The Commendation Medal is a mid-level United States military decoration, presented for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service. For valorous actions in direct contact with an enemy, but of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Bronze Star Medal, a Commendation Medal with "V" Device or Combat "V" is awarded. On January 7 2016, The "C" Device or Combat "C” was created and may be authorized for wear on the service and suspension ribbon of the Commendation Medal to distinguish an award for meritorious service or achievement under the most arduous combat conditions. A Commendation Medal with Combat Device is unofficially named the “Combat Commendation” and is considered to be a higher level form of the Commendation Medal, regardless of the Awarding Branch. Retroactive award of the “C” device is not approved for medals awarded before 7 January 2016; each branch of the United States Armed Forces issues its own version of the Commendation Medal, with a fifth version existing for acts of joint military service performed under the Department of Defense.
The Commendation Medal was only a service ribbon and was first awarded by the U. S. Navy and U. S. Coast Guard in 1943. An Army Commendation Ribbon followed in 1945, in 1949, the Navy, Coast Guard, Army Commendation ribbons were renamed the "Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant". By 1960, the Commendation Ribbons had been authorized as full medals and were subsequently referred to as Commendation Medals. Additional awards of the Army and Air Force Commendation Medals are denoted by bronze and silver oak leaf clusters; the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Coast Guard Commendation Medal are authorized gold and silver 5/16 inch stars to denote additional awards. The Operational Distinguishing Device is authorized for wear on the Coast Guard Commendation Medal upon approval of the awarding authority. Order of Precedence is following the Air Medal but before the Prisoner of War Medal and all campaign medals; each of the military services awards separate Achievement Medals which are below the Commendation Medals in precedence.
The Joint Service Commendation Medal was authorized on 25 June 1963 and is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 1 January 1963, distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement or service in a joint duty capacity. This award is intended for senior service on a joint military staff and is senior in precedence to service-specific Commendation Medals; as such, it is worn above the service Commendation Medals on a military uniform. DevicesOak leaf cluster "V" Device The Army Commendation Medal is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States other than General Officers who, while serving in any capacity with the U. S. Army after December 6, 1941, distinguished themselves by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service; the medal may be awarded to a member of another branch of the U. S. Armed Forces or of a friendly foreign nation who, after June 1, 1962, distinguishes themselves by an act of heroism, extraordinary achievement, or significant meritorious service, of mutual benefit to the friendly nation and the United States.
Criteria and appearanceThe Army Commendation Medal is awarded to American and foreign military personnel in the grade of O-6 and below who have performed noteworthy service in any capacity with the United States Army. Qualifying service for the award of the medal can be for distinctive meritorious achievement and service, acts of courage involving no voluntary risk of life, or sustained meritorious performance of duty. Approval of the award must be made by an officer in the grade of higher; the medallion of the Army Commendation Medal is a bronze hexagon, 13⁄8 inches wide. On the medallion is an American bald eagle with wings spread horizontally, grasping in its talons three crossed arrows. On its breast is a shield paly of thirteen pieces and a chief; the reverse bears a panel for naming between the words FOR MILITARY above and MERIT below, all placed above a laurel sprig. The ribbon is 13⁄8 inches wide of myrtle green, it is edged in white and in the center are five thin white stripes spaced apart.
DevicesOak leaf cluster "V" Device "C" Device "R" Device The U. S. Air Force began issuing its own Air Force Commendation Medal in 1958 with additional awards denoted by oak leaf clusters. Prior to this time, USAF recipients received the Army Commendation Medal, it was not until 1996. On January 7, 2016, the "C" device and "R" device was authorized on the Air Force Commendation Medal as well. For USAF enlisted personnel, the Air Force Commendation Medal is worth three points under the Air Force enlisted promotion system. Criteria and appearanceThe Air Force Commendation Medal is awarded to both American and foreign military personnel of any service branch in the U. S. military grade of O-6 and below
A Marksmanship Ribbon device is a miniature metal rifle, target, service star, or letter E or S which may be worn if authorized on a Marksmanship Ribbon awarded to members of the United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States Navy. The Air Force use a bronze service star on top of their marksmanship ribbon to represent a qualification of expert in an additional weapon other than the one that earned the Airman the qualification ribbon; the Air Force's Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, as it is known, is awarded to those who qualify as expert with either the service rifle or service pistol. The Navy and Coast Guard present two marksmanship ribbon devices for scoring as a Sharpshooter or Expert on a pistol and rifle qualification course: the bronze colored S Device and E Device for the Navy and silver colored S Device and E Device for the Coast Guard; the Air Force uses a 3⁄16" bronze star to indicate expert qualification in both rifle and service pistol. The Coast Guard has additional ribbon devices which represent accomplishments in Civilian Marksmanship Program sanctioned competitions.
