National Defense Service Medal
The National Defense Service Medal was recently awarded to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty in recognition of their efforts in the war against terrorism.
This is the fourth time in history the National Defense Service Medal has been awarded. All service members, including Coast Guardsmen, who were on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to wear the National Defense Service Medal, defense officials announced May 1, 2002. Members of the National Guard and Reserve may also be awarded the medal if they were on federal active duty on or after Sept. 11.
Exceptions are if they were on active duty for training, on short tours of active duty to serve on boards, courts, commissions and the like, or on active duty solely to get a physical exam.
The National Defense Service 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 Scal of the United States; it is half encircled below with an oak leaf to left an laurel spray to the right, knotted in the center.
The ribbon has a wide yellow stripe in the center, flanked by narrow stripes of red, white, blue, white, wide red stripes.