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National Defense Service Medal


This medal was authorized by Executive Order 10448, April 22, 1953, and amended by Executive Order 11256, Jan. 11, 1966.



It is awarded for honorable active military service as a member of the armed forces of the United States including the Coast Guard, during the following periods:


-June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1954 - Korean War timeframe

-Jan. 1, 1961 to Aug. 14, 1974 - Vietnam War timeframe

-Aug. 2, 1990 to Nov. 30, 1995 - Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM timeframe

-Sept. 11, 2001 to a date to be determined - Terrorism attacks on the U.S./Global War on Terrorism 

-Service members who earned the medal during the first qualifying period, and who again became entitled to the medal, wear a bronze star on the ribbon to denote the second award of the medal.



The medal was designed by the Army of Heraldic Section. The obverse shows the American bald eagle, perched on a sword and palm. Above this, in a semicircle, is the inscription “National Defense.” The reverse shows a shield, as it appears in the Great Seal of the United States; it is half encircled below with an oak leaf to the left and laurel spray to the right, knotted in the center.



The ribbon has a wide yellow stripe in the center, flanked by four narrow stripes of red, white, blue, and white, and wide red stripes.



Bronze Service Star



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