The Army Good Conduct Medal was authorized by Executive Order 8809, on June 28, 1941, and is awarded to enlisted members who have honorably completed three continuous years of active military service subsequent to Aug. 26, 1940, and who are recommended by their commanding officers for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity. Persons awarded this medal must have had character and efficiency ratings of excellent or higher throughout the qualifying period, including time spent in attendance at service schools, and there must have been no convictions by court martial.
During wartime, the Army Good Conduct Medal may be awarded on completion of one year of continuous service rather than three. Executive Order 9323, March 31, 1943, lowered this time limit for service during World War II, and it was amended by Executive Order 10444 on April 10, 1953, applying the one-year ruling to the Korean Conflict, (1950-1954) and to any future period in which the United States is at war, including the war in Vietnam, (1964-1973).
The medal, designed by Joseph Kiselewski, has on the obverse an eagle with wings displayed and inverted, standing on closed book and a Roman sword. Encircling it is the inscription Efficiency, Honor, Fidelity. The reverse has a five-pointed star, slightly above center, with a scroll beneath for the recipient's name. Above the star are the words “For Good” and below the scroll the word “Conduct.” A wreath, formed of a laurel branch on the left and an oak branch on the right, surrounds the whole design.
Only one Good Conduct Medal may be awarded to any individual. Additional awards of the medal are indicated by a bar, with loops or knots indicating additional awards. Clasps are in bronze (one to five awards), silver (five to nine awards), and gold for 10 or more awards. An individual who is awarded a Good Conduct Medal while serving in another branch of service and is then awarded an Army Good Conduct Medal would wear both medals and ribbon bars.
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