This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (April 2020)
A campaign medal is a military decoration which is awarded to a member of an armed force who serves in a designated military operation or performs duty in a geographical theater. Campaign medals are very similar to service medals but carry a higher status as the award usually involves deployment to a foreign region or service in a combat zone.
Campaign medals were first invented to recognize general military service in war, in contrast to meritorious decorations which were only issued on a small scale for acts of heroism and bravery. The campaign were first issued by the British military with the medal awarded for the defeat of the Invincible Armada, with the 1815 Waterloo Medal being the first awarded to all men present and the 1847 Military General Service Medal being the first "modern" campaign medal.