The Pentagon has created a new medal to honor the thousands of U.S. troops who have deployed to Iraq or Syria to support operations against Islamic State militants.
The Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal will be awarded to service members who have deployed to Iraq or Syria or its airspace or territorial waters since June 15, 2014, a defense official said.
About 11,000 troops are already eligible for the new medal, which Defense Secretary Ash Carter will announce Wednesday.
To qualify, individuals must spend at least 30 consecutive days in Iraq or Syria or a total of 60 nonconsecutive days.
The 30-day minimum time threshold will be waived for any service member who is injured and evacuated out of the country or who engages in combat.
Thousands of troops will be eligible for the new medal. Previously troops who deployed to Iraq were eligible to receive a Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal. Troops who received that medal for past deployments will be allowed to exchange it for a new OIR Medal.