Overview of Navy and Marines Overseas Service Ribbon

Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon. Wiki Commons, Public domain

Navy & Marine Corps Awards and Decorations

Navy and Marines Corps Overseas Service Ribbon

The United States Department of the Navy presents military awards to members of the United States Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps under the authority of the Secretary of the Navy. These kinds of military decorations can also be awarded to members of other military branches, so long as they are performing duty under Navy or Marine Corps command.

The Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon is a small, 1 3/8 inch-wide rectangular pin awarded by commanding officers. This ribbon has a thick, red stripe in the middle, moving outward in pairs of stripes: yellow, ultramarine blue, yellow and light blue. There are dozens of ribbons in this particular style, but the colors and widths of the stripes are what differentiate them. Some ribbons have just three stripes; others have up to 15.

United States military medals and ribbons must be worn properly on chests, lapels and collars of clothing. Traditionally, the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon is worn between the Army Service Ribbon and the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon. A 3/16-inch bronze star will denote subsequent awards.

Eligibility Requirements

Authorized in 1986, the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon is awarded to any member of the Navy or Marine Corps upon the completion of one year of consecutive or accumulated duty at an overseas shore base duty station.

For inactive members in the reserves, the award is authorized after 30 consecutive days or 45 collective days of overseas active duty for training, annual training, or temporary additional duty at overseas duty stations, deployed units and units homeported overseas. Overseas, domiciled inactive reservists must complete 30 consecutive days of annual training or inactive duty training, or a combination or 45 accumulated days of annual training or inactive duty training in a billet with an Overseas Naval Reserve Unit or as a member of the Overseas Peacetime (Contributory) Support Program.

“Active duty” constitutes a period of more than 90 days. The term “overseas” is defined as duty performed outside of the 50 United States. However, service in Adak, Alaska, qualifies military members for this award. Serving aboard CONUS-based, deploying ships, squadrons, units or with the FMF (regular or reserve) does not qualify toward the award. Travel time and weekend training do not count toward eligibility.

The Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon can be awarded posthumously and the process is handled on a case-by-case basis.


Up until 1999, service members could not receive the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for the same amount of time. Current regulations allow service members to receive both ribbons for the same tour of duty.

For active duty personnel, no more than 14 days may be waived. For inactive reservists, there is no waiver.

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