Distinguished Service Medal
Display Recognition

Site Index

      • Example Display Recognition
      • Applicable Military Branches
      • Display Types
      • Issue Requirements
      • Issue Regulations
        Navy/Marine
        Army
      • Administration Processing and Delivery
      • How To Apply For This Display Recognition and/or Medal
      • Mailing Address
      • Questions?
      • Other Display Recognitions
      • Example Display Recognition:
        Actual Size: 8 1/2 x 11
        Displayed: Navy, Army


        USN/USMC

        USA

        Military Branches

        Applicable Military Service branches:
        Navy/Marine corps, Army

        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 in Appearance Gold

        Ready for Mantle or Shelf Display

        Issue Requirements
        You must submit one of the following:

      • An unaltered photocopy of your DD-214, OR WD AGO 53-55, OR other military issued document clearly displaying your Distinguished Service Medal.
      • Contact The War Library if you do not have a DD-214, WD AGO, NAVPERS, NG or other Report of Separation: 1-562-422-4100.
      • 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.

        WARNING!
        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 / Fax: 1-562-422-4100

        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 $8.35 $22.35
        Published Document in Heavy Bond Enclosure (Full Color) $19.00 $8.35 $27.35
        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 within 1 week)
      • (* 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).

        DISPLAY RECOGNITION and/or MEDAL APPLICATION FORM

        Mailing Address

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

        Questions?

        Click here for answers to common questions

        Email: Distinguished Service Medal Display Recognition Inquiry

        Telephone: 1-562-422-4100

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        Issue Regulations


        Navy Distinguished Service Medal

        Authorized on February 4, 1919, and amended on August 7, 1942. The medal is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who, while serving with the United States Navy in any capacity, since April 6, 1917, distinguishes themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a duty of great responsibility. Awarded for combat or non-combat services.

        Establishing Authority

        The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 253, 65th Congress), approved February 4, 1919.

        Effective Dates

        The Navy Distinguished Service Medal has been in effect since April 6, 1917.

        Criteria

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

        Order of Precedence

        The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is worn after the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and before the Silver Star.

        Devices

        Additional awards of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal are denoted by gold stars five-sixteenths of an inch in diameter.

        Designer

        The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was designed by Paul Manship (1885-1966).

        First Recipient

        The first person to receive the Navy Distinguished Service Medal was Brigadier General Charles A. Doyen, USMC, who received the medal posthumously on March 13, 1919.

        Description and Symbolism

        Obverse

        The central feature of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal is an American bald eagle with displayed wings in the center of a gilt-bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter. The eagle holds an olive branch and arrows in its right and left talons, respectively. The eagle is surrounded by a blue enameled ring which contains the words, UNITED STATES NAVY, with NAVY centered at the bottom. Outside the blue enamel ring is a gold border consisting of scroll waves moving in a clockwise direction. The medal is suspended from its ribbon by a five-pointed star (point up) tipped with gold balls. In the center of the star is an anchor, and gold rays emanate from the re-entrant angles of the star.

        The basic theme of the obverse design is taken from the Army Distinguished Service Medal, which also has an eagle in the center and which is also surrounded by a blue enameled ring. The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States, while the scroll waves allude to naval service (as does the star which suspends the medal). The olive branches and arrows in the eagles talons refer to distinguished service in either war or peace. The star used in the suspender stands for military service, and the anchor within the star indicates service performed on behalf of the Navy.

        Reverse

        In the center of a gilt-bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a trident surrounded by a wreath of laurel. The wreath is in turn surrounded by a blue enamel ring which contains the inscription FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE. The blue enamel ring is surrounded by scroll waves of the same type found on the obverse of the medal.

        The trident symbolizes the authority of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea who had the power to cause earthquakes (in Roman mythology Poseidon was called Neptune). The trident thus alludes to naval service, as do the scroll waves which surround the blue ring. The laurel wreath surrounding the trident represents achievement.

        Ribbon

        The ribbon to the Navy Distinguished Service Medal is a field of Navy blue with a center stripe of gold. These are the colors of the U.S. Navy.

        10 USC Sec. 6243 01/26/98

        TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES

        Subtitle C - Navy and Marine Corps

        PART II - PERSONNEL

        CHAPTER 567 - DECORATIONS AND AWARDS

        TEXT Sec. 6243. Distinguished-service medal The President may award a distinguished-service medal of appropriate design and a ribbon, together with a rosette or other device to be worn in place thereof, to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Navy or the Marine Corps, distinguishes himself by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States in a duty of great responsibility. SOURCE (Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 389.) NOTES Historical and Revision Notes

        Revised section Source (U.S. Code) Source (Statutes at Large)

        6243 34 U.S.C. 355. Feb. 4, 1919, ch. 14, Sec. 2, 40 Stat. 1056; renumbered Sec. 3 and amended Aug. 7, 1942, ch. 551, Sec. 1, 56 Stat. 743.

