Military Wiki
Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Awarded by United States Navy and United States Marine Corps
Type Military decoration
Awarded for "Distinguishing oneself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy of the United States
Established 7 August 1942
Next (higher) Distinguished Flying Cross
Equivalent Army - Soldier's Medal
Air Force - Airman's Medal
Coast Guard - Coast Guard Medal
Next (lower) Bronze Star Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon.svg
Service ribbon

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the United States Department of the Navy to the members of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The decoration 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 generally considered the equivalent of the U.S. Army′s Soldier's Medal, the U.S. Air Force′s 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.[1]

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 of 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.[2] The Navy and Marine Corps Medal was first bestowed during World War II. A famous recipient was President John F. Kennedy who was awarded the medal as Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II.[3]


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.[2] The ribbon of the medal is three equal stripes of navy blue, old gold, and apple red.[4] Additional awards of the medal are denoted by gold or silver 5/16 inch stars.[1]


The first recipient of the medal is not known.[2] The recipients of the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the text of the citations issued to each recipient, to the extent of available records, are listed in an online database.[5]

Notable Recipients

See also


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