The Expert Marksmanship device should not be confused with the Battle E Device. The Navy and Coast Guard Expert Marksmanship device is worn on the Marksmanship Ribbon in lieu of the full sized Marksmanship Medal; when wearing the Marksmanship Medal, the Marksmanship Ribbon with the Expert device is not worn. For a period of time, the E Device was bronze until three consecutive expert qualifications were achieved the device would change to silver with a permanent award status. Coast Guardsman who have been awarded the bronze or silver Coast Guard Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Shot or Rifleman Badge can wear a bronze or silver miniature replica of the M1911 or M14 attached to the U. S. Coast Guard Pistol or Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon in lieu of wearing the EIC badge; those Coast Guardsman who have been awarded the Coast Guard Distinguished Pistol Shot or Marksman Badge can place a small gold metal replica of a pistol or rifle target on the appropriate marksmanship ribbon vise having to wear the distinguished badge on their dress uniforms.
From 1942 to 1960, the Navy awarded unique Distinguished Marksmanship Ribbons vs. devices for their existing marksmanship ribbons. Today, only Distinguished Marksmanship Badges are authorized for wear on Navy uniforms; some State National Guard organizations award marksmanship ribbons to their top shooters. In the Missouri National Guard, the top twelve guardsman selected to represent their state at the Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships are awarded a Governor's Twelve Ribbon. Any guardsman who earns the award more than once wear a bronze or silver Hawthorn Cluster device on top of the ribbon. A bronze Hawthorn Cluster notes the award of a second and seceding awards while a silver Hawthorn Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze Hawthorn Clusters. United States military award devices Marksmanship Ribbon Marksmanship Medal Marksmanship badges Awards and decorations of the United States military
Presidential Unit Citation (United States)
The Presidential Unit Citation called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Uniformed services of the United States, those of allied countries, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941. The unit must display such gallantry and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. Since its inception by Executive Order on 26 February 1942, retroactive to 7 December 1941, to 2008, the Presidential Unit Citation has been awarded in conflicts such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan; the collective degree of valor against an armed enemy by the unit nominated for the PUC is the same as that which would warrant award of the individual award of the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross. In some cases, one or more individuals within the unit may have been awarded individual awards for their contribution to the actions for which their entire unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.
The unit with the most Presidential Unit Citations is the USS Parche with 9 citations. The Army citation was established by Executive Order 9075 on 26 February 1942, superseded by Executive Order 9396 on Dec. 2, 1943, which authorized the Distinguished Unit Citation. As with other Army unit citations, the PUC is in a larger frame than other ribbons, is worn above the right pocket. All members of the unit may wear the decoration, whether or not they participated in the acts for which the unit was cited. Only those assigned to the unit at the time of the action cited may wear the decoration as a permanent award. For both the Army and Air Force, the emblem is a solid blue ribbon enclosed in a gold frame; the Air Force PUC was adopted from the Army Distinguished Unit Citation after the Air Force became a separate military branch in 1947. By Executive Order 10694, dated Jan. 10, 1957 the Air Force redesignated the Distinguished Unit Citation as the Presidential Unit Citation. The Air Force PUC is the same color and design as the Army PUC but smaller, so that it can be worn in alignment with other Air Force ribbons on the left pocket following personal awards.
As with the Army, all members of a receiving unit may wear the decoration while assigned to it, but only those assigned to the unit at the time of the action cited may wear the decoration as a permanent award or if any member of a receiving unit had it their last duty station prior to being either discharged or retired they may continue to wear the decoration as prescribed. The Citation is carried on the receiving unit's colors in the form of a blue streamer, 4 ft long and 2.75 in wide. For the Army, only on rare occasions will a unit larger than battalion qualify for award of this decoration. Citations "to Naval and Marine Corps Units for Outstanding Performance in Action" was established by Executive Order 9050 on 6 February 1942; the Navy version has navy blue and red horizontal stripes, is the only Navy ribbon having horizontal stripes. To distinguish between the two versions of the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy version, more referred to as the Presidential Unit Citation, is referred to as the Navy Presidential Unit Citation and sometimes as the "Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation", the Army and Air Force version is referred to by the Army and Air Force as the Army Presidential Unit Citation and Air Force Presidential Unit Citation.
