Personal Decorations
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Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal


Obverse: Centered on a gilt disc 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 a 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: The Coast Guard seal centered, and below the seal (following the lower contour of the medal), a streamer upon which the recipient’s name may be engraved.

The ribbon consists of a central stripe of grotto blue bordered on each side by a pinstripe of white. The ribbon is edged in purple.

See COMDTINST M1650.25D (Medals and Awards Manual).

Congress authorized the establishment of the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal on August 4, 1949. The medal was designed and sculpted by Thomas Jones of the Army’s Institute of Heraldry. It 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.

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