The Army of Occupation of Germany Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 322, 77th Congress) on November 21, 1941.
The Army of Occupation of Germany Medal commemorates military service in the occupation of Germany after the First World War. It was awarded to members of the Armed Forces for service with the occupation forces in Germany or Austria-Hungary between November 12, 1918, and July 11, 1923.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
For members of the Army, the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal takes precedence after the World War I Victory Medal and before the American Defense Service Medal.
For members of the Navy, it takes precedence after the World War I Victory Medal and before the Second Haitian Campaign Medal.
No devices were authorized for this medal.
The Army of Occupation of Germany Medal was designed by Trygve A. Rovelstand.
The first award of the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal was made to General John J. Pershing.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a profile of General of the Armies John J. Pershing. Around the upper edge are four five-pointed stars and to the left of the profile, the words GENERAL JOHN J. PERSHING. To the right of the profile is an unsheathed sword, point up, within a laurel wreath, and the dates 1918 and 1923.
The profile of General Pershing was selected because he was the Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in the First World War and the four stars refer to his rank. The sword represents military strength, the laurel wreath alludes to victory, and the dates are the years of the occupation of Germany after the First World War.
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, an eagle with wings outstretched is shown alight over a castle and is encircled by the inscription ARMY OF OCCUPATION OF GERMANY. Three five-pointed stars appear at the six o'clock position and each word in the inscription is separated by a bullet.
The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States. The eagle is perched over Castle Ehrenbreitstein, which is located in Koblenz. The eagle over the castle symbolizes the American occupation. Koblenz is where the Rhein and Mosel Rivers meet and is symbolically the gateway to Germany. The three stars represent the number of Armies in the occupation.
The ribbon to the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal consists of a central stripe of black flanked by narrower stripes of white. It is edged with blue and white pinstripes, the blue pinstripe forming the edgestripes of the ribbon.
The black and white stripes are the colors of Prussia and represent Germany; the blue, white and red stripes represent the United States. In April of 1942 the Secretary of War approved the design of the ribbon, in which outside stripe (blue) was to be "scalloped," and a quantity of that ribbon was produced. However, in July of 1942 further manufacture of this ribbon was suspended, and in September of 1942 the ribbon design with a straight blue edge was approved by the Secretary of War. As final approval of the complete medal was not secured until March 23, 1943, none of them were ever officially fitted with the "original" ribbon.