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National Defense Service Medal won’t be awarded after December


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Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the formal end of combat operations in Iraq, the Defense Department is preparing to truly transition the military out of a wartime posture. Which is to say, the National Defense Service Medal is going back into retirement on Dec. 31.

The award ― affectionately known as the “pizza stain,” which all troops serving since 9/11 have been able to pin on their uniforms after initial training ― won’t be awarded for the foreseeable future.

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