Criteria. (1) The Distinguished Service Medal was established by Act of Congress on July 9, 1918 (10 U.S.C. 3743). It is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service which is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.(
- 2) For service not related to actual war the term “duty of great responsibility” applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance.
- (3) Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances with the express approval of the President, in each case.
- (b) Description. The coat of arms of the United States in bronze surrounded by a circle of dark-blue enamel 11/2 inches in diameter, bearing the inscription “For Distinguished Service MCMXVIII.” On the reverse, a blank scroll upon a trophy of flags and weapons. The medal is suspended by a bar from a moired silk ribbon, 13/8 inches in length and 13/8 inches in width, composed of a bank of scarlet (5/8-inch), a stripe of dark-blue (1/16-inch), a band of white (5/8-inch), a stripe of dark-blue (1/16-inch), and a band of scarlet (5/16-inch). (Sec. 3743, 70A Stat. 216; 10 U.S.C. 3743).