The ribbon is worn by only by those Navy and Marine service members who were assigned to the unit for the "award period" of the award. In the Army, those who join the unit after the "award period" may wear it while assigned to the unit. ALNan 137-43 states that the first award has a blue enameled star on the ribbon and additional stars for subsequent awards. In 1949, the award changed with no star for bronze stars for subsequent awards. To commemorate the first submerged voyage under the North Pole by the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus in 1958, all members of her crew who made that voyage were authorized to wear their Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a gold block letter N. Currently, US Navy sailors assigned to the USS Nautilus memorial at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, are permitted to wear the Navy Presidential Unit Citation; as of 2014, the same device may be awarded for the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal for those personnel who work in direct support of ICBM operations who serve 179 non-consecutive days dispatched to a missile complex.
To commemorate the first submerged circumnavigation of the world by the nuclear-powered submarine Triton during its shakedown cruise in 1960, all members of her crew who made that voyage were authorized to wear their Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a golden replica of the globe. United States Coast Guard units may be awarded either the Navy or Coast Guard version of the Presidential Unit Citation, depending on which service the Coast Guard was supporting when the citation action was performed; the current decoration is known as the "Department of Homeland Security Presidential Unit Citation". The original Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation was established under the authority of Executive Order 10694, amended by Section 74 of Executive Order 13286 to transfer the award of the USCG PUC to the Secr
The Gold Lifesaving Medal and Silver Lifesaving Medal are U. S. decorations issued by the United States Coast Guard. The awards were established by Act of Congress, 20 June 1874. S. C. § 500. These decorations are two of the oldest medals in the United States and were established at the Department of Treasury as Lifesaving Medals First and Second Class; the Department of the Treasury gave the award, but today the United States Coast Guard awards it through the Department of Homeland Security. They are not classified as military decorations, may be awarded to any person. A British Sea Gallantry Medal for saving life was authorized in 1854. Twenty years in the United States the Gold and Silver Lifesaving Medals were first authorized in an Act that furthered the United States Life-Saving Service; the Secretary of the Treasury was directed, among other provisions of the act, to create "medals of honor", to be distinguished as life-saving medals of the first and second class, bestow them upon any persons who endanger their own lives in saving, or endeavoring to save lives from perils of the sea, within the United States, or upon any American vessel.
The Lifesaving Medals have had three designs in their history. The original design in 1874 was "non-portable" and could not be worn by the recipient, but rather displayed much like a trophy. In 1882 the design was changed; the ribbon was red for the Gold Lifesaving light blue for the Silver Lifesaving medal. On 4 August 1949 the medals and ribbons were reduced in size so that they were more proportionate to medals awarded by the U. S. Armed Forces; the ribbons were redesigned to have multiple colors. The laws governing the awarding of medal were amended over the years, is awarded by the Coast Guard; the Commandant of the Coast Guard makes the final determination in authorizing the award. "The Gold Lifesaving Medal or the Silver Lifesaving Medal may be awarded to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils of the water. The rescue or attempted rescue must either take place in waters within the U. S. or subject to the jurisdiction thereof, or one or the other of the parties must be a citizen of the U.
S. or from a vessel or aircraft owned or operated by citizens of the U. S. "The Lifesaving Medal is issued in two grades, being gold. "The Gold Lifesaving Medal may be awarded to an individual who performed a rescue or attempted rescue at the risk of his or her own life, demonstrates extreme and heroic daring. The Silver Lifesaving Medal may be awarded to an individual who performed a rescue or attempted rescue where the circumstances do not sufficiently distinguish the individual to deserve the medal of gold, but demonstrate such extraordinary effort as to merit recognition. If neither the Gold nor Silver Lifesaving Medal is appropriate a Certificate of Valor or an appropriate Coast Guard Public Service Award may be considered."Until the mid-20th century, the Lifesaving Medal was bestowed upon members of the military. This is due to the creation of a variety of additional military decorations that supplant the Lifesaving Medal; the United States Navy issues the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, instead of the Lifesaving Medal, for sea rescues involving risk of life.
