DOD Distinguished Service Medal
Service: All Services (By Sec. of Defense)
Instituted: 9 July 1970
DOD Distinguished Service Medal Criteria
DOD Distinguished Service Medal Criteria: Exceptionally meritorious service to the United States while assigned to a Joint Activity in a position of unique and great responsibility.
Distinguished Service Medal Devices: All Services: Bronze & Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
Authorized on July 9, 1970 and awarded to military officers for exceptionally meritorious service while assigned to a Department of Defense joint activity. The Secretary of Defense is the awarding authority for the medal, usually awarded to the most senior officers. Examples of assignments that may allow qualification for this medal are: Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Chiefs and Vice Chiefs of the Military Services, including the Commandant and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and Commanders and Vice Commanders of Unified and Specified Commands. It may also be awarded to other senior officers who serve in positions of great responsibility or to an officer whose direct and individual contributions to national security or defense are also recognized as being so exceptional in scope and value as to be equivalent to contributions normally associated with positions encompassing broader responsibilities. Subsequent awards are denoted by bronze and silver oak leaf clusters.
These military medals depict an American bald eagle with wings spread and the United States shield on its breast; the eagle is superimposed on a medium blue pentagon (which represents the five services) and is surrounded by a gold circle that has thirteen stars in the upper half and a laurel and olive wreath in the lower half. On the reverse of the medal is the inscription, “FROM THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TO...FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE.” Space is provided between the TO and FOR for engraving of the recipient’s name. The ribbon has a central stripe of red flanked by stripes of gold and blue. The red represents zeal and courageous action, the gold denotes excellence and the medium blue represents the Department of Defense.
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal was designed by Mildred Orloff and sculpted by Lewis J. King, Jr., both of the Institute of Heraldry.