Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces
The United States Armed Forces awards and decorations are the medals, service ribbons, specific badges which recognize military service and personal accomplishments while a member of the U. S. Armed Forces; such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career. While each service has its own order of precedence, the following general rules apply to all services: U. S. military personal decorations U. S. military unit awards U. S. non-military personal decorations Presidential awards National Medals DoD and JCS Distinguished Service awards Agency-specific Distinguished Service awards Agency-specific Superior Service awards Agency-specific Meritorious Service awards Agency-specific Commendation awards Agency-specific Achievement awards Civilian unit awards Civilian service awards U. S. non-military unit awards U. S. military campaign and service medals U. S. military service and training awards U. S. Merchant Marine awards and non-military service awards Foreign military personal decorations Foreign military unit awards Non-U.
S. Service awards Foreign military service awards Marksmanship awards Awards of U. S. military societies and other organizations6a 6b State awards of the National Guard Notes on branch-specific exceptions to the above: 1a In the Army, unit awards are worn as a separate grouping, on the right side of the uniform and without frames, are worn in the order of precedence from the wearer’s right to left. 1b In the Navy, unit award ribbons are only worn on the right side of the uniform, when wearing full medals on the left side. Arrange ribbons in order of precedence in rows from top down, inboard to outboard. For U. S. Navy, the USPHS unit awards are considered unit awards. However, if Navy personnel are awarded USPHS personal decorations the USPHS order of precedence would apply. 2 Some awards, despite being ribbon-only, are higher in precedence. The Navy & Coast Guard Combat Action Ribbons and the Coast Guard's Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbon are included with personal decorations, while two Air Force ribbon-only awards and the Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year Ribbon are considered in the same category as service medals.
3a Marksmanship Awards in the Air Force are considered training awards. 3b The Army and Marine Corps issue Marksmanship Qualification Badges instead of Marksmanship awards. 4 For Navy, Merchant Marine awards are considered U. S. non-military awards. 5 The obsolete Philippine Commonwealth service awards, when still listed in the order of precedence, come before the United Nations medals or before the Merchant Marine awards. 6a For Navy and ribbons from military societies, such as the Army and Navy Union of the United States, worn in the order earned may be worn after marksmanship awards. Medals and badges issued by these societies may be worn only while attending meetings or conventions or while participating in parades or other ceremonies as a member of these organizations. 6b For Army, no allowance of military society medals or ribbons is prescribed. More badges of the Army and Navy Union of the United States of America are authorized for such active duty ANU members without further restriction.
Badges of other civic and quasi-military societies of the United States, international organizations of a military nature may be worn with restrictions. These include badges of organizations composed of members who served in a U. S. force during the Revolutionary War. The badges are worn only while the wearer is attending meetings or functions of such organizations, or on occasions of ceremony. Personnel will not wear these badges to and from such events. Notes: Precedence of particular awards will vary among the different branches of service. All awards and decorations may be awarded to any service member unless otherwise designated by name or notation. Note: ^ The precedence of the Purple Heart was before the Good Conduct Medals until changed to its current precedence in 1985. Inter-service Air Force Army Coast Guard Navy and Marine CorpsTo denote additional achievements or multiple awards of the same decoration, the United States military maintains a number of award devices which are pinned to service ribbons and medals.
Awards and decorations of the National Guard Awards and decorations of the state defense forces U. S. military personnel having received these awards have either been discharged or retired for a substantial length of time and/or are deceased. The following decorations were designed for issuance with an approved medal, but were either never approved for presentation or were discontinued bef
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, on the south and east by the American state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. Many of Ontario's most populous cities, including Toronto, Canada's most populous city, Hamilton, are on the lake's northern or western shores. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí'io means "Lake of Shining Waters", its primary inlet is the Niagara River from Lake Erie. The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River, it is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan. Lake Ontario is the easternmost of the Great Lakes and the smallest in surface area, although it exceeds Lake Erie in volume, it is the 13th largest lake in the world. When its islands are included, the lake's shoreline is 712 miles long.
