Army National Guard
The Army National Guard, in conjunction with the Air National Guard, is a militia force and a federal military reserve force of the United States. They are part of two different organizations, the Army National Guard of the several states and the District of Columbia, the Army National Guard of the United States, part of the United States National Guard; the Army National Guard is divided into subordinate units stationed in each of the 50 states, three territories, the District of Columbia, operates under their respective governors. The foundation for what became the Army National Guard occurred in the city of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, the first time that a regiment of militia drilled for the common defense of a multi-community area; the Army National Guard as authorized and organized operates under Title 10 of the United States Code when under federal control, Title 32 of the United States Code and applicable state laws when under state control. The Army National Guard may be called up for active duty by the state or territorial governors to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as those caused by hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as civil disorder.
The District of Columbia Army National Guard is a federal militia, controlled by the President of the United States with authority delegated to the Secretary of Defense, through him to the Secretary of the Army. Members or units of the Army National Guard may be ordered, temporarily or indefinitely, into the service of the United States. If mobilized for federal service, the member or unit becomes part of the Army National Guard of the United States, a reserve component of the United States Army. Individuals volunteering for active federal service may do so subject to the consent of their governors. Governors cannot veto involuntary activations of individuals or units for federal service, either for training or national emergency; the President may call up members and units of the Army National Guard, in its status as the militia of the several states, to repel invasion, suppress rebellion, or enforce federal laws. The Army National Guard of the United States is one of two organizations administered by the National Guard Bureau, the other being the Air National Guard of the United States.
The Director of the Army National Guard is the head of the organization, reports to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Because the Army National Guard is both the militia of the several states and a federal reserve component of the Army, neither the Chief of the National Guard Bureau nor the Director of the Army National Guard "commands" it; this function is performed in each state or territory by the State Adjutant General, in the District of Columbia by the Commanding General of the District of Columbia National Guard when a unit is in its militia status. The Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Director of the Army National Guard serve as the channel of communications between the Department of the Army and the Army National Guard in each state and territory, administer federal programs and resources for the National Guard; the Army National Guard's portion of the president's proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2018 is $16.2 billion to support an end strength of 343,000, including appropriations for personnel pay and allowance, facilities maintenance, equipment maintenance and other activities.
Of the 45 individuals to serve as President of the United States as of 2017, 33 had military experience. Of those 33, 21 served in Army National Guard. George Washington, commissioned a Major in the Virginia Militia in 1753, he attained the rank of colonel before resigning his commission at the end of the French and Indian War. Thomas Jefferson and commander of the Albemarle County Militia at the start of the American Revolution James Madison, colonel in the Orange County Militia at the start of the American Revolution and aide to his father, James Madison, Sr., the commander. James Monroe, served in the militia while attending the College of William and Mary. After being wounded at the Battle of Trenton while serving in the Continental Army, he returned to Virginia to recruit and lead a regiment as a militia lieutenant colonel, but the regiment was never raised. In 1780 the British invaded Richmond and Jefferson commissioned Monroe as a colonel to command the militia raised in response and act as liaison to the Continental Army in North Carolina.
Andrew Jackson, commander of the Tennessee Militia as a Major General prior to the War of 1812. William Henry Harrison, commander of Indiana Territory's militia and Major General of the Kentucky Militia at the start of the War of 1812. John Tyler, commanded a company called the Charles City Rifles, part of Virginia's 52nd Regiment, in the War of 1812. James Polk, joined the Tennessee Militia as a captain in a cavalry regiment in 1821, he was subsequently appointed a colonel on the staff of Governor William Carroll. Millard Fillmore, served as inspector of New York's 47th Brigade with the rank of major. Commanded the Union Continentals, a militia unit raised to perform local service in Buffalo, New York, during the American Civil War. Franklin Pierce, appointed aide de camp to Governor Samuel Dinsmoor in 1831, he remained in the militia until 1847 and attained the rank of colonel before becoming a brigadier general in the Army during the Mexican–American War. James Buchanan, a member of the Pennsylvania Militia.
His dragoon unit took part in the defense of Baltimore, during the War of 1812. Abraham Lincoln, served in the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War, he commanded a company i
Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army)
The Distinguished Service Medal is a military award of the United States Army, presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service, exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration. Separate Distinguished Service Medals exist for the different branches of the military as well as a fifth version of the medal, a senior award of the United States Department of Defense; the Army version of the Distinguished Service Medal is referred to as the "Distinguished Service Medal" while the other branches of service use the service name as a prefix. For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war, requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement.
However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance. Awards may be made to persons other than members of the United States Armed Forces for wartime services only, only under exceptional circumstances, with the express approval of the President in each case; the Coat of Arms of the United States in Gold surrounded by a circle of Dark Blue enamel, 1 ½ inches in diameter, bearing the inscription "FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MCMXVIII". On the reverse is a scroll for the name of the recipient upon a trophy of flags and weapons; the medal is suspended by a bar attached to the ribbon. The ribbon is 1 3⁄8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes:5⁄16 inch Scarlet 67111. Additional awards of the Distinguished Service Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters; the Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility.
