Early versions of the Spanish Campaign Medal suspended the metal from a gold and red ribbon, but this design was changed in 1913 upon request from Spain that a United States service medal not bear the colors of the Spanish nation. The new medal was suspended from a blue and yellow ribbon. Separate medallions existed for both the Navy and Army. Marine Corps recipients received the Navy version with the seal of the United States Marine Corps on the reverse of the medal.
The only device authorized to the Spanish Campaign Medal was the Citation Star and then only for U.S. Army recipients of the decoration.
The Army version of the Spanish Campaign Medal was established on January 12, 1905. It was awarded for military service performed between May 11th and August 16th, 1898 which such service in the geographical regions of either Cuba, Puerto Rico, or the Philippine Islands. For those members of the Army who had served on active duty during the Spanish-American War, but had not been deployed in action, a separate medal existed for bestowal, known as the Spanish War Service Medal.