Coast Guard Achievement Medal
Service: Coast Guard
Criteria: Professional and/or leadership achievement in a combat or noncombat situation
Devices: Silver Letter “O”, Bronze Letter “V” (for valor), Gold, Silver Star
Notes: Originally a ribbon-only award. Present configuration was adopted in 1968
Following the lead of the “Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement with Ribbon” in 1961, (subsequently designated the Navy Achievement Medal), the Secretary of the Treasury established a similar ribbon for Coast Guard personnel on January 29, 1964. The ribbon was formally redesignated as the Coast Guard Achievement Medal on June 11, 1968.
The Coast Guard Achievement Medal may be awarded to all members of the Coast Guard, including reserves, as well as to members of other branches of the Armed Forces when serving with Coast Guard units. It is given for professional or leadership achievement in either peacetime or combat situations. It may be awarded based on sustained performance or for specific achievement of a superlative nature, but not of a level which would justify award of a Commendation Medal.
The Coast Guard Achievement Medal was designed by Irving Lyons and sculpted by Lewis J. King, Jr., both of the Institute of Heraldry. It is a bronze disc in the center of which is the Coast Guard Seal surrounded by a laurel wreath, which is in turn surrounded by a border of cable. The reverse bears the inscription (in raised letters), “AWARDED TO” in the upper portion and “FOR ACHIEVEMENT” in the lower. The ribbon is the same as that of the Navy Achievement Medal except that it has a narrow stripe of white in the center of the ribbon.
Symbolically, the laurel wreath represents achievement and the continuous cable stands for fidelity of the seaman in support of the Coast Guard, which is represented by the Coast Guard Seal.