The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service, exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration. For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of a conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance. Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, only under exceptional circumstances with the express approval of the President in each case; the following are authorized components of the Distinguished Service Medal and applicable specifications:Decoration: MIL-D-3943/7. NSN for decoration set: 8455-00-444-0007. NSN for replacement medal is 8455-00-246-3830. Decoration: MIL-D-3943/7. NSN 8455-00-996-5008. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/52.
NSN 8455-00-252-9922. Lapel Button: MIL-L-11484/4. NSN 8455-00-253-0809; the Distinguished Service Medal was authorized by Presidential Order dated 01-02-1918, confirmed by Congress on 07-09-1918. It was announced by War Department General Order No. 6, 1918-01-12, with the following information concerning the medal: "A bronze medal of appropriate design and a ribbon to be worn in lieu thereof, to be awarded by the President to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army shall hereafter distinguish himself or herself, or who, since 04-06-1917, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility in time of war or in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States." The Act of Congress on 07-09-1918, recognized the need for different types and degrees of heroism and meritorious service and included such provisions for award criteria. The current statutory authorization for the Distinguished Service Medal is Title 10, United States Code, Section 3743.
Among the first awards of the Distinguished Service Medal for service in World War I, were those to the Commanding Officers of the Allied Armies:Marshal Ferdinand Foch Marshal Joseph Joffre, General Philippe Petain of France, General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey of France, General Sir Arthur Currie of Canada, General Sir John Monash of Australia, Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig of Britain, General Armando Diaz of Italy, General Cyriaque Gillain of Belgium, General John Joseph Pershing - United States Field Marshal Živojin Mišić of SerbiaMore than 2,000 awards were made during World War I, by the time the United States entered World War II 2,800 awards had been made. From July 1, 1941 to June 6, 1969, when the Army stopped publishing awards of the DSM in Department of the Army General Orders, over 2,800 further awards were made. Prior to World War II the DSM was the only decoration for non-combat service in the U. S. Army; as a result, before World War II the DSM was awarded to a wider range of recipients than during and after World War II.
During World War I awards of the DSM to officers below the rank of brigadier general were common but became rare once the Legion of Merit was established in 1942. Until the first award of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal in 1965, United States Air Force personnel received this award as well, as was the case
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U. S. combat do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy Cross, the Air Force Cross, the Coast Guard Cross; the Distinguished Service Cross was first awarded during World War I. In addition, a number of awards were made for actions before World War I. In many cases, these were to soldiers who had received a Certificate of Merit for gallantry which, at the time, was the only other honor for gallantry the Army could award, or recommend a Medal of Honor. Others were belated recognition of actions in the Philippines, during the Boxer Rebellion and on the Mexican Border; the Distinguished Service Cross is distinct from the Distinguished Service Medal, awarded to persons in recognition of exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility.
The Distinguished Service Cross is only awarded for actions in combat, while the Distinguished Service Medal has no such restriction. A cross of bronze, 2 inches high and 1 13⁄16 inches wide with an eagle on the center and a scroll below the eagle bearing the inscription "FOR VALOR". On the reverse side, the center of the cross is circled by a wreath with a space for engraving the name of the recipient; the service ribbon is 1 3⁄8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1⁄8 inch Old Glory Red 67156. The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor; the act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades. The following are authorized components of the Distinguished Service Cross: Decoration: MIL-D-3943/4. NSN 8455-00-269-5745 for decoration set.
NSN 8455-00-246-3827 for individual replacement medal. Decoration: MIL-D-3943/4. NSN 8455-00-996-50007. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/50. NSN 8455-00-252-9919. Lapel Button: MIL-L-11484/1. NSN 8455-00-253-0808. Additional awards of the Army's Distinguished Service Cross are denoted with oak leaf clusters; the Distinguished Service Cross was established by President Woodrow Wilson on January 2, 1918. General Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Forces in France, had recommended that recognition other than the Medal of Honor be authorized for the Armed Forces of the United States for valorous service rendered in like manner to that awarded by the European Armies; the request for establishment of the medal was forwarded from the Secretary of War to the President in a letter dated December 28, 1917. The Act of Congress establishing this award, dated July 9, 1918, is contained in 10 U. S. C. § 3742. The establishment of the Distinguished Service Cross was promulgated in War Department General Order No.
