white and blue are our National colors. The red stripes commemorate
valor and sacrifice. The wide blue stripe represents strength. The white stripes
symbolize liberty as represented in our national flag. The number of red stripes
represent tbe four terrorist attacks using hijacked airplanes and the single blue stripe
represents the terrorist attack on tbe Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This day, more
than ever, united this country and brought to the forefront out heroic civiliam.
- Eligibility: The medal shall be awarded to any DoD civilian employee meeting the
definition of "employee" under title 5 United States Code, Section 2105. and who is
an award under DoD 1400.25M, Subchapter 451, "Awards," including including
employees of non-appropriated fund activities when killed or wounded by hostile action
while serving under any competent authority of the Department under conditions for
which a military member would be eligible for receipt of the Purple Heart. Additionally,
the Secretary of Defense has discretionary authority to award this medal to non-Defense
personnel who are otherwise qualified to be awarded the medal based on their
involvement in DoD activities.
Criteria: Eligibility criteria for the medal are aligned as closely as practicable to those
for the Purple Heart for members of the Armed Forces; this medal differs from other
medals in that it is not "recommended." The employee is "entitled" to the medal if the
employee is eligible under Section 3 and if the conditions or criteria in this paragraph are
present. Hostile action may involve, but is not limited to, the use of conventional or
nuclear weapons, chemical or biological agents, cxplosives, or missiles. The medal shall
be awarded to employees who are killed or sustained serious injury due to hostile action
against the United States of America. or killed or wounded while rescuing or attempting
to rescue any other employee or individual subjected to injuries sustained under such
conditions. The wound for which the award is made must bave required treatment by a
medical officer, and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in
action must have beenmade a matter of official record.
Limitations on Awarding Medals: The medal is authorized for the incident of death or
the first wound suffered under the conditions indicated above. The medal itself may be
awarded only once; however, for subsequent events that would require the award of the
medal. Components are authorized to select and procure an appropriate device (e.g., a
star, struck from the same metal, if possible) to be worn with or on the medal. Not more
than one Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom or appropriate device
will be authorized for more than one wound or injury received in the same hostile
Postumous Awards: The medal may be awarded posthumously and, when so
awarded, may be presented to a representative of the deceased employee's family.
Responsibilities and Approval: Heads of DoD Components, as defined in Section B
cf DoDD l400.25-M, "DoD Civilian Personnel Management System," are delegated
authority for approval of the medal and are assigned responsibility for the procurement,
issuance, and administrative procedures for award of the Defense of Freedom Medal to
civilian employees within their respective Components. Components are to apply
appropriate and prudent screening processes, such as those used in granting other medals
or awards to non-U.S. citizen, when granting this medal to eligible non-U.S. citizens.