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Navy Distinguished Service Medal


Obverse: An American bald eagle with displayed wings in the center of a 1-1/4 inch gilt bronze medallion. The eagle holds an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left talon. The eagle is surrounded by a blue enameled ring inscribed “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” at top and “NAVY” at the bottom. Surrounding the blue enamel ring is a gold border of scroll waves moving in a clockwise direction. The medal is surmounted by a white five-pointed star, point up, tipped with gold balls. In the center of the star is a gold anchor with gold rays radiating between the arms of the star.

Reverse: The reverse of the medal depicts a trident surrounded by a laurel wreath. The wreath is surrounded by a blue enamel ring inscribed “FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE.”

The ribbon is Navy Blue, 1-3/8 inches wide, with one single central 1/4 inch stripe of Lemon Yellow.

See SECNAV INSTRUCTION 1650.1H (Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual).

The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 253, 65th Congress), approved February 4, 1919. The medal was designed by Paul Manship (1885-1966). It is awarded to service members who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps, distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The first person to receive the Navy Distinguished Service Medal was Brigadier General Charles A. Doyen, USMC, who was awarded the medal posthumously on March 13, 1919.

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