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Honorary Medals

The nation's highest military award for valor is the Medal of Honor, presented by the president in Congress' name. By law, only U.S. service members who distinguish themselves “through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” can receive the medal.

National Defense Service Medal

The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service during the current War on Terrorism.

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal

The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal may be awarded to members of the Armed Forces in the grades of lieutenant commander (or major) and below. It is awarded for meritorious service or achievement in either combat or noncombat based on sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature but which does not warrant a Navy Commendation Medal or higher.

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

The Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a case-by-case basis when requested by the Combatant Commanders, will designate approved operations. Service in an operationally deployed status abroad within a designated area of eligibility merits primary eligibility for the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; personnel supporting the Global War on Terrorism in a non-deployed status, whether stationed at home or overseas, are eligible only for the War on Terrorism Service Medal.

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