"Military personnel serving on active duty would not be recommended for Gold and Silver Lifesaving Medals. In all other circumstances, a military award should be considered." The Lifesaving Medal is authorized for wear on U. S. military uniforms. The Lifesaving Medal is unusual among U. S. medals because it is struck from the eponymous precious metal, silver or gold. Multiple awards of the Lifesaving Medal are denoted by award stars on the decoration's ribbon and a gold clasp, inscribed with the recipient's name, is worn on the actual medal. Since 1874, more than 600 Gold Lifesaving Medals and more than 1,900 Silver Lifesaving Medals have been awarded. George Freeth, a swimming instructor and the "Father of Modern Surfing", who rescued seven fishermen off Venice Beach during a winter storm in December of 1908. Vice Admiral Harry G. Hamlet, U. S. Coast Guard – While in command of USS Marietta in the Bay of Biscay on 28 April 1919, rescued a crew of 47 persons from the sinking USS James Sergeant Marcus Hanna – Only person to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
Joshua James – Legendary lifesaver. Jonas Johns - Native American who rescued the 14 man crew of the schooner Lily Grace wrecked near Gray's Harbor, Washington in January 1887 and a year rescued 3 more sailors. Medal awarded on December 9, 1889. James Larsin and Wisconsin state legislator. Ida Lewis, lighthouse keeper and first female recipient. Chief Warrant Officer John Allen Midgett Jr. USCG Rasmus Midgett Captain Henry C. Mustin, USN - Naval aviation pioneer. Sheppard Shreaves, for rescuing Henry Breault Lenny Skutnik Arland D. Williams, Jr. Richard Etheridge, Benjamin Bowser, Dorman Pugh, Theodore Meekins, Lewis Wescott, Stanley Wise, William Irving of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station, for rescue of the crew from the E. S. Newman on 11 October 1896. Awarded gold medals posthumously on 5 March 1996. Benjamin Dailey, keeper of the Cape Hatteras Lifeboat Station, led the rescue of the crew of the Ephraim Williams. William Babb, for the 1885 rescue of the American schooner A. C. Maxwell Coxswain Bernard C.
Webber, EN3 Andrew Fitzgerald.
The Achievement Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The Achievement Medal was first proposed as a means to recognize the contributions of junior officers and enlisted personnel who were not eligible to receive the higher Commendation Medal or the Meritorious Service Medal; each military service issues its own version of the Achievement Medal, with a fifth version authorized by the U. S. Department of Defense for joint military activity; the Achievement Medal is awarded for outstanding achievement or meritorious service not of a nature that would otherwise warrant awarding the Commendation Medal. Award authority rests with local commanders, granting a broad discretion of when and for what action the Achievement Medal may be awarded; the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, is the United States Navy and U. S. Marine Corps' version of the Achievement Medal; the U. S. Navy was the first branch of the U. S. Armed Forces to award such a medal, doing so in 1961, when it was dubbed the “Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement Medal”.
This title was shortened in 1967 to the "Navy Achievement Medal". On 19 August 1994, to recognize those of the United States Marine Corps who had received the Navy Achievement Medal, the name of the decoration was changed to the "Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal"; the award is referred to in shorthand speech as a "NAM". From its inception in the early 1960s to 2002, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal could not be approved by the commanding officers of ships, aviation squadron, or shore activities who held the rank of Commander. Awards for crewmembers had to be submitted to the Commodore or Air Wing Commander or the first appropriate O-6 in the chain of command for approval, who signed the award and returned it; this led to a lower awarding rate when compared to similar size units in the Army or Air Force awarding their own achievement medals considering that those services did not establish their respective achievement medals until the 1980s. Since 2002 the commanding officers of aviation squadrons and ships have had the authority to award NAMs without submission to higher authority.
