Navy and Marine Corps Medal

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Navy and Marine Corps Medal
TypePersonal military decoration
Awarded for"Distinguishing oneself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy of the United States"
Presented bythe United States Department of the Navy[1]
Established7 August 1942 (1942-08-07)
Retroactive to 6 December 1941
First awardedWorld War II
Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon.svg
Next (higher)Distinguished Flying Cross
EquivalentArmy: Soldier's Medal
Air and Space Forces: Airman's Medal
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Medal
Next (lower)Bronze Star Medal

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the United States Department of the Navy to members of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The medal was established by an act of Congress on 7 August 1942, and is authorized under 10 U.S.C. § 6246.

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the equivalent of the Army's Soldier's Medal, Air and Space Forces' Airman's Medal, and the Coast Guard Medal.


As the senior non-combat award for heroism, this award hinges on the actual level of personal "life threatening" risk experienced by the awardee. For heroic performance to rise to this level it must be clearly established that the act involved very specific life-threatening risk to the awardee.[2]

During the mid-20th century, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal has been awarded instead of the Silver or Gold Lifesaving Medal, for sea rescues involving risk to life. This is due primarily to the creation of a variety of additional military decorations that are often considered more prestigious than the Lifesaving Medal.[3]

Additional awards of the medal are denoted by gold or silver 516 inch stars.[2]

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal was first bestowed during World War II.


The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is an octagonal bronze medal. The obverse depicts an eagle holding a fouled anchor over a globe. The word Heroism is inscribed below the globe.[3] The ribbon of the medal is three equal stripes of navy blue, old gold, and apple red.[4]

Notable recipients[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2018-11-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b "Navy and Marine Corps Award Manual" (PDF). SECNAV INSTRUCTION 1650.1H. United States Navy. 22 August 2006. pp. 2–25. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Navy and Marine Corps Medal (NM)". Chief of Naval Operations. Archived from the original on 2014-06-27. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  4. ^ "MIL-DTL-11589/106E Ribbon, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Medal". US Department of Defense. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Lt. John F. Kennedy's NMCM citation". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 6 February 2013.