The Humanitarian Service Medal has been authorized for award to the hundreds of soldiers who participated in Operation Urgent Response, the February 2014 winter relief mission in Slovenia.

Award of the HSM is limited to soldiers who deployed to Slovenia, and who directly participated in the relief effort Feb. 7-12, 2014, according to a directive issued by the military awards branch of the Human Resources Command Jan. 20.

The relief effort by U.S. Army Europe, including paratroopers of the 173d Airborne Brigade, headquartered in Italy, was prompted by snow and ice storms that left one in four homes in the Balkan nation without power.

Having already established an active training partnership with Slovenia's 1st Brigade, 173d paratroopers responded on no-notice to deliver generators and other relief equipment and supplies via ground convoy through the dangerous wintry conditions.

To qualify for the HSM, soldiers must meet the requirements listed below.  The governing regulation is Paragraph 2-22C of AR 600-8-22 (Military Awards).

Soldiers must have been on full-time active duty at the time of direct participation in this relief effort.  Full-time active duty includes being on the Active Duty List, or on full-time training duty or annual training duty.

Soldier must have directly participated in the operation during the designated period (Feb. 7-12, 2014) in the affected area.

Soldier or unit must provide evidence that substantiates direct participation in the relief effort, such as certificates, letters of commendation or appreciation, officer or NCO evaluation reports, copies of orders reflecting participation, after-action reports, situation reports, rosters, unit files or any other records verifying participation, and/or statements from commanders or supervisors.

Approval authorities for the award can be commanders in the grade of O-6 and above who had operational control over this relief effort.

For specific details, soldiers should consult MilPer Message 16-021, which was issued by the Human Resources Command Jan. 20.