        The word "award" is substituted for the word "present" to cover the determination of the recipient as well as the actual presenting of the decoration. The words "but not in the name of Congress" are omitted as surplusage, since a decoration is presented in the name of Congress only if Congress so directs. The words "Navy or the Marine Corps" are substituted for the words "Navy of the United States" because the provision is interpreted as authorizing the award of the medal to persons serving with the Marine Corps as well as with the Navy. The words "since the sixth day of April 1917 has distinguished" are omitted as executed. The words "United States" are substituted for the word "Government" for uniformity. CROSSREF CROSS REFERENCES Award of distinguished-service medal to members of Army and Air Force, see sections 3743 and 8743 of this title.

        Army Distinguished Service Medal

        Establishing Authority

        The Army Distinguished Service Medal was established at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson by War Department General Orders Number 6 of January 12, 1918, and confirmed (with minor modifications) by Act of Congress on July 9, 1918 (Public Law 193, 65th Congress).

        Effective Dates

        The Army Distinguished Service Medal has been in effect since April 6, 1917. Under certain circumstances the Army Distinguished Service Medal may also be awarded for services rendered prior to April 6, 1917 (see information provided under the Recognition of Merit).

        Criteria

        The Army Distinguished Service Medal may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, performs exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. The individual's performance must merit recognition for services which are clearly exceptional, and the performance of normal duties in an exceptional manner by itself will not justify an award of the Army Distinguished Service Medal.

        Order of Precedence

        The Army Distinguished Service Medal is worn after the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and before the Silver Star.

        Devices

        Additional awards of the Army Distinguished Service Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters.

        Designer

        The Army Distinguished Service Medal was designed by Captain Aymar E. Embury, III, and sculpted by Private Gaetano Cecere.

        First Recipients

        The first Army Distinuished Service Medals were presented on October 21, 1918, to the following officers:

        -- Marshall of France Ferdinand Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies;

        -- Marshall of France Joseph Joffre, the victor of the first battle of the Marne;

        -- Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France;

        -- Marshal of France Henri Petain, Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies of the North and Northeast;

        -- Lieutenant General Armando Diaz, Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Armies;

        -- Lieutenant General C.C.V. Gillain, Chief of the General Staff of the Belgian Army; and

        -- General John J. Pershing, Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces.

        Description and Symbolism

        Obverse

        In the center of a medallion one and a half inches in diameter, the coat of arms of the United States surrounded by a circle of dark blue enamel bearing the inscription, FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MCMXVIII. The coat of arms of the United States is also used as the hat insignia by Army officers and therefore represents the United States in general and the Army in particular.

        The eagle represents the bald eagle and symbolizes the United States. The five-pointed stars are taken from the United States flag and refer collectively to the United States, just as the inscription on the scroll refers to the fact that the United States is one nation composed of many states. The oak leaves stand for strength and courage. The inscription on the scroll is taken from the Great Seal of the United States and refers to the United States as one nation composed of many peoples.

        Reverse

        A blank scroll upon a trophy of flags and arms.

        Ribbon

        The ribbon consists of a central stripe of white edged with blue pinstripes and an outer band of red. The colors of the flag, they and are arranged in a configuration to keep this ribbon from being confused with others using the same color combination.

        1. Description: The Coat of Arms of the United States in Gold surrounded by a circle of Dark Blue enamel, 1 = inches in diameter, bearing the inscription "FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MCMXVIII". On the reverse is a scroll for the name of the recipient (which is to be engraved) upon a trophy of flags and weapons. The medal is suspended by a bar attached to the ribbon.

        2. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 5/16 inch Scarlet 67111; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 5/8 inch White 67101; 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue; and 5/16 inch Scarlet.

        3. Criteria: 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 which is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.

        a. 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 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.

        b. Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances, with the express approval of the President in each case.

        4. Components: The following are authorized components of the Distinguished Service Medal and applicable specifications:

        a. Decoration (regular size): MIL-D-3943/7. NSN for decoration set: 8455-00-444-0007. NSN for replacement medal is 8455-00-246-3830.

        b. Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/7. NSN 8455-00-996-5008.

        c. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/52. NSN 8455-00-252-9922.

        d. Lapel Button (metal replica of ribbon bar): MIL-L-11484/4. NSN 8455-00-253-0809.

        5. Background: a. The Distinguished Service Medal was authorized by Presidential Order dated January 2, 1918, and confirmed by Congress on July 9, 1918. It was announced by War Department General Order No. 6, January 12, 1918, 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 April 6, 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 July 9, 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.

        b. 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: Marshals Foch and Joffre, General Petain of France, Field Marshal Haig of Great Britain, General Diaz of Italy, General Gillain of Belgium, and General Pershing.

        c. Order of precedence and wear of decorations is contained in Army Regulation 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, supply, and issue of decorations is contained in AR 600-8-22.