Overview of Navy and Marine Corps Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
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According to the Federal Regulations code 10 U.S.C. 6246, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps, distinguishes himself/herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy. For acts of life-saving, or attempted lifesaving, it is required that the action is performed at the risk of one's own life.

This award may be approved and bestowed by the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and their designees, provide they have been given awarding authority from the Secretary of the Navy, in the name of the President.


This octagon-shaped bronze and cloth ribbon medal depicts an eagle holding an anchor over a globe. Beneath the globe is the word “Heroism”  According to the detail specification sheet of the Department of Defense, the 1-3/8” wide ribbon attached above the bronze piece is comprised of three stripes of navy blue #1, old gold and apple red.

This octagonal bronze medal depicts an eagle holding an anchor over a globe. The word Heroism is inscribed below the globe. The ribbon of the medal is three equal stripes of navy blue, old gold, and apple red. Additional awards of the medal are denoted by gold or silver 5/16 inch stars.

Note: Although the Navy and Marine Corps Medal is often awarded for heroism involving lifesaving, it is not a lifesaving medal. As the senior peacetime award for heroism, this award hinges on the actual level of personal "life-threatening" risk experienced by the awardee. For heroic performance to rise to this level it must be clearly established that the act involved very specific life-threatening risk to the awardee. When there is none, or at best very limited life-threatening risk to the awardee, the award of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal may be more appropriate.

Repeated Recognition

Per regulations, only one Navy and Marine Corps Medal may be awarded to a person. For any succeeding act or service that would justify an additional award of such a medal or cross, the President may award a suitable bar, emblem, or insignia to be worn with the decoration and corresponding rosette or another device.