Coast Guard Commendation Medal
Service: Coast Guard
Criteria: 1. Heroic or meritorious achievement or service. 2. Meritorious service resulting in unusual or outstanding achievement
Devices: Silver Letter “O”, Bronze Letter “V”, Gold, Silver Star
Notes: Originally “Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant”. Redesignated: “Coast Guard Commendation Medal” in 1959.
Following the lead of the other Services, the Coast Guard Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant was established on August 26, 1947. This award was to be granted to members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, for meritorious service resulting in unusual and outstanding achievement rendered while the Coast Guard is serving under Treasury Department jurisdiction. On October 2, 1959, it was redesignated as the Coast Guard Commendation Medal by order of the Commandant of the Coast Guard. To merit this decoration, the outstanding achievement or meritorious service must have been accomplished in a manner above that normally expected and be sufficient to distinguish the individual from those of comparable grade or ratings performing similar acts or services. The heroism, outstanding achievement or meritorious service must be worthy of special recognition, but not of a level which would justify a higher award (e.g.: Bronze Star Medal, etc.) yet more than that required for award of the Coast Guard Achievement Medal. The Coast Guard Commendation Medal has gone through two designs both executed by the Army’s Institute of Heraldry. The first was designed and sculpted by Frank Gasparro. The second version was designed by Jay Morris and sculpted by Lewis J. King, Jr. The first design was employed while the Coast Guard was under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department and the second was adopted when it was placed under the Department of Transportation. The first design was a bronze hexagon, point up. In the center of the obverse is the former Coast Guard Seal which embodied elements of the Treasury Department Seal, the whole being encircled by a continuous cable. There is a blank plaque in the center of the reverse, which is encircled by a laurel wreath. Above the plaque, in two lines, are the words, “FOR OUTSTANDING” and below it, the word, “SERVICE”. The plaque, words and wreath are encircled by a continuous cable. The second design, which was approved by the Commandant on June 11, 1968, is very similar to the first and also employs a bronze hexagon, point up. In the center of the obverse is the current Coast Guard Seal. The continuous cable used in the first design is deleted from the second. The reverse contains an annulet consisting of the word, “AWARDED” at the top and, separated by stylized laurel leaves, the words, “OUTSTANDING SERVICE” in the bottom. In the center are the words, “TO” and “FOR”, separated by space for engraving the recipient’s name.