Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, January 20, 2017

What World War I Medal Has General Pershing on It?

Answer:  The U.S. Army Occupation of Germany Medal

The Army of Occupation of Germany Medal is a service medal of the United States military which was created by the act of the United States Congress on 21 November 1941. The medal recognizes those members of the United States military who served in the European occupation force following the close of World War I and was awarded to any service member who performed occupation garrison duty in either Germany, or the former Austria-Hungary, between the dates of 12 November 1918 and 11 July 1923. At times the occupation force was as large as 250,000 men.

The medal was primarily created due to the rising tension with Germany, between 1939 and 1941, and also as a means to honor the World War I service of General of the Armies John J. Pershing. 

The medal was designed by Mr. T. A. Rovelstad, Heraldic Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, in June 1942, and was approved by the Secretary of War on 8 July 1942.

It is bronze and 1.25 inches in diameter. On the obverse is a profile of General John J. Pershing, circled by four stars indicating his insignia of grade as Commanding General of the Field Forces. In the lower left is the inscription “GENERAL JOHN J. PERSHING” and on the right is a laurel wreath superimposed by a sword with the dates “1918” and “1923” enclosed by the wreath. 

The reverse shows the American eagle perched with outspread wings standing on the Castle Ehrenbreitstein, encircled by the words “U.S. ARMY OF OCCUPATION OF GERMANY” and three stars at the bottom of the medal.

Sources: U.S. Army Heraldry & Wikipedia


  1. I never knew the background story of this medal and trust me, I would have never known this if I had not visited this page. Thanks a lot for sharing this info with us.

  2. I was just looking at the my father's medals. Both WW1&2. But after all these years I decided to look up what all of that was for. As a vet, myself, I only considered the Silver Start, but the campaign stuff, which most of us in the business regard as junk, really do have a story to tell. Just later. Thankyou.