The Lifesaving award is a military decoration of the United States Coast Guard which was first created in June of 1874.
The decoration is one of the oldest medals in the United States military and has remained unchanged in appearance since its initial conception.
The Lifesaving Medal is awarded to any member of the U.S. military, or U.S. civilian, who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of water.
The rescue or attempted rescue must take place in waters within the United States, waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction, or one of the parties involved must be a citizen of the United States or be from a vessel or aircraft owned or operated by citizens of the United States.
The Lifesaving Medal is issued in two grades : silver and gold. The Gold Lifesaving Medal is authorized if the individual attempting the rescue did so at extreme peril and risk of life. For all other rescues, the Silver Lifesaving Medal is authorized.