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Navy Distinguished Public Service Award
File:USNavy Distinguished Public Service Medal.jpg
Medal of the award
Awarded by Secretary of the Navy
Country United States
Eligibility Private citizens not employed by the Department of the Navy
Awarded for Specific courageous or heroic acts or exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long-term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps, or Department of the Navy as a whole.
Next (higher) Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award
Next (lower) Navy Superior Public Service Award
File:USA - Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.png
Ribbon bar of the award

The Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, established in 1951, is an award presented by the U.S. Secretary of the Navy to civilians for specific courageous or heroic acts or exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long-term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps, or Department of the Navy as a whole. Originally a certificate with a lapel pin, the medal was first presented in July 1951.[1] It is the highest recognition that the Secretary of the Navy may pay to a civilian not employed by the Department of the Navy.[2]


The medal, designed by the United States Mint, is gold in color. The obverse has the Seal of the Navy Department, encircled by the inscription above "Navy Department" and below, "United States of America." The reverse has the words "Awarded to" with a blank tablet for inscription of the recipient's name, resting on a spray of laurel. Arched at the top rim of the reverse of the medal is the word "Distinguished." Horizontally, below the tablet, is the word "Public" and arched along the bottom rim is the word "Service." The medal is suspended by a ribbon using the colors of the United States Navy, half blue on the left, and half golden-yellow on the right. In addition to the medal it consists of a miniature medal, lapel bar, rosette, and a certificate signed by the Secretary of the Navy.

Notable recipients

Notable recipients include Joe Rosenthal, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, known for the iconic photo, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.[3]

Freelance television news cameraman Chris Jackson received the award for rescuing Marine Sgt. Courtney Rauch from a burning Humvee in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in August 2008.[4] While filming for Col. Oliver North’s show on the Fox News Channel, the Humvee in which Jackson and Rauch were riding was struck by an IED, knocking Sgt. Rauch unconscious. Although injured in the blast, Jackson pulled Rauch from the vehicle to safety. Maj. Gen. Paul Lefebvre presented Jackson with the award January 24, 2009, at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq.[5][6] Other recipients include

The late former Rep. John Murtha (R-Pa) received the award in 2009 for his “courageous leadership, vision, and loyalty to the men and women of the Department of the Navy." At the time of his award Murtha was the influential chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.[7]

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) received the award in 2013. Frelinghuysen, also a sitting member of the Defense Subcommittee, was recognized for his "long and selfless service to the nation’s sailors and Marines [that] ensured they were provided the resources necessary to support and defend the nation’s interests around the globe."[7]

See also


  1. Kerrigan, Evans E. (1971). American War Medals and Decorations. pp. 123–124. 
  2. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Civilian Human Resources) (September 2005). "Guide No. 451-02 DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY (DON) HUMAN RESOURCES IMPLEMENTATION GUIDANCE" (.DOC). Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  3. Odom, Sgt. Christine C. (September 17, 2006). "Marine Corps awards Joe Rosenthal Distinguished Public Service Medal". Marine Corps News. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved January 23, 2009. [dead link]
  4. Carter, Tristan (5 March 2009). "Local Hero Commended by US Navy". The Toronto Observer. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  5. Graulich, Heather. "Injured Cameraman Receives Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award". National Press Photographers Association. Retrieved on March 30, 2009.
  6. Multi-National Corps – Iraq (2009-01-27). Civilian journalist receives Navy’s second highest honor. Press release. Retrieved on March 30, 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Garber, Phil (June 21, 2013). "Navy’s highest civilian honor goes to Frelinghuysen". Retrieved 20 July 2013. 

External links

This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Government.

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