Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Service: Coast Guard
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal - Criteria and Overview
Criteria: Exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility.
Devices: Gold Star Device
Notes: Originally authorized in 1949 but the design was not approved until 1961
The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal was officially established by an Act of Congress on August 4, 1949 but its design was not approved until February 1, 1961. It is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States in a duty of great responsibility. To justify an award of the Distinguished Service Medal, exceptional performance of duty, clearly above that normally expected, which has contributed materially to the success of a major command or project, is requires. In general, the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is awarded only to those officers in principal commands whose service is such as to justify the award.
The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal was designed and sculpted by Thomas Hudson Jones of the Institute of Heraldry. It is a gold disc which, on its obverse, whos a representation of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Massachusetts under full sail on a moderate sea. In a circle surrounding the ship are the words, "U.S. COAST GUARD" in the upper portion, and "DISTINGUISHED SERVICE" in the lower. On the reverse is the Coast Guard Seal above a blank streamer (used for engraving the recipient's name) which follows the contour of the lower half of the medal. In terms of its symbolism, the Massachusetts was the first U.S. Revenue Cutter. Built in 1791, it was the forerunner of a long line of similar vessels which rendered distinguished service to U.S. Maritime history and was considered a fitting symbol to use on this Military Medal
. The ribbon consists of a central stripe of light blue, bordered on each side by a pinstripe of white. The ribbon is edged in purple. Additional awards are denoted by gold stars.