ARMY DISTINGUISHED SERVICE

What separates the Army Distinguished Service medal (DSM) from most others is that it can be awarded to anyone—military or civilian, U.S. citizen or foreigner—who has shown exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility while serving the U.S. Army in any capacity. Recipients include filmmaker Frank Capra, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, Chinese Gen. Chiang Kai-shek, suffragette Anna Howard Shaw, actor James Stewart, and test pilot Chuck Yeager. (There is a caveat for potential DSM recipients who are not members of the Armed Forces of the United States: they can be awarded the medal only for their services during wartime.)

However, since the medal is principally given to high-ranking officers, recipients primarily include generals and admirals, including Bradley, Doolittle, Haig, Halsey, Marshall, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nimitz, Patton, Pershing, Powell, and Schwarzkopf. Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower were awarded five each, which remains the record. (They each received a Navy Distinguished Service medal as well.)

This fourth-highest military award was authorized in 1918 in the same legislation that established the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star. Each branch of the military has its own DSM, and a fifth version is a senior award given by the Department of Defense.

In March 2017, the Army announced the establishment of the “C” combat device and authorized it for wear on the DSM and five other Army medals. Designed to recognize especially meritorious service or achievement under combat conditions that occurred after 7 January 2016, the “C” device cannot be awarded for simply being located in an area designated as a combat zone. Instead, the candidate must have been personally exposed to hostile action or have been in an area where other servicemembers were engaged. It does not require that the recipient was personally engaged with enemy forces.

The medal features the U.S. Coat of Arms in gold in the middle of a circle of dark blue enamel and is inscribed "For Distinguished Service MCMXVIII." On the back is the name of the recipient on a scroll superimposed on a trophy of flags and weapons. It hangs from a bar on a ribbon with a wide white stripe flanked by a scarlet stripe and a narrower ultramarine stripe.

Subsequent awards are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.

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