6, dated January 12, 1918. The Distinguished Service Cross was designed by J. Andre Smith, an artist employed by the United States Army during World War I; the Distinguished Service Cross was first cast and manufactured by the United States Mint at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The die was cast from the approved design prepared by Captain Aymar E. Embury II, Engineers Officer Reserve Corps. Upon examination of the first medals struck at the Mint, it was considered advisable to make certain minor changes to add to the beauty and the attractiveness of the medal. Due to the importance of the time element involved in furnishing the decorations to General Pershing, one hundred of the medals were struck from the original design; these medals were furnished with the provision that these crosses be replaced when the supply of the second design was accomplished. 10 U. S. C. § 3991 provides for a 10% increase in retired pay for enlisted personnel who have retired with more than 20 years of service if they have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Order of precedence and wear of decorations is contained in Army Regulation 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority and issue of decorations is contained in AR 600-8-22. During World War I, 6,309 awards of the Distinguished Service Cross were made to 6,185 recipients. Several dozen Army soldiers, as well as eight marines and two French Army officers, received two Distinguished Service Crosses. A handful Air Service aviators, were decorated three or more times. Eddie Rickenbacker, the top U. S. ace of the war, was awarded a record eight Distinguished Service Crosses, one of, upgraded to the Medal of Honor, while flying with the 94th Aero Squadron. Fellow aviators Douglas Campbell of the 94th, Frank O'Driscoll "Monk" Hunter of the 103rd Aero Squadron each received five. Another 94th aviator, Reed McKinley Chambers, was awarded four Distinguished Service Crosses. Three aviators received three Di
United States National Guard
The United States National Guard commonly referred to as just the National Guard, is part of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces. It is a reserve military force, composed of National Guard military members or units of each state and the territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, for a total of 54 separate organizations. All members of the National Guard of the United States are members of the militia of the United States as defined by 10 U. S. C. § 246. National Guard units are under the dual control of the federal government; the majority of National Guard soldiers and airmen hold a civilian job full-time while serving part-time as a National Guard member. These part-time guardsmen are augmented by a full-time cadre of Active Guard & Reserve personnel in both the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, plus Army Reserve Technicians in the Army National Guard and Air Reserve Technicians in the Air National Guard; the National Guard is a joint activity of the United States Department of Defense composed of reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force: the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard respectively.
Local militias were formed from the earliest English colonization of the Americas in 1607. The first colony-wide militia was formed by Massachusetts in 1636 by merging small older local units, several National Guard units can be traced back to this militia; the various colonial militias became state militias. The title "National Guard" was used in 1824 by some New York State militia units, named after the French National Guard in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. "National Guard" became a standard nationwide militia title in 1903, indicated reserve forces under mixed state and federal control since 1933. The first muster of militia forces in what is today the United States took place on September 16, 1565, in the newly established Spanish military town of St. Augustine; the militia men were assigned to guard the expedition's supplies while their leader, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, took the regular troops north to attack the French settlement at Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River; this Spanish militia tradition and the English tradition that would be established to the north would provide the basic nucleus for Colonial defense in the New World.
The militia tradition continued with the first permanent English settlements in the New World. Jamestown Colony and Plymouth Colony both had militia forces, which consisted of every able bodied adult male. By the mid-1600s every town had at least one militia company and the militia companies of a county formed a regiment. From the nation's founding through the early 1900s, the United States maintained only a minimal army and relied on state militias, directly related to the earlier Colonial militias to supply the majority of its troops; as a result of the Spanish–American War, Congress was called upon to reform and regulate the training and qualification of state militias. The first national laws regulating the militia were the Militia acts of 1792. In 1903, with passage of the Dick Act, the predecessor to the modern-day National Guard was formed, it required the states to divide their militias into two sections. The law recommended the title "National Guard" for the first section, known as the organized militia, "Reserve Militia" for all others.
During World War I, Congress passed the National Defense Act of 1916, which required the use of the term "National Guard" for the state militias and further regulated them. Congress authorized the states to maintain Home Guards, which were reserve forces outside the National Guards being deployed by the Federal Government. In 1933, with passage of the National Guard Mobilization Act, Congress finalized the split between the National Guard and the traditional state militias by mandating that all federally funded soldiers take a dual enlistment/commission and thus enter both the state National Guard and the National Guard of the United States, a newly created federal reserve force; the National Defense Act of 1947 created the Air Force as a separate branch of the Armed Forces and concurrently created the Air National Guard of the United States as one of its reserve components, mirroring the Army's structure. The National Guard of the several states and the District of Columbia serves as part of the first-line of defense for the United States.
The state National Guard is organized into units stationed in each of the 50 states, three territories, the District of Columbia, operates under their respective state or territorial governor, except in the instance of Washington, D. C. where the National Guard operates under the President of his designee. The governors exercise control through the state adjutants general; the National Guard may be called up for active duty by the governors to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The National Guard is administered by the National Guard Bureau, a joint activity of the Army and Air Force under the DoD; the National Guard Bureau provides a communication channel for state National Guards to the DoD. The National Guard Bureau provides policies and requirements for training and funds for state Army National Guard and state Air National Guard units, the allocation of federal funds to the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, other administrative responsibilities prescribed under 10 U.
S. C. § 10503. The National Guard Bureau is
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 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
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