As the last lake in the Great Lakes' hydrologic chain, Lake Ontario has the lowest mean surface elevation of the lakes at 243 feet above sea level. Its maximum length is 193 statute miles and its maximum width is 53 statute miles; the lake's average depth is 47 fathoms 1 foot, with a maximum depth of 133 fathoms 4 feet. The lake's primary source is the Niagara River, draining Lake Erie, with the St. Lawrence River serving as the outlet; the drainage basin covers 24,720 square miles. As with all the Great Lakes, water levels change both among years; these water level fluctuations are an integral part of lake ecology, produce and maintain extensive wetlands. The lake has an important freshwater fishery, although it has been negatively affected by factors including over-fishing, water pollution and invasive species. Baymouth bars built by prevailing winds and currents have created a significant number of lagoons and sheltered harbors near Prince Edward County and the easternmost shores; the best-known example is Toronto Bay, chosen as the site of the Upper Canada capital for its strategic harbour.
Other prominent examples include Hamilton Harbour, Irondequoit Bay, Presqu'ile Bay, Sodus Bay. The bars themselves are the sites of long beaches, such as Sandbanks Provincial Park and Sandy Island Beach State Park; these sand bars are associated with large wetlands, which support large numbers of plant and animal species, as well as providing important rest areas for migratory birds. Presqu'ile, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, is significant in this regard. One unique feature of the lake is the Z-shaped Bay of Quinte which separates Prince Edward County from the Ontario mainland, save for a 2-mile isthmus near Trenton. Major rivers draining into Lake Ontario include the Niagara River, Don River, Humber River, Trent River, Cataraqui River, Genesee River, Oswego River, Black River, Little Salmon River, the Salmon River; the lake basin was carved out of soft, weak Silurian-age rocks by the Wisconsin ice sheet during the last ice age. The action of the ice occurred along the pre-glacial Ontarian River valley which had the same orientation as today's basin.
Material, pushed southward by the ice sheet left landforms such as drumlins and moraines, both on the modern land surface and the lake bottom, reorganizing the region's entire drainage system. As the ice sheet retreated toward the north, it still dammed the St. Lawrence valley outlet, so the lake surface was at a higher level; this stage is known as Lake Iroquois. During that time the lake drained through present-day Syracuse, New York into the Mohawk River, thence to the Hudson River and the Atlantic; the shoreline created during this stage can be recognized by the beaches and wave-cut hills 10 to 25 miles from the present shoreline. When the ice receded from the St. Lawrence valley, the outlet was below sea level, for a short time the lake became a bay of the Atlantic Ocean, in association with the Champlain Sea; the land rebounded from the release of the weight of about 6,500 feet of ice, stacked on it. It is still rebounding about 12 inches per century in the St. Lawrence area. Since the ice receded from the area last, the most rapid rebound still occurs there.
This means the lake bed is tilting southward, inundating the south shore and turning river valleys into bays. Both north and south shores experience shoreline erosion, but the tilting amplifies this effect on the south shore, causing loss to property owners; the name Ontario is derived from the Huron word Ontarí'io, which means "great lake". The lake was a border between the Huron people and the Iroquois Confederacy in the pre-Columbian era. In the 1600s, the Iroquois drove out the Huron from southern Ontario and settled the northern shores of Lake Ontario; when the Iroquois withdrew and the Anishnabeg / Ojibwa / Mississaugas moved in from the north to southern Ontario, they retained the Iroquois name. It is believed the first European to reach the lake was Étienne Brûlé in 1615; as was their practice, the French explorers introduced other names for the lake. In 1632 and 1656, the lake was referred to as Lac de St. Louis or Lake St. Louis by Samuel de Champlain and cartographer Nicolas Sanson In
Richard Dixon (USCG)
Richard Dixon was the coxswain of a 44-foot Motor Lifeboat, on the July 4th weekend of 1980, when his skill and daring enabled him to rescue stricken pleasure boat crew off Tillamook Bay, Oregon. During the first incident a 58-foot yacht was in distress in the aftermath of hurricane Celia, needed to seek sheltered waters, but wave conditions seemed to batter it apart if it tried to use the narrow entrance between two stone jetties to enter Tillamook Bay's harbor. Dixon and the coxswain of another motor lifeboat maneuvered beside the yacht, to absorb some of the wave energy as it entered harbor. In the second incident two pleasure boat occupants had fallen overboard and were within fifty feet of being dashed upon the harbor's breakwater. In spite of the danger of maneuvering so close to the crashing waves, in such high sea conditions, Dixon was able to rescue the pleasure boaters. Dixon received Coast Guard Medals for both rescues. In 2010 when the Coast Guard decided that all the new Sentinel class cutters would be named after Coast Guard personnel, recognized for their heroism Dixon was one of those to be honored.
