Army Distinguished Service Medal
The Army Distinguished Service Medal was authorized by Presidential Order and confirmed by Congress in July of 1918. Congress recognized different types and degrees of heroism and meritorious service and included provisions for award criteria. Separate versions of the Distinguished Service Medal exist for each branch of service and a fifth, the most recent version, recognizes US Department of Defense personnel contributions. These US military medals were to be awarded by the President to persons who distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility in time of war or in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify award of one of these unique medals of America decorations.
These Army military medals are typically referred to simply as the "Distinguished Service Medal" while the other branches of service use the service name as a prefix. The term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions when the US is not at war, than in time of war, and requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of these military medals may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance. Under exceptional circumstances, and with the express approval of the President, these military ribbons and medals are occasionally awarded for wartime services to persons who are not members of the US Armed Forces.
The Army Distinguished Service Medal is worn below the Army, Navy and Air Force versions of the Distinguished Service Cross and above the Silver Stars awarded by each branch of service, in the order of precedence for all military ribbons and medals. Additional awards of these military medals are denoted by Oak Leaf Clusters. These military awards are generally available as traditional full size military medals and mini medals, military ribbons and lapel pins. They are available as traditional slide-on, full size military medals or mini-medals, slide-on military ribbons, and the newer thin military medals, mini-medals and ribbons which are greatly valued for their sleeker appearance.