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Home > Library > United States Medals, Awards and Decorations >  United States Military Medals Awards and Decorations > Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
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Establishing Authority
Effective Dates
Criteria
Devices
Designer
First Recipient
Description
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Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
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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.

Criteria

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.

Devices

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

Award Star

Designer

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

Obverse

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.

Reverse

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.

Ribbon

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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Air Force Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Navy Cross
Air Force Cross
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal
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Transportation Guardian Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Soldiers Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism
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Coast Guard Medal for Heroism
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Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal
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Aerial Achievement Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
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Joint Service Achievement Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
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Commandants Letter of Commendation Ribbon
Combat Action Ribbon
Air Force Combat Action Medal
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Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Army Valorous Unit Award
Navy Unit Commendation
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Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
Army Superior Unit Award
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Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation
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Prisoner of War Medal
Combat Readiness Medal
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