The thirteenth cutter in the class was named the USCGC Richard Dixon. She was the first Sentinel class cutter to be homeported in Puerto Rico
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal, unofficially the Bronze Star, is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. When the medal is awarded by the Army and Air Force for acts of valor in combat, the "V" Device is authorized for wear on the medal; when the medal is awarded by the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard for acts of valor or meritorious service in combat, the Combat "V" is authorized for wear on the medal. Officers from the other Uniformed Services of the United States are eligible to receive this award, as are foreign soldiers who have served with or alongside a service branch of the United States Armed Forces. Civilians serving with U. S. military forces in combat are eligible for the award. For example, UPI reporter Joe Galloway was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" Device during the Vietnam War for rescuing a badly wounded soldier under fire in the Battle of la Drang, in 1965.
Another civilian recipient was writer Ernest Hemingway. The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944; the Bronze Star Medal may be awarded by the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary of Homeland Security with regard to the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, or by such military commanders, or other appropriate officers as the Secretary concerned may designate, to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after 6 December 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, herself or himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight— while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. The acts of heroism are of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star; the acts of merit or acts of valor must be less than that required for the Legion of Merit but must have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.
The Bronze Star Medal is awarded only to service members in combat zones who are receiving imminent danger pay. The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 6 December 1941, was cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 7 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. For this purpose, the US Army's Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge award is considered as a citation in orders. Documents executed since 4 August 1944 in connection with recommendations for the award of decorations of higher degree than the Bronze Star Medal cannot be used as the basis for an award under this paragraph. Effective 11 September 2001, the Meritorious Service Medal may be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater; the Bronze Star Medal was designed by Rudolf Freund of the jewelry firm Banks & Biddle. The medal is a bronze star 1 1⁄2 inches in circumscribing diameter.
In the center is a 3⁄16 inch diameter superimposed bronze star, the center line of all rays of both stars coinciding. The reverse bears the inscription "HEROIC OR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT" with a space for the name of the recipient to be engraved; the star hangs from its ribbon by a rectangular metal loop with rounded corners. The suspension ribbon is 1 3⁄8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1⁄32 inch white 67101; the Bronze Star Medal with the "V" device to denote heroism is the fourth highest military decoration for valor. Although a service member may be cited for heroism in combat and be awarded more than one Bronze Star authorizing the "V" device, only one "V" may be worn on each suspension and service ribbon of the medal; the following ribbon devices must be authorized in the award citation in order to be worn on the Bronze Star Medal, the criteria for and wear of the devices vary between the services: Oak leaf cluster – In the Army and Air Force, the oak leaf cluster is worn to denote additional awards.
5/16 inch star – In the Navy and Marine Corps and Coast Guard, the 5/16 inch star is worn to denote additional awards. "V" device – In the Army, the "V" is worn to denote "participation in acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.". Combat "V" – In the Navy and Marine Corps and Coast Guard, the "V" is worn to denote combat heroism or to recognize individuals who are "exposed to personal hazard during direct participation in combat operations". Colonel Russell P. "Red" Reeder conceived the idea of the Bronze Star Medal in 1943. Reeder felt another medal was needed as a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, suggested calling the proposed new award the "Ground Medal"; the idea rose through the military bureaucracy and gained supporters. General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated 3
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
Petty officer third class
Petty officer third class is the fourth enlisted rank in the U. S. Navy, U. S. Coast Guard, the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, above seaman and below petty officer second class, is the lowest rank of non-commissioned officer, equivalent to a corporal in the U. S. Army and Marine Corps. Petty officer third class shares the same pay grade as senior airman in the Air Force, which no longer has an NCO rank corresponding with E-4. Unlike seaman and lower ranks, a sailor's advancement to petty officer third class is not automatic given time in service, but is contingent on performance evaluations by their superiors and rate examinations, except for certain technical ratings which carry automatic advancement to PO3 after successful completion of that rating's "A" school and fulfillment of time in rate requirements; the advancement cycle is every 6 months. Only a certain number of billets open up biannually and all seamen compete for promotion; the top scorers are chosen for advancement, but only in sufficient numbers to fill the billets available.
