National Defense Service Medal
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  1. #1

    National Defense Service Medal

    Here is the criteria for the National Defense Service Medal. Called "The firewatch medal" by Vietnam era veterans, "The pizza stain" by Desert Storm era veterans.

    One of the most common medals seen on Marines (and military members, period), since it merely requires graduation of recruit training and/or time on active duty.

    All award criteria listed are from the Department of the Navy's Website, which has not been updated in some cases.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/medals/index.html

    But...because I'm a nice guy (LOL) I'll post them, as well as medal pics. Makes it easier on everyone.

    Here is the criteria:

    *******
    The National Defense Service Medal will be awarded to all persons in the Naval service who served on active duty at any time between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954. All personnel serving on active duty during the above period are eligible for this award with the exception of reserve personnel on active duty for training, reserve personnel on short tours of active duty to serve on boards, courts, commissions, etc., and any persons ordered to active duty who, on physical examination incident thereto, are disqualified and immediately released from active duty. (Executive Order No. 10448 of 22 April 1953 and Department of Defense Directive 1348.7 of 15 July 1953.)


    Designed by the Army's Institute of Heraldry in Cameron Station, Va., the first medals were issued during the Korean War era and note active federal service performed as part of normal extended duty between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954, both dates inclusive.

    The next period of eligibility coincided with that of the Vietnam War, with duty between 01 Jan. 1961 and 14 Aug. 1974 being the criteria for the award, both dates inclusive. This amended period of eligibility was established by Executive Order 11265 of 11 January 1966.

    The next period of award encompasses Southwest Asia service, with eligibility beginning 02 Aug. 1990, based on Executive Order 12776 from President George Bush on 18 October 1991. The terminal eligibility date for this period later was set as 30 Nov. 1995. The final period of award eligibility encompasses the War on Terror, with eligibility beginning 11 September 2001 and not yet ended. The NDSM was reinstated by memorandum from The Deputy Secretary of Defense, dated 26 April 2002, from 11 September 2001 to a termination date to be determined in the future.
    ****
    Miscellenous facts:

    Interestingly, because of the expanded role of military reservists in "Desert Shield" and "Desert Storm," President Bush's executive order extended the medal's award to those drilling members of the Selected Reserve.

    Sailors and Marines with active duty in two or more of the periods wear a small bronze service star on the ribbon for each additional eligibility period.

    Any member of the Naval Reserve who, after 31 December 1960, becomes eligible for the award of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Vietnam Service Medal, is also eligible for award of the National Defense Service Medal.*****

    Eligibility, General:

    For the purpose of the award, the following persons will NOT be considered as performing active service:
    (1) Guard and Reserve forces personnel on short tours of duty to fulfill training obligations under an inactive duty training program.
    (2) Any person on active duty for the sole purpose of undergoing a physical examination.
    (3) Any person on temporary active duty to serve on boards, courts, commissions and like organizations or on active duty for purposes other than extended active duty.

    (4) A one time only exception, for members of the Army National Guard and United States Army Reserve, who were part of the selected reserve in good standing, was authorized, per executive orders 12778, dated 18 October 1991, for the period 2 August 1990 to 30 November 1995.

    b. The National Defense Service Medal may be awarded to members of the Reserve Components who are ordered to Federal active duty, regardless of duration, except for the categories listed above.

    c. To signify receipt of a second or subsequent award of the NDSM, a bronze service star will be worn on the service ribbon by those so qualified. Second or third award of the NDSM is authorized for those who served in one or more of the four qualifying time periods. It is not authorized for those who met the criteria in one time period, left active duty and returned during the same period of eligibility.
    d. Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy are eligible for the NDSM, during any of the inclusive periods listed above, upon completion of the swearing-in ceremonies as a cadet.
    e. The NDSM may be issued posthumously.


  2. #2

  3. #3
    Marine Free Member davblay's Avatar
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    So, from the way I read this, a reservist who only goes to boot camp and SOI/MCT and school, is not qualified for the NDSM unless/until their unit is deployed or put on active duty status? But should/would not get one out of Boot camp? That's the way is was in my day, during the Nam years! I am just trying to get this straight in my old head.

    I am sure we have some actve reserve members on the site, will someone please clear this up for me?

    Thanks, and Semper Fi,

    Dave


  4. #4
    Dave;

    Technically you are correct, the NDSM shouldn't be awarded to reservists only on AcDu for 'training'. But, I'll bet you that it's awarded to everyone who goes to recruit training upon graduation, as 'common practice'.

    The GWOTSM rules seem to be followed pretty strictly from what I can tell.


  5. #5
    Marine Free Member davblay's Avatar
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    The reason I brought that up is because during our final inspection, and graduation, the reservist stood out like a turd in a punchbowl, because they only had a shooting badge! I checked my Boot Camp Book to be sure.

    Thanks for the clarification,

    Dave


  6. #6
    Dave:

    Nice to see confirmation that it was, in fact, done that way.

    I think we need to hear from a current reservist to find out if it still is, or not. I've seen current Air Guardsmen, with no deployment or other active duty time, wearing the NDSM.


  7. #7
    Marine Free Member davblay's Avatar
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    I PM'd Isrowie and asked him if they issue them on the island as well. Just waiting for his reply. I'll let you know what he says.

    Dave


  8. #8
    Marine Free Member davblay's Avatar
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    I sent you a PM Sgt Lep!

    Dave


  9. #9
    Reservest are awarded the NDSM at recruit training because they are considered on active duty until the completion of SOI/MCT and they check into their reserve unit properly. At that point, they beign their "reserve" time. All the time before that is active duty.


  10. #10
    Ah ha! Now that makes some sense. Obviously the rules have changed since the last time the NDSM was awarded.

    Thanks for clearing that one up Lt.


  11. #11
    Why do they call it 'the pizza stain'?

    (I'm guessing it's not a positive comment!)


  12. #12
    I just graduated from PISC and all new marines got awarded the NDSM


  13. #13
    To answer the question: "Why do they call it 'the pizza stain'?"

    Because the ribbon of the medal when worn on the uniform has a distinctive coloring. When it's the only ribbon worn it looks kinda like that.


  14. #14
    What surprises me is that those of us that served in Lebanon and Grenada were awarded the Combat Action ribbon along with combat pay, but are not authorized the NDSM. Seems that since it was called a Peacekeeping mission that period of service is often overlooked. Any thoughts?


  15. #15
    Honestly, I'm not sure. The NDSM was originally done for the Korean callup (lots of WWII vets brought back and civilians drafted). It was brought back again for Vietnam, but pretty much languished until the Gulf war. Dropped again, it came back after 9/11. And, I'm thinkin that the 'powers that be' probably wouldn't have brought it back if they would have had foresight enough to realize that the GWOTSM/GWOTEM were going to come around.

    While that doesn't really answer your question, perhaps in a roundabout way it does. Neither Lebanon nor Grenada were considered "National" emergencies. Most folks, even Marines, on active duty at the time, didn't see service in either of those places, yours truly among them. Since the NDSM is sort of a 'blanket' award, perhaps that is the reason why.

    Oh, and those who did "Just Cause" in Panama in 1989 didn't get it, either. So don't feel too bad.

    Thanks for your service, BTW.


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