Distinguished Service Medal (United States Coast Guard)

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This article is about Coast Guard-awarded Distinguished Service Medal. For other U.S. versions, see Distinguished Service Medal (disambiguation).
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded by United States Coast Guard
Type Personal decoration
Eligibility Individuals serving in any capacity with the US Coast Guard
Awarded for Distinguished and exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility.
Status Currently awarded
Established 4 August 1949
First awarded 1961
Next (higher) Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, Department of Commerce Gold Medal
Equivalent Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal,1 Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal
Next (lower) Silver Star1
Gold star

Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal ribbon with award star indicating a subsequent award

The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal (CGDSM) is a decoration of the United States Coast Guard that was established 4 August 1949 by 14 U.S.C. § 492. Prior to this date, members of the Coast Guard were eligible to receive the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. The medal is presented for, "Exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a duty of great responsibility."2

The Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, which replaced the Transportation Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, is another higher precedence Distinguished Service Medal that may be awarded to Coast Guardsmen.3


The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any member of the U.S. Coast Guard who distinguishes themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility. The exceptional performance of duty must be clearly above what is normally expected and must have contributed materially to the success of a major command or project. The decoration is typically awarded to senior flag officers, such as the Commandant of the Coast Guard. However, this does not preclude the award of the medal to any person who meets the eligibility requirements.3

The bestowing authority of the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is the Secretary of Homeland Security. Prior to 2003, the award was authorized by the Secretary of Transportation.

Notable recipients

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ribbon Order of Precedence". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Armed Forces Information Service (1992). Armed Forces Decorations and Awards. Department of Defense. p. 6. 
  3. ^ a b United States Coast Guard (May 2008). "COMDTINST M1650.25D Medals and Awards Manual". Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Eric A. "Rick" Trent". Military Times. Gannett. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 

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