For the Army, battalion commanders (or the first O-5 in a soldier's chain of command for the Army Achievement Medal. The United States Coast Guard created its own Achievement Medal in 1967. S. Army and U. S. Air Force issued their own versions of the award with the Army Achievement Medal in 1981 and Air Force Achievement Medal in 1980. Effective 11 September 2001, the Army Achievement Medal may be awarded in a combat area. Since this change over sixty thousand Army Achievement Medals have been awarded in theaters of operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan; the Joint Service Achievement Medal was created in 1983. This award was considered a Department of Defense decoration senior to the service department Achievement Medals; the following devices may be authorized to be worn on the following achievement medals suspension ribbon and service ribbon: All Achievement Medals, "C" device, which signifies meritorious performance "under combat conditions", after January 2016 Army Achievement Medal, for additional awards - oak leaf clusters Air Force Achievement Medal, for additional awards - oak leaf clusters Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, for additional awards - 5/16 inch stars Coast Guard Achievement Medal, for additional awards - 5/16 inch stars Joint Service Achievement Medal, for additional awards - oak leaf clusters Coast Guard Achievement Medal - Operational Distinguishing Device Coast Guard Achievement Medal - Combat Distinguishing Device The following ribbon devices were authorized in the past but have now been discontinued: Air Force Achievement Medal - "V" Device, until December 2016 Army Achievement Medal - "V" Device, until December 2016 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal - Combat Distinguishing Device, until December 2016 Awards and decorations of the United States government Awards and decorations of the United States military Awards and decorations of the United States Coast Guard Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Citation Examples HRC Joint Awards FAQ
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country's seven uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, multi-mission service unique among the U. S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It operates under the U. S. Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, can be transferred to the U. S. Department of the Navy by the U. S. President at any time, or by the U. S. Congress during times of war; this has happened twice: in 1917, during World War I, in 1941, during World War II. Created by Congress on 4 August 1790 at the request of Alexander Hamilton as the Revenue-Marine, it is the oldest continuous seagoing service of the United States; as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton headed the Revenue-Marine, whose original purpose was collecting customs duties in the nation's seaports. By the 1860s, the service was known as the U.
S. Revenue Cutter Service and the term Revenue-Marine fell into disuse; the modern Coast Guard was formed by a merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U. S. Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915, under the U. S. Department of the Treasury; as one of the country's five armed services, the Coast Guard has been involved in every U. S. war from 1790 to the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. The Coast Guard has 40,992 men and women on active duty, 7,000 reservists, 31,000 auxiliarists, 8,577 full-time civilian employees, for a total workforce of 87,569; the Coast Guard maintains an extensive fleet of 243 coastal and ocean-going patrol ships, tenders and icebreakers called "cutters", 1650 smaller boats, as well as an extensive aviation division consisting of 201 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. While the U. S. Coast Guard is the smallest of the U. S. military service branches in terms of membership, the U. S. Coast Guard by itself is the world's 12th largest naval force; the Coast Guard carries out three basic roles, which are further subdivided into eleven statutory missions.
The three roles are: Maritime safety Maritime security Maritime stewardshipWith a decentralized organization and much responsibility placed on the most junior personnel, the Coast Guard is lauded for its quick responsiveness and adaptability in a broad range of emergencies. In a 2005 article in Time magazine following Hurricane Katrina, the author wrote, "the Coast Guard's most valuable contribution to may be as a model of flexibility, most of all, spirit." Wil Milam, a rescue swimmer from Alaska told the magazine, "In the Navy, it was all about the mission. Practicing for war, training for war. In the Coast Guard, it was, take care of our people and the mission will take care of itself." The eleven statutory missions as defined by law are divided into homeland security missions and non-homeland security missions: Ice operations, including the International Ice Patrol Living marine resources Marine environmental protection Marine safety Aids to navigation Search and rescue Defense readiness Maritime law enforcement Migrant interdiction Ports and coastal security Drug interdiction See National Search and Rescue Committee See Joint Rescue Coordination CentersWhile the U.
S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue is not the oldest search and rescue organization in the world, it is one of the Coast Guard's best-known operations; the National Search and Rescue Plan designates the Coast Guard as the federal agency responsible for maritime SAR operations, the United States Air Force as the federal agency responsible for inland SAR. Both agencies maintain rescue coordination centers to coordinate this effort, have responsibility for both military and civilian search and rescue; the two services jointly provide instructor staff for the National Search and Rescue School that trains SAR mission planners and coordinators. Located on Governors Island, New York, the school is now located at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown at Yorktown, Virginia. Operated by the Coast Guard, the National Response Center is the sole U. S. Government point of contact for reporting all oil, radiological and etiological spills and discharges into the environment, anywhere in the United States and its territories.
In addition to gathering and distributing spill/incident information for Federal On Scene Coordinators and serving as the communications and operations center for the National Response Team, the NRC maintains agreements with a variety of federal entities to make additional notifications regarding incidents meeting established trigger criteria. The NRC takes Maritime Suspicious Activity and Security Breach Reports. Details on the NRC organization and specific responsibilities can be found in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; the Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement database system is managed and used by the Coast Guard for tracking pollution and safety incidents in the nation's ports. The National Maritime Center is the merchant mariner credentialing authority for the USCG under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. To ensure a safe and environmentally sound marine transportation system, the mission of the NMC is to issue credentials to qualified mariners in the United States maritime jurisdiction.
