Prisoner of War Medal

POW Medal

The 99th Congress authorized the Prisoner of War Medal on 8 November 1985. The first Prisoner of War Medal was awarded to Commander Everett Alverez, U.S.N. who was held as POW in North Vietnam for eight years.

The ribbon’s colors each have a specific meaning. The red, white, and blue stripes represent the United States. The larger white stripes represent hope, with the black center stripe alluding to the bleakness of confinement as a prisoner of war. 

The Prisoner of War Medal is authorized to individuals who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Forces, were taken prisoner and held captive after 5 April 1917.