Coast Guard
Distinguished Service
Display Recognition

Site Index

      • Example Display Recognition
      • Display Types
      • Issue Requirements
      • Issue Regulations
      • Who May Apply
      • Administration Processing and Delivery
      • How To Apply For This Display Recognition and/or Medal
      • Mailing Address
      • Questions?
      • Other Display Recognitions
      • Naval Service Websites
      • Example Display Recognition:
        Actual Size: 8 1/2 x 11

        Who May Apply

        • Veteran recipients
        • Active Duty recipients
        • Family Members of recipients
        • Estate Inheritors

        Display Types

        You have four display types to choose from:
        Black & White (No Color)
        Heavy Bond Enclosure

        Heavy Bond Enclosure
        Colors: Regal, Black, Navy
        Trimmed inAppearance Gold

        Ready for Mantle or Shelf Display

        Issue Requirements
        You must submit the following:

      • An unaltered photocopy of your DD-214, WD AGO 53-55, or other military issued document clearly displaying your award of the Coast Guard DSM.
      • Contact The War Library if you do not have a DD-214, WD AGO 53-55, or other military issued documentation authorizing your award: 1-562-422-4100 (Pacific Time Zone).
      • NOTICE

        This Display Recognition is available ONLY to authorized recipients who possess orders, or authorization form, or release documentation that confirms award eligibility. (See "Issue Requirements"). To obtain either a Display Medal or a Display Recognition for your authorized award you will be required to provide military-issued documentation authorizing your award. There are no exceptions.

        You must NOT submit a military issued document or photocopy that:

        • has been altered in any way by you after
          the original's official issue
        • contains information or corrections or
          additions that you entered
        • lists awards or training you knowingly did not receive
        • contains highlighting, colorizing or other markings you entered

        Be advised that on request any knowingly fraudulent document sent by you will be released to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that may result in prosecution and/or fine/imprisonment.

        Email Questions, or Phone: 1-562-422-4100 (Pacific Time Zone)

        Personnel Branch
        Processing and Delivery

        Style Admin Shipping Total
        Full Color .PDF (Printable) $7.50 Emailed $7.50
        Published Document only (Full Color) $14.00 $10.50 USPS $24.50
        Published Document in Heavy Bond Enclosure (Full Color) $19.00 $10.50 USPS $29.50
        Full Color Printable Certificates
        on CD-Rom (minimum 20 Certificates)
        $7.50 $7.50 By Count

      • Total/Shipping fees, above, apply to 50 U.S. states
      • Contact The War Library for international shipping cost
      • How to Apply

        You may apply for your Display Recognition using a...

      • Check Debit card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Charge card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Personal, Business, Bank or Cashiers Check (* Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • Money Order (* Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • (* Upon reception of required documentation)

        Complete and MAIL this APPLICATION FORM.
        Don't forget to include an unaltered COPY of your DD-214, WD AGO 53-55 or other pre-arranged document(s).


        Mailing Address

        Records Chief (REC-AMW)
        The American War Library
        817 East Via Carmelitos Ste 319
        Long Beach CA 90805-7549


        Click here for answers to common questions

        Email: USCG DSM Display Recognition Inquiry

        Telephone: 1-562-422-4100 (Pacific Time Zone)

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        Issue Regulations

        Coast Guard Distinguished Service

        Establishing Authority

        The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 207, 81st Congress), approved August 4, 1949.

        Effective Dates

        The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal has been in effect since August 4, 1949.


        The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to service members who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility.

        Order of Precedence

        The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is worn after the Transportation Distinguished Service Medal and before the Silver Star.


        Additional awards of the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal are denoted by Gold Stars.


        The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal was designed and sculpted by Thomas Hudson Jones (1892-1969) of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.

        First Recipient

        Admiral Alfred C. Richmond, Commandant of the Coast Guard, received the first Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal. It was presented to him by the Secretary of Transportation on February 1, 1961.

        Description and Symbolism


        In the center of a gilt disc there is 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. The Massachusetts was built in 1791 and was the first Revenue Cutter. As the forerunner of a long line of similar vessels which rendered distinguished service to U.S. Maritime history, it was considered to be a fitting symbol to use on this medal.


        In the center of a gilt disc, the seal of the Cost Guard, and below the seal (and following the lower contour of the medal), a streamer upon which the recipient's name is to be engraved.


        The ribbon to the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal consists of a central stripe of grotto blue bordered on each side by a pinstripe of white. the ribbon is edged in purple.

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