National defense service medal: 3 interesting facts

defense service

My grandfather stormed the beach at Normandy. It is, without a doubt, the finest moment in my entire family history. At his funeral, the Marines came to pay their respects, and some of his comrades in arms were so moved with my grandfather’s memory they actually wept. These moments informed me and my brother’s decision to join the armed services as soon as we were eligible, and we all served with distinction. Among the accolades and praise we won along the way, one medal stands out, the national defense service medal was bestowed on my brother for his honorable service during the global war on terrorism, and he wears it proudly to this day. Today, I want to go into a bit of detail about this award and its illustrious history in my article titled National defense service medal: 3 interesting facts.

The National Defense Service Medal, or NDSM, has been given out during the following global conflicts: The Korean War, from June 27, 1950, to July 27, 1954. The Vietnam War from January 1, 1961, to August 14, 1974, the Persian Gulf War from August 2, 1990, to November 30, 1995, and finally for the global war on terror from September 11, 2001, to the present day. The cadets and midshipmen at military service academies become eligible to receive the medal when they are sworn into service.

The National Defense Service Medal is, in fact, the oldest service medal in use by the United States Armed Forces. On 22 April 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the one who established the medal. Later, the eligibility was expanded to include:

  1. Active military members at the discretion of the Defense Secretary
  2. Service members who have honorably served during the national emergency or war

It is a bronze medallion and is1 1/4 inches in diameter. The words “National Defense” are written on the medal, and beneath these words, an eagle with inverted wings is shown sitting on a sword and palm branches.

A shield taken from the coat of arms of the USA is shown on the center of the reverse side. On the right side of the coat of the arms, there is an open wreath that is made up of oak leaves while on the left side, there are laurel leaves. The American bald eagle is shown on the medal which stands for the United States. The sword represents armed strength, and the palm shows victory. The shield is taken from the coat of arms of the United States and it stands for the authority under which the medal is given and earned. The oak signifies courage and strength, while the laurel embodies achievement and honor.

During my research, I spoke to several veterans who had earned this cherished medal during their honorable service. One gentleman, I spoke to had been down on his luck for some time, and after I got to know him a bit, he admitted to me that he had lost his medal during a period of particular turmoil in his life. Thinking his medal and his pride in earning it was gone forever, this man despaired. But, because I was so touched by his service and the sad story of his life, I looked into whether it was possible to get a replacement medal to restore his honor. And, to my great joy, I found a website that just that. In fact, they have many such replacement medals. I will never forget the moment I presented this veteran with his replacement medal, it truly is one of the chief memories of my life, and I wanted to share this anecdote in my article today. Anyone in a similar position to restore honor to a fallen veteran should do the same.

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