Pentagon approves Humanitarian Service Medal for Pararescue teams’ 2017 Hurricane responses

The Joint Staff recently approved the Humanitarian Service Medal for the DoD’s response to a trifecta of devastating Hurricanes in 2017. From August through October, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ripped through the Caribbean and southern United States. The U.S. military’s response was substantial, including multiple Air Force Pararescue teams. Other Air Force and U.S. military assets that took part in the hurricane operations are also eligible for the medal.

Pararescue Hurricane Harvey
Pararescue Teams during Hurricane Harvey (Photo Courtesy: Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

For Hurricane Harvey, inclusive dates are: Aug 23 – Oct 31 2017. Operations must have been conducted in the following areas inside those dates:

  • Texas counties: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Waller and Wharton.
  • Louisiana parishes: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vermilion and Vernon

For Hurricanes Irma and Maria, inclusive dates are Sept 8 – Oct 20 2017. Operations must have been conducted in the following areas inside those dates:

  • Florida
  • Caribbean Sea
    • and adjacent waters from Barbados to Anguilla, and west to the Florida Straits.

To submit for the medal, each military service determines eligibility. Local Awards & Decorations office are available to assist with submissions and eligibility requirements.

To access the official DoD list of Humanitarian Service Medal operations, visit the page under the Under Secretary of Personnel and Readiness site; HERE.



  1. Just the PJ’s or the entire team that made it happen? Maintenance and aircrew play a huge role in the success of these guys.

    • James, you’re right. Since this site largely posts on Special Warfare, we focused mainly on our audience. We have edited our story to reflect the broad eligibility requirements based on your feedback. Thanks.


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