Good Conduct Medal

From Academic Kids

The Good Conduct Medal is one of the oldest military decorations of the United States military. The Navy Good Conduct Medal was first issued 1869, followed by a Marine version in 1896. The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal was issued in 1923 and the Army Good Conduct Medal in 1941. The Air Force was the last service to create a Good Conduct Medal in 1963.

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Contents

Criteria

The Good Conduct Medal is awarded to any enlisted member of the United States military who completes three consecutive years of "honorable and faithful service". Such service implies that a standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishments, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses. If a service member commits an offense, the three year mark "resets" and a service member must perform an additional three years of discipline free service before the Good Conduct may be authorized.

Service for the Good Conduct Medal must be performed on active duty and the medal is not awarded to members of the military reserve or National Guard who are not federalized to active service. For those Reserve and Guard members who satisfactorily perform annual training and drill duty, however, a separate series of Reserve Good Conduct Medals may be awarded in lieu.

During times of war, the Good Conduct Medal may be awarded for one year of faithful service. The Good Conduct Medal may also be awarded posthumously, to any soldier killed in the line of duty.

Navy Good Conduct Medal

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Original Version

Of all the Good Conduct Medals, the Navy Good Conduct Medal is the oldest, dating back to 1869. There have been a total of four versions of the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the first version of which was issued from 1870 to 1884. The original Navy Good Conduct Medal was also not worn on a uniform, but issued with discharge papers as a badge to present during reenlistment. A sailor in the Navy received a new Good Conduct Medal for each honorable enlistment completed.

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Transitional Version
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Third Version

The second version of the Navy Good Conduct Medal was issued between 1880 and 1884. The medal was considered a “transitional decoration” and was the first of the Good Conduct Medals to be worn on a uniform. The medal was phased out by 1885 and a new medal issued between 1885 and 1961. The new medal was a Good Conduct medallion suspended from an all red ribbon. Enlistment bars, denoting each honorable enlistment completed, were pinned on the ribbon as attachments.

The current Navy Good Conduct Medal dates from 1961 and is issued to every active duty sailor who completes three years of honorable and faithful service. Service stars denote additional awards of the Navy Good Conduct Medal.



Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal

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Old Version USMC GCM

The Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal was first issued in 1896 and was originally a ribbon and medal suspensed from a clasp bearing the words "U.S. Marine Corps".

The clasp was eliminated after 1935 and the medal has remained unchanged in appearance since that time.

Enlistment bars, showing each honorable period of service, were used until 1953 when the Marine Corps adopted service stars to denote additional awards of the Good Conduct Medal.

Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal

The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal was designed in 1923 and originally used enlistment bars as attachments, in the same manner as the Marine Corps and Navy Good Conduct Medal. In 1966, the Coast Guard began using service stars to denote additional awards of the Good Conduct Medal.

Army Good Conduct Medal

The Army Good Conduct Medal is one of the most recognizable of the Good Conduct Medals and remains one of the most widely issued decorations in the history of the United States military. The Army Good Conduct Medal was first approved for issuance in 1941 and has remained unchanged in appearance since that time. To denote additional decorations of the Good Conduct Medal, a series of Good Conduct Loops are provided as attachments to the decoration.

Air Force Good Conduct Medal

The last of the Good Conduct Medals is the Air Force Good Conduct Medal which was first created in 1963. Between 1947 and 1963, Air Force personnel were issued the Army Good Conduct Medal. For those serving both before and after 1963, both the Army and Air Force Good Conduct Medals could be worn simultaneously on an Air Force uniform.

The Air Force Good Conduct Medal has remained unchanged in appearance since its original design over forty years ago. Additional decorations of the Air Force Good Conduct Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters.

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