I was recently sent back early from my deployment due to certain events from GEN McChrystal. I was deployed to Afghanistan for 5 months and 20 days. Just 10 days short of getting a combat stripe.

I just checked my ERB today and saw ACM-CS. I know the ACM is the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, but what exactly does the CS mean?

Thanks in advance.
Original Post
The campaign stars recognize soldiers for participating in designated campaign phases — not multiple deployments — within the areas of eligibility for 30 consecutive days, or 60 nonconsecutive days.

Soldiers also are eligible if they engage in combat, or are wounded or injured and require medical evacuation, regardless of the time in a designated area.

Eligibility is retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001, for service in Afghanistan, and March 19, 2003, for Iraq.

Soldiers who qualify for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal by reason of having served in Afghanistan during Sept. 11, 2001-April 30, 2005, or Iraq during March 19, 2003-April 30, 2005, remain qualified for that medal, but can have it replaced by the ACM or ICM.

Campaign stars are not authorized for wear on the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, according to Army policy.

In the April 19 directive authorizing campaign stars, the Defense Department established three qualifying phases, or time periods, for Afghanistan, and four for Iraq.

In authorizing the award of campaign medals and stars, the Defense Department stipulated that soldiers cannot receive separate medals for the same action, time period and service.

However, if a soldier’s period of deployment overlaps one or more of the approved campaign phases, the soldier qualifies for each phase, and is entitled to the appropriate number of service stars.

For example, if a soldier deployed to Afghanistan for 180 days during Oct. 24, 2001, to April 13, 2002, he is entitled to two service stars on the ACM for participation in both the liberation of Afghanistan and Consolidation I campaign phases of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Campaign stars are bronze or silver five-pointed stars. A silver star is worn in lieu of five bronze campaign stars.

Campaign phases
A directive issued by the Department of Defense April 16 designates three phases of Operation Enduring Freedom as qualifying for a campaign star:

• Liberation of Afghanistan (Sept. 11, 2001–Nov. 30, 2001)

• Consolidation I (Dec. 1, 2001-Sept. 30, 2006)

• Consolidation II (Oct. 1, 2006-TBD)

The four qualifying phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom are:

• Liberation of Iraq (March 19, 2003-May 1, 2003)

• Transition of Iraq (May 2, 2003-June 28, 2004)

• Iraqi Governance (June 29, 2004-Dec. 15, 2005)

• National Resolution (Dec. 16, 2005-TBD)

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