The five uniformed services that make up the U. S. Armed Forces are defined in Title 10 of the U. S. Code: The term "armed forces" means the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard; the Coast Guard is further defined by Title 14 of the United States Code: The Coast Guar
Good Conduct Medal (United States)
The Good Conduct Medal is one of the oldest military awards of the United States Armed Forces. The U. S. Navy's variant of the Good Conduct Medal was established in 1869, the Marine Corps version in 1896, the Coast Guard version in 1923, the Army version in 1941, the Air Force version in 1963; the criteria for a Good Conduct Medal are defined by Executive Orders 8809, 9323, 10444. The Good Conduct Medal, each one specific to one of the five branches of the U. S. Armed Forces, is awarded to any active duty enlisted member of the United States military who completes three consecutive years of "honorable and faithful service"; such service implies that a standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishment, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses. If a service member commits an offense, the three-year mark "resets" and a service member must perform an additional three years of service without having to be disciplined, before the Good Conduct may be authorized. During times of war, the Good Conduct Medal may be awarded for one year of faithful service.
The Good Conduct Medal may be awarded posthumously, to any service member killed in the line of duty. Service for the Good Conduct Medal must be performed on active duty; this restriction does not apply to full-time active duty enlisted members in the Reserve Component, such as Army and Air Force personnel in an Active Guard and Reserve status, Navy personnel in a Full Time Support known as Training & Administration of the Reserve, Marine Corps Active Reserve programs. On 1 January 2014, the Navy discontinued the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, a de facto Good Conduct Medal for Navy Reserve enlisted personnel. Since that date, all Navy enlisted personnel have received the Navy Good Conduct Medal, whether in a full-time active duty or a part-time drilling reserve status; the various services have established separate Reserve Good Conduct Medals, albeit under various names, as a comparable award available to enlisted Reserve and National Guard members who satisfactorily perform annual training, drill duty and any additional active duty of less than 3 consecutive years duration.
The exception, as stated, is the United States Navy, which discontinued that service's separate award for Reserve Component enlisted personnel as of 1 January 2014. Enlisted Navy Reservists now earn time towards the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the same as the Active Component and any time earned towards an unawarded Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal is automatically carried over to the Navy Good Conduct Medal; the Navy Good Conduct Medal is the oldest Good Conduct Medal, dating back to 26 April 1869. There have been a total of four versions of the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the first version of, issued from 1870 to 1884; the original Navy Good Conduct Medal was not worn on a uniform, but issued with discharge papers as a badge to present during reenlistment. A sailor in the Navy received a new Good Conduct Medal for each honorable enlistment completed; the second version of the Navy Good Conduct Medal was issued between 1880 and 1884. The medal was considered a "transitional decoration" and was the first of the Good Conduct Medals to be worn on a uniform.
The medal was phased out by 1885 and a new medal issued between 1885 and 1961. The new medal was a Good Conduct medallion suspended from an all red ribbon. Enlistment bars, denoting each honorable enlistment completed, were pinned on the ribbon as attachments. There was slight oddity during the Spanish–American War when the Navy created the Specially Meritorious Service Medal which had an all red suspension and service ribbon. There were recorded cases of Navy enlisted personnel who were awarded both the Good Conduct Medal and the Specially Meritorious Service Medal who wore two red service ribbons on their Navy service uniforms; this is one of the rare times in the history of U. S. military awards that two awards had identical ribbons. In the 1950s bronze and silver 3/16 inch stars, with one silver star worn in lieu of five bronze stars, replaced the enlistment bars. Although the medal itself had not changed since 1884, in 1961 a ring suspension for the ribbon and medal combination was adopted, differentiating the suspension from its Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal counterpart and standardizing it with the majority of other service medals.
It is this 1961 version of the Navy Good Conduct Medal, still in use today. The current Navy Good Conduct Medal is issued to every active duty enlisted sailor who completes three years of honorable and faithful service since 1 January 1996. For prior awards to personnel between 1 November 1963 and 1 January 1996, four years of service were required; the four year requirement applies for award of the Navy Good Conduct Medal from its original establishment until 1 November 1963. Additional awards of the Navy Good Conduct Medal are denoted by bronze and silver 3/16 inch stars; the reverse side of the medal has three words, "FIDELITY ZEAL OBEDIENCE" superimposed in a semicircle. Upon 12 years of honorable and faithful service, sailors are allowed to w