Reserve Force Medal

The Reserve Force Medal was awarded to Reserve Force other ranks for 15 years efficient service.

The Reserve Force Medal was awarded to Reserve Force other ranks for 15 years efficient service.

The medal is one of three Defence Force Service Awards that recognised long-service. The other two awards were:

How it is awarded

The Governor-General awarded the Reserve Force Medal on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Force Staff or his/her delegate.

Members of philanthropic organisations serving with the Australian Defence Force were eligible for nomination.

Fifteen years efficient ADF service (that includes service as a member of the Reserve Forces for a period of not less than 12 years) commencing on or after 14 February 1975 which counted as qualifying service is required for the Reserve Force Medal. Clasps are awarded for each additional five years.

There are no post-nominal entitlements for the Reserve Force Medal.


The Reserve Force Medal is part of a long tradition of rewarding long service and good conduct by a member of a nation’s armed forces.

Britain has the most developed system with the oldest Imperial award for naval long service introduced by King William IV in 1831.

The Defence Force Service Awards were established on 20 April 1982 by Letters Patent, providing distinctive Australian military long service honours.

Between 1975 and 1982, defence force long service came under the arm of the National Medal, which now primarily recognises civilian service in hazardous occupations. Prior to this, Australians in the reserve and defence forces were eligible for Imperial awards.

Along with the Reserve Force Decoration and the Defence Force Service Medal, the Reserve Force Medal was replaced by the Defence Long Service Medal in 1998. 

Medal design

The Reserve Force Medal features the joint service emblem on a rayed background. The oval, cupro-nickel medal is ensigned with the Crown of Saint Edward.

On the back of the medal, the words ‘For Efficient Service in the Reserve Forces’ are inscribed.

Medal Ribbon

The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon has a central azure-blue vertical band, which is edged with narrow vertical stripes of gold.

Award category

Other Defence Service Medals