Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army)

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This article is about Army Distinguished Service Medal. For other U.S. versions, see Distinguished Service Medal (disambiguation).
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Distservmedal.jpg
Awarded by United States Army
Type Military medal
(Decoration)
Eligibility Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances, with the express approval of the President in each case.
Awarded for Distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility.
Status Current
Statistics
Established January 2, 1918
First awarded January 12, 1918
Precedence
Next (higher) Army - Distinguished Service Cross
Navy & Marine Corps - Navy Cross
Air Force - Air Force Cross
Coast Guard - Coast Guard Cross
Equivalent Distinguished Service Medal: Defense, Army, Navy-Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard
Next (lower) Silver Star
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is a military award of the United States Army that is presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service that is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.[1]

Separate Distinguished Service Medals exist for the different branches of the military as well as a fifth version of the medal which is a senior award of the United States Department of Defense. The Army version of the Distinguished Service Medal is typically referred to simply as the "Distinguished Service Medal" while the other branches of service use the service name as a prefix.

For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war, and requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance.

Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances, with the express approval of the President in each case.

Description[edit]

  • The Coat of Arms of the United States in Gold surrounded by a circle of Dark Blue enamel, 1 ½ inches in diameter, bearing the inscription "FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MCMXVIII".
  • On the reverse is a scroll for the name of the recipient (which is to be engraved) upon a trophy of flags and weapons. The medal is suspended by a bar attached to the ribbon.

Ribbon[edit]

  • The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes:
  1. 5/16 inch Scarlet 67111;
  2. 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118;
  3. 5/8 inch White 67101;
  4. 1/16 inch Ultramarine Blue;
  5. 5/16 inch Scarlet.
  • Additional awards of the Distinguished Service Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters.

Criteria[edit]

The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service which is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration. For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of a conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance. Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, and only then under exceptional circumstances with the express approval of the President in each case.[2]

Components[edit]

  • The following are authorized components of the Distinguished Service Medal and applicable specifications:
  1. Decoration (regular size): MIL-D-3943/7.
    1. NSN for decoration set: 8455-00-444-0007.
    2. NSN for replacement medal is 8455-00-246-3830.
  2. Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/7. NSN 8455-00-996-5008.
  3. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/52. NSN 8455-00-252-9922.
  4. Lapel Button (metal replica of ribbon bar): MIL-L-11484/4. NSN 8455-00-253-0809.

History of the Distinguished Service Medal[edit]

The Distinguished Service Medal was authorized by Presidential Order dated 1918-01-02, and confirmed by Congress on 1918-07-09. It was announced by War Department General Order No. 6, 1918-01-12, with the following information concerning the medal: "A bronze medal of appropriate design and a ribbon to be worn in lieu thereof, to be awarded by the President to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army shall hereafter distinguish himself or herself, or who, since 1917-04-06, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility in time of war or in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States." The Act of Congress on 1918-07-09, recognized the need for different types and degrees of heroism and meritorious service and included such provisions for award criteria. The current statutory authorization for the Distinguished Service Medal is Title 10, United States Code, Section 3743.

Recipients[edit]

  • Among the first awards of the Distinguished Service Medal for service in World War I, were those to the Commanding Officers of the Allied Armies:
  1. Marshal Ferdinand Foch
  2. Marshal Joseph Joffre,
  3. General Philippe Petain of France,
  4. General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey of France,
  5. General Sir Arthur Currie of Canada,
  6. General Sir John Monash of Australia,
  7. Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig of Britain,
  8. General Armando Diaz of Italy,
  9. General Cyriaque Gillain of Belgium,
  10. General John Joseph Pershing - United States
  11. Field Marshal Živojin Mišić of Serbia

More than 2,000 awards were made during World War I, and by the time the United States entered World War II, approximately 2,800 awards had been made. From July 1, 1941 to June 6, 1969, when the Army stopped publishing awards of the DSM in Department of the Army General Orders, over 2,800 further awards were made.[3]

Until the first award of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal in 1965, United States Air Force personnel received this award as well, as was the case with several other Army decorations until the Air Force fully established its own system of decorations.

Notable recipients[edit]

Because the Army Distinguished Service Medal is principally awarded to general officers, a list of notable recipients would include nearly every general and admiral since 1918, many of whom received multiple awards, as well as a few civilians and sergeants major prominent for their contributions to national defense. Generals of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower are tied for the record of the greatest number of awards received of the Army Distinguished Service Medal at five each. They also each received one award of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Among notable recipients below flag rank are: X-1 test pilot Chuck Yeager and X-15 test pilot Robert M. White, who both received the DSM as U.S. Air Force majors; Air Force Major Rudolf Anderson, the U-2 pilot shot down during the Cuban Missile Crisis; director Frank Capra, decorated in 1945 as an Army colonel; actor James Stewart, decorated in 1945 as an Army Air Forces colonel (later Air Force Brigadier General); Col. Wendell Fertig, who led Filipino guerrillas behind Japanese lines; Col. (later Major General) John K. Singlaub, who led partisan forces in the Korean War; and Maj. Maude C. Davison, who led the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor" during their imprisonment by the Japanese, and Colonel William S. Taylor, Program Manager Multiple Launch Rocket System. Among notable civilian recipients are Harry L. Hopkins, Robert S. McNamara and Henry L. Stimson.

Notable American and foreign recipients include:

[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Institute of Heraldry Distinguished Service Medal
  2. ^ The Institute of Heraldry 578.11 Distinguished Service Medal
  3. ^ George H. Apgar (1995), Awards of the US Army Distinguished Service Medal 1942-1969, Planchet Press
  4. ^ "The Gazette". The Edinburgh Gazette (The Edinburgh Gazette). 18 July 1919. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 

External links[edit]