National Defense Service Medal

National Defense Service Medal reverse



1. Description: On a Bronze medal, 1 inches in diameter,an eagle displayed with inverted wings standing on a sword and palm branch, all beneaththe inscription "NATIONAL DEFENSE". On the reverse is a shield taken from theCoat of Arms of the United States with an open wreath below it, the right side of oakleaves and the left side of laurel leaves.

2. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists ofthe following stripes: 7/16 inch Scarlet 67111; 1/32 inch White 67101; 1/32 inch Old GloryBlue 67178; 1/32 inch White; 1/32 inch Scarlet; center inch Golden Yellow 67104; 1/32inch Scarlet; 1/32 inch White; 1/32 inch Old Glory Blue; 1/32 inch White; and 7/16 inchScarlet.

3. Criteria: a. The National Defense Service Medal wasawarded for honorable active service for any period between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954,between 1 January 1961 and 14 August 1974, and between 2 August 1990 and 30 November 1995.For the purpose of the award, the following persons will not be considered as performingactive service:

            (1)Guard and Reserve forces personnel on short tours of duty to fulfill training obligationsunder an inactive duty training program.

            (2)Any person on active duty for the sole purpose of undergoing a physical examination.

            (3)Any person on temporary active duty to serve on boards, courts, commissions and likeorganizations or on active duty for purposes other than extended active duty.

        b. The National DefenseService Medal may be awarded to members of the Reserve Components who are ordered toFederal active duty, regardless of duration, except for the categories listed above. Anymember of the Guard or Reserve who, after 31 December 1960, becomes eligible for the ArmedForces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal or the Southwest Asia Service Medal isalso eligible for the National Defense Service Medal.

4. Components: The following are authorized components:

        a. Medal (regular size):MIL-DTL-3943/234. NSN 8455-00-281-3214 for set which includes regular size medal andribbon bar.

        b. Medal (miniature size):MIL-DTL-3943/234. Available commercially from certified manufacturers.

        c.  Ribbon:MIL-DTL-11589/97. NSN 8455-00-264-1478.

        d.  Lapel Button:MIL-DTL-11484/185. Available commercially.

Background: a. The National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) wasestablished by President Eisenhower per Executive Order 10448, dated 22 April 1953, forservice between 27 June 1950 and a date to be announced. On 17 June 1954, the Chief ofStaff approved establishment of 27 July 1954 as the termination date for award of theNDSM. Executive Order 11265, dated 11 January 1966, amended Executive Order 10488, toinclude a termination date and authorized the Secretary of Defense to establish periods ofeligibility subsequent to 31 December 1960. Eligibility for award, commencing with theperiod after 31 December 1960, was established by DOD Directive 1348.7, dated 1 April1966, and terminated effective 15 August 1974, per letter from Manpower and ReserveAffairs, subject: Termination of Eligibility for the National Defense Service Medal, dated30 June 1974. The NDSM was again authorized by memorandum, dated 20 February 1991, fromSecretary of Defense Cheney for active service on or after 2 August 1990 with notermination date established. The termination date was later established as 30 November1995.

        b. The Heraldic Division,Quartermaster General’s Office, was requested to provide proposed designs for theNDSM and designs created by Mr. T. H. Jones were submitted to the G1 on 26 May 1953. Acommittee appointed by DOD, which included representatives of all services, met on 27 May1953 and 3 June 1953 and selected the design for final approval. The eagle, our Nationalemblem, together with the shield of the Coat of Arms of the United States is used tosymbolize the defense of the United States. The combination of oak and palm leaves signifystrength and preparedness.

        c. Order of precedence andwear policy for medals awarded to Army personnel is contained in AR 670-1. Policy forawards, approving authority and supply of medals is contained in AR 600-8-22.

Information courtesy of U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry