Personal Decorations
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Coast Guard Medal


Obverse: The seal of the Coast Guard appears in the center of a bronze octagon. The seal is contained within a border of continuous cable. The octagon shape is derived from the Soldier’s Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and the seal in the center refers to Coast Guard service.The border of continuous cable refers to both naval service and perfection of ideals in the service of man.

Reverse: On the reverse of the medal in raised letters is the inscription, “FOR HEROISM.”

The medal’s ribbon has central and stripes of grotto (light) blue; centered on either half of the ribbon is a field of white containing three scarlet stripes. The colors were adapted from those of the Coast Guard seal.

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

Congress authorized the establishment of the Coast Guard Medal on August 4, 1949, but it was not until 1958 that the medal was actually bestowed. The medal was designed by Thomas Jones of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Heraldry. It is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.

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