Reply to "new GWOT-EM criteria?"

Yes, it is true. I received news about it from DoD e-mails and on the Army Times website

In the early days of OIF/OEF, personnel were given the GWOT-EM since there was no formally established Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medals. When I left to Iraq in mid-2005 and re-deployed in 2006, I was awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal and I remember a MILPER message that went out stating that people could convert their GWOT-EM to a ACM/ICM award and to do that through their S1. Or vets who wanted to change their records. So if you received the GWOT-EM for Iraq and wanted an Iraq Medal instead, you will submit the paperwork to have it changed.

Remember, many who deployed to just Kuwait and other places outside of Afghanistan and Iraq were eligible for the GWOT-EM. This was happening to my battles who were going to Kuwait in 2011. An infantryman on a forum said he deployed to Cuba in support of OEF but he received the GWOT-EM since he did not set foot in Afghanistan.

It is awarded to any member of the U.S. military who has performed duty within the borders of Afghanistan (or its airspace) for a period of thirty consecutive days or sixty non-consecutive days.

Also, there were no service stars for the award until now. On my Afghanistan ribbon (as shown below), I have three campaign stars and my Iraq has two campaign stars.

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
The award replaces the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOTEM) for service in Afghanistan and personnel who previously received the GWOTEM for Afghanistan service may elect to exchange the medal for the new Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Both medals may not be received for the same period of service in Afghanistan and any current Afghanistan service will only be recognized with the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Since the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals are no longer issued, you will now get a GWOT-EM if you go back to Iraq and Afghanistan. And if you already have the GWOT-EM, and deploy now to Iraq and Afghanistan you simply just add the service star on it. Understand?

I been to Afghanistan twice and earned the NATO medal for it but just once. You see its the lower ribbon on my rack but there is no star in it. The same was for the GWOT-EM. Now, there are stars for it for subsequent tours.