Navy Distinguished Service Medal

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

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Navy Distinguished Service Medal

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The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is a military award of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps which was first created in 1919. The decoration is the Navy and Marine Corps equivalent to the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, and the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal. The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was originally senior to the Navy Cross, until August 1943 when the precedence of the two decorations was reversed.

The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is bestowed upon members of the Navy or Marine Corps who distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States government in a duty of great responsibility. The term “great responsibility” implies senior military responsibility, and the decoration is normally only bestowed to senior Navy Flag and Marine Corps General Officers. The decoration is rarely awarded to enlisted personnel, and then only to those who hold extremely senior enlisted positions such as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. Additional awards of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal are annotated by gold award stars.

The first award of the decoration was a posthumous presentation to Brigadier General Charles A. Doyen, USMC, on March 13, 1919.

The first Navy enlisted man to be awarded the Distinguished Service Medal was Delbert D. Black. Master Chief Black was...
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