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Revised and Updated: July 15, 2008

Recipients of the
Army Distinguished Service Medal

  

Up until World War I the ONLY medal authorized for award to members of the U.S. Army was the Medal of Honor. On January 2, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson issued a Presidential Order establishing the Army's Distinguished Service Cross, an award ONLY for valor in combat as the Army's second highest award, and the Army Distinguished Service Medal, which could be presented for both combat and non-combat actions of distinguished service. (The same Presidential Order also established the Silver Star Citation which eventually became the Silver Star Medal.)

While the Medal of Honor is reserved ONLY for members of U.S. Military Forces, both the DSC and the DSM are authorized for presentation to American Civilians and to Foreign Allies. In all cases it is awarded for:

The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States 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.

The Army Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to members of all branches of service, including civilians and foreign Allies, and in all cases where there is a subsequent award an Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of the second or additional awards. In the case of a SIXTH award, a Silver Oak Leaf Cluster would be worn in lieu of the DSM and four Bronze OLCs, but to date no person has earned more than FIVE awards of the Army DSM. That record is shared by SIX different members of the Army:

  • Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. (Who also received 1 Air Force DSM)
  • William Eugene DePuy (Who also received 1 Air Force DSM)
  • Dwight David Eisenhower (Who also received 1 Navy DSM)
  • Douglas A. MacArthur (Who also received 1 Navy DSM)
  • Joseph Taggart McNarney  (Who also received 1 Navy DSM)
  • Bruce Palmer, Jr.  (Who also received 1 Air Force DSM)
 

To date we have identified nearly 5,000 recipients of the Army Distinguished Service Medal in History, comprising an estimated 95% of all award recipients through 1975. The below summary is a work-in-progress, posted when this page went online in July 2008.

Statistical Summary of DSM Awards

 Event Army USAF* Navy USMC Civilian Foreign

TOTAL

  Indian Campaigns** 7           7
  Interim (1871-1898)** 7           7
  Spanish-American War** 74           74
  Philippine Insurrection** 75           75
  China (Boxer Rebellion)** 7           7
  Interim (1899-1910)** 24           24
  Mexican Border Wars** 8           8
  Interim (1910-1917)** 19           19
World War I 1,192 31 31 11 68 548 1,881
  Influenza Epidemic 1918 6           6
  North Russia 1918-1919 2         3
   Siberia 1919-1920 8           8
Interim (1918-1942) 17 8         25
World War II 1,275 87 30 6 15 45 1,458
Korea 9 1 9       19
Cold War 175           175
Vietnam 541 1 2   1   545
1946 - 1975 402 223 17 1 3 2 648
 TOTALS 3,848 351 89 18 88 595 4,989

 * Includes U.S. Army Air Corps (WWI) and U.S. Army Air Force (WWII)
**DSC issued in lieu of previously awarded Certificate of Merit or upgraded from D.S.M. issued in lieu of CM

Full-Text Citations for Awards of Army Distinguished Service Medal

Indian Campaigns

1871 - 1898

Spanish-American War

Philippine Insurrection

Boxer Rebellion (China)

1899 - 1910

Mexican Border

1910 - 1917

World War I

Army

Air Service

Navy

Marines

U.S. Civilians

Foreign Awards

Influenza Epidemic

North Russia

Siberian Intervention

1919 - 1942

The above links provide the citations for all Army DSMs as reported in Decorations United States Army 1862 - 1926 and the five supplements, representing all awards from inception through the beginning of World War II. We continue to work on the citations for World War II to present and will be adding to these pages as we obtain additional information.

 

 

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FOOTNOTES
In
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