Petty officers serve a dual role as leaders. Unlike the sailors who rank below them, there is no such thing as an undesignated petty officer; every petty officer has both rating. The rank and rating combined are known collectively as a sailor's rate. A petty officer's full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a petty officer third class who has the rating of Aviation Structural Mechanic is called an Aviation Structural Mechanic Third Class; the term petty officer is only used in abstract, the general sense, when referring to a group of petty officers of different ratings, or when the petty officer's rating is unknown. Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as AM for aviation structural mechanic; when combined with the petty officer level, this gives the shorthand for the petty officer's rank, such as AM3 for aviation structural mechanic third class. It is common practice to refer to the petty officer by this shorthand in all but the most formal correspondence, such as printing an inscription on awards.
The petty officer is referred to by the shorthand designation, without using the surname. Thus AM3 Anderson would be called AM3. To address a petty officer, one would say, "Petty Officer Smith", "Smith", or "sailor", the latter two forms being acceptable for use by those equal or greater in rank than the petty officer, it is uncommon to address a petty officer as "petty officer" the way one might address an NCO in the Army as "sergeant." It is acceptable, though archaic, to address a petty officer or chief petty officer of any grade as "Mister Smith" or "Miss Smith." In the modern navy, the use of "miss" or "mister" is common only in reference to junior commissioned officers or warrant officers. The rate insignia for a petty officer third class is a white perched eagle and one specialty mark above a chevron. On dress uniforms the symbol for the petty officer's rating is placed between the two. On the dress white uniform, the eagle and chevron are navy blue; this has led to the eagle, the entire rating badge, being referred to as "the crow."
On the dress blue uniform, the eagle and rating are white, the chevron is red. The insignia worn on working uniforms, such as coveralls and the naval working uniform, metal rank devices, like those worn on the collar of the naval service uniform, have the rating symbol omitted; when a sailor is promoted to petty officer third class, it is traditional for sailors holding that or a higher enlisted rank to "tack on the crow." This custom involved a promoted sailor's fellow petty officers taking turns stitching the new rank insignia on the sailor's uniform, the rushed needlework referred to as "tacking." More the custom has taken on a different form, being done with a gesture ranging from a light tap to a hard punch over the new petty officer's sleeve insignia. This, has been deemed "hazing", as such individuals involved in this practice can be subject to disciplinary action; this disciplinary action includes the individual being demoted. The "tacking on of the crow" has been known to cause serious injury.
It is not just patches that are "tacked on", but metal insignia in the chest area that have sharp attachment pins, such as the insignia for surface warfare or submarine service. A hard enough punch can cause the attachment points to pierce a sailor's skin. Commanding officers are known to direct the ship corpsman to perform physical exams for possible abuse and to report all injuries to newly promoted personnel, so punishment cannot be avoided; the U. S. Navy's high year tenure policy has made the good conduct variation for a petty officer third class all but obsolete. Among enlisted sailors 12 consecutive years of good conduct entitles the sailor to wear a good conduct variation of their rank insignia, with the red chevrons under the specialty mark and perched eagle worn as gold and the eagle itself worn as silver. However, the high year tenure initiative mandates that a petty officer third class may only have eight years of service. If a PO3 fails to make petty officer second class within those eight years, the petty officer is involuntarily separated for not meeting advancement requirements.
This same restriction has been imposed upon the ranks of petty officer second class and first class, allowing 14 years of service to a PO2 before advancement must be attained, 20 years of service to a petty officer first class. All of these initiatives, may be waived in the event the sailor holds cri
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