There is a hypothesis that suggests that these were awarded between 1947 and mid 1948. The Occupation medal for US army troops was authorized in early/mid 1947, although discussed as early as the Fall of 1946.
The actual Army Occupation Medal was first awarded in 1948- almost coincidental with the Navy/Marine Corps version ( which was authorized in early 1948).
The Pentagon debate centered around some sort of award to signify service in occupied Europe, as occupation service was not easy nor all that fun at the time. US troops had to restore civil order amongst chaos, catch ex Nazis, stop rampant criminality, feed millions of starving refugees, combat outbreaks of typhus, diptheria and even malaria in Italy. Then of course there was the hostility of the Stalinists......who were busy taking over eastern Europe.
However, Truman did not sign the actual termination of the war Act until late 1946 ( for political reasons, mostly due to funding and the GI Bill debates) and the official closing date of World War Two, signified by the WW2 victory medal, was Midnight, December 31,1946. The Pentagon had (and still purportedly has) a strict " only one medal per each campaign rule. Thus, Occupation service technically was supposed to start as of January 1, 1947.
Given the new Occupation medals were not actually given out until the late summer of 1948 and the final design itself was not finalized until January/February (?) of 1948.....it is thought that soldiers were first issued the old style occupation ribbon until the newer version superceded the old WW1.
Edited by JMcCulloch, 17 May 2